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RE: real life seismic house test

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Not to rain on the parade of field construction bashing, but could we also have the thing built off plans with missing pad footings, missing dimensions, no continuity of OTM load path and a structural engineer that doesn’t return phone calls?


We’re all human, trying to get along, but this constant whining between the field and the drawing board that seems to permeate the industry gets a bit tiresome for me.




From: Andrew Kester, PE [mailto:akester(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2006 6:40 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: real life seismic house test


So here is the pessimist in me coming out, so forgive me beforehand. But anytime you try and replicate a real life scenario in a lab, the results can be just slightly off the real thing. Britain made the first commercial jetliner and did all of their pressure tests in a lab. After 2 crashes killing all the passengers on board, because of stress failures at square windows due to real life compression/decompression, the company eventually quit making planes..


When you are dealing with something like RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION, there is so much variance in the quality of the design and construction, I cannot see what this will really tell us. I understand CA is pretty strict with plan review, who designs houses, and inspections, but from what I gather the rest of the country is not the same.


So, my real life test would be:

-Have a "designer" draw up the plans, and guess at the connections. Maybe let an architect with limited structural knowledge sign and seal it, or an engineer who doesn't care how he makes $500 blindly seal it.

-Let a GC build it on the fly using prescriptive codes

-Do not have an engineer do any site observations, because his CA fee is WAY too high

-Have the inspector stay in his truck for the inspection, not bring his ladder because of liability, or spend a half hour taking a quick glance. Or allow the scientists at the lab to "good ole boy" their way out of the inspection.

-Allow the builders to substitute connections, change details, or make modifications at will

-Allow drinking during construction

-Have the majority of the work done by unexperienced, unsupervised workers who just got here from a poor country without similar construction. They cannot speak english or read the plans. (Don't read into this comment, it is not about immigration, about unskilled workers.)

-If there are plans on site, they are over in the corner all dirty and tattered..


Now throw it on the table and let it shake....


Andrew Kester, PE
ADK Structural Engineering, PLLC
Lake Mary, FL