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RE: Use of Collar Ties..... Thank You NOW: Who pays to explain the mystery?

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George,
The point I was trying to make was that my clients are charged a reasonable
fee based on some expectation of research and development. However, we
argued issues that were unresolved in the code and this is not uncommon -
especially since the adoption of the 97 UBC. As  you stated, Books, training
etc are the cost of doing business, but this cost has escalated over the
years to a point where ambiguous codes are written and we are charged for
explanations. This is what upset me so much to read a comment from the
Seismology Member who believe it would be in the best interest of SEAOC to
take advantage of our confusion by charging for opinions to clarify what
should have been clearly written in the code.
This is opportunistic and as a consequence, our cost of doing business is
rising at a tremendous rate.
It's one thing to create tools to help the profession do their job
productively and another to take advantage of an opportunity to correct
mistakes, ambiguities and errors by charging the professionals who rely upon
these tools in daily practice. This is a travesty.
If the idea is that we can so easily turn around and charge our clients for
the education - then this is an irresponsible way to cover mistakes without
taking responsibility for them. I personally don't want to be associated
with any organization who would do this to the professionals who support the
organizations. At some point when the paid members realize what is being
perpetrated against them because of the knowledge that they are apathetic to
conflict, then maybe something constructive will come out of.
Here is the topper in my book. The code cycle officially ended and you can
obtain a special edition of the 97 UBC and all of the ambiguities and errors
for your very own in hard cover with your name embossed on the cover. How
about that for gall!

Dennis S. Wish, PE


> -----Original Message-----
> From: George Richards, P.E. [mailto:george(--nospam--at)BORM.com]
> Sent: Monday, June 11, 2001 4:04 PM
> To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org'
> Subject: RE: Use of Collar Ties..... Thank You NOW: Who pays to explain
> the mystery?
>
>
> Quick answer:  If you need to charge $100 and hour to feed the family then
> add another $10 an hour for R&D.  Books, training, etc are a part of the
> cost of doing business.  You may not want to charge the costs to one
> particular client but you must pass on a prorate portion to all your
> clients.  We assume the first three times we do something, we will lose
> money as we are on a learning curve but after that each of the following
> clients still pays for a portion of that initial learning curve.  That is
> the value of spread sheets, standard details, and etc.  What I try to
> remember is:
>
>     "GET PAID FOR WHAT YOU KNOW, NOT HOW LONG IT TAKES."
>
> In the process of being fair to the client do not forget to be fair to
> yourself.
>
> George Richards, P. E.
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Structuralist [mailto:dennis.wish(--nospam--at)gte.net]
> Sent: Monday, June 11, 2001 2:54 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Cc: aec-residential(--nospam--at)polhemus.cc
> Subject: Was: Use of Collar Ties..... Thank You NOW: Who pays to explain
> the mystery?
>
>
> There should always be a reasonable fee for services rendered.
> There are two
> issues at stake here:
> This was an evaluation of a mixed system - prescriptive and
> engineered that
> required a valid opinion more so than justification that is supported by
> numbers. Conventional Construction can't be justified by
> analysis. As others
> pointed out, it is possibly dangerous to mix engineered solutions with
> prescriptive methods and this may be true, but at times such as
> this, there
> is no "reasonable" choice. The majority of time spent on the List was for
> personal satisfaction with the decision made - in other words, making me
> feel comfortable that I made the right choices. I don't feel that
> the client
> is financially responsible for this.
>
> Similarly, there are new code methods that must be assimilated
> and for which
> we, as professionals serving the public, must develop an
> understanding that
> leads to intuitive reasoning as to how the structure performs.
> The study we
> do provides a fuller understanding between numbers and what they represent
> in performance. Who pays for this learning process? I don't feel that this
> is the clients responsibility yet we go through this learning process
> (albeit not as intensive as we have when the 97 UBC was adopted)
> each time a
> code change occurs. This becomes our responsibility.
>
> What irks me is that each time a code change occurs or methodologies are
> changed, a financial market is born that seeks revenues from the
> professionals responsible for compliance of the code. I'm not irked when a
> code change is reasonable or necessary to protect lives or improve the
> performance of a structure. I'm irked when there is insufficient
> justification for the changes. However, I am over to top when the code is
> written without clarity and when the educational process to understand and
> adopt the change can only be done at a cost above the that paid for the
> published code.
>
> We used to be able to call ICBO for a code clarification and the only cost
> was our long distance carrier. Not anymore! As of January 1, 1999 ICBO
> launch its new Code Opinion Service which provides the engineer with an
> interpretation of the code in writing for a fee. They publish a CD of
> published opinions (only $189.00 if you are a member) and will answer
> non-technical questions by phone at no additional cost. However, technical
> questions "referred to staff engineer/architect" will be charged
> at $125.00
> per hour plus tax in some states.
>
> If you think it is unreasonable to charge the professional community for
> what should be included in any code - clear and concise interpretation of
> the code intent and language, consider this;
>
> The SEAOC Seismology Committee was preparing to launch a website
> at the end
> of 1999 to help field questions from the engineering community on
> interpretation of the 97 UBC issues that were so fiercely questioned after
> codification the previous July. I reviewed the minutes for the December
> 1999, February and April 2000 meetings and discovered that a few members
> considered the SEAOC Website as a great revenue producing service and
> suggested that since ICBO was charging to answer technical questions that
> the SEAOC Seismology Committee might do the same. Fortunately, the
> suggestion was not pursued. BTW, the minutes for this meeting are
> available
> online, however I had to search Google to find them. If anyone is
> interested, I can post the minutes on the Structuralist.Net to support my
> observations here.
>
> This really upset me when I read the comments. Not only was the Seismology
> Committee choosing only specific questions to answer and essentially
> ignoring those that did not have a clear consensus among other
> associations - they would purposely avoid questions in which
> SEAOC differed
> in their publications from other associations whose work had
> become part of
> the 97 UBC provisions. In other words - avoid the conflicts. Not only was
> the Seismology Committee being selective of the questions, they would
> respond in three months and would provide no additional follow-up.
>
> Personally, I think all members can benefit from reviewing minutes. I do
> commend the Seismology Committee as the minutes for these three meetings
> were very inclusive and complete - even if rather damning in the eyes of
> frustrated engineers.
>
> So here we have a trend - create ambiguous codes and make a
> market charging
> the practitioner to explain or clarify the intent of the code.
> Stop me if I
> am wrong, but isn't this just a bit exploitive of the members
> whose dues pay
> the cost of these meeting and who expect more for their
> membership fee than
> a free blue book, newsletter and members registry? Should members of SEAOC
> and other SEA chapters (including NCSEA) expect something like a clearly
> written code that includes logical paths to solutions so that those
> purchasing the code can interpret the intent without having to buy
> additional documents?
>
> Seems like the Listservice and various online chat groups
> including the ICBO
> chat forums are helping to provide free interpretation and maybe
> this is why
> it is difficult to get associations to participate on Lists - it cuts into
> their revenue when they attempt to clarify what should be clear from the
> start.
>
> Now before I get spammed, let me say that there are many subscribers and
> participants who do their share to explain the code intent. Scott Maxwell
> (ACI but speaking on his own), John Rose (APA), Charlie Carter
> (AISC), Buddy
> Showalter (AF&PA /AWC), and many others who I have failed to
> mention. These
> are the people that participate and help make Lists a success. So
> why is it
> deemed necessary for SEAOC, who are the primary authors of the Seismic
> section of the code, to feel a need to charge their members
> additionally for
> what in most of our minds is a responsibility from the start - to
> publish a
> clearly written code where the intent is equally clear.
>
> Application of the code in situations which are deviate from typically
> tradition require some interpretation and a professional opinion. I do
> understand justification to change for an opinion that may be used as a
> legal document should it ever be tested. However, there is, in my
> opinion, a
> big difference.
>
> This brings me back to my original point. The cost of education for a new
> code belongs to me and should not be passed along to my clients unless I
> amortize it far enough ahead over the number of clients I expect
> in the next
> few years of the code life. However, when the code writers confuse the
> intent with ambiguous or poorly thought out ideas and then have
> the gall to
> charge members for an explanation riddled with similar loopholes - I draw
> the line. This seems to be the path that we are on and in my
> opinion, it is
> irreprehensible.
>
> Sorry, there I go again. On my soap box.
>
> Before leaving, let me ask this - We have discussed full-compliant design
> for Light-framed wood construction. How many of you are able to circumvent
> the semi-rigid design requirements and substitute in the more traditional
> Simplified Static Design?  I know that I have started to do this as it is
> the most rational of methods albeit excessively conservative without
> historic evidence that it should be.
>
> Regards,
> Regards,
> Dennis S. Wish, PE
> The Structuralist Administrator for:
> http://www.structuralist.net
> AEC-Residential Listservice
> admin(--nospam--at)structuralist.net
> (208) 361-5447 E-Fax
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
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