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Subject: Re:Design ground accelerations

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While it is the geotech's responsibility to characterize the ground motion
he should do this in the context of the requirements of the building code. 
The need to perform a performance based design is not something that is
within the providance of the geotechnical engineer to unilaterally require.
 Baring a requirement for special analysis in the building code, the
structural engineer is only required to undertake  special design
procedures if his/her contract with the Owner so requires.

It is likely that the geotechnical engineer in this instance has only
reported the expected ground motion.

The structural engineer should challange the geotechnical engineer if he
sees something that does not make sense.  The geotech is just another
consultant and does not exist in a vacum.

Occasionally some plan reviewers will interpret code provisions in ways
never intended by the authors of the code.  It is possible that this is
what has happened.  When this happens it is totally appropriate to
challange the reviewer.  While the building official has wide lattitude he
should use restraint when going beyond the intent of the code and the
standard of practice in the profession.


As I have worked as a plan reviewer, I can tell you that your reviewer is
correct from his point of view. You as a structural designer should conform
with code and input data. The geotech report is exactly input data for you
and it is your problem to show compliance with both code and input data. It
is beyond structural designer's power to judge why the geothech engineer
has included such a requirement.
    From your point of view you are trying to avoid time consumption for
the PBD, as far as you have a design project ready. If you can't get along
with the reviewer you should ask the building official for clarification
whether compliance to UBC is enough or evidence that the building can
withstand prescribed accelerations should be provided. When you receive his
answer -apply it in design documentation and act accordingly.
Georgi Stoyanov 

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