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RE: Pancake Breakfasts - Boy I'm hungry

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I picked out the passage that you wrote about in your reply to Gerry.
Let me point out a few issues:

"The preponderance of testimony clearly demonstrated the NFPA building
code is deficient, unusable and unenforceable. However, in order to
address one of the glaring deficiencies related to housing construction,
the Commission decided to include provisions of the International
Residential Code for One and Two Family Dwellings published by ICC."

"SACRAMENTO - A battle over the adoption of new state fire codes has
spawned conflict-of-interest complaints against two Davis administration
appointees and left municipalities wondering if union influence will
cost them millions in additional staffing, officials said.

Barry Broad and Sidney Cavanaugh, affiliated with organized labor and
appointed to the Building Standards Commission by Gov. Gray Davis, voted
in a commission subcommittee to urge the full BSC board when it meets on
Wednesday to adopt fire codes favored by the firefighters and plumbers
unions over codes endorsed by four state entities and many local

This last article does specifically discuss the possible conflict of
interest associated to Gray Davis's Building Standards Commission
because of two board members were associated with organized labor. This
same article goes on to point out that the complaint against Cavanaugh
was filed by Lee Braun, a building official in the city of Rohnert park.
Braun pointed out that Cavanaugh, a Burbank codes and standards
professional "was on a committee that helped develop the NFPA 5000 code
and earns over $100,000.00 annually working for the United Association.

The backing of the ICC codes was also supported the League of California
Cities (ref:
3/232045621&directory=/google&header_file=header.htm&footer_file=) who,
I believe should have the right to make the decision as to what codes
are viable to follow - based on direct experience and history with
building codes. The NFPA 5000 has no existing track record and with the
consolation of the addition of the IRC into the NFPA package, the
quality of construction will be removed from the engineers in the state
in place of prescriptive methods. This, in a state with the highest
potential for seismic damage - and damage from prescriptively
constructed homes that, by the admission of the NAHB, has contributed
heavily to $30-Billion dollars worth of damage from the Northridge
earthquake alone. I am no longer sure how the design of non-compliant
homes with irregularities shall be designed since the NFPA provisions
seem tremendously inadequate. 

When it comes to structural provisions (since I can't speak for the
other trades) I can't see intrusting confidence in an unproven code.
Furthermore, it is up to the public to choose if the previous UBC 97
provides for greater than design standards than does the IRC or the NFPA
provisions. If it does, the majority of homes in the state will not be
designed by the UBC provisions but by the cheapest standards that the
developers of the majority of new homes will be willing to pay - and you
can believe that from this engineer with extensive experience in the
field of developers in California demanding to cut every corner

If the state wishes to make the NFPA provisions public, they should have
the guts to demand that the State also require a disclosure statement
that is prominently displayed to buyers as to what standard the home is
designed to and what the comparative performance differences are when
compared to the ICC, the IRC and 97 UBC. 

I would say that until the accusations are further investigated, there
is merit in what I read that favors the Fire Departments and organized
labor over the Engineers and Architects in this State. 

I will decline any comment about the other issue in your e-mail.

Dennis S. Wish, PE

-----Original Message-----
From: Scott Maxwell [mailto:smaxwell(--nospam--at)] 
Sent: Friday, August 01, 2003 1:38 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Pancake Breakfasts - Boy I'm hungry

FWIW, I also think that the attacks on commission that approved the use
of NFPA because they are "in the pockets" of unions is out of line as
well. Maybe, just maybe, the commission truly thinks that the NFPA is
the best code from a safety point of view and is exercising some
"leadership" (i.e. Republicans tend to applaud Bush for exercising
"leadership" by not listening to polls [which supposedly express the
voice of the public] but just doing what he thinks is right).  Maybe
they thought that all the others were just wrong to support the IBC.
But, then again maybe they were "bought and paid for".  I really don't
know and that is the point. To imply that they are "bought and paid" for
without some sort of actual proof is wrong in my book.

Now, I am sure that some (like Dave Lowen) will just say that I am
extremely naive.  I am not naive.  Does the system get abused?  Are
"pancake breakfasts" sometimes used for illegal/wrong purposes?  You
bet. I don't doubt it.  Absolutely.  But, I refuse to lump everyone who
participates in such systems into the guilty category without some
actual proof.  I look at it from the perspective that I would hope that
if I am ever in a suspicious situation that others would give me the
benefit of the doubt and at least wait until some actual proof was


Ypsilanti, MI

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