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RE: Code Costs, Redux

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My diagnosis is UBC withdrawal symptoms.

Just look at all of the money you saved on code purchases over the last 10 years living in California. You can take that money and apply it to a good UBC detox clinic. The rest of us had to learn new codes, change practices accordingly, and shell out big bucks. For California, structural engineering evolution time stopped 10 years ago. The HMS Beagle of structural engineering was banned from California.

I think that once you get into it and read the commentaries, you will see the value and the need for the changes. The developers of the codes are slowing down. The pace has become too fast. It needed quick changes in the early days just to get consistency in the merging of the 3 model codes and to incorporate the new seismic maps. Again the pace is slowing. Consider that the next NEHRP is 2008 and the next ASCE 7 is 2010.

The code developers do not change the code just to be capricious. The developers are very conscientious and avoid change for change's sake. But when something is determined to be broken, it must be fixed. Granted, the developers make mistakes. Major changes will take a while to shake out the problems. I have every confidence that the new codes are far superior to the old 1997 UBC.

Harold Sprague

From: "DBruckman" <bruckmandesign(--nospam--at)>
Reply-To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Subject: Code Costs, Redux
Date: Sun, 03 Jun 2007 14:17:41 -0700

Okay.Now I think I begin to understand.  Sitting innocently here in CA,
happily wallowing in a 10 year old UBC, I had no idea what the hub-bub was
over code costs.  THEN, after code conversation here, I decided I'd get
myself moving into the 2006 IBC in anticipation of its adoption here next
year.  What do I find?

First, there are tons of references to lots and lots of OTHER codes, which
now I see I'm going to have to go out and buy as well.  Heck,  the second
paragraph of the code exempts detached single family dwellings and directs
me to something called the International Residential Code.  Cha-ching.
There goes another $80 just to work on houses. I bet I find it identical to
pertinent sections of this code, but I won't know until AFTER I fork over
the money.  Everywhere I see sly references to weird esoteric stuff like
1612 which has references to something called Flood Insurance Rate Map, as
well as to something called NAVD and to NGVD . Do I have to buy those x all
the other obscure references found elsewhere?   And what am I to make of
stuff like Figures 1613.5(1-4) for that little commercial strip center I'm
working on in Burbank?  You can bet the CBC will have its own map.

 I'm finding things that I'm sure the CA code writers will likely delete
entirely, like probably all of Chapter 11.. Cha-ching.

Anyway, you get my drift.  Now I get it.  I'll have to get all of it, and
pay for it handsomely..

Second, and this is really what I'm on about, I'm finding the IBC a rather
sloppy code so far. I may be too unfamiliar with it so far, but I'm finding syntax loopholes that are sure to drive me and plan checkers crazy for years to come; I'm finding lack of direction from section to section, which brings
up just what applies to what.  I'm finding stuff that is more lenient than
the CBC is now, which if adopted by CA would be the first time in my career
I've seen something relaxed instead of strengthened. I doubt that kind of stuff will survive amendment here in CA. Now perhaps this is an Architect's
nightmare more than an engineer's nightmare, since there doesn't seem to be
much about engineering that doesn't direct you elsewhere anyway, be it ASCE
7 or AITC or ASTM-(nnnn) or whatever, but overall, is anyone else finding
this code more ambiguous than prior codes or do I just have 97UBC withdrawal


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