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Re: Tales of Terror #1: Architects doing engineering

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Scott,

        I believe the expression you are looking for is "They just know
enough to be dangerous!!"

Regards,

H. Daryl Richardson

"Haan, Scott M." wrote:

> Chuck:
>
> My experience has been that unless buildings structurally designed by
> architects have the ability to levitate, then it would have been better
> if an engineer was involved.  Working at a building department we
> periodically see architects that try to save a buck by acting as their
> own engineer.  Maybe some architects are great structural engineers and
> many architects have a good understanding of the overall concepts of a
> structural system, but my experience is that those aren't the ones
> trying to practice outside their area of expertise.
>
> For projects not exempt from our practice of engineering statute I refer
> offending architects to the state licensing investigator and tell the
> offender that if they say ok and don't fine you then I will accept your
> work.  Projects exempt from the practice of engineering state licensing
> laws, but are complicated enough to require an engineered design, pose a
> conundrum: as a building official you cannot tell someone that they are
> incompetent and most architects acting outside of their area of
> expertise [as a structural engineer] lack the technical competence to
> realize that they are incompetent.  Incompetent people don't know it.
>
> Respectfully,
> Scott Haan
> Deputy Building Official
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: chuck utzman [mailto:chuckuc(--nospam--at)pacbell.net]
> Sent: Thursday, July 01, 2004 8:05 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Subject: Re: Tales of Terror #1: Architects doing engineering
>
> Dennis-
> I thought I'd probably get a rise out of you on this :o)
>
> I guess the bottom line is that it doesn't really matter how the
> "analysis" is performed as long as the resulting construction is
> adequate to meet the code required loads.  If you model your beam on
> infinitely stiff  supports, the middle one gets more load.  If you hung
> it on 3 rubber bands they would each  carry equal loads.  For typical
> wood framed residential construction I think we're a lot closer to the
> second model than the first.  Testing & the plain language of the code
> confirm this to my satisfaction (up to aspect ratios of 1:6 per Ed
> Diekmann IIRC) .
>
> It's true that "I've been doing  it this way for xx years" & "27 out of
> 27 engineers are ignoring the code" might be an adequate defense--as
> long as a rigorous analysis doesn't show that the structure fails to
> meet the code requirements.  Most of the time I just bump up the load
> 20% & don't worry about it.  If I think it's important enough I run
> Woodwork's Shearwall program. Keylat is too much work.
>
> The reason engineers ignore the code is that the plan checkers let
> them.  City employees enjoy sovereign immunity.  Do you?  If the local
> jurisdiction has legally adopted  some exception, you are covered. If
> they haven't, it seems like you are obligated to enforce the  UBC as
> written.
>
> As practicing engineers we've all made our individual peace with
> flexible/rigid diaphragm issue.  I confess that it amuses me to
> occasionally revisit the matter because I'm convinced I'm correct (even
> though I'm an M.E./C.E. instead of a real C.E. :o)  I'd hate to see a
> friend get into trouble because he has recently chosen to become a
> windmill operator instead of merely tilting at them as a hobby.
>
> Your friend,
> Chuck Utzman, P.E.
>
> P.S. The conference was the 98SEWC  in  S.F. & I may have the
> proceedings on a CD.  The testing was at the U. of Texas IIRC. I know it
>
> wasn't Ficcadente.  Those tests & my discussions with Ed Diekmann, Dan
> Dolan, & Kelly Cobeen about the matter was plenty enough to convince me,
>
> YMMV
>
> >
> >
>
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