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RE: OMRF (R value)

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The point I raised was intended to illustrate a deficiency in a procedural
process. I certainly do not need a lecture from you (or anyone else) on what
is prudent design. My issue has absolutely NOTHING to do with engineering,
but more of Quality Assurance/Quality Control practice in an engineering
office as well as making Risk Management decisions.

Yes, the code represents MINIMUM standards. That should also be the legal
bar we need to meet. Is there rational justification to exceed these
minimums? OF COURSE!

I also was expressing some exasperation in the fact that we used to be able
to live on a 3 year code cycle. At least in CA, that is no longer the case.

Both Charlie Carter and Rick Drake make very good points that the code is
the official body of text that should be followed and yes, there ARE
jurisdictions which have adopted (by reference) the Seismic Provisions and
maybe even Supplement No. 1. But I don't think anyone has adopted Supplement
No. 2 (I could be wrong - so shoot me). Something to think about for those
of you not familiar with the Southern California landscape: there are OVER
90 BUILDING DEPARTMENTS here! Some have adopted legislation making them
closer to "State of the Art" (whatever that is), others are just happy to
have a PE stamp on a set of plans. Not even that, an architect's stamp will
do (but don't get me started on THAT topic again).

Recall in The Old Days (tm), when we had the 3 year code cycle, several
"State of the Art" documents were submitted to code committees only to have
them fall on the cutting room floor. Why? Well, as politely as I can put it,
maybe they weren't in fact "State of the Art".

To summarize, I intended this topic to be focused on the Code Approval
process, not what is prudent design, where we should go to keep current or
any other derivative. If you want to discuss these items, I suggest you
start a different thread.


Bill Allen, S.E. (CA #2607)

||-----Original Message-----
||From: Scott Maxwell [mailto:smaxwell(--nospam--at)]
||Sent: Tuesday, July 09, 2002 12:01 PM
||To: seaint(--nospam--at)
||Subject: RE: OMRF (R value)
||See comments below...
||On Tue, 9 Jul 2002, Bill Allen, S.E. wrote:
||> This is getting pretty ridiculous!
||> Although I have a great deal of respect for Charlie Carter
||and AISC, I don't
||> believe the "Code Gods" have appointed them the RULE OF
||LAW. Maybe much to
||> the consternation of Charlie and AISC, the UBC is still the
||official code of
||> California. I'm not sure if even the AISC Seismic
||Provisions have been
||> officially adopted. It's hard to say since, beginning with
||the 1997 UBC, no
||> off year amendments are being offered. What are we
||designers supposed to do?
||> Tell our clients that we need to design our OMFs for 29%
||higher forces
||> (4.5/3.5) because Charlie Carter tells us to? Even when our
||> CODE does not require it? And, what happens if we don't? Do
||we subject
||> ourselves to the scrutiny of some "Expert" witness who says
||> designed our steel buildings to Supplement No. 2 (available
||only by download
||> from the Internet, right?) and it's going to cost the owner
||$xx to bring it
||> up to current seismic "philosophy"? What happens to those
||poor engineers who
||> are not subscribed to this listserv? How are we supposed to
||maintain Quality
||> Assurance in our structural engineering departments?
||I will remind you that the code is still just a minimum requirements
||document and that it also contains some "requirements" that
||we engineers
||meet a minimum standard of care that may or may not be outlined by the
||code provisions.  Thus, if there is knowledge out there that
||there is a
||"better" way to do something (which can always be debated
||back and forth)
||and that "better" way has been more or less "approved" by the
||but not included in the codes yet, then it can be deemed in a
||court as the
||"standard of care".
||As far as those "poor engineers" not subscribed to the is my
||believe that as a licensed engineer I have a responsibility
||to be aware of
||the changes and advancements in my field.  This may mean that I will
||likely have to be proactive in someway to keep abreast of the new
||knowledge and technology since Charlie Carter and other don't have the
||time or resources to swing by my house every once and a while
||to tell me
||what is happening in steel design or concrete design, etc.
||This will mean
||that I will have to attend seminars, read magazines, look at code
||development organization's websites to learn if there are
||some proposed
||changes, join email lists such as this one, and other things
||in an attempt
||to keep up to date.  To me this is part of my chosen profession.  So,
||while I am certainly not saying that all structural engineers need to
||participate on this list, there are many other ways in which they can
||still try (and note that I say try because it is very
||difficult for anyone
||to actually stay up to speed on all the structural
||engineering topics) to
||keep up to speed on the changes in structural engineering.
||> What has happened to the old fashioned code adoption
||process (with the
||> review process of building officials, designers,
||manufacturers, etc)? Can
||> AISC just publish a document and just declare it "State of the Art"?
||Yes.  Many organizations just publish "State of the Art" reports,
||specifications, and standards.  First, thing to release is that the
||majority of the time Codes are _NOT_ State of the Art.  Due
||to the code
||process, most code (standard) documents lack behind the
||knowledge in the
||field.  It is usually a matter of how far behind, not if it is behind.
||Take ACI as an example...many ACI committees produce reports
||that contain
||much more "cutting edge" concrete technology than the ACI 318
||code.  It
||takes time for this information to make it to the code process and be
||adopted into ACI 318 and other code documents.  This is
||largely because
||sometimes the "cutting edge" has not been fully vetted and is
||not ready
||for the primetime.  This is similar in many ways to the testing of new
||medications before they are allowed to be used by the public.
||As a side note, I will point out that many times the model
||building codes
||may even have something more state of the art than the
||material standards
||that they are based off of.  This can happen because a code
||change can be
||proprosed on the floor of the code hearing and approved by
||ICBO or BOCA or
||SBBCI even though the material organization's standard
||committee elected
||not include it becasue it did not seem ready yet.  This has
||been a common
||occurance with the UBC code in the past, especially with the concrete
||provisions.  In the somewhat distant past this was
||essentially required
||since the old ACI 318 documents were rather insufficient in terms of
||seismic design/performance for concrete.  So, SEAOC would propose
||additional concrete provisions from their seismology committee to be
||incorporated into the UBC code.  Since that time, the ACI 318
||has become much more completely committed to the including seismic
||design/performance in the 318 code and modifcations at the
||UBC level have
||become virtually no existant due to an actually need due to
||lack in the
||> I say let's get our ducks in a row, collect all the good
||research and get it
||> submitted to the next edition of the code. In the meantime,
||lets stand by
||> the latest printed document. They come out every six years
||or so (at least
||> here in CA).
||While in many ways I agree with this to a degree, the
||approach of waiting
||until every three years or six years has its own share of
||downsides.  I
||like this approach because it allows engineers more time to
||get familiar
||and USED to the new stuff in the code before it changes again.  In
||otherwords, there is less playing of musical codes, which means less
||chances of someone not understanding something new to the
||code that just
||got changed on them and could change again very shortly.
||However, this can also means that new knowledge that could
||reduce the risk of a structural failure could be known and
||approved and
||ready to go, but just has not be put into the "offical"
||printed version.
||Then you have a bad seismic event or hurricane and buildings
||collapse and
||people are injured or killed, yet it turns out that the knowledge was
||already there to have prevented the problems yet had not been
||printed in
||the "offical" version.
||For me, it ultimately turns out to be a fine balancing act between the
||> Sheesh!
||> Bill Allen, S.E.
||> P.S. - the above "rant" was not meant to be critical of
||Charlie Carter, but
||> to be seriously critical of the process. I personally am
||grateful to the
||> contributions Charlie has made to this list.
||Ypsilanti, MI
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