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RE: L.A. EQ: Typical Reaction

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The difference in the response of structures in countries like India and the United States points more to economics and indigenous building materials as opposed to engineering skills. 
I have designed industrial structures in India, and have studied their codes.  The problem is that people have to live in structures in which the construction is driven by the lack of funding.  It comes down to having no roof at all vs. having a roof that may collapse in a given earthquake. 
I participated in a UN sponsored workshop some years ago in which we were challenged to develop earthquake resistance to existing structures using indigenous materials that could be constructed with less than sophisticated skills.  Now THAT is an engineering challenge.  We had some success, but the problem is massive. 

Harold Sprague

Subject: RE: L.A. EQ: Typical Reaction
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2008 08:10:47 -0700
From: rgarner(--nospam--at)
To: seaint(--nospam--at)

This morning, a news commentator said that a 5.4 earthquake that hit (I believe he said India, but I'm not sure), caused 60,000 deaths due to collapsing buildings.  I'm proud to be an American structural engineer and I extend my compliments to all you structurals out there that "do in right".


Bob Garner, S.E.


From: Bill Allen [mailto:T.W.Allen(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 7:08 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: L.A. EQ: Typical Reaction


Both the CNN website and the L.A. Times website credit the post-Northridge building codes for the lack of structural damage due to the 5.4 earthquake yesterday. Gee, I wonder who developed the criteria for the new building code. I wonder who gave hours of their valuable personal time pro bono to get this criteria implemented into a building code. Finally, I wonder who implements the new criteria into construction projects, often facing criticism from clients and owners because they are seemingly wasting money.


It must be the architect or the contractor, right?


T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E.


Consulting Structural Engineers
V (949) 248-8588 F(949) 209-2509


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