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

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I'm not trying to criticise you as your comments are very accurate and
valid. However, you have over complicate the issues which I believe need
to go back to the source. If the code creation process subsequent to
writing or creating or even accumulating the methods, as the Seismology
Committee has done, then the system is flawed. There should be a means
for those who create and err to correct their error without complicating
the issues.

I'm not arguing the process, but where the "blame" lies in the intial
creation and the subsequent dismissal of those whose livelihood depend
on the "practical application" of the code. Let's not lose site of the
practicality of design of residential structures - this is where we got
into trouble.

I too am a member of BSSC but the TS-7 committee which really only
affects the prescriptive methods of residential design. The committee
accepts the drafts from NEHRP as well as CUREe. My point is that there
is little for the members to do but review the draft (unless they were
involved at the beginning of the creation process) and correct it for
any errors or omissions. However, the code is not intended to comply
with what has been the UBC chapter 16 and whatever it has been converted
to in the IBC. However, this is the prescriptive method - not the
full-compliance methods and I have been forbidden from helping to create
a method for members to communicate on the issues without attending the
formal meetings.

Let's not lose sight of the creation process - not the codification
process. What was done is what is affecting all engineers in high risk
regions under the provisions of the UBC. If this is not sufficient while
compared to the needs of the rest of the US then we are, once again,
being dismissed without needful cause.

Scott, both you and Harold are very knowledgable on the code process. If
possible, I would like to use what you know to create a flow chart as I
suggested before. The chart would help others to understand the latest
code creation cycle and to identify who the "players" are and what part
they play in the creation of Seismic and Wind design. This assumes that
the Steel provisions are left to AISC, the concrete issues to ACI, the
masonry issues to the MIA, the cold form issues to both the AISI and the
LGSEA, trusses to WTCA and so forth.

The design of wood residential structures is a bit different - it allows
two different design methodologies without combining them into one
governing body that identifies and helps to bridge the gap that creates
an incentive to abuse and profit from the abuse without disclosure to
the public. When you bought your home, don't you believe you have the
right to know where the hidden costs are. If the home was prescriptively
designed and you reside in a high risk zone, don't you have the right to
understand where your hidden costs are so you can plan accordingly or
chose a home that you believe will perform better? If you move into a
community that is low-income housing constructed to prescriptive methods
and a few years later decide to sell the home at three times what you
paid - doesn't the next owner deserve to understand that what they are
purchasing is a starter home without the care and design that an
engineer would contribute based on the restrictive nature of the code
that he must follow? This is an advantage to the owner - more so than
the purchase of the home next door that may look identical and be priced
the same, but which yields a much higher profit margin for the builder
or owner?

If the designer of a code is erred in their lack of understanding how
the code affects every form of construction that they restrict it to,
then it is their repsponsibility to correct it or to disclose the
deficiency to the buyer.


-----Original Message-----
From: Scott Maxwell [mailto:smaxwell(--nospam--at)] 
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 2:21 PM
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)'
Subject: RE: IBC "Oops" (Was Residential Design Discussion)


And to further illustrate that California engineers don't control the
process, our good friend and wealth of information (including
interesting trips back to his steel worker days) Harold is the past
chair of the BSSC TS 13 and is still a member of that TS.  I do believe
that he also worked with the ASCE 7 Seismic Task group (and may still do
so).  And amazingly enough he is out of Kansas City, NOT California.

The other thing that has not been mentioned too much is that even _IF_ a
proposal gets past the BSSC TS and then past the PUC in the NEHRP
process, it must still get past the BSSC members, which are
organizations like ACI, AISC, SEAOC, SEAW, SDI, PCA, PCI, etc.  Thus,
some things that appear to be self-serving to a particular region in the
country or particular material have the potential to get knocked down at
this point.


Ypsilanti, MI

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