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

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Scott,
You have me tearing - my eyes are flowing like rivers - I love you
too:>) Seriously, you have nailed me on the spot and you have a good
understanding of the issues and my points. 
While the process is as you indicate, "ragging" on the Seismology
Committee is intended to force those who were involved and are still
involved should be doing something to change the process that prevents
them from undoing the wrong that was done.

The first misunderstanding in your comments is that Seismology Committee
had no knowledge of their error - they were advised by the wood
sub-committee of the state Seismology Committee chaired by Bill Nelson
of Johnson and Nielson. They choose to dismiss and I use this term in
the most grievous of meanings - they chose to dismiss any warnings as to
how the adoption of this code for wood would be harmful to the way
residences are designed and the conflict it created with the less
restrictive prescriptive methods (the current BSSC TS-7) which SEAOC had
no control over. 

Second, the California Building Code has not, in my professional career,
produced their own seismic building code. Remember that prior to 1994
UBC the Uniform Building Code contained virtually all of the separate
codes including the Steel design methods, Concrete and Masonry design as
well as Wood design. We did not need separate codes although they were
great references, but if we wanted to design a concrete beam we went to
the UBC, not ACI-318. 

California adopted the Uniform Building Code and made minor changes to
it - mostly to protect essential facilities. However, I never purchased
a CBC and practiced only from the UBC for nearly twenty years. Now I
reviewed the changes that California made to the 97 UBC that will soon
be adopted and there are no provisions that would affect the work I do
or require me to purchase a CBC - certainly nothing less restrictive
than the UBC provisions.

While you are correct in everything you pointed out, the fact is that
California has not acted independently of the provisions in the UBC to
write their own code with the exception of increased provisions related
to schools and hospitals. I've yet to receive a correction in my designs
that are related to a difference in the California Building Code. 

So while they have the power to do what they like, they don't! They
follow the knowledgeable engineers in the state and this includes faith
in the SEAOC Seismology Committee.

In short - you can not simply dismiss or repreieve engineers whose
actions negatively affected practioneers in the state from performing
their duties to the public in a practical and economic manner. The
Seismology Committee acted without due consideration of it's actions and
its effect upon the housing industry. If California has the power to
change the code, then the only way we have to convince or instill change
in the state when SEAOC will no doubt argue in defense of the Seismology
Committee is by litigation. This requires money that none of us can
afford on our own. 

I was told by a wise friend that if you own shares in a California
Corporation, the Corporation can not act indpendent of the good of the
share-holders. Otherwise they become liable for damages and are
responsible for punitive damages as well. The members of SEAOC were
shareholders - each owning one share in the corporation (this is
speculation) and therefore, the board of directors and the actions of
the committees are directly responsible to the members.

Still the problem exists as to how to organize the members who have been
harmed or to seek the aid of the public who are also harmed by the
actions of the code.

Wouldn't it be great if SEAOC would simply act in the best interest of
their members and take whatever action is required in this "Soverign"
state to correct their wrong. If, as you indicated in another post, the
State of California can adopt any level of code they wish or create
their own code, then the activity of the SEAOC Seismology Committee
should be redirected for revision and corrections of their mistakes in
this state before considering what is actionable in other states. 

Not being an attorney, this is of course speculation. It may, however,
be worthwhile to seek legal advice as to our rights as members of a
professional organization with strong state political lobby.

Sincerely,
Dennis



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