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

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At 02:23 PM 9/2/2004 -0700, you wrote:
Jordan:

I didn't prepare the opinion, but I too have had problems with it, but sometimes it's a tool that's useful. I haven't told many people to get out of their buildings, but the first one was hard. Told them on a Friday and it collapsed on the next Monday.

It's the typical lay response to an engineering problem, "tell me if it will fail".

FWIW, I _have_ been on a project where I effectively "closed" one half of a school floor until repairs could be made. I've also been the "bearer of bad news" on several occasions for occupancy changes (residential or office -> assembly). It is a bit tough, more so when you know what the economic impact of your report will be to the owner.

One reason i replied was because I just had the same type question asked in a deposition - "Is this roof safe?" My answer was intentionally dodgy - Right now, under normal conditions, it's safe. Under a 50 year snow event, that which is required by current codes, I believe it _might_ fail, but I did not have an analysis to support my opinion. In that case, it would be unsafe for anyone below that area of the house. The defense (by whom I have been hired) has already conceded that the roof needs replacing and has offered to pay the repair costs. He may have been fishing for an immediate evacuation of the current residents, but based on other factors that doesn't seem likely.

I think the letter from the AG is problematic because there is no limit on the loading scale or timeframe. I can reasonably guess whether a structure (within my material experience) is safe, and so can most of us on this list, but for the same structure, we'll likely get different answers as to how immediate the danger is. The AG want's the "right" answer, and that answer simply does not exist. (Of course, it's not MY AG, so it doesn't matter much to me...it the principal of the thing ;-)

I am very interested in how the case that stared this thread turns out, as I also do evaluations on occasion for real estate transactions.


Jordan Truesdell, PE



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