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RE: IBC 1617.6.2 & IBC 1617.6.3--1997 UBC 2320.2 & 1605.2 - how to tell if your plan reviewer is really looking at the plans

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Thanks for your response Dennis. My comments are sprinkled in below.

Barry H. Welliver
barrywelliver(--nospam--at)earthlink.net


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dennis Wish [mailto:dennis.wish(--nospam--at)verizon.net]
> Sent: Monday, February 11, 2002 7:19 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Subject: RE: IBC 1617.6.2 & IBC 1617.6.3--1997 UBC 2320.2 & 1605.2 - how
> to tell if your plan reviewer is really looking at the plans
>
>
> Barry,
> Not even the members of the Seismology Committee agree on interpretation
> so how can we expect to put the responsibility on the Building Official.
> If any thing, this is the reason why they can make a decision and not
> worry - they have no liability in the issue (we covered this one in a
> number of threads within the last three years). The only individual with
> liability is the EOR. The BO can recommend compliance to a lesser code
> standard (by mistake) and continue to do so ("Just find and engineer
> willing to put his stamp on your design and we will accept it") without
> taking any responsibility for it.

Agreed. We do have these problems. First, the Seismology Committee (at least
in the IBC arena) is just one component in the approval process (albeit an
important one). There are other engineers (SEAU, etc.) with enough of an
interest to submit code changes and attend hearings. Let's be fair however
and recognize that SEAOC has been the primary leader in this arena and is
capable of paying attention when badgered sufficiently. The question in my
mind is, are we concerned enough to do something about this. I think yes.

Secondly, the BO issue has always been (in my opinion) complicated by issues
beyond our ability to sympathize with. We don't get real comfortable with
being the last link in the liability chain and tend to see this as one more
reason not to extend a hand toward a solution. Frankly, with the IBC, the
responsibilities for the BO are greater. I have a ten page letter from a
local structural engineer to a Building Official outlining some of the
perceived interpretations needed for IRC/IBC residential compliance. If I'm
a BO, I say wow, how am I going to make this work. My guess is that we need
better education/interpretation for not only engineers, but building
officials as well. I don't want to feather any beds here, but isn't it time
we nudged our BO's toward making the intended interpretations? They often
are on the frontline with the public and spoken ill of just as we are. Point
being, if we want an ally, we need to help wade through the technical
aspects with them.
>
> How many times has a potential new client arrived with a set of plans
> and stated; "The local building department gave me your name. They told
> me you needed to review the plan, stamp it and write them a letter." Of
> course, the plan is non-conforming prescriptive design, or a set of
> plans purchased from some magazine, or in need of a full engineering
> compliance that the technician just happened to forget to explain to the
> owner. It's easier to let them walk out and found out the hard reality
> from us. Most of the time, it's like trying to break the news that their
> beloved pet died - at first they don't believe it and then they get
> angry at us for creating a market just to get our share of the cost of
> building their home.

Absolutely. No additional comment required (NACR)

snip....
>
> Barry, I agree that this exchange of discussion is helpful, but none
> when it dies right here. Here the next code will not change the
> impracticality of full-compliance designs (as I noted in my last post)
> and the lobby is so strong on IRC prescriptive methods that the
> engineering community remains blind to the incentive it creates for
> builders who wish to profit as much as possible by eliminating
> unnecessary (unless your in a high risk area) hardware.

Look closely at the IRC. I've not spent enough time with it, but it appears
to have become a monster of qualifying issues and flow chart directions.
Quite frankly, I can't see how a builder will have the knowledge to enter
into it's regulation without the assistance of an architect or engineer. I
may be wrong, but that's my first impression.

Perhaps the IRC lobby is strong. I personally blush to think that we
(engineers) would cower at an illogical bully (if that's how one would view
them) because they "always get their way". I've said this many times and
I'll say it again. Lets not stand on the other side of an earthquake and say
we should have done better. Or that it was the fault of the "system". Lets
say we barked as loud as we could, and tried our best. That's all that can
be asked. There are people in our profession capable of being persuasive and
of understanding how to get things done. You Dennis, are one of those
persons.
>
> The 2003 IRC still does not come up to a minimum standard equal to the
> minimum engineered solution - which, BTW, will add LRFD to the present
> complicated ASD design. On top of this, where are the tools smaller
> offices need to make our jobs profitable?

Perhaps they need only to get closer at this next code cycle, and closer
still at the following.
>
> As far as find the drafts, I don't know if they are posted but you might
> check the BSSC (Building Seismic Safety Council) TS-7 committee website.
> I'm a corresponding member but have not had much to offer since it is
> like I describe - virtually set in stone with very little that can be
> done to stop or change it and certainly not reverse the direction of
> design methods in future versions.

Thanks. I'll be looking there soon.
>
> Does SEAOC Seismology Committee care - of course not. They have more
> important issues to worry about and as they stated in reply to Gary
> Searers tribulations regarding the Rho factor (tons of proof that it is
> not accurate), they responded by stating that the results are
> conservative and as such they are not likely to do anything to change
> it.

And if they don't care (in your opinion) how can they be made to? Again, I
don't think they are the only game in town.
>
> With the exception of those Building Departments in large metro areas
> such as L.A. City and County, the outlaying areas are not taking as
> strict an interpretation. Mostly because the technicians are either not
> in-house and are consultants and most of them have no more education or
> experience in the matter than we do.

This is a very big problem in my estimation. In Utah we are presently one
month and twelve days into IBC 2000. There are some feeling that we need to
have a transition period and others worried about strict compliance. I share
the concern of one Building Official here that we not panic and throw the
baby out with the bathwater. We are where we are because we believed that
there was some good to come out of this. If we don't choose to work with the
dynamics of getting it right, then we are doomed to letting the pendulum
swing in the other direction. My feeling is that this will do more damage to
the image of the professional than not. Warts in the code? Yes. Medicine to
heal it. You bet.
>
> If anyone wants to do more - then help me with the Structuralist.Net as
> this is one of the goals and I have created a public website (that is
> also being rewritten) to help educated those who come to the site by
> giving them advice or information relative to the code in their area.
> Any professional willing to offer advice or who wish to post articles
> (including Architects, Builders, Engineers, Building Officials,
> Designers etc) whose concern is to provide a quality product with less
> restrictive codes AND who understand who really benefits from
> Conventional Construction - please let me know. Your contribution will
> be gladly posted.

I'll be there. You prove once again that passion can create wonderful
things.

My fingers are tired.

Barry H. Welliver
>
> Dennis S. Wish, PE
> California Professional Engineer
> The Structuralist.Net Information Infrastructure
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Barry Welliver [mailto:barrywelliver2(--nospam--at)earthlink.net]
> Sent: Monday, February 11, 2002 4:38 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Subject: RE: IBC 1617.6.2 & IBC 1617.6.3--1997 UBC 2320.2 & 1605.2 - how
> to tell if your plan reviewer is really looking at the plans
>
> I applaud this type of discussion because it shows how necessary it is
> becoming to interject the "engineering" point of view. We have a new
> International flavor to our building codes and it will take some years
> to
> get it right.
>
> For the immediate future however there is a complicating issue that
> we've
> all grown to dislike...liability. We tripped over this with
> rigid/flexible
> diaphragms and certain motivated professionals helped to grind out a
> solution. We'll need to do this with the IBC/IRC if we hope to avoid
> mutiny.
>
> I happen to think that the IBC is a worthwhile effort. It presently has
> lots
> of warts (well, maybe not lots) and will take cool heads to bang out a
> solution. I don't think that this will be a smooth road to travel
> either.
> For most of us it's going to take a lot of relearning and a motivation
> to
> make it right for reasons beyond just our own points of view.
>
> Dennis, you mention the next cycle of the IBC which is 2003 and how it
> will
> address some of Scotts issues. Can we air some of those here such that
> we
> can vicariously participate in the process? I believe the code change
> process could use as much input from engineers at this point as from
> others.
>
> Lastly, I concur with the perceived conclusion that the Building
> Officials
> are being put in a very awkward position. They will need encouragement
> and
> whatever help available to make this work. We are asking too much if we
> expect the BO to have instant fluent understanding. Indeed, enforcement
> of
> the code is a balance of legal prescriptions against logical
> interpretations. In the absence of a wealth of consensus, it is still
> thin
> ice.
>
> Barry H. Welliver
> barrywelliver(--nospam--at)earthlink.net
>
>
>
>
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