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I agree that it is sad. 


But the code is ambiguous, and somebody needs to interpret it.  We are just trying to do that.  Have you ever tried to ask ICBO for code interpretation? They used to do that - not anymore.  Last time I checked, it cost my client about $1K to get a on-page interpretation letter on a relatively simple (but not clearly defined by the code) matter.


At the same time, the interpretation of the code by SEOR is not necessarily accepted by the jurisdiction.  I have a case where, in spite of the clear-cut technical proof, and the supporting opinion by APA, this one big city just pushed its own weird, CYA interpretation of the code, unjustifiably costing my client $$$ (literally, hundreds of thousands).


In my experience, it is often the "easiest" and obvious stuff that can become a problem.  IMO, the claims regarding the cracking of the residential slabs-on-grade cost much more than many “high-tech” problems. 

The proper construction of such slabs is important.   In private practice, we need to constantly watch our backs.


The question was asked - we were just trying to answer it.  And if our discussion brought at least somebody to take a closer look at some important sections of the code that are not directly related to analysis – that is good, isn’t it?


And finally, it seems, let say, strange, to assume - leave alone to put it in writing - that Dennis Wish or Scott Maxwell (I will be honored to be included in that group) had “turned into jail house lawyers instead of engineers.” 


Come on, Acie.


Vyacheslav "Steve" Gordin, PhD,

Registered Structural & Civil Engineer

Irvine CA

tel (949) 552-5244

fax (949) 552-5243


-----Original Message-----
From: Acie Chance [mailto:achance(--nospam--at)]
Thursday, February 17, 2005 7:34 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Engineers and Lawyers



     I find it very sad that we have engineers trying to decide if a slab on

grade is a structural member or not and what section of the code they should

use to design it.  We have been turned into jail house lawyers instead of

engineers.  I was under the impression engineers used there experience and

education to make decisions on how to build structures.  Looking for

clarification between "footing" and "foundation" for a element designed with

2500 or 3000 psi concrete is very sad to me.


Acie Chance


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