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Dennis,
I know you (and several others) do not have a favorable opinion of the
recent building codes and the code writers but I would like to point out
that some these engineers spend hundreds/thousands of volunteer hours on
our behalf (there are others that the code committee is part of the
regular job). If we are not happy with the current progress, why not
volunteer some hours to make it better? I would rather spend my time and
passion improving the industry/code. 

Each code committee is made up of a certain percentage of consumers
(design engineers from large, medium, and small companies), academia,
producers (industry rep's like masonry society) and building code
officials. There is just never enough volunteer-hours to do everything
on the committee's wish list so things only get done when someone
champions that particular item. Depending on how much time we have to
spare, let's put our money/time where our mouths are. ;-) Below is a
brief list of possibilities and I am sure there are more.

1.Joining one of the code committees - instructions are on the websites
and some are listed below for those interested. Time would be at least a
few hundred hours per year plus travel so this is for the most
dedicated: 
ASCE7- http://content.seinstitute.org/committees/codes.html 
IBC codes- www.iccsafe.org/cs/codes 
ACI- http://www.concrete.org/COMMITTEES/COM_JOIN.asp
State building code- most adopt IBC with their own amendments and have
their own stru committee to review/accept and make changes
NCSEA- http://ncsea.com/directory.aspx?GroupID=6

2.Coming up with code language (or a reasonable attempt) to help simply
or improve the code and send to the chair of the respective committee.
Time could be anywhere from a few hours to a few hundred. Another
similar option would be to submit during public review period for each
code but I think the earlier in the code cycle the better chance of
getting it accepted into the code. 

3. Emailing the committee chair/member and volunteering to proof some
new design methodology (say a simplified procedure) and compare it to
the current code offering results and feedback. This would be a good way
to contribute for someone, who is more limited on their volunteer hours.


With regard to the time cycle, I know ASCE 7 recently went to a 5 year
code cycle, which I personally feel was a step in the right direction.

Dennis, I know that you have personally spent a huge number of hours
volunteering to time and passion with SEAINT/SEA. I personally
appreciate what you have given of yourself through SEAINT. So Toda raba!
("thank you very much" in your Hebrew tongue).  Over the past decade I
have benefited from your wisdom and your willingness to share your
knowledge..and I am in no way saying any one
person/committee/organization is anywhere near perfect. I have felt your
frustration through your posts. If perhaps, say, this time next year,
you still feel the same way about the specific code
committee/organization's lack of appreciation of your efforts, maybe try
another one. I am sure there is one out there that is the perfect fit
and would be extremely grateful for your efforts. You are a talented
engineer and leader. ;-)

Respectfully, Donna (who is attempting to do her small part to make the
codes better as an assoc committee member.) 

_____________________________________ 
Donna Friis, P.E. 
Structural Engineer 
CDM
2301 Maitland Center Parkway, Ste 300 
Maitland, FL 32751 
Tel: (407) 660-6415, Fax: (407) 660-1243
mailto:FRIISDL(--nospam--at)CDM.COM 
www.cdm.com
_____________________________________



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From: "Dennis Wish" <dennis.wish(--nospam--at)verizon.net>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Subject: If so many agree, why remain apathetic - Code Discussion

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I had not checked my e-mail in a few days (at least the seaint.org
list). I
suppose that I have almost lost interest in my profession due to the
seeming
attacks against small practitioners in the form of "improve the code and
damn construction quality" ideology of the professional code committees.
I
certainly did not expect near 100% agreement with me on my last rant. So
this leads me to my next question;

 

If you believe that the code creation process is flawed or that that the
professional associates and supporting industries are maintaining a code
publication schedule that results only in a market for those who wish to
sell books or hold seminars to explain in the most trivial means a
complicated method, then why do you continue to support the profession
rather than take a proactive if not anarchistic approach to changing our
profession (now for a deep breath).  Seriously, I stood on principle
after
the debacle in 2000 over the codification of the 97 UBC along with the
internal censorship of  the SEAINT Online paper publication I wrote and
SEAOSC distributed in 9 states by simply resigning from SEA?
Organizations
such as this are, in my best days, very worthwhile when they represent
their
members and serve to improve the quality of construction rather than
finding
a new and convoluted means to solve the same problems we were doing in
one
line calculations for years. 

 

Seriously, as practitioners we made mistakes.  For years we designed
plywood
shear walls based on an aspect ratio of height to width rather than
addressing actual deflection and it seems that we have inordinately paid
the
price many times over while the code creative committees of our
profession
continually put out "drek" (junk for those of you not of the Jewish
faith)
creating a vacuum for prescriptive codes to take over as most of us lost
in
the rhetoric lose design work on residential and low-rise wood framed
structures. These structures represent almost 90% of all buildings
erected
in the United States and are the source of income for most sole
proprietorships or small offices. Yes, we diversify and write insurance
reports, act as expert witnesses, repair damaged and non-compliant
buildings, but while the housing industry is in a downward spiral why
are we
not becoming more active as an independent group to force the code
creation
process back on track?

 

Years ago I believed the chasm between Architects / NAHB and Engineers
was
so wide that the differences could not be resolved politically. There is
a
need for prescriptive design, but as we learn more about wind and
seismic,
it seems the prescriptive methods won't cut it - yet this is what is
allowed
in the IRC and what we must compete with in the layperson world of our
clients and hungry developers.

 

This list (which I lay claim to creating with Shafat Qazi and the
support of
SEAOSC) has close to 15,000 members worldwide and certainly the power in
dues paid to the associations to make a difference. If the money dries
up so
does the work of the committees.  Let me make this perfectly clear. I am
not
in favor of bringing SEA or ASCE or any other group down, I am in favor
of
reminding them forcefully how things were done before the computer age
when
SEA in California was still small and growing and ethics allowed SEA to
place their members first. Now the members are nothing more than a
source of
revenue to pay for dues, seminars, publications etc. In 2000+ when we
argued
the 97 code, we discovered that this list was able to hit an end of the
road
block wall that it could not pass. The list is a bitching post where
members
can work off frustration. We do serve the needs of peer-to-peer help and
this is a value we should not discount, but my goal to the creation of
the
list was to allow for all members to be able to speak and be heard as a
serious voice. This is not happening and possibly won't. After the
SEAOSC
board hears of this message, I may be history - but at least it is off
my
chest.

 

If the code is imperfect we have an ethical obligation to change our
profession rather than leave it to the few Sheppard's leading the lambs
to
slaughter. If you are interested, write me privately and I will start an
online petition which can be our voice by those not on the list who
still
have a voice in SEA. Next year, Michael Cochran, SE takes over as
president
of SEAoSC and as a former member I look forward to this change. Not only
do
I highly respect Michael as a friend and professional peer, but the
current
board president leaves much to be desired by means of compromise or
working
with the members for meaningful change. I believe Michael is more
empathetic
to the needs of the members as was his father Brian Cochran when I was
just
a young new active member of various committees.

 

Don't give in - become an active voice in change and it may just spread
into
an international effort.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Dennis S. Wish

 

Dennis S. Wish, PE

California Professional Engineer (C-41250)

Structural Engineering

54625 Avenida Bermudas

La Quinta, CA. 92253

 

Phone: 760.564.0884 (phone, fax and messages)

dennis.wish(--nospam--at)verizon.net


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