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RE: Something That Bugs Me About The AISC Code

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>I can say "I based my design procedures on this accepted code or standard"
>and Mr. Shyster can say "ah, but doesn't that code say it's for BUILDINGS?"
Then you answer, 'The applicable physical principles operate precisely 
the same in my widget as they do for the types of framed structures in 
the AISC code. In particular the fatigue design provisions are precisely 
applicable since the materials of construction respond identically.' 
Which is true, so you've answered the question correctly and opened the 
way for your attorney to ask you to explain for the jury in 
cross-examination or re-direct as follows:

[Attorney] Mr Polhemus, you told plaintiff counsel that the physical 
principles in the AISC code operate precisely the same in the widget as 
they do for framed structure . Am I correct?

[WP] Yes, that's true.

[Attorney] 'Are there any other applications of the AISC Code beyond 

[Attorney] 'I'm no engineer but these applications seem quite different 
from each other and from buildings. How can this Code apply to such a 
wide area?'

[WP] 'The basic principles of structural design, the physical laws if you 
like, are universally applicable. An I beam has the same strength under a 
given load imposed by snow as it would if the load were imposed by spent 
nuclear fuel or a pallet of building material. The procedures for design 
were developed in exactly the same way, and the strength is figured 
according to the same rules.'

[Attorney] 'If I understand you correctly, you used the AISC Code in the 
design of the widget because that Code embodies the proper engineering 
methodology for computing the strength of a widget as well as other 
structures as disparate as nuclear generating stations and lifting 
cranes. Is that correct?'

[Attorney] 'And am I correct in believing that you also used this Code 
because it is universally considered the best engineering practice for 
such structures?'

[WP] Yes, that's correct.

[The testimony could go on in this vein for quite a while but sooner or 
later plaintiff counsel will begin weeping, drop the suit, beg 
forgiveness and offer to buy everyone dinner and drinks to show he's a 
reformed character]

I've provided a fair amount of testimony, and it doesn't take a rocket 
scientist to shred an argument like you've presented into tiny bits. 
Technically illiterate lawyers (meaning 99% of them) rarely try building 
a case on an engineering interpretation of a pretty much trivial phrase 
like you've described, because reit puts them in the position of asking a 
question which they don't know the answer to. 

If I were you I'd worry a lot more about the AISC's lack of support of 
ASD than requests for engineering interpretations from a lawyer.

Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant from
chrisw(--nospam--at)        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)

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