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Re: ACI 318 - request for comments for improvements

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Paul,

Just a brief comment...

I could be mistaken, but it appears that you might think that ACI is a
trade organization.  If so, let be state that ACI is NOT a trade
organization, nor is it a professional "society".  The best description is
that ACI is a institute that produces technical information for the use of
concrete.  ACI does not actively promote concrete, although it is obvious
that if concrete were not used then we would be out of business.

The point is that all of ACI's functions/activities runs off of member
dues, publication sales, seminar fees, certification fees, etc.  The
concrete industry does not directly fund the activities of ACI, like they
would for a trade organization.

HTH,

Scott Maxwell
Ypsilanti, MI


On Sat, 9 Jun 2001, Paul Feather wrote:

> A two part response:
> 
> First, regarding code complexity.  I do not feel the ACI code is all that
> complex.  The only real comments I would add (or second) would be better
> explanation of some of the variables, consistency of variables throughout
> the code, and better, clearer diagrams, and maybe a better index and cross
> referencing of related provisions.
> 
> Second is regarding design in concrete.  I have read many of the responses
> with interest.  Yes, a concrete structure can be more complex to design, but
> I can honestly say this has never influenced our decision to utilize one
> material over another.  The fact is that the choice of a structural system
> is dependent on too many other important variables, suitability of use, span
> and load, floor to floor heights, fire-rating, final finishes, geometry and
> lateral systems, economics, and so on.  Each material has definite strengths
> and weaknesses, the goal being to select the most appropriate system for the
> project.
> 
> The inherent continuity of concrete systems adds complexity to the design
> process.  Any indeterminate system adds complexity to the design process. Is
> designing a flat plate or P/T flat plate considerably more complex than
> properly designing a composite steel floor system? Not really. (IMHO)  Is
> designing a steel moment frame with "special" detailing or an EBF frame
> system much different than designing a concrete moment frame or shear wall
> system?  Not really.
> For an engineer to have a preference, I think it really comes down to
> familiarity and office resources.  A firm with extensive experience,
> software, in-house spreadsheets, a good grasp of the detailing and "best"
> approach to designing in either material would not, in my opinion, base
> material and systems selection on what was "easier".  The fact is some firms
> are more "productive" (i.e. more comfortable, more experience, better
> equipped) designing in one material over another, and this may have an
> impact on their first choice or recommendations of structural systems.  It
> typically will influence the types of projects pursued.
> 
> The trade associations should provide more support to building familiarity
> than questioning code complexity.  Provide the ACI design manuals bundled
> with the code with the costs offset by the producers.  ACI should look at
> the historic sales numbers, how many of the design manuals are you actually
> selling in comparison to the number of code books?  If the typical office
> only has the code, it is no wonder concrete seems infinitely more complex.
> 
> Otherwise, the choice of concrete is dependent on economics more than any
> other factor.  Construction timeline, costs, and associated project costs
> and project requirements will dictate the choice of materials.  After all,
> designing a composite steel floor system is more complex than designing a
> non-composite system, but we still do more composite than non-composite.
> 
> Paul Feather
> San Diego
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <Scott.Maxwell(--nospam--at)aci-int.org>
> To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
> Sent: Friday, June 08, 2001 12:14 PM
> Subject: ACI 318 - request for comments for improvements
> 
> 
> Greetings:
> 
> I would like to see if you would provide us with a little assistance, which
> ultimately could end up helping yourself.
> 
> ACI has heard and received comments about the complexity of the ACI 318
> concrete code.  Some surveys have suggested that more structural engineers
> prefer to design in steel than in concrete.  Some use these surveys to
> conclude that the ACI 318 code is a major contributor to this preference.
> This concern has been expressed to ACI by several of the major concrete
> trade associations.
> 
> We would like to conduct a survey to attempt to determine what areas of the
> code need improvement or clarification (note, I hesitate to use the word
> "simplification").  The hope is to get some feedback on how to improve the
> 318 code to make it more useful and user-friendly.
> 
> We are currently at a loss, however, as to how approach this problem,
> especially since the code itself is rather large, making it difficult to
> focus in on particular problems.  We are hoping that you might be willing
> to offer some ideas.  For example, what areas of the ACI 318 code do you
> find too complex or burdensome to use?  Basically, we are looking for you
> to share with us some of you experiences and thoughts on using this code.
> We hope that this will help us craft a more through survey that will allow
> us to determine how we can make the ACI 318 code a better, more
> user-friendly document.
> 
> Thanks,
> 
> Scott
> 
> _____________________________________________
> Scott E. Maxwell, PE, SE
> Structural Engineer
> 
> ACI International (American Concrete Institute)
> 38800 Country Club Drive
> Farmington Hills, MI  48331
> 
> T:  (248) 848-3829
> F:  (248) 848-3720
> E:  Scott.Maxwell(--nospam--at)aci-int.org
> 
> 
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