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I think you make my point David


The loads are similar to previous codes, meaning that buildings have not collapsed due to insufficient code loads.

The “evolution” or dramatically increased size, of the current code comes from “research” and “observations” of natural disasters which have not affected the force levels.  Does that sound like publishing from academia in order to get payment and credit for producing more complicated calculations?

You will need the new codes to assist with detailing requirements; is that, perhaps, because most engineers have not, and will not, learn how to prepare sections and details on their drawings to demonstrate constructability, continuity, ductility and redundancy for the structures that emit from their computers? 

And, is all of that because most engineers find it easier to plug into their computer calculations more factors from their code books that they hope will give them the right answer without their understanding anything about the structures they are designing?


The engineers who continually add things to the code and I agree on the existence of a problem with getting engineers to consider all aspects that should go into a structural design.  The difference is that many of them think that it will be improved by adding more factors and equations into the code without realizing that such a course only makes the collection of code documents more complex and less usable by the average engineer, plan checker and contractor who has to install the materials that are specified.


I am suggesting that we all take more time to consider, based on experience with actual structural performance, rather than virtual models, what the real effects of those proposed code changes and additions will make in the field.  That is something that cannot be done just by sitting behind one’s computer – you have to get out into the construction site to see how drawings are interpreted, how the structure is actually put together and how it responds to actual loads which often do not come in the form anticipated during design.


Richard Hess



From: David Topete [mailto:d.topete73(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 11:05 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: ASCE 07


Computing loads per the current ASCE 7-05 in effect when compared to older UBC codes from 20 years ago may yield similar forces.  The evolution of code thickness comes from research and observations from earthquakes and other natural disasters.  Bottom line: you'll still need the newer codes and design guides to assist with detailing requirements for the various Seismic Design Categories and wind exposures.

On Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 4:54 PM, Bill Polhemus <bill(--nospam--at)> wrote:

That was my point. Either way.

The real discussion, since I seriously doubt that the code revision cycle will change, centers around "what prevents you from computing loads using the older, simpler methods and using those in your design?"

William L. Polhemus, Jr. P.E.
Via iPhone 4

On Jul 11, 2011, at 2:42 PM, "Richard Hess" <RLHess(--nospam--at)> wrote:

> Bill,
> I believe that we are witnessing a knee-jerk response by adding everything to the code that can be calculated in a new way.

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