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Re: Codes

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NCSEA efforts to assure that both 2003 IBC and 2002 NFPA 5000 refer to the
same ANSI-accredited standards (AISC, ASCE, ACI, etc.) should be applauded.
However, I think that we must still deal with the differences between the
two codes, as jurisdictions start to adopt one or the other.

2003 IBC Chapter 17 (Structural Tests And Inspections) differs from 2002
NFPA 5000 Chapter 40 (Quality Assurance During Construction).  I'm still
trying to figure out what my responsibilities (and liabilities) as EOR will
be with the two codes.  Has anybody made a detailed comparison of the QA
differences between the two codes?

2003 IBC requirements for Earthquakes (Sections 1613 through 1623) takes 40
pages, although it does allow use of ASCE 7-02 as an alternative.  2002
NFPA 5000 requirements for Earthquakes (Section 35.10) takes less than a
page due to simple references to ASCE 7-02.

There are probably other differences that will affect us.  It will take
many years of "BETA testing" of these codes to completely identify the
impacts of dealing with two national codes.

Rick Drake, SE


                      "Jim Persing"                                                                                                    
                      <jpersing@fhoarch.c      To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>                                                                 
                      07/29/03 05:02 PM        cc:                                                                                     
                      Please respond to                                                                                                
                      seaint                   Subject:  Codes                                                                         

I just finished reading the ASCE Practice Periodical (Aug. 2003) article on
NFPA 5000 and it got me to wondering - again, when are we, as structural
engineers, going to stand up and tell our legislators what we want for a
code.  We just seem to be sitting back waiting for the plumbers and fire
chiefs to have their way with the codes and then we'll complain to no end
on this list why we have to deal with 2 codes that are entirely different.
And with one that probably won't even work because its never been tried
(we're all going to be beta testers for the NFPA).

I have been using building codes for 35 years and have lived and breathed
the UBC for all of that time.  I really don't know why I would want to
switch.  Even with all of its flaws I think it has served us well.  The IBC
is a very good compilation of the three model codes and was put together by
people who have been writing building codes forever.  We - the
architectural and structural community - have wanted a single code for
years.  Now that that is within our grasp we are standing by and watching
the whiney plumbers and fire chiefs, with all of their powerful union
money, grab our code from us.

I have probably not used any of the NFPA codes for more that just a few
times.  But the NFPA tells me that they have been in the code business for
100 years.  Well, why did it take them 97 years to decide to have a
building code?  It's all about money and power and their lack of desire to
work with anybody else to accomplish something for the good of the design
community.  And who's going to run our building departments?  Fireman and
plumbers?  When was the last time that you saw a fire chief get interested
in the results of a concrete cylinder test?  Or who cared about bolt
inspections or weld tests?

I don't know where anybody else is on this but I want to see one code that
I have to work with and understand in depth in order to provide my client
with the best design possible.  If I have to juggle codes, plan review
comments, inspection criteria, new code sections, different update
seminars, etc, then I cannot perform the best for any one project.

When are we going to tell our structural engineers associations, ASCE,
AISC, ACI, ACEC, NSPE et all, that we want the IBC.  We are so good at the
technical end of our work that we won't step up and face the matters that
really count.

Rant over (or maybe just beginning)
Jim Persing, PE, SE
Washington, California, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Arizona, Alaska & Hawaii

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