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RE: UBC Live Load Reduction

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Building codes are filled with ambiguity.  The code is written to give the building official the power to render interpretations and make rules to administer the code.  You could argue lots of things are not required because of an ambiguity in the code. 


Along with the idiot who argues you have to do something because it is not written in the code, there is the fool who will argue you don’t have to something because it is unclear in the code.  Where does it say in the code that an exterior metal stud or aluminum curtain wall system should be isolated from building movements in the IBC?  There is some idiot on this list who is reading this that is willing to argue that it is not required to isolate a curtain wall framing from the a main structural system.


From: Paul Feather [mailto:pfeather(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 9:12 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: UBC Live Load Reduction


This is a classic case.  "The code does not specifically state footings are included".  The code also does not specifically state that footings are excluded.  The code does not specifically state all kinds of things.


The plan check reviewer is absolutely and completely incorrect.  This interpretation goes against common sense, and standard industry practice.  The section in question does not specifically stipulate beams, the stipulate structural members.  As you work through the ENTIRE section there are references to beams, columns, flat slabs, trusses, just about everything.  1607.5 states specifically "any member".


Bill,  I believe you have been at this for a fairly extensive period of time, isn't it great to know that you have been doing things incorrectly all these years, along with all the rest of us?


Out of curiosity, can you provide a hint as to which outside review organization this is? 




----- Original Message -----

Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 9:03 AM

Subject: UBC Live Load Reduction


O.K., I realize I haven’t worked with the building code for very long (tongue firmly planted in cheek), but I recently received a set of plan check comments including one that has caught me off guard.


The plan check comment is as follows: “The live load reduction shall not apply to the footing design.” I called the plan reviewer (outside consultant) to find out the section of the code which states this and he told me section 1607.4 and 1607.6. I scanned these two sections during our telephone conversation and still could not find where it said that I could not take a live load reduction for the footing design. He told me that the referenced sections stipulate live load reduction for beams and, since it does not specifically permit a live load reduction for footings, no reduction can be made. I hung up (politely) almost in shock and read the referenced sections again. I know I’m not a good reader (otherwise I would be an attorney), but the sections read (to me) “structural members”, not “beams”. I thought a footing was a “structural member”, but if not, why did he not cite columns as well?


Anyone else have an interpretation?




T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E. (CA #2607)


Consulting Structural Engineers

V (949) 248-8588

F (949) 209-2509