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Re: 1976 Uniform Building Code - liability, insurance, etc.

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This may be not quite so "foolish"...
Every structural engineer has those horror stories to share.
I (unknowingly) had applied this provision in at least two instances.  No "updated" seismic requirements - just good old substandard design and/or deterioration...  Looked (and calc'd out) scary at both occasions, still, the final result was nil ("c'mon, it was around for so many years...", even from the officials).
Nevertheless, I am satisfied that I did what I could.  As turns out now (thanks, Neil) - what I should have done from the AG standpoint.
Steve Gordin, SE
Irvine CA
 ----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, September 02, 2004 12:17 PM
Subject: RE: 1976 Uniform Building Code - liability, insurance, etc.

At 12:00 PM 9/2/2004 -0700, Neil wrote:
>In California, the attorney's general office provided their AG Opinion No.
>"A registered engineer retained to investigate the integrity of a building
>who determines, based on structural deficiencies in violation of
>applicable building standards, that there is an imminent risk or serious
>injury to the occupants thereof, and who is advised by the owner that no
>disclosure or remedial action is intended and that such determinations are
>to remain confidential, has a duty to warn the identifiable occupants, or
>if not feasible, to notify the local building officials or other
>appropriate authority of such determinations."

Yes, but what is "imminent risk".  What probabilistic criteria should I
apply to the local environmental loads? 2% per year exceedence probability
(ASCE 7 typical), 5%, 10%, 100% in 1 day, 7 days, a month, a year?

Most of the residences in my area built before 1980 don't meet the ASCE7
criteria, and I'm sure many built since then don't either, especially for
seismic loads. We don't condemn buildings every code cycle simply because
they don't comply, and yet the new codes are the "minimum" safe standards
for structural purposes, as anything less is considered "unsafe" for occupancy.

I'm not attacking you, Neil, just pointing out that the wording is
foolishly incomplete given the requirements that we need to show a number
on paper that is either greater or less than 1.0 to determine the safety of
a structure.


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