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Re: Need help on issue that has been discuss

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Lynn,

Situation duly noted.  My initial comments were directed mainly toward the
concept that there were observed gravity framing deficiencies (i.e. life
safety).

To answer your other issues.

Codes are supposed to represent our progression and learning (arguable with
some of the 97 provisions).  With current code reflecting our lessons
learned, it is imperative that new construction conform.  The fact that an
older structure does not conform is no justification for continuing
practices we know are inadequate. Many old buildings still have asbestos,
but you sure as hell would not want to argue for the continued use of known
carcinogens.

The retrofit and upgrade of existing structures is a serious societal
problem, and therefore a moral issue.  Moral issues in our society are
financial issues, the limited resources of a society and where they are best
expended.  In the past ten years we have seen mandatory upgrades for
unreinforced masonry structures built prior to the 1950's.  The CalTrans
bridge retrofits were undertaken regardless of age as paramount to public
safety, but even here he work was phased to reflect financial realities.
There are currently several code provisions that require the mandatory
upgrade of older tilt-up structures (or any other structures for that
matter) that are triggered by change; change in design, change in use. These
provisions have also been evolving with the code cycle.  These provisions
are in effect in Santa Barbara whether the local building authority
understands how to enforce them or not.  Engineers need to understand the
required upgrade provisions and incorporate them into remodels and TI work
regardless of how unpopular this may be to the owner.

The concept currently employed in our society is one of gradual compliance.
As older buildings are replaced or modified to reflect the changing times
and life cycle, the structures are upgraded to better protect the overall
safety and well being of the public.  I am sure the governing authorities
would love to mandate all buildings be brought to current code requirements,
but the financial means is not there, either public or private, and the
economy (also the public's welfare) could not absorb the impact of the costs
incurred. Moral and financial issues cannot truly be separated.

As time progresses, the current crop of mid-age buildings will eventually
become the mandated URM's of the subsequent decades.  In the mean time you
are correct, we do not evacuate seismically weak buildings, but I would
evacuate a building if I observed gravity system issues that I believed were
immediately life threatening.  I have pointed out issues to building owners
in the past (the Beachside exterior roof supports in Goleta comes
immediately to mind, subsequently retrofitted).

The current system of phased compliance may not be the ideal solution, but
it is the system we have in place.


Paul Feather

>  It probably
> isn't worse off than any similar building built in
> the 1950's.  But we don't evacuate those buildings
> now do we.
>
> And that really brings up another question, why is
> there such alarm when a new building does not
> substantially conform to current Code, when many
> older buildings have many deficiencies when compared
> to current Code?  I know some jurisdictions have
> mandatory retrofit requirements for tilt-up
> buildings, but not here in Santa Barbara.  If a new
> Tilt-up was constructed with a wood roof ledger
> using cross grain bending to support the concrete
> walls for out-of-plane forces, an Engineer would
> probably loose his license.  But there are hundreds
> and probably thousands of building just like this
> built prior to 1972 that pose a very real life
> safety risk to my mother, sister and daughter, and
> no one does a thing about it.  How come?  When all
> of you engineers walk into a building such as this
> what do you do?  Evacuate all of the occupants?
>
> Yikes, this looks real messy.  Not to change the
> subject, but do we allow older non-conforming
> buildings to get away with murder?
>
> Lynn
>
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