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RE: More confusion with concrete

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What happened to that good old Conservative belief in "free market" and
"capitalism"?  If you get burned by having to pay some entity what
YOU conider extreme amounts of money who just happens to be making use
of the "free market" to get compensation for "their" work and effort (in
this case to cover their costs), then do you convenient forget your free
market beliefs?  Hey, welcome to the free market.  If you don't like the
price, then don't buy it, find someone else to produce the "product", or
produce it yourself.  <grin...kind of loving the irony at the moment>

And your whole they both quake like ducks is frankly duck crap.  Yes, they
both produce standards.  But there are still MAJOR differences.  The first
(which I have mentioned before, but why not do it again) is that AISC is
both a technical org _AND_ a trade org.  The key thing to realize is that
because of their trade org portion they have a source of revenue that that
ACI does not have...i.e. trade member dues (that come in the form of
percentage of steel sold/fabricated if I recall correctly).  This is not
insignificant.  The point is that AISC is not only in the business of
putting forth technical information but also in the business of convincing
you and me to use steel over the other materials.  As a result, there are
"members" that contribute to this effort.  As a result, they have more
"services" (i.e. free publications, free assistance with general
design, etc) that give engineers that "free feeling".  ACI's only real
goal is to put forth technical knowledge of concrete, which is hopefully
useful (granted some will debate how useful some ACI documents are).  If
by doing so they just happen to increase the use of concrete, great...but
that is not one of their primary purposes...that is why PCA exists.

Second, ACI produces a hell of a lot more technical documents thant AISC
(at least from my experience).  Your "economies of scale" comment lacks a
little insight.  Yes, they have more to sell, but it also costs them a
hell of lot more to produce all those documents (and yes, the technical
content is produced by volunteers, but it still costs money to type-set,
print, "process" those documents).  How many ACI 307-98 (Standard Practice
for the Design and Construction of Reinforced Concrete Chimneys) do you
think they sell?  I doubt that they sell enough of that document for it to
be self-sufficient in terms of the cost to produce it, yet I have no doubt
that there are people out there that consider the existince of that
document to be essential to their work.  And there are plenty of other
ACI documents that will be similar (in fact, likely most of them...the
excepts will be the big sellers such as 318, 301, maybe 117, and some of
the other specs etc).

So, while I agree that getting publicatons/books can be expensive in our
professional (some more so than others), it is a price of doing business.
Feel free to no like ACI's price is a free country after
all.  But frankly, you will have to live with it...unless you want to put
your money where your mouth is and go into the business of producing
concrete techinical documents.  If you really feel that you know a better,
cheaper way to do then them, but all means go for it...that is the joy of
the free market economy.  Or we could try the approach that James Lutz
proposed (i.e. the government take it over), but I am sure that your
Conserative side would instantly reappear at that point (but then maybe
not if it benefits you...I really don't know).


Adrian, MI

On Wed, 8 Jun 2005, Polhemus, Bill wrote:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Shapton & Partners [mailto:shapton(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2005 12:29 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: Re: More confusion with concrete
> Elias: Read "Shear Towards a Free Edge". Concrete International, March
> 2004.
> -----/Original Message-----
> Well, while Mr. Sharpton's complaining about the SEAINT list-members,
> let me take the opportunity to gripe about ACI.
> I went to ACI's website to find the CI article mentioned. Turns out, you
> can ONLY access these online if you are "subscribed" (meaning, I guess,
> you are an ACI member or otherwise entitled to receive CI mag. In the
> mail).
> So I thought, well, maybe they'll let me give 'em a couple of bucks to
> download the article. Sure, turns out they want TWENTY DOLLARS just for
> the PDF for that one article.
> I belonged to ACI for awhile, but I had to make some decisions last year
> about all the bucks I was paying out for various org memberships and I
> let ACI slide. It's pretty expensive, if you want the goodies. I believe
> I paid a bundle a couple of years back to get the membership level where
> you go the MCP CD-ROM, for example.
> But I don't get this about CI. AISC gives me a complimentary
> subscription to Modern Steel Construction every year (for which I
> gratefully thank them). I get SE mag gratis as well. I get "Structure"
> for my nominal (I think it's like $30 a year) NCSEA fee (though you have
> to also belong to the local SEA, which is only something like $40 or $50
> more).
> For some reason, though, ACI thinks their snot would make mayonnaise (to
> quote my sainted grandmother). EVERYTHING there is at cost. It's just
> perplexing--and frustrating.
> Yes, I remember we've talked before about how AISC is an "industry
> group" but ACI is more of a "technical organization," but they both walk
> and quack like ducks (though don't ask me what ACI smells like right
> now). They both publish standards that make their way into the building
> codes, they both publish all kinds of guides and recommended practices,
> etc.
> I know that on a "per word" basis, ACI probably has AISC beat insofar as
> publication is concerned--but isn't there a little something called
> "economies of scale?" That is, since ACI publishes so much, they
> probably tend to get lots of individual orders as a result.
> I think, personally, that ACI exhibits the almost inevitable tendency of
> an "umbrella organization" to break free of its original mandate and
> become "about itself" rather than about its mission. Perhaps I'm unfair,
> but it seems like every time I turn around, I have to pay through the
> nose for anything coming from ACI.
> I really would like to read the article Mr. Sharpton mentions--but I
> guess I'll have to wait till I get back to Houston and see if I have the
> hard-copy of the March 2004 CI (I think I was still getting the mag up
> until last year).
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