• When the design analysis and methodology are not based on authoritative documents or design guides, this method of validation may be used in lieu of code provisions. The code requires a peer review in Section 104.3.4 for any methods falling into this category.

    The questions that need to be answered to determine if a design method using an unsubstantiated document is appropriate include:

    • Who developed the engineering standards, design guides and standards of practice proposed for use?

    • Who evaluates them on their ability to perform their intended function?

    • Who validates them?

    • Who deems them to be acceptable?

    • How are they included in the system such that, once accepted, they can be readily used?

    The individually substantiated design method was created to provide a mechanism to promote innovation but in a structured manner. An example may be the application of a new design method that was developed through a Ph.D. thesis. This method can be used once a higher level of review, perhaps a peer review and validation, has occurred relative to the appropriateness and limits of the methods application. Once a document is considered a design guide or an authoritative document, a higher level of confidence and comfort exists relative to the use of the document for design.

    The design professional may use the approach of comparing the design with a compliant prescriptive code design or with a performance-based design utilizing a design guide or authoritative document to demonstrate compliance with the intent of the performance code.