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Re: ACI 318 - request for comments for improvements

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Mr. Maxwell:

I have taken the liberty of copying this to the list.  I assume you did not
want to embarrass me and emailed me privately in order to explain "why some
publications just cannot be free."  Fortunately, working with architects and my
fellow engineers has completely drained me of all dignity and decorum.

I understand fully the nature of ACI as well as the cost of publications.  With
my very own money, I purchased membership in ACI so that I might follow the
goings-on in the concrete side of the materials with which I design DAILY!,
however; I was unable to justify the VERY expesive dues on an annual basis, as
I was unable to justify purchasing an ACI manual until it came with the seminar
my employer sent me to attend.

I have also passed on purchasing a masonry code, and let my company foot the
bill for 530-99 instead of buying it myself, despite my extensive use of
masonry in nearly half of my work.  (I look forward to "limit-states" design,
by the way).

But on the other side of the equation, I have purchased almost every steel
handbook I can find.  Further, I learned the LRFD code over again after working
for ASD-only employers the first four years of my career.  As you can see, its
not the "money", its the value I personally place on your product.

You asked for the opinions of those on the seaint list; not all will be warm
and fuzzy softballs.  Don't whine to me about "subsidizing" your organization
so less "popular" but "important" publications can be published.  Publication
is cheap.  I'm doing it now, and again, and again.

You have a point about research, and the work that goes into the publications,
but don't take that as another invitation to whine.  I am not an expert
regarding the funding and outlays of ACI, but I suspect that a very small part
of the total research done into concrete is funded by the "institute".

I'll add another general comment about the code and its quality.  Lately, I've
"discovered" the reasoning behind "ordinary", "intermediate", and "special"
concrete construction in terms of the R-factor used in seismic design: it's all
related to confinement of the longitudianl reinforcing!  Where is that in the
code?  (yeah, somebody can probably find it, but why haven't I come across that
after going thru it several times.)

I recently posted to the list asking about an obscure (to me) code reference
requiring 2 ties at the top of a concrete column pedestal for a steel column
base.  This code requirement that appears in the model building codes is
exactly analogous to my recurring experiences with the ACI code.  Frankly, I'm
not comfortable doing major design work with concrete.  Granted, some of that
is being in Arkansas (where steel RULES!), and a little to do with my lack of a
Master's degree (there's only so many classes a kid can take), but mostly it's
due to a code that changes it's approach more rapidly than my mentors could
keep up.

All right, the bottle of Corona is empty, so I'm gonna stop.  Let me leave you
with this last thought: I, like ACI, have limited funds available for all my
needs, let alone my wants.  When I spend my money, it has to go a
looooonnnngggg way.  The current product provided by ACI does not fulfill that
need for a high benefit/cost ratio.  Improve that, and I'll make concrete the
next material I master; fail, and I'll move on to light-gage steel after I
finish adding bridges to my repertoire.

-Keith Fix
Little Rock

--- Scott Maxwell <smaxwell(--nospam--at)> wrote:
> Keith,
> Thanks for the comments.
> I will address at least one of your comments (see below).  While your come
> about AISC providing their specification for free versus ACI 318 costing
> money is true, there are some things to keep in mind.  First, publications
> like ACI 318 and the AISC specification cost money to produce.  Second,
> AISC is both a trade organizations and a technical organization, which ACI
> is strictly a technical institute.  The difference between ACI and AISC
> comes down to two things: AISC "pushes" (i.e. market) the use of steel
> while ACI does not "push" the use of concrete (granted if no one uses
> concrete, then we are out of business) and since AISC pushes/markets the
> use of steel, they get additional money from the steel industry while ACI
> does not get any direct money from the concrete industry (other than
> member dues from those who are members).  Thus, AISC has an extra source
> of income that allows them to subsidize/pay for the cost of producing the
> specification.
> Also, keep in mind that since ACI does not have that "other" revenue
> stream, some of the less "popular" but still important technical
> publications (which also cost money to produce) must be subsidized by
> other means.  While money from the steel industry can "pay" for such less
> popular steel technical documents, ACI must end up subsidizing less
> popular concrete technical publications with revenue from the sales of
> more popular concrete technical publications (like ACI 318).
> To help illustrate this whole point, think of the CRSI Handbook.  The
> member price is $30 and the non-member price is $60.  Do you honestly
> think that CRSI could sell that publication for that price if it was not
> subsidized by money from the rebar industry (keep in mind that CRSI _IS_ a
> trade organization...that is, their primary "goal in life" is make sure
> more rebar is sold and used).
> Regardless, thanks for the comments and hopefully I was able to give you
> some insight into why some publications just cannot be free.
> Thanks,
> Scott
> On Mon, 11 Jun 2001, Keith Fix wrote:
> > design aides and guides for construction with the code.  Further than that,
> the
> > AISC code itself is free!  How can you continue to justify selling your
> > admittedly sub-par document when your "competitor" is giving their away?!?!

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