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RE: Shameful Pancakes??

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SEA and other professional association don't always have the interest of
the professional community at heart - this was typical with the adoption
of the 97 UBC as related to light-frame wood construction. Professional
Associations must be involved in state and federal politics, but they
must fairly represent the needs and the desires of the members of the
organizations they represent. When any committee goes forth to produce a
code or methodology that does not justly represent what practitioners
feel are in the best interest of the public, then they act as rouges and
their political influence is used unethically.
This happens when committees are formed to produced work that will
ultimately be submitted for potential adoption into the next building
code. However, none of the committees that I have been associated with -
including the BSSC TS-7, SEAOC Seismology or the NCSEA Advocacy
committees post drafts of their work or have information related sites
to inform the professional community of their intent to change or modify
the present code. By the time the changes are discovered by the
professional practitioner, it is generally too late. Because of this,
the influence on the political appeal to help a state adopt a code is
used with the interest of a very few at heart. Specifically, those who
do not design low-rise or custom residential homes are the least
qualified to determine how their changes will affect the profession. I
wanted to use the phrase "affect the business of engineering" but I know
that I would be flamed for suggesting that the business or practice of
our profession should be considered on any level with life safety intent
of the code, but the conservativeness of the life safety provisions
creates incentives for clients to seek other lesser performing methods
of design available to the clients. Specifically I am referring to the
constant war between Designers and Engineers who wish to use the
prescriptive provisions of the code which is "politically" backed by the
Building Industry Association" (BIA) and the National Association of
Home Builders (NAHB) as well as the American Institute of Architect
(AIA) who have such a strong political lobby that I believe the
engineering community has given up arguing that all prescriptive methods
should be equal to or more conservative than the minimum level of
compliance to the engineered provisions.

Politics is all around us. In my opinion those who choose to volunteer
for active participation in any association committee have an obligation
to represent the members of the professional community and not their own
self-interest. We currently have a measure of the professional community
and this is in the SEAINT and Structuralist.Net Listservices. There are
other discussion forums that exist but from my experience the issues
relevant to structural engineering are a very minor portion of their
site. Still, these voices should be allowed the courtesy of
consideration in the code creation process AND each association should
be required to publicly post their drafts and minutes as to what is
coming down the line so that the professional community can respond
before the final draft is ready for submission to the ICC to be voted

Dennis S. Wish, PE

-----Original Message-----
From: Jason Kilgore [mailto:jkilgore(--nospam--at)] 
Sent: Friday, August 01, 2003 11:11 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Shameful Pancakes??

If Stan calls some of his politician friends and tries to acquire
projects through "back channels", then he is guilty of illegal and
unethical behavior.  I saw nothing in that post or any posts related to
it indicating that this is the case, and cannot figure out how his
morals came into question.

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