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Re: Building Codes/US Supreme Court

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I would have to disagree with Scott on this as the majority of codes are developed by volunteers who have other resources. There is no question that there is some overhead involved, but I believe that this can be recouped through various different programs including seminars and the sale of commentaries and other drafts of code intent.
I believe that the most important benefit of the Supreme Court ruling (the link I have does not entirely work even if I were to cut and paste the "3c1" that occurs on a separate line) is that professionals would have the appropriate resources in hand to design structures properly. The downside is in the interpretation of the code, but then again, it is the responsibility of our code creation bodies to write code that clearly can be interpreted and acted upon.
The publication of the 1997 (or was it the 94) UBC was, it seems, the only code publication in the United States that removed a section of design methodology from various sources such as AITC, AISC, ACI, MIA and other organizations that actually contained design methodology. There is little possibility of loss of income as the law does not appear to be saying that the material methodology must accompany the code. The law does, however, cover the protection of sections such as Chapter 16 of the UBC and prescriptive methods published in the code that directly provide methodology.
In the mean time, the AISC section properties appear to be protected (correct Charlie?) and the ACI code not directly published by ICBO or ICC appears to be protected - so that the work of non-profit organizations whose design methods which are not directly published as code and codified into law appear to have a market that is not affected.
The private sector acting as volunteers for organizations who assemble and publish code are not likely to be affected unless they are subsidized by larger organizations (such as AF&PA or large firms who have a vested interest). This may be a good thing as it promotes those outside of major metropolitan areas who have been excluded from code development by the lack of ability to attend a face to face meeting to become more involved in code development.
Case in point, it would give the practioneers of light framing an opportunity to solve the problems that alienate full-compliance design from those organizations that use their political clout to codify conventional or prescriptive construction.
Like most things that don't go in favor of large non-profit associations who benefit from the publication and distribution of codes - there is a definite "threat" that everything will become worse or bad if the funds are not collected to support the future existence of those organizations. As noted above, ICBO is the only organization to have a history of design methods in the code that were published separately such as those in the AISC, ACI, MIA and AITC manuals where were removed in the 94 code so as to promote more income to each of these organizations. I don't see this as changing because of the Supreme Court Decision. As Charlie Carter and Scott Maxwell accurately pointed out, the professionals who are applying the code are the winners in this decision as it provides them at least the partial tools they need to meet the end needs - to design structures properly. ICC could produce ambiguous codes to create a market for interpretative commentaries, but they already do this and this is why there is so many questions on light-framing that are yet unresolved.
Dennis S. Wish, PE
California Professional Engineer
Structural Engineering Consultant
The Structuralist.Net