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Re: Bad Codes

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What is this thing you call retirement?

I'm afraid you can be as demanding as you want but it won't do you any good and I'm not knocking the people who write the codes. Having served on a committee to write a new Canadian standard for EOT cranes, I learned there is more to the process than writing the technical stuff, at least here. It then goes to the Can Standards Assoc who ensure that the document conforms to their numbering and heading system, and that the English grammar, spelling and syntax are correct. Some of this will have been done along the way, but when the final draft is approved, we don't see it again. Then it goes to the printer who has to type-set it or whatever they do these days and again this is where errors can creep in. I have been told (so pls correct me if I am wrong) that many of the American codes or standards go thru this vetting process in house so that they don't have the equivalent CSA vetting. The type-setters, or whoever, have a problem with many of the formulas and then many of the printing companies that used to do this work have disappeared as technology made them redundant or behind the times. Most of this is anecdotal but came from a reliable source who has had to get a standard published. And this leads me to a little anecdote. The class of 1984 of the Royal Military College(my school) wanted to get commemorative pewter beer mugs made for their graduation. The college motto is "Truth, Duty, Valour" and and this was to be printed on the mugs along with the college coat of arms. The low bidder was out of Michigan and the graphic was sent to the firm for production. Approximately 200 mugs arrived with "Truth, Duty, Valor" which the company had to replace free of charge.

Garner, Robert wrote:

I am pleased to reply that following my complaint to ICC, from whom I purchased ACI 318-08, I have been contacted directly by ACI, who has agreed to send me a complimentary copy of the second edition. I wish to publicly thank ACI for this service. This represents what I expect and appreciate from our code societies. I do, however, remain intolerant of errata and I recommend that our professional societies, SEA, SEAOC, etc. take the position that codes are incredibly important and must be treated as documents that must not contain errors. I acknowledge human imperfection but I accept no less than maximum effort. Of myself, and of those calling themselves professionals.

I'm nearing retirement, and I'm definitely at the age of codgerhood. I may consider assisting in code writing efforts, but I would be demanding as hell!

Thank you for listening.

Robert Garner, S.E.


*From:* Garner, Robert [mailto:rgarner(--nospam--at)]
*Sent:* Thursday, October 02, 2008 7:35 AM
*To:* seaint(--nospam--at)
*Subject:* Bad Codes

I just purchased the ACI 318-08 Concrete Code. My wife called me at work and said I had a package waiting for me. I love getting packages. I knew it was the new Concrete Code because I had just ordered it. So I looked forward to coming home to break into that book and see the progress our "cement buddies" had in making the Code a much improved document, especially our own dear Appendix D, which has succeeded in creating a whole new structural discipline of engineers that specialize exclusively in the design of CONCRETE ANCHORS (caps mine to honor a subject that ACI has seen fit to make as sophisticated as the wind provisions of ASCE.) What was the first thing I found in the package? Placed on top of the Code book so that it stood out proudly as if claiming, "Look at me! I am very Important!" Yep, Code Errata! A brand new code that isn't even accepted by code bodies and hasn't even been purchased by most practicing engineers, and there are four pages of ERRORS, whoops, excuse me, Errata. Can't anybody get a code book published without errors? Errata? B.S., these are errors. I don't care if they are the publishers' proof reader's errors or just stupidity in writing these books. When I do structural calculations, I don't do this kind of careless work. I submit my calcs to the City then I routinely follow up with errata? I don't think so. Everyone makes mistakes but the codes make them routinely and treat them as if they are just another facet of the code. As a Structural Engineer licensed in the four western states, I find the constant necessity of correcting codes with constant errata totally unacceptable.

Robert Garner, S.E.

R. Garner

Moffatt & Nichol

Tel.:  (619) 220-6050

Fax.: (619) 220-6055

e-mail: rgarner(--nospam--at) <mailto:rgarner(--nospam--at)>

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