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Re: building codes

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I don't disagree with most of what you state, but...

> Similarly,  although one can split hairs all day, it is not particularly
> productive.  For someone trying to figure out the hierarchy of the various
> documents used in structural engineering, it is worth noting that there are some
> documents,  most notably the ACI Concrete and Masonry Building Code Requirements
> and the American Welding Society Codes,  that have the word "code" in their
> title but are actually "standards"  and are meant to acquire legal authority by
> being used as part of a legally adopted building code.

So, let's split a few more hairs.

While I certainly agree with that ACI 318 is a standard (a recognized
national consensus standard to be more precise which means that it is an
"ANSI approved" national standard), I would also say that it is a code.
As the AWS statement correctly points out, standards can be codes,
specifications, recommended practices, methods, classifications, or

So, my point was that your limited definition of the word "code" does not
make sense as you want to apply it.  You seemed to not have a problem call
the IBC a code, yet want to split hairs that ACI 318 is not a code...yet
both DO NOT become the "law" until adopted by a governing jurisdiction.
Add to that even if you want to consider a model building code (such as
the IBC) truly a code because it is higher up the heirarchy, the plain
truth is that when the IBC gets adopted as the "law" so does ACI 318 since
ACI 318 is PART of the IBC.  So, I don't understand how you can argue that
it is OK to call the IBC (or UBC or BOCA or SBC) code but not ACI 318,
AWS, or ACI 530.

Beyond that as someone else has pointed out, you are conveniently ingoring
a commonly accepted definition of "code" ("a systematic collection of
regulations and rules of procedure" or "any system of rules or regulations
relating to one subject"...both per

And split hairs with you since you are someone who tends to split hairs
about the precision of other people's writing.  "Live by the sword, die by
the sword."

Plus, if you are gonna split hairs on this, then why not "go after"
the use of "code" in things like NSPE's "code of ethics" or various
universities "codes of conduct", etc?

> For example,  this is the AWS statement of use:
> All standards (codes, specifications, recommended practices, methods,
> classifications, and guides) of the American Welding Society are voluntary consensus
> standards that have been developed in accordance with the rules of the
> American National Standards Institute. When AWS standards are either incorporated in,
> or made part of, documents that are included in federal or state laws and
> regulations, or the regulations of other governmental bodies, their provisions
> carry the full legal authority of the statute.
> So, in terms of the hierarchy,  these documents are "below" the model codes.

Don't disagree with the hierarchy.  That is accurate and is something that
is important to know/realize (while truth be told whether or not ACI 318
is called a code or not has very little meaning...except those at ACI that
find such a nomenclature important...althought I personally feel that code
is a better description for some thing like ACI 318 or other design
requirement provisions than specification [which is what AISC uses...sorry

> Standards is kind of a loose term, although I usually think of them as
> something somewhat official, either ANSI approved or aspiring to that level.  The
> IBC 2000 has an appendix with a  listing of documents it calls "Referenced
> Standards."  It would probably be better if this was titled "Referenced Documents",
>  since some like the PTI Slab on Ground document are really not standards,
> they are basically general information and recommendations.

FYI, "general information and recommendations" _CAN_ be standards.  So,
the IBC Chapter (to split hairs, it is a chapter not an appendix) that
lists references standards could be correct in using the term "standard".
I honestly don't know if the PTI Slab on Ground document is a standard or is is than the chapter title is correct.

Now, I think the more accurate point to make (which may be your intent) is
that if the PTI Slab on Ground document is truly "general information and
recommendations", then it is not written in mandatory language.  And if
so, then strictly speaking it should _NOT_ be referenced in a model
building code as how can a recommendation (i.e. a suggestion but not a
requirement) be enacted as a law.  For example, it is not recommended that
you do not exceed 55 mph when that is indicated as the speed
are "required" (under the threat of a possible speeding ticket) to stay
under 55.  If it was only recommended, then one could argue in court that
you acknowledge the recommendation but that you feel that your vehicle and
your driving skills allow you to exceed that recommendation with no impact
and the more than likely the court would have little recourse.

So, the point is that there can be guides or recommended practices that
are still in fact standards.  For others (as I would think you already
know about it), the ACI Technical Committee Manual (chapter 3) provides
some reasonably good "guidance"/information on what standardization means.


Adrian, MI

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