Thanks for the opportunity for some code input.
A couple of comments:
1. I have found that the commentary is VERY helpful, especially when
dealing with code provisions that I'm not familiar with. It's extremely
helpful in answering the "Why do they want that?" questions, which in turn
helps me do a better job of meeting the intent of the code.
2. The index in the ACI code is more helpful that that in the ASD manual,
and MUCH more helpful than the '97 UBC. (That may not be saying much, since
I've found the UBC index to be nearly useless.) It could be expanded some.
3. As far as a preference of materials to design in, I'm comfortable with
either steel or concrete. I don't do much concrete frame design, (I'm in
seismic Zone 3). I try to make a material selection that best fits the
situation, and then talk the owner/architect into it. As far as a code
preference governing the choice of materials, it doesn't.
4. I was taught concrete design using ACI 318-92, and T/A'd a concrete
design class using 318-95. The change in development length calculation was
a great improvement. When I was taking the class, that was a big complaint.
When I T/A'd, it was still a complaint, until I pulled out the old code.
Then the complaints decreased.
5. Some simple sample design calc's contained in the commentary might help
clarify some things. The torsion calc's come to mind.
I think the preference for steel comes from the great number of design aids
contained in the manual, as well as commercially available software. That's
great, where you're limited to a discrete set of shapes. With concrete, if
you used only the design aids available, you've lost a lot of the design
flexibility that concrete offers. Overall, I've found the ACI code to be a
bit more useful in helping to understand things than the AISC codes.
(Again, I find the commentary quite useful.)
Just a few ramblings. I may think of more over the weekend.
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