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Re: American "Imperialism"[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
- To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
- Subject: Re: American "Imperialism"
- From: G Vishwanath <gvshwnth(--nospam--at)yahoo.com>
- Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 00:09:50 -0800 (PST)
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Re: American "Imperialism" I read with interest the posts on this thread. I am normally content to lurk on this list but am occasionally tempted to peep out from the shadows. I last wrote to the list in response to Dennis Wish on the subject of outsourcing. Here are some thoughts on American codes (on Steel only) from a fellow structural engineer from India, who has been involved with structural steel design and detailing for 30 years. I have had the privilege of working with the codes of practice of three countries. >From 1974 to 1980, I did my all my designs per Soviet specifications for heavy Industrial structures of a steel plant which was being designed with Soviet collaboration. For the next twenty years I worked per Indian code specifications (IS 800) I have dabbled with the British Code and have had to look it up occasionally. Now, for the past four years I have been totally involved with detailing of steel structures to AISC specifications. I have no hesitation in saying that, as far as structural steel is concerned there is nothing to match the publications of the AISC. The AISC specifications are the most detailed and well researched. They are updated in a timely fashion, presented in a convenient and easily understood format, and have minimum ambiguities. The sheer volume of the supporting literature made available by the AISC is impressive. They also publish a most readable magazine (Modern Steel construction). Their support in the form of replies to queries sent to them is unmatched anywhere. The Aisc publications, (Ninth Edition, or the green book as it is affectionately referred to in our circles, the LRFD third edition, and companion publications like Engineering for Steel construction, etc) occupy the pride of place in my bookshelf. I am eagerly waiting for the ASD-LRFD combined manual expected in 2005. Equipped with these manuals, I have hardly experienced the need to refer to some popular text books which also adorn my book shelf (like Salmon and Johnson, and the classical texts like Lothers, Gaylord and Gaylord. The only text which I wanted to have and missing from my shelf is the one by Blodgett but I have access to it in a local library) Here is a bit of steel structural history from India for those interested. Before independence, (1947) Indian structural engineers used British codes and imperial units and continued to use it till 1956 when the first edition of our Indian Standard (IS 800) for design of steel structures was published. This was for all practical purposes a copy of the British code with imperial units yielding place to metric units. The first revision of this code was in 1962 and it had been sufficiently "Indianised". Thereafter everyone seems to have gone to sleep and this 1962 edition continued to hold sway till 1984 when the next revision was published. We thought LRFD would be introduced in 1984. It wasn't. ASD still continues today. LRFD is mouthed by the academicians who keep threatening the students to take it seriously as they would have to start using it as soon as they came out of the colleges. That day has not yet dawned and an entire generation has lived with this threat. There is progress. The next revision is due "any day" now. It used to be "any year" some time back. In comparison to the detailed American Specification, the Indian code is less stringent, and conveniently for some of us, delightfully more ambiguous in some parts. I still remember the stormy debates we used to have while interpreting some of its more inconvenient stipulations. Those with legal talent used the loopholes skillfully to the delight of the paying customer and the annoyance of the approving authority. The Indian code has one undeniable merit. It is lean and mean and can be read through with a fraction of the effort needed to digest the AISC specs, weighs only a fraction and so can be easily carried around,( I could boast of the ability to carry it around inside my head those days). It could also be photocopied more easily for those who hate to pay the Government anything more than the compulsory income taxes. Steel is not the material of choice in India and is used mostly by the Railways and in Industrial structures. Concrete is generally preferred by the middle-class and the rich. The poor make do with mud and thatch. Wood is almost never used for construction. So the volume of construction in steel is negligible compared to USA. The kind of sponsorship that the AISC enjoys in USA was not available to the steel construction Industry in India. Only recently INSDAG, (INstitute for Steel Development & Growth) was set up in Calcutta and this organization has a long way to go before it can catch up with the AISC. I doubt if it is funded as well as the AISC is and I don't see any likelihood in the near future. The Australians have their own AISC (read "Australian" for American). The British had Constrado Publications which I found quite useful. I am unable to comment on the Japanese, German and the French codes. They probably have excellent codes but they are out of bounds for us due to language barriers. I am forced to conclude that there is nothing to match the quality and depth of literature put out by the AISC in USA. So I am hardly surprised by the dominance of these publications. If this is "imperialism", I for one am not complaining. The only irritant we overseas engineers experience is in the multitude of codes you have. BOCA, UBC, and various state codes make it inconvenient. In India, the whole country of 1000 million people, uses just one code. In India, we don't have a system that requires a PE to stamp the designs. We don't have debates on the legality or ethics of some one doing the design and another vetting or approving it, either in the same office or remotely. We don't split hairs on what "direct supervision" means. Those of us who work to American specifications, are compelled to put up with your infernal imperial units. When will you fall in line with the rest of the world? Or are you expecting all of us to revert to Imperial ? Now, that would be real IMPERIALISM!! Am American structural engineer once sought my help in doing a small structural design for a Church sponsored organization in India. I think he was doing a free service. He wanted a copy of the properties of Indian steel sections and the code. I sent him a list of the sections and told him not to bother with the list but instead look at a few steel "I" shaped sections that were available and which I had clearly marked for his convenience. He did not have more than 10 sections to choose from. That made his task a lot easier. (Though the books and tables list several hundred sections, only a fraction are actually rolled and available). I made it even easier for him by asking him not to bother to read the Indian code and instead follow the AISC specs, assume A36 steel, and merely change the units to metric. Any design that satisfied AISC would have been okay or even over-safe per Indian code specifications. I merely vetted his loads particularly the wind load he was using. He was thrilled when I told him snow was unknown over most of India and he needn't bother with it. He was further aided in his design when I told him he could specify field welding liberally. Fabrication of steel structures in India is mostly done in outdoor yards near the project site and not in shops as in USA. Bolting using black bolts is commonly used and merely serve to hold the pieces together to facilitate welding. Welded connections are preferred. The cost of field labor is not an issue here. Labor is cheap and plentiful. I trust this stray post from me on the "Imperialism" of American codes and the digressions will be of some interest to at least to some of you and that Gail will find no irritating errors in my spelling and in my usage of the language. I now go back to the shadows to lurk (till next time!) Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and greetings from India. G Vishwanath Bangalore, India ("Vish", on the steel-detail(--nospam--at)yahoogroups.com e mail discussion list) __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Meet the all-new My Yahoo! - Try it today! http://my.yahoo.com ******* ****** ******* ******** ******* ******* ******* *** * Read list FAQ at: http://www.seaint.org/list_FAQ.asp * * This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers * Association of Southern California (SEAOSC) server. To * subscribe (no fee) or UnSubscribe, please go to: * * http://www.seaint.org/sealist1.asp * * Questions to seaint-ad(--nospam--at)seaint.org. 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