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RE: Cost of codes (was RE: ASCE 7-05 Wind Load and Publication Costs)

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Bill,

Believe me...I understand.  I am "fortunate" in that I am used to the
multiple references since the BOCA code has been doing it for a LONG time.
I can sympathize with those that use the UBC in that they have to adjust
to a new system.

I will note, however, that you likely paid for it indirectly.  For
example, the UBC still made use the ACI 318 provisions, but just printed
those provisions directly in the UBC.  I suspect that they had to pay ACI
royalties (either that or "stole" from ACI).  So, you paid for it any way.
I suppose it could still be done that way, but the UBC (or IBC) would be a
hell of lot thicker as ALL the provisions for the various materials have
gotten more complex (which is good to some degree and bad in other ways).

Personally, I like the seperate standards as you have less of a chance of
"stupid" stuff getting into the code.  Getting something into the IBC is
at the whim of a bunch of code officials.  While there are certainly a
bunch of code officials that know about structural issues (i.e. Ben Y.),
there are also a lot of them that really don't.  While the consensus
standards process is not perfect, I find it MUCH better than the ICC code
process with hearings and building officials making the final decisions.
But, that is just me.

And personally, when I had to use the UBC, I tended to still just use my
copy of ACI 318-95 (for the 1997 UBC) as I could find stuff in it MUCH
easier than I could the UBC.  But, then I had to find the same provisions
(easy due to the numbering system) in the UBC to make sure the ICBO folks
did not "tweak" it.

In the end, we all like what we are used to using.  I am used to having to
use the seperate standards and I tend to like it better than when I have
to use the UBC.  But we cannot always keep using what we like...there is a
thing in life called "change" and it has a nasty habit of popping up every
once and a while! <grin>

Regards,

Scott
Adrian, MI


On Fri, 11 May 2007, Bill Allen wrote:

> Scott -
>
> I understand your point in absolute terms, but please compare how the
> current approach is better than the one utilized when the 1994 UBC was
> published. You may recall that the 1994 UBC was at the opposite end of the
> spectrum in that one rarely needed to open another reference (at least that
> was the case for me and my practice).
>
> Regards,
>
> T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E.
> ALLEN DESIGNS
> Consulting Structural Engineers
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Scott Maxwell [mailto:smaxwell(--nospam--at)engin.umich.edu]
> > Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2007 10:58 PM
> > To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> > Subject: Cost of codes (was RE: ASCE 7-05 Wind Load and Publication Costs)
> >
> > The solution is easy then...have the "government" spend the money to write
> > their own codes.  Like it or not, it costs money to produce documents like
> > ASCE 7, ACI 318, etc.  And those organizations that produce those
> > documents deserve to be compenstated for their effort.  The "government"
> > has chosed to take the easy way and have someone else produce what the
> > "government" then chooses to use as the basis of law.  They don't own the
> > rights to those publications, so you don't get them for free.
> >
> > I would ask if you would mind the "government" taking your house and land
> > with no compensation.  If you mind that, then why do so many seem so
> > willing to expect the "government" take the work of private organizations
> > (i.e. the various codes/standards) and not compensate those organizations.
> > And keep in mind that supposedly "we" are the "government".  So, "we" need
> > to compensate those organizations.
> >
> > There are definitely different cost/distribution models that can be used.
> > Right now, the model is basically a "user" tax type model...i.e. if you
> > use it, you pay the "tax" (i.e. you must buy the codes).  You could go to
> > a general tax, where EVERYONE pays the tax, even though only some gain the
> > direct benefit...i.e. the government pays royalties and then the
> > codes/standards are provide free to those who need/use them.  You could go
> > to a different use "tax"...i.e. have home owners and building owners pay
> > some fee that then covers the cost to provide the codes/standards for
> > free.
> >
> > In the end, personally, I don't have all that much sympathy.  Like all
> > professions, there is a cost to doing business.  In our profession, part
> > of the cost of operating is buying codes and standards necessary to do our
> > work.  This is no different than buying a computer, a desk, a chair, a
> > light, a pencil, etc.  Other professions have different things that they
> > must buy.  Doctors must buy bandages, medical equipment, office equipment,
> > etc.  Lawyers must buy office equipment, law books, legal pads, etc.  If
> > you start a business that requires you to dig holes, is the goverment
> > going to give you a shovel (or backhoe) for free?  Nope.  Why do you
> > expect anything different.  And for those that argue this is stuff that is
> > required by "law", the same can still be true of that person digging
> > holes/doing construction...he might have to buy hardhats, steel toe boots,
> > or other items as required by "law".  The point is that there are many
> > things that many professions HAVE to buy due to requirements from others
> > and things that are optional...but all are part of "doing business".
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > Scott
> > Adrian, MI
> >
> >
> > On Thu, 10 May 2007, Lloyd Pack wrote:
> >
> > > On 9 May 2007 at 9:48, Donald Bruckman wrote:
> > >
> > > >
> > > > IMO, all the alphabet soup of codes should be overseen by a central
> > > > clearing house, (probably non-governmental would work) that we could
> > > > all subscribe to and have access to, sort of like cable TV.A
> > > > subscription could, for instance, be added to the cost of license
> > > > renewal that would allow access to all the relevant codes you are
> > > > licensed to practice under.
> > >
> > >
> > > This approach still does not make the law available to all citizens that
> > are
> > > held accountable to the law.  The problem is that the law, which is/was
> > > Uniform or across the board, is not accessible to all people who are
> > held
> > > accountable for building to that law.
> > >
> > > This is wrong.  The law should be accessible to all who must abide by
> > it.
> > > This access should be free to the citizens.  Imagine,  if any ruling
> > entity
> > > started making laws with criminal consequences and then started
> > enforcing
> > > them by arresting people and prosecuting them under that "hidden" law,
> > but people
> > > could know what the law said by buying in to the membership of those
> > privy to that
> > > law.  There would be tremendous outcry,  or at least I would hope that
> > there
> > > would be tremendous outcry.
> > >
> > > Now, granted, the Building code doesn't make violations criminal, but
> > the
> > > ruling entities, may arrest your progress through a "red tag" and may
> > impede
> > > progress throughout the remainder of the project.  I've even had clients
> > who
> > > have been "blacklisted" by a building department and their other
> > projects were
> > > continually being halted and harassed by the bulding department's
> > inspectors.
> > > This type of action by the building dept. seems punitive, which is often
> > the result
> > > of infractions to any law.
> > >
> > > Take Care,
> > > Lloyd Pack
> > >
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