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How should AS3600 be produced? (new thread from old)

How should AS3600 be produced? (new thread from old)

By the sounds of things I think the committee has got the sh*ts with SAI-Global.

There was talk of emulating ACI and crating the code through CIA, Which I can see no reason for exploring.

asixth (Structural):     
I agree, and I like the set-up that ACI has with sub committees (eg Creep and Shrinkage sub-committee, Carbon Fibre sub-committee, detailing sub-committee, FE sub-committee just to name a few). I also enjoy the ACI publication "Concrete International", I find it very helpful with the bi-monthly CRSI "Detailing Corner" and the regular Q&A postings.   

rapt (Structural):     

I left at afternoon tea.

I had written a great response to this and it crashed in the sending, so I will give a summary of it as I am not writing it all again (not happy!!!)

Yes, they are unhappy but with Standards Australia, not SAIGlobal. This has been developing for several years because of the problems with getting this code out. And it has been caused by some groups in the industry (all related to one main group) blocking the code plus the Standards rules on committees and consensus. Standards stuffup with its finances and future codes has not helped (wonder where all of the money went, it was not all to the GFC from what I hear (ever heard of BONUSES!).

Standards Australia has suggested different ways of funding/developing future versions of AS3600. CIA, ACI and EC2 were 3. Another was Standards Australia with monetary support from industry (eg CIA so why not do it themselves as most of the current committee are CIA members and doing it for nothing, not even airline fares and accommodation are paid).

If it was done by CIA it would be the same as ACI doing it for USA!

Noone on the current committee wants to adopt ACI or EC2 as they would need to be modified significantly anyway, and because of the way AS3600 is written, it is based on a lot of testing and developemnt that has gone into both of those codes plus other work. In fact, AS3600 is probably the best of the 3 because of that. Unfortunately it is not as advanced as it could be because of the problems above which have delayed future development.

All 3 codes are developed by a main committee with a sub-committee structure under it. There is no real difference in the way they work except that the chair of the main ACI committee gets to pick his committee, as distinct from AS3600 where the chairman gets who he is given by Standards Australia! In both cases the chairman of each subcommittee can put anyone he wants on a subcommittee and any main committee member can also join. There are good and bad points to both methods. A combination would be best!

EC2 is actually a model code and each country using it rewrites it anyway!

ACI has lots of testing and development work behind it. It is amazing it is such a bad code (in my opinion) considering this! But anything developed by a committee will always have problems.

I do not see what Concrete International has to do with this discussion about codes. It is unrelated and has gone downhill a lot over the years. The ACI Journal has a lot better articles as far as I am concerned and are in many cases reporting the research the ACI code is based on.

CIA also puts out a technical magazine. Does this make it eligible to produce a code also!

IDS (Civil/Environme):     
No doubt the immediate frustrations with AS3600 are directed at Standards Australia, but it seems to me that the root cause of many of the current problems is the strange system where Standards Australia (through a large band of unpaid volunteers) does all the work and the public listed company SAI Global gets all the reward.

The current issue of Engineers Australia has a letter jointly signed by many current or past chairs of Standards Australia committees (including several current members of BD2), expressing concern about the funding situation at Standards Australia, and looking for a more active role from Engineers Australia.

The director of Engineers Australia (Martin Dwyer) responded positively to this suggestion, but the question remains of how any organisation, whether it be Engineers Australia, CIA, or someone else, will fund the preparation of new standards when they are legally obliged to hand over their work for zero recompense to an organisation that exists for the purpose of making profits for its shareholders.

Doug Jenkins
Interactive Design Services
rapt (Structural):     

As I understand it, Standards Australia came up with the brilliant idea to sell the rights to print and sell all Australian Standards documents to SAI Global for (I think) a period of 20 years.

So SAI Global has paid for these rights. Something in the order of $250,000,000 as I understand it. This was then invested (less some significant bonuses paid to those brilliant people who organised the financial windfall for Standards Australia!). Standards Australia were then supposed to use the proceeds of this "sale"/contract, plus the interest/dividends from investing it, to fund its operations for the term of the contract, 20 years.

It is apparently down to closer to $150,000,000 now and is not sufficient to fund continuing operations like writing new standards to control every aspect of our lives like they have over the last few years (to increase their market and make themselves more valuable) and to pay their bloated burocracy.

Whether or not the above had happened, everyone on committees has been doing it for free since 1932 or whenever Standards began to be developed in Australia, supposedly because of their altruistic nature. The only difference is that, Previously Standards Australia made the money from each sale of a printed document, whereas now it has been paid upfront for the sales for the next 20 years.

So it is not SAI Global's fault as such. Standards Australia got themselves into the mess all by themselves. It is their rights contract and management of the money from the sale of this rights contract that has caused the problem.

They should be thrown into jail with the USA merchant bankers. They have basically made the same mistakes and ripped off us, the end user/taxpayer.

The only solution would appear to be a government bailout or an industry by industry bailout by each industry funding its own standard development, the sales rights to which still belong to SAL Global for 20 years, because legally, Standards Australia is currently the only body allowed to produce Standards Documents and they must be sold through SAI Global because they have already paid for the right to sell them!

So presumably, we as an industry have to fund the development of the next AS3600 (committee members have been doing it for years, now everyone has to) and then pay for a copy of the final document as well or SAI Global might sue and consequently shut down Standards Australia for breach of contract. And that might be the best solution in the end!

degenn (Structural):     
I think a new thread is needed as we've changed subject!

I think some of the ideas raised at recent AS3600 conferences for a blog or faq site is perhaps a step in the right direction to resolve the problems of getting a formal code out in a timely fashion. Any thoughts?

Arguing with an engineer is like wrestling with a pig in mud. After a while you realize that them like it

RE: How should AS3600 be produced? (new thread from old)

What about a manual instead of a code, like the PCI manual. Maybe it could be called "The Australian reinforced concrete policy".

This would be the equivalent of a code, however it would not have to be given away for free, but still could be sold through SAi-gobal, so they still make money and don't get too upset, with the CIA and take it out on Standards Australia.

I would not be in favour of the IEAust getting involved, only because this would bring a new level of governing body and a lot of possible problems from external sources such as the steel industry ect.

As for people getting paid for the work they do on the committee. While I realise these guys do a lot of work for "free", I think that the money to get it up and going would be too great for ensure success of any code/manual. This would be a hard one to solve.     

Arguing with an engineer is like wrestling with a pig in mud. After a while you realize that them like it

RE: How should AS3600 be produced? (new thread from old)

SA has a 'memorandum of understanding' with the Commonwealth Government which, I assume, facilitates their Australian Standards being recognised by the BCA.

Anything the industry produces will have to be recognised by the BCA or it will be just a guide. It would take some fight to change the current arrangement between AS's and the BCA.

We will always potentially have a particular interest group trying to upset the process to suit themselves.

I still think that producing AS's thru the SA is the future, just the rules regarding consensus and prompt issue of amendments when required require revision.

RE: How should AS3600 be produced? (new thread from old)

It HAS to be an Australian Standard. Design manuals are not appropriate except possibly as a Commentary. And under current law it has to be through Standards Australia and contracturally distributed by SAI Global.

It would be interesting to work out how much the development of a new version of AS3600 would cost. Currently as I see it the costs are as follows

- Committee members - currently cost $0. Committee members are willing to put in their time as long as it is appreciated and they are not stuffed around, insulted, denigrated, threatened with law suits etc).  Add in covering the travel expenses for committee members.

- Standards Australia - provides 1 secretary (normally an engineer for engineering standards) who is actually secretary to 20-30 different standards. He/she organises meetings, takes minutes and prepares the document from the minutes. Assume cost of $200,000 per year to cover salary and expenses and assume the one person would handle the main engineering standards, concrete, steel, loading, materials, composite, light timber/housing, water retaining, bridges, etc. So, say $15,000 per standard per year. AS3600 is currently updated about every 9 years but there is a logic to this being 5-6 years. So about $100,000 per code per code cycle (wonder why Standards cannot fund this out of their $150,000,000 + interest).

Though CIA would be controlling the AS3600 committee, it would still have to be representative of the industry. Major industry groups would be represented (most are members of ACI anyway).

When you think about it, it is not much. CIA is currently running 6 courses on AS3600-2009. About 500 attendees at about $500 each. That is $250,000. It should not be difficult to partly fund it out of training courses over the code cycle. Standards Australia would have to provide some funding and related industry groups could also (eg IEAust, SRIA, BOSMA, C&CAA, PTI, etc). Plus these groups fund the expenses of their own representatives on the committees. Universities already provide a lot of committee members and fund some committee meeting costs etc.

Another possibility is that there be an overall committee which appoints 2 or 3 paid experts to produce an upgrade which is then voted on/ammended by the committee.

RE: How should AS3600 be produced? (new thread from old)

"Committee members are willing to put in their time as long as it is appreciated and they are not stuffed around, insulted, denigrated, threatened with law suits etc"

This to me is a situation that needs to be solved, because at the end of the day these guys are the work horses. Without them the standards stops, while that suits some existing companies, it doesn't work for the engineering profession as new products become more main stream.

how you solve this in the CIA I don't know. But maybe it should be run more like a board room, with area's that affect your commercial business mean you have to stand down when they vote on topic related, with a paid expert deciding this.

Arguing with an engineer is like wrestling with a pig in mud. After a while you realize that them like it

RE: How should AS3600 be produced? (new thread from old)


I was at a evening presentation at EngAust Brisbane recently hosted by the "National Association of Steel Framed Housing" who do actually have their handbook referenced in the BCA as a deemed to have satisfied document. It was their opinion that it was going to be more likely that design manual produced by independent organisations were going to be referenced more often in the BCA.

Just to close out our other discussion regarding "Concrete International". I was merely expressing how helpful I have found some articles in there lately particularly the detailing corner, articles of note include "Sloped versus stepped footings for walls" and "Grade beam depth and dowel embedment".

And also a quick personal question:

I just had a colleague ask me about an excel spreadsheet they were developing that calculates the interaction diagram of high-strength concrete columns. As you know the current release of AS3600 only covers concrete strength up to 65MPa. I haven't looked to deeply into the draft version by I am assuming that AS3600 will take a similar approach to ACI318 and have an additional parameter to describe the stress developed over the equivalent rectangular stress block.

How is RAPT (software) handling the major structural revisions in AS3600?  

RE: How should AS3600 be produced? (new thread from old)


Yes, ABCB likes that idea. They also want AS3600 to be a prescriptive code (like the timber framing code). They basically want a set of member/load tables that anyone can pick a design out of! If this logic is allowed, engineers will not be required for much of the concrete design according to them! They are not engineers and do not understand concrete design.

RE High strength Columns in AS3600, they now include up to 100MPa and yes, they have included an variable depth factor and a variable strength factor. RAPT has always done this to allow people to design higher strength concretes. We had previously based ours on the NZ code (except that RAPT uses a parabolic/rectangular block, not the code rectangular). The new AS3600 numbers (and the old ones for that matter) are actually very doubtful (as are the ACI numbers). To check this, using 58MPa concrete, check the location of the compression force centroid for a square column at decompression. It grossly overestimates the moment at decompression! I have pointed this out to the committee and they have finally agreed there MAY be a problem, but it was too late for this version of the code. It will be in the 2050 version!!

RE AS3600-2009 in RAPT. We will be releasing a new version which will allow the user to select either the 2001 or the 2009 version of AS3600. Because the 2009 code will not be in BCA until 2011, theoretically you will still be designing to the 2001 code but you must allow for any changes that fix unconservative problems in the 2001 code now that you know they exist eg lap lengths of small bars.

Some of it is already done, but I have been holding off until they produce a final document(I have been caught before).

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