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Re: ACI 530-02/ASCE 5-02/TMS 402-02 Experts

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Relief is on the way. I think that you need to place the recent rapid pace of code development in historical context. And it was indeed a reaction to poor performance of our building structures due earthquakes that were short of the theoretical design events. We had Loma Prieta in 1989 and Northridge in 1994. We also were fighting 3 codes in the US. We had poor agreement for characterizing "Eastern North American" (ENA) earthquakes vs. the classic California earthquakes. Then the performance expectations were all over the map. There was the issue of the steel connections that led to the FEMA and SAC studies. Then there was the issue that the maps were all wrong (which we knew for some time), and we went to the spectral ordinate maps.

The information was coming fast and furious. The dilemma was a: do we just sit on it for X years and let engineers build things that we knew were wrong, or b: change the code to disseminate the information as quickly as possible. As you can tell we chose "b".

Now after years of this fast pace and burnout of some of our colleagues, we are moving to going to a 5 year cycle in lieu of the 3 year cycle.

There were some real improvements in the 2003 IBC. The formatting changes were studied by several people, and the consensus was that the new format is easier. I think that in time you will agree. The nonbuilding structures was the first to be reformatted under my watch on that committee.

Now, back to my afternoon nap.

Harold Sprague

From: Cliff <clifford234(--nospam--at)>
Reply-To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: ACI 530-02/ASCE 5-02/TMS 402-02 Experts
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004 10:22:51 -0700 (PDT)

> First of all I have to say keeping up with "code
> changes" is adding grey
> hair on a daily basis now.


I agree. Things are getting out of control.
Personally, I'd like to see a moratorium on Code
changes for one code cycle.

Could someone please explain to me what REAL and
TANGIBLE improvements were made to the seismic
provisions of the IBC code between the IBC 2000 and
IBC 2003. It seems that no real improvements were made
- things were just made more complicated. In my
opinion the IBC 2000 seismic provisions were as close
to perfection as you can get. The format and
arrangement of the IBC 2003 seismic provisions just
muddied the waters without any real improvement. As I
understand it, the seismic provisions will be getting
even more complex in the next round.

Actually I don't know why I'm complaining - now that
we have computers to think for us, it doesn't matter
how complex the codes and accompanying equations are.
Heck, now that we can design structures 20 times
faster with a computer than we could twenty years ago,
we should really only be working 2 hours a week!

Have a nice weekend - for those of you who take the
weekends off.

Cliff Schwinger

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