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Old 09-27-2014, 11:24 AM
 
26,591 posts, read 52,313,328 times
Reputation: 20438

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I'm not against building codes... it is good to have a standard with which to measure.

The other part of building is zoning plus design review in many parts of my city.

I helped build a home that had to be completely relocated/designed because of a single tree... the city would not budge on this... 7 years after my friends had moved in the tree toppled in a big storm and did a lot of damage to a neighbors home... it got ugly and eventually the insurance companies settled.

My friend and his arborist said the tree was at the end of life and advocated removal... the neighbor who happened to own the home that was damaged led the opposition to save the tree... lucky my friends had an entire file on the tree and copies of the letters the neighbor had sent the city in support of the tree.

My comment was more about pointing out there are still places in this country where you can pitch a tent, live in a trailer or build your dream home with little restriction...

My brother lives in the SF Bay Area in an area with expensive homes... his home dates pre 1900 and there are no permits for it's construction... only one for an electrical upgrade and family room addition.

One more current example if I may...

In 1995 we built a new wing to the Hospital... even received an award from the city for using state of the art T8 lighting.

Right now the wing is undergoing a major remodel for new imaging machines and the city code says we cannot reuse any of the award winning light fixtures from 1995... every relocated or new fixture must be LED...

So the code is forcing perfectly functional and efficient lighting to the landfill/hazard waste recyle
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Old 09-28-2014, 07:57 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,013 posts, read 102,621,396 times
Reputation: 33082
Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
The problem with no building codes is that the end product tends to be pretty horrid--and in places like the Bay Area, where the ground shakes, building codes are the reasons why major earthquakes in California few or no fatalities, while major earthquakes in other parts of the world kill hundreds or thousands when their inexpensive, free-market-driven housing collapses and crushes people to death. The 1906 San Francisco Brings a new meaning to "get out of the way"--of the collapsing buildings!

That's part of why the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake resulted in about one-eighth of the fatalities of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake--despite there being nearly 10 times as many people in the Bay Area. All that wasteful "big government" spending on earthquake-safe building codes, public safety infrastructure, etc., paid off in saved lives.
Exactly! I'm not sure where this nutty idea about no building codes being a good thing came from. Developers are in it for the bottom line; if they can cut corners, they will. This has been a forever thing, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultrarunner View Post
I'm not against building codes... it is good to have a standard with which to measure.

The other part of building is zoning plus design review in many parts of my city.

I helped build a home that had to be completely relocated/designed because of a single tree... the city would not budge on this... 7 years after my friends had moved in the tree toppled in a big storm and did a lot of damage to a neighbors home... it got ugly and eventually the insurance companies settled.

My friend and his arborist said the tree was at the end of life and advocated removal... the neighbor who happened to own the home that was damaged led the opposition to save the tree... lucky my friends had an entire file on the tree and copies of the letters the neighbor had sent the city in support of the tree.

My comment was more about pointing out there are still places in this country where you can pitch a tent, live in a trailer or build your dream home with little restriction...

My brother lives in the SF Bay Area in an area with expensive homes... his home dates pre 1900 and there are no permits for it's construction... only one for an electrical upgrade and family room addition.

One more current example if I may...

In 1995 we built a new wing to the Hospital... even received an award from the city for using state of the art T8 lighting.

Right now the wing is undergoing a major remodel for new imaging machines and the city code says we cannot reuse any of the award winning light fixtures from 1995... every relocated or new fixture must be LED...

So the code is forcing perfectly functional and efficient lighting to the landfill/hazard waste recyle
Well, yeah, codes can be bureaucratic. But you can't just "let the market decide". A lot of stuff in building codes is things you can't see, like insulation, etc.
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Old 09-28-2014, 10:12 AM
 
26,591 posts, read 52,313,328 times
Reputation: 20438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Well, yeah, codes can be bureaucratic. But you can't just "let the market decide". A lot of stuff in building codes is things you can't see, like insulation, etc.
And a lot of it is pure revenue for the city/county.

Case in point.

I had a total roof replacement including new sheathing, etc at my home. Original was wood shake which was "Required" when the home was built and now not allowed.

To convert I couldn't use the skip sheathing and had to replace all the sheathing.

I insisted on a permit which was no problem... have the copy of the signed off permit along with my warranty information and receipt.

So here is the rub...

I paid extra for the permit and never saw a single inspection and 4 are required when sheathing is replaced.

Called the city and learned that they don't always come out and actually inspect...

Then I learned that if the contractor has preferred status the city only randomly inspects and my contractor has preferred status and yes, he did a great job because I'm an engineer and did my own inspections along the way...

You do realize in almost every case the city is not responsible or errors or omissions should approved work be later found deficient or in my case never even inspected?

I've pulled my own permits for building additions, remodels, alterations and service upgrades...

Being an engineer owner builder and not a contractor... the inspectors are always very detailed... once, on a new electrical service 5 inspectors show up... 4 were new hires and each was tasked to independently check my work and then they conferred... of course I passed.

The head inspector commented on my work and I told him I am director of engineering at the local hospital... it has to be done right the first time...
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Old 09-28-2014, 10:20 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,013 posts, read 102,621,396 times
Reputation: 33082
Well, we don't want people living in cold water walk-ups with cardboard over dirt floors.
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Old 09-28-2014, 11:01 AM
 
26,591 posts, read 52,313,328 times
Reputation: 20438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Well, we don't want people living in cold water walk-ups with cardboard over dirt floors.
So how does this explain taking out a building permit, having it signed off and NEVER having a single inspection and having it justified by saying the contractor does good work?

No one relies on building department oversight when it comes to important projects... independent engineers and architects are employed to verify projects are built to plan without shortcuts...

We added two surgery suites and as they were nearing completion... the building inspector wanted different door swings in contradiction to the approved plans... so of course I authorized the changes.

At final inspection the Fire Marshall came through and would not sign off because of the door swings

I called a meeting between Building and Fire and said I will do will do whatever is necessary so long as they are in agreement...

Building deferred to Fire and I had to change all the doors back to the way we had them...

It would be wonderful if a stamp of approval from a building inspector was enough to ensure a quality project built to plan...
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Old 09-28-2014, 11:04 AM
 
26,591 posts, read 52,313,328 times
Reputation: 20438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Well, we don't want people living in cold water walk-ups with cardboard over dirt floors.
As a side note... I love camping.
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Old 09-28-2014, 11:53 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,013 posts, read 102,621,396 times
Reputation: 33082
Nice to see you take sub-standard housing seriously.
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Old 09-28-2014, 03:58 PM
 
9,520 posts, read 14,838,412 times
Reputation: 9769
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Well, we don't want people living in cold water walk-ups with cardboard over dirt floors.
This is true, but the problem is that building codes don't stop there... or anywhere. They get more elaborate, more convoluted, more stringent. For instance, AFCI breakers now required are over 10x more expensive than regular breakers (thank you, lobbyists for the AFCI breaker manufacturers). NYC requires a built-in-place cement mortar shower pan (with lead liner!) while most of the country has banned lead liners and does allow pre-made acrylic or iron pans. The number and placement of electrical outlets in each room is spelled out. And if you want a copy of the code so you can consult it on your DIY project? Well, the county office might let you LOOK at their copy during regular business hours, but if you want one you'll have to buy it for hundreds of dollars.
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Old 09-28-2014, 04:56 PM
 
26,591 posts, read 52,313,328 times
Reputation: 20438
I think we all take housing seriously... nothing special about me.

I've been asked to comment on code proposals for the NFPA so I have a little experience on the subject.

Could just be the practical side of me... generations have grown up perfectly fine in homes built in the last century and just about every issue can be traced to a lack of maintenance or understanding of how things work plus stupidity.

Take for instance Smoke Detectors...

The standard came out requiring one and the it required one per floor plus one in each bedroom...

Now the standard requires hardwired detectors here... why??? because it was found the people living in the dwellings didn't care enough to replace batteries or worse yet deactivated them... whose fault it that?

Back on point about Gentrification...

Gentrification takes older, depressed areas and rejuvenates through renovation and improvement... bringing structures up to current codes and modernizing... it would seem anyone concerned about substandard housing would be all for bettering the existing stock... it is quite the opposite in my community... kind of no matter what you do... you will never please everyone.

The fact is people willing sell out and others willing buy... there could be no homes to buy if sellers didn't want to sell...
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:31 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,436 posts, read 11,933,106 times
Reputation: 10542
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultrarunner View Post
Take for instance Smoke Detectors...

The standard came out requiring one and the it required one per floor plus one in each bedroom...

Now the standard requires hardwired detectors here... why??? because it was found the people living in the dwellings didn't care enough to replace batteries or worse yet deactivated them... whose fault it that?
I read an interesting essay awhile back from a fire chief who concluded that smoke detectors basically didn't work. He looked at the number of fires over the period of time where smoke detectors were put in place (IIRC, the 1970s) and found no decrease overall. The drop in the number of fires seems only to have been caused by earlier changes to fire codes, which unfortunately I cannot remember right now. Regardless, he concluded they are largely useless devices for preventing major fires.
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