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RE: Building Codes Online?

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APA's philosophy is to absorb publication development cost as a promotional
tool.  The APA members dues are paying for the intellectual property that is
contained in these publications.  If one orders an APA publication from the
website (or from the helpdesk), we include a small invoice that is
attempting to cover printing costs.  Our flagship publication (Engineered
Wood Construction Guide) is approximately 80 color pages.  The list price is
$8.00.  We offer the publication, in PDF form, for free at our website.

My point is that the significant cost of building codes, standards et cetera
is not necessarily the cost of the paper.  E-versions are not going to
significantly reduce the cost of <<insert code, standard, document here>>.

Tom

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Thomas D. Skaggs, Ph.D., P.E.
Senior Engineer
APA - The Engineered Wood Association
P.O. Box 11700
Tacoma, WA 98411-0700
ph: 253/565-6600
fx: 253/565-7265
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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Scott Maxwell [mailto:smaxwell(--nospam--at)engin.umich.edu]
> Sent: Monday, October 07, 2002 14:58
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Subject: RE: Building Codes Online?
> 
> 
> I will again also agree that it is great that AISC is able to and has
> elected to provide the AISC ASD and LRFD specifications for 
> free, as well
> as other specifications and code documents such as the AISC Seismic
> provisions and others.
> 
> But, I will again remind you that AISC is also a trade 
> organization, which
> means that part of their goal is to get us (the designers) as well as
> contractors, developers, owners, etc. to use structural 
> steel.  This means
> that AISC has ata least one additional source of revenue that 
> many other
> organizations (ACI for example...since I am familar with them) do not
> have...money from the sale of steel by fabricators, mills, 
> etc. as part of
> their member dues to AISC (although not all fabricators, 
> mills, etc are
> AISC members).  ACI does not have this source of revenue, thus the
> production of things like the ACI 318 code (and other less popular ACI
> techinical documents that are still incredibly useful) must 
> paid for from
> publication sales, member dues, etc.  While I don't know how much of a
> difference this one additional source of income makes, it has 
> to make some
> difference.
> 
> The end result is that I am sure that ACI (and other 
> organizations) would
> just love to give you something for free, but they cannot afford to do
> that AND still produce those same publications that you want for free.
> 
> You talk about online versions and how they would be so much more less
> expensive.  I would suggest that you might be a little naive in this
> assertion.  While not having to print out the publication and 
> ship it to
> someone will definitely cut some cost, it is not nearly as much as you
> seem to think.  Let me offer an example...how much money 
> would you be able
> to save your clients if you only provided them structural drawings in
> electronic format?  Sure, you save them the cost of printing it and
> sending the drawings to them (assuming that are not close 
> enough to just
> come pick them up), but you still have the cost of you or someone else
> doing the CADD work to get the information on the drawings in a clear
> understandable (or not) way as well as checking that what was intended
> actually got on the drawings.  What percentage of the "cost" of your
> drawings are those tasks that cannot be "dropped"?  I would have to
> believe that such cost are significantly more than the ink, paper, and
> wear-and-tear on your printer (or some shop's printer).  And 
> keep in mind
> that drafting and checking are not really tasks that require 
> an engineer
> to do.  There are parallel tasks in publishing things like ACI 318 and
> other code documents.  Even though a document may not be printed in
> hardcopy, somoene will still have to lay out the electronic 
> publication
> because there is no way that you could operate only with the bits and
> pieces of what has changed vs. not changed that you would get from the
> committee (trust me on this...part of my job at ACI was 
> dealing with these
> bits and piecess from the committee and it is NOT easy to track those
> changes for the purposes of creating the new version to be printed let
> alone to used on a daily basis for design..if you want a 
> small taste try
> using the ACI 318-99 with the Concrete International article 
> listing the
> changes for the 2002 edition instead of the actual ACI 318-02 
> to do some
> design work and then imagine that all those changes are NOT 
> assembled in
> nice logical order that matches the order in the code).  The 
> point is that
> there are still many tasks in the creation of the ACI 318 
> code (and other
> codes) that must still occur regardless of whether or not it 
> is printed
> into hard copy format that are NOT done by the committee of 
> volunteers,
> but rather by non-engineers (and some engineers) who happen to need to
> feed their families just like you do so they expect to get 
> paid.  Thus, if
> you were to switch to an electronic-only version of ACI 318, 
> you might be
> able to cut costs by around $10 to $20, which is about the 
> cost of printing and
> shipping...not much considering what you pay now.
> 
> One other thing to mention...take a good close look at your 
> copy of the
> UBC...you will notice that the concrete provisions ARE the ACI 318
> provisions with some modifications.  if you look at the 1997 UBC, the
> beginning of Chapter 19, division II states "Copyright by the American
> Concrete Institure and reproduced with their consent".  Thus, the main
> portion of the concrete provisions of the 1997 UBC are (and 
> have been in
> past versions the UBC from what I recall...I cannot lay my 
> grubby hands on
> previous version of the UBC at the moment) ACI 318-95.  More 
> than likely
> you HAVE paid some moeny to ACI when you bought your UBC, but 
> less than if
> you has bought the actual ACI 318 since ICBO "footed the 
> bill" to do the
> page layout of the provisions in the UBC and check that everything is
> right (or at least close to right).  The different is that 
> now when you
> buy the IBC, ICBO/SBBCI/BOCA are not wasting their time and 
> money doing
> the page layout for such provisions (and introducing more 
> opportunity for
> error) when ACI already does that.  And you will notice that 
> at least in
> the 1997 UBC, your _ARE_ referenced to the AISC ASD and LRFD
> provisions...they DO NOT reprint them.
> 
> To summarize, it would be great to be able to get all these 
> publications
> for free (i.e. no direct cost to you or me that we can see), 
> but this will
> not happen until there is a fundamental shift in how these 
> organizations
> get their revenue.  As it stands right now, if these 
> organizations cannot
> recoup their costs through the sales of publications, then they may be
> forced into not being able to produce those publications.
> 
> HTH,
> 
> Scott
> Ypsilanti, MI
> 
> On Mon, 7 Oct 2002, Structuralist wrote:
> 
> > Charlie,
> > I think I have praised AISC for being one of the few 
> associations who
> > have recognized the needs of professionals in design and 
> have provided
> > much of this to them with little or no cost.
> > Dennis
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Carter, Charlie [mailto:carter(--nospam--at)aisc.org]
> > Sent: Monday, October 07, 2002 6:43 AM
> > To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org'
> > Subject: RE: Building Codes Online?
> >
> >
> > >The removal of these provisions created
> > >revenue for the industry organizations
> > >such as ACI, AISC, MIA and other groups.
> > >It increased the cost of practicing engineering
> > >for many of us - and with the growth of
> > >independent and small firms caused by
> > >lay-off's, cut backs and much more
> > >- caused a hardship to many.
> >
> > This is not true for AISC. We give you free electronic access to the
> > bulk of our technical information. Visit the Steel 
> Solutions Center at
> > www.aisc.org, especially the technical answers FAQ and list of free
> > stuff like specifications and codes here:
> >
> >     http://www.aisc.org/Template.cfm?Section=Free_Downloads
> >
> > Bill Polhemus is exactly correct. There is a bill to be 
> paid for these.
> > But we only charge what we need to for other related value-added
> > products to break even overall.
> >
> > Charlie
> >
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