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Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

(OP)
Last year I posted a rant on AISC for all the errata that they published for the new 13th edition of the steel manual.  (here:  thread172-246274: AISC Manual Errata
)

I just found on their site that they have continued to update the errata - even changing the different errata-based printings so that now I don't have the original 1st printing errata available because they've mixed the different pdf files up - (i.e. the 2nd printing errata has some of the 1st printing errata in it).

This is confusing and I'm still very concerned that someone out there is going to use wrong data in designing their structure without realizing the manual has to be corrected (the entire Sx values of angles were incorrect in the tables).  Some of the errata are corrections of previous errata that were wrong again!!

Has anyone heard anything from AISC about why there were so many errors?  I'm still fuming that I had to spend so much time "fixing" my manual.

 

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

It was probably outsourced...  Same problem as Boeing.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering
Motto:  KISS
Motivation:  Don't ask

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

The new California Building Code is not even in effect yet and already there are errata being issued.

For the price of these books, why can't they do better.  I know I will get blamed for not volunteering for code development and writing.  But I need to sell my time to feed my family.

I feel your pain.


Bob G.

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

I can appreciate your frustration, and want you to know we do the best we can to make our publications the best they can be. I'm sorry there are any errors.

It's not for a lack of effort. AISC's books are written by volunteers and staff, and checked by volunteers and staff. We are human, and we do make -- and miss -- mistakes in those processes. Note that some of the items are revisions necessitated by changes, not changes to correct errors.

Are you aware that not everyone tells you when something is wrong in their documents? We tell you about it, and that act invites the kind of criticism you've leveled. But can your expectations be met? I suspect any set of drawings or calculations we could find would suffer when sent to 150,000 engineers to use over and over for many years.

I regret the difficulty it creates for you when you have an error in your Manual. I hope you will agree that "lousy" is an unfair criticism.

Charlie Carter
AISC
 

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

Until you are involved in the process, you can't appreciate the time and effort it takes to maintain these documents.  New volunteers are always coming in and experienced hands are always leaving.  Lousy is perhaps a bit strong but when perfection is the standard, missing the bar is going to be met with harsh criticism.  I salute those who maintain our standards and as a user hope for quick resolution of the issues.

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

2
(OP)
Charlie - I guess I shouldn't back off on anything I post here - in this case the adjective "lousy" was a vent and nothing more and I probably shouldn't have been so textually melodramatic.

The frustration is that, after looking at the 8 editions of the manual that I have on my shelf, this 13th edition (is 13 an unlucky number?) had so many more errors than past editions.  And some of them appeared to be just...well... amazing.  All the Sx values for angles were wrong?  Come on.

I can appreciate that you have staff and volunteers doing this, and that everyone is human.  But haven't you all done this before?  I guess I expect a little more accuracy with a manual that is used by "150,000" to design structures that people walk under!

You compared your manual to the engineer's standard of care...no human endeavor is perfect.  Fair enough.  Engineers are compared to what another reasonable engineer would do in the same circumstance.  

I'm simply comparing the 13th edition to its "peer group" which essentially are the past editions.  The 13th doesn't do well.

In some sense I should expect AISC to take back the manual I purchased and give me one without the errors.  Either that or I should send AISC an invoice for my time in fixing their manual.

I'm a member of AISC and think it a very good organization.  I just wish, as you do, that there were a more reasonable number of errors.

 

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

Again, I understand your position and I am sympathetic. A couple of things I wish were not the case (and that relate to your stated perceptions about there being more errors):

Older AISC Manuals aren't error free either. My most astonishing discovery is that the column equation in the First Edition (1928) AISC Manual was printed with the division line in the wrong place. That's not what makes it astonishing. The astonishing part is that the error lasted through about thirty printings (and two new editions) before it was discovered and corrected. It was a printing error only, of course. The tables were fine.

I remember finding errors in the 8th Edition when I was a student. At the time I always thought I must be wrong, but often I wasn't, and it was a surprise. I might even have criticized AISC. Now, my penance is to have a better understanding of the challenges that my predecessors faced as I am one among many trying to successfully do that work.

There is some solace: most errors are small and conservative. Things don't fail because the answer was 10 and the mistake said 15. Things fall down when the mistake says 100. That saves all of us on most of the mistakes we all make.

The angle Sx case is a perfect example of this. The calculation approach is complicated, and many people missed that it had a sign error on one of its terms. We discovered it, corrected it, and told you. Back when we didn't have web sites, it used to be hard to tell people, and people often didn't know. I'm lucky enough to know about all the bodies and I'm of the opinion that quality is improving, not declining.

Thanks for listening. We do hear you and do work hard to improve so that you have an easier time.

Charlie

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

Charlie:  soapbox

Quoting ...  "hope you will agree that "lousy" is an unfair criticism."

I cannot agree, volunteers or otherwise, as it is unacceptible considering the aspect of public safety, and additional cost to the client, respecting your comment of the mistakes being conservative.  Conservatism is not a viable argument as the pendulum does swing both ways here.  Correctness is.  We, as Professional Engineers, expect nothing less.  Nothing.   

We, as professionals, are expected by the courts and clients not to make mistakes.  When we do, we pay for it, and rightly so.  Our calculations are based on the values in these manuals, and OUR reputations are on the line here in the courts when bad data is relied upon, not yours.  

I have to agree with JAE that the bar needs to be raised.

I will step down now.  Thanks for listening.


 

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering
Motto:  KISS
Motivation:  Don't ask

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

I think I've already taken up too much of your time, so I won't comment further. I appreciate the feedback and hope my thoughts were worth sharing.

Charlie

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

Can the engineering associations get together and put an end to all the codes... and have one that is revised from year to year with a few printed pages, or as changes become necessary.

Dik

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

Charlie seems like a nice guy and a diplomat.  He seems to be a good representative for AISC.  He certainly could have taken up more of our time, but that's OK.  I'm sure he knows the dedication that his volunteers put in to their work, and would just defend them more.  I have been a part of a couple volunteer organizations and understand that good volunteers are hard to get.

However, I also take issue with all the errors.  Perhaps I would let it slide if codes were updated as necessary and not every 3-6 years causing us to buy new codes with new errors.  Fixing errata seem to be too regular given all the codes to be fixed: AISC, ACI, IBC, etc.  It has already beed determined that a new code will be issued in 30 and 60 years from now.  But I digress.

It also makes me wonder about the standard of care to put this document together.  Are these PE's that check the AISC manual or others not beholden to a certain quality of work?  I know that if 2 people at my company checked over documents and consistently put out this many errors, this would not be considered acceptable.

But again, this may be OK for volunteers who, like all of us, have lives and paying jobs.  AISC may need to address the AISC staff.  By Charlie's admission, "many people" missed a calculation error.  That tells me that "no one" actually checked the calcs.  Volunteers or staff, that's not good.

Though putting words in his mouth may be wrong, Charlie's next words might be "why don't you join AISC in writing the code"?  And I would except I would demand that the code get simpler and thinner.  That wouldn't go over too well with those whose only job is to write codes.

And now, I too will get off my soap box.  I do however want to thank Charlie for what he does for the steel industry.  I make a point of reading whatever his name is attached to.

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

No more Mr. Nice guy here on this issue.  Sorry, I have to vent further here.  

You cannot solve a problem by hiding your head in the sand or running from it.  You have to deal with it.  I do not want to hear that I am not a member of a committee and, therefore, should not have an opinion.  That is a cop-out, pure and simple.  I chose years ago to give back to my community other ways - the VA, Chartible professional donations of time to needy clients of my choice, local food banks, whatever.  That's my choice here, and the personal choce of us all.  Neither I, nor anyone else, should not be critized or professionally denegrated for our choices.

However, if one chooses, of his own volition, to be a member of a committee, that, in and of itself, does not minimize his or her professional obligation, in any way, to get it right.  It must be right.  I hold myself to no less a standard for my donated charitable time, and expect others to do the same.  It's only right.

No offense intended here, but I am slightly hacked on the issue.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering
Motto:  KISS
Motivation:  Don't ask

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

Should read:  "Neither I, nor anyone else, should be critized or professionally denegrated for our choices."

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering
Motto:  KISS
Motivation:  Don't ask

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

Charlie
Thanks for addressing these comments directly.  As always, thanks for all your hard work.  You are one of the busiest men I know.   And thanks for the continuing efforts of your staff and the other departments of AISC.   I am aware of similar issues with nearly every design reference available.  I prefer the proactive release of erata, versus waiting for published updates or individual confirmations.   

http://www.FerrellEngineering.com

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

150,000 users x $375 = over 56 million.  I suggest hiring a firm to produce the manual.

Bob Garner

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

I just checked the errata site.  I am way out of date.  I started to mark my manual where the errata occur.  I just spent 3 1/2 hours on this and I'm still not through.

I think some of my designs have errors in them based on what I'm seeing in the errata.  This is scary!

Bob Garner

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

The manual contains hundred of pages with thousands upon thousands of values, so it's inevitable that there may be errors. That being said, for the amount of money AISC makes off of these things they probably could've done better initially.

On a side note, I might be one of the ones to blame for the hundred-page errata for reporting the calculation error to my boss and AISC when I was a student co-op a couple of years of ago =). It took them quite a long while to verify the error and issue the errata.

Structural Design Engineer
New York, NY

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

It might be that the manual should not change... be in a 'loose leaf' binder type of publication that pages can be inserted as changes to the code evolve (maybe fewer changes can be considered).

In this manner, errors are corrected as they are encountered and stay with the main body of the code.  Saves the need for a new publication every few years which introduce 'new' errors.

Dik

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

Great post JAE!!

 

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

Bobber1... you forgot to include 150,000 x 3.5 hr x $150 / hr...

Dik

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

This thread has me worried. I have plenty of errata pages print out in a folder right next to the manual, but can someone point me towards a complete errata set or willing to post a complete set?

 

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

I have started to update my 13th Edition Fourth printing based upon the provided errata on the AISC Website.  They state that for Tables 1-16 & 1-17 that "the values for plastic section modulus and radius of gyration have been corrected. The corrected table is provided in the attached pages."  The plastic section moduli in the tables in my book are wrong, however, the radii of gyration all appear to be correct.  Anyone else see this issue?

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

(OP)
It is a giant cluster.

Different printings have different corrections included and the errata doesn't appear to always track with any one particular printing.

 

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

"It is a giant cluster."

I think you omitted a word JAE...  bigsmile

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

 

RE: Lousy AISC manual - errata errata errata

I agree that there were too many errors, but...

I think you guys are probably underestimating the number of errors that you make.  I'm thinking back to about 2002 when I had completed a big concrete building, and had the as-built drawings printed for my record.  The CB schedule had lots of clouds.  Rebar detailer calls and says a hook won't fit, suspects a typo and was right, did I really mean to have a straight bar where a hook should be, etc.  My percentage of correct entries was really high, but out of 25 sheets of CBs, I bet there were at least 50 mistakes.  Nothing huge or dangerous IIRC, but they were mistakes.

I bet if you guys had someone tally up the number of errors you make in a large job, or sifted through your calculations, it might be eye-opening.  

The % of correct stuff in the 13th Ed. Manual is extremely high, but nobody computes that!  Also, from the tone of this thread, I suspect that if the errors were divided by ten, there would still be complaints, but that's my speculation only.  I realize some of this is probably fed by frustration over frequent code and spec editions, but AISC is a minor offender in this regard IMO, compared to others.

And no, I'm not an AISC employee.

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