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RE: ADA (Almost done with this yet?)

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I admit that it has been over six years since I did a seismic retrofit,
however, before this, I did hundreds of them in Southern California and
up the coastline. In most cases were there was a limit that the client
had to spend on ADA upgrades. Beyond this percentage of the project
cost, the upgrades were considered to cause a hardship on the project
and the client. The EOR would submit a request for variance and a
hearing was set to allow the engineer to submit evidence that the cost
of the upgrades would seriously inflict the project. However, these were
areas where seismic retrofit was covered under an ordinance that
required they be done and were not simply voluntary (Unreinforced
Masonry Retrofits).
The municipalities identified the hardship in most cases and allowed the

In other areas, as long as a remodel was not part of the retrofit plan,
the engineer did not have to upgrade the structure to any newer code
compliances. The municipalities, again, recognized the life-safety
importance of the work and did not retard the progress because of
current code compliances such as parking, ADA, HVAC etc.

Dennis S. Wish, PE

PS. I read some of the comments by Bill Polhemus on this issue and while
his comments were accurate, his demeanor was overly protected of the
political right. I do respect Bill because he has studied the issues
(from the political right) and believes strongly in his convictions. I
am frustrated only because the headlines in the last year and a half
support the allegations that if the government won't protect the people
of this nation, then the private sector won't either.
As an example, a Republican in California is running for Senate in the
45th District (I believe this was correct from memory). When asked what
the first thing he would do to lower the state's deficit, he said that
he would eliminate 47,000 state jobs because he felt that these jobs
were unnecessary.
What he didn't say was how those 47,000 people were expected to make a
living. The responsibility for these people never changes. The private
sector pays for it either in our taxes or in subsidies by the state
(also transferred to our taxes) for Unemployment or welfare benefits.
The people make the government - not the other way around. Whether the
Fed's are responsible or the state - it is the same thing - the people
pay for it in federal tax or in their state taxes. The one thing I do
know is that the private sector employers won't lift a finger even to
attempt to raise minimum wage. Instead they cry about laying off more
people as a result without concern for the ability to earn enough to
meet even a basic living expense for the area that they are required to
live near or in. 
At this point, I would trust the government for a decent job before any
private sector employer. 

-----Original Message-----
From: Deneff, Christopher [mailto:christopher.deneff(--nospam--at)] 
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2002 11:51 AM
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)'
Subject: Re: ADA (Almost done with this yet?)


I also was going to stay out of this thread but the results of a seismic
retrofit project I worked on a few years back were a lot different. The
ADA requirements added so much to the cost of the project (this was a
concrete tilt-up with a small second floor so the costs weren't
incredibly high to begin with) that the owner could not go through with
the retrofit.  If an earthquake occurs and one of the walls falls away
crushing a car and killing its occupant, do you think the city will be
quick to jump up and point out that their inflexibility stopped a
seismic upgrade that resulted in a death? I wouldn't hold my

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