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Re: residential pier foundation design

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I do not do much seismic design, but I would go with the code. 

I deal in residential a lot and to my knowledge residences are not 
scrutinized as close as commercial buildings and therefore they tend to get 
away with designs that are not adequate in certain areas.  With time, this 
becomes the "norm".  I hear all the time about how they do not do something 
on residential.  The truth appears to be, "no one has made us do it" and 
therefore we don't.  Also, everytime I have quizzed one of the contractors 
about how they "never did this before and have done a building JUST like 
this", I find out "Just Like" means was 10' foot shorter , was in another 
code jurisdiction, about 25 years ago etc etc etc. and was block rather than 
wood.  Amazing how many "Identical buildings" they have built.

As far as the posting about using spirals versus hoops,  I question 
contractors on their comments about my designs being difficult to build.  
Generally I find it is their personnel and abilities that creates the 
comments, not my design.  I did a dock facility years ago with some 
underwater welding required.  One Contractor bidding it complained, another 
one loved the design.  One had no underwater welders and the other had 6 that 
were sitting around with no work.  The Contractor that got the job complained 
to the Client about how hard some things were and stated he could do better.  
He stated this was the worst design he had ever seen.  I gave him  a red pen 
in a Client meeting and told him to mark any change he wanted and I would 
insure it would structurally work.  But anything he changed that affected the 
"use of the dock'", maintenance etc that was not structural in nature would 
be between him and the Client.   He did not change one thing.  I called him a 
"crybaby contractor" when he would not change anything.  The entire meeting 
was for that single purpose, for him to "tell me how it should be done".  
Shortest meeting I have ever been in.  I would assume anyone can make an 
improvement  on "the worst design they had ever seen".  I also told him that 
all engineers make every design a little hard to build to insure legitimate 
Contractors have limited competition.  If we made things too easy, the Girl 
Scouts would quit selling cookies to raise money and start building Dock 
facilities. He laughed at that comment at least.

Ron Martin
Tuscaloosa, AL

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