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RE: IBC "Oops" (Was Residential Design Discussion)

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Bill,

I have understood Dennis' point from the beginning, but feel that while
his point is potentially valid (I probably know less about residential
wood framing, seismic or not, than you) it is irrelevent or off the mark
(that is not quite right but I can think of a better way to say it right
now).

As I see it, there are two core issues that Dennis raises.

The first is that there is a flaw (or many flaws) in the current 1997 UBC,
and thus the California Building Code.  I am not really in a position to
agree or disagree with that assessment since I am not very knowledgable in
residential wood design.  I would say that I would tend to believe Dennis'
view since he _IS_ knowledgable in that area.  This is the immediate
problem.  These flaws would have been created by the SEAOC Seismology
committee, whether intentional (I doubt) or not.  I have understood that
this is Dennis' position from the begining, but the unfortunate truth is a
"so what".  At this point ranting at the creators of the problem will not
likely solve this immediate problem since it is now longer within their
realm of power to change.  Assuming that you could get SEAOC Seismology to
fix teh problem, and that ICBO would put forth a new or updated UBC, you
are still faced with the ultimate fact that the state of California still
decides what will be the state building code.  So the point is that
beating SEAOC Seismology into making a change does not directly solve the
problem AT ALL.  It may help but there are still many other steps that
must occur even if that first step happened.

The second issue is the longer term problem.  This is the point that
Dennis raises that many of these individuals may not really understand the
issues of residential wood design.  He believes that SEAOC Seismology has
not represented those who design residential wood structures well.  He may
be correct, and is likely correct (he is in a much better position to
determine that than I).  But again, battering SEAOC Seismology is to a
large degree a wasted effort since they no longer directly control the
development of the seismic provisions in future codes.  He is better off
directing his efforts toward that BSSC (which is why I encouraged him to
particpate with BSSC TS 7, although some of his issues are really better
aimed at TS 2 [Rho and analysis using flexible/rigid diaphrams] or TS 10
which deals with residential/low rise structures) and/or ASCE 7.

The point is that I think Dennis should be vocal if he is williing to be
part of the process.  I feel that anyone one has the right to be critical
of the process, although I have to admit that I also believe that someone
who choses not to participate in the process has less of a right to be
critical.  This is not Dennis.  He has chosen to be involved with BSSC 7.

The result is that while I believe Dennis is perfectly within his right to
voice his concerns, his efforts will likely have very little in the way of
results largely because the targets of his efforts have much less control
ofver the situation than he gives them credit for.

HTH,

Scott
Ypsilanti, MI

On Mon, 30 Sep 2002, Bill Polhemus wrote:

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Sprague, Harold O. [mailto:SpragueHO(--nospam--at)bv.com]
> > Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 2:35 PM
> > To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org'
> > Subject: RE: IBC "Oops" (Was Residential Design Discussion)
> >
> >
> > Charlie's take on this is accurate.  There were impediments to
> > seismic code
> > development in the old process.  Ron Hamburger and Bob Bachman were
> > instrumental in moving seismic code development into the FEMA
> > sponsored BSSC
> > process.
>
> I can't speak with any authority as to this, since I and my 12 year old
> daughter both have about equal experience in the seismic engineering code
> development process, but I have an observation.
>
> It sounds as though those who are making these statements, including Harold,
> Charlie and others, are actually talking around the point that Dennis is
> trying to make.
>
> I don't think Dennis has said that the entire code development process is
> "corrupted," or that there is NO good work coming out of the various
> committees who have input into that process.
>
> If I read him correctly, I believe he is limiting his criticism strictly to
> the provisions in the UBC 97 that seriously handicap light-frame wood
> structural design, forcing design of uneconomical structures to a degree
> that, if similarly handicapping provisions were insisted upon in structural
> steel design, say, there would be a tremendous outcry from those who design
> those structures as well. But because the light-frame wood design market is
> not the "mainstream" of structural engineering design, the loophole remains
> open and any attempts to close it are met with a stone wall.
>
> If my observation is not accurate, please forgive me, but I have taken pains
> to try to follow Dennis' rants over the past week. He is incensed that, in
> order to design wood frame structures--especially shearwalls--reasonably and
> economically, the designer has in essence to break the law, or face losing
> work to those who ARE willing to break the law.
>
> For someone like Dennis whose practice is firmly grounded in wood
> residential and light-frame commercial work, that is an impossible position
> to be in. But because those involved in seismic code development have other
> areas of interest at heart, it's not being addressed.
>
> I hope I've got that right, and I hope that we can all see through Dennis'
> fit of pique to the underlying cause.
>
>
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