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Old 12-24-2009, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Rutland, VT
1,822 posts, read 4,520,434 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctichomesteader View Post
Observations, and research. Not just in Vermont either but VT is a good example of this. I know people rent for many reasons, but, when someone is renting, they're more likely to want the government tightly regulating everything from issues like lead paint to smoke detectors to wiring to plumbing to door size to stairs design, etc., in case they get a bad landlord.
I'm unfamiliar with correlation between renting and favoring more government regulation. As a tenant in five different states, I took any issues directly to my landlords. Laws regulating rental properties never occurred to me. I didn't buy my first house (the house I live in still) until I was 36 and I don't believe my opinions on the subject have changed much in the last 10 years.

But that's just me. Maybe you have some studies or data that show this correlation?
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Old 12-24-2009, 06:14 PM
 
Location: The Woods
16,935 posts, read 22,198,202 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherylcatmom View Post
I'm unfamiliar with correlation between renting and favoring more government regulation. As a tenant in five different states, I took any issues directly to my landlords. Laws regulating rental properties never occurred to me. I didn't buy my first house (the house I live in still) until I was 36 and I don't believe my opinions on the subject have changed much in the last 10 years.

But that's just me. Maybe you have some studies or data that show this correlation?
The "renter mentality" has been documented quite a bit. Wish I could give a specific study on it, and its effects on this, but I have nothing handy. But this was one of the reasons for the property requirements to vote early in U.S. history in many states, it was known then as well.

Obviously not every renter gets it but it's common with many lifelong renters...

Last edited by arctichomesteader; 12-24-2009 at 06:27 PM..
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Old 12-28-2009, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Providence, RI
986 posts, read 2,025,972 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctichomesteader View Post
Observations, and research. Not just in Vermont either but VT is a good example of this. I know people rent for many reasons, but, when someone is renting, they're more likely to want the government tightly regulating everything from issues like lead paint to smoke detectors to wiring to plumbing to door size to stairs design, etc., in case they get a bad landlord. VT recently made a law requiring all landlords install CO detectors in addition to smoke alarms, and there's the new lead regulations (which had the bill not been modified after outcry would have regulated casting bullets out of existence). Then those regulations spill over onto everyone else who builds a house even if they don't rent it out (the building codes that is that are increasingly strict)...it's worse as I see it, this tendency to want bigger government, with the welfare and section 8 types than those renting for reasons of, perhaps, not wanting to be tied to the area for job reasons, etc.

Now, myself, I've always put in my own CO detectors since I burn so many lamps and some heaters indoors, and lead paint? I don't eat paint chips and a lead paint testing kit is cheap enough to check if there's a problem with it. But the notion of doing these things themselves is foreign to some people.
Much of this might be true for people who can't afford to buy and rent their entire lives, but at the same time, they deserve some protections from bad landlords, of which there are many. I rented for quite some time and either fixed the issues I had myself or took them up with the landlords. The lead paint and CO detector thing isn't just VT. Landlords were up in arms in RI when they started the lead paint laws. I honestly don't even know what they require. Every place I've lived, I got a little pamphlet explaining lead paint and the dangers, mainly because everywhere I've lived has had lead paint somewhere, including the house I bought. As a renter, I just wanted protections spelled out for me in the case that I had to sue my landlord for some reason. Otherwise, I didn't care what they were as long as I had some legal protections. Does that make me favor gov't regulation? Not really. I could care less about lead paint and CO. I've never lived somewhere with a fireplace, wood stove, or forced hot air. So I've never really had to worry about it. I know the CO detector laws have gotten stricter. My last landlord had to install building-wide detectors that were connected to the power with batteries for backup only. Prior to that, I was responsible for changing the batteries in the smoke and CO detectors when they died, which was fine with me.

I'm still not seeing the correlation. Renters deserve some protections from bad landlords and building codes are there to protect the inhabitants, whether your rent or own (after all, you're not going to be the only one to live in a house after you build it).
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Old 12-28-2009, 03:55 PM
 
Location: The Woods
16,935 posts, read 22,198,202 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RunawayJim View Post
Much of this might be true for people who can't afford to buy and rent their entire lives, but at the same time, they deserve some protections from bad landlords, of which there are many. I rented for quite some time and either fixed the issues I had myself or took them up with the landlords. The lead paint and CO detector thing isn't just VT. Landlords were up in arms in RI when they started the lead paint laws. I honestly don't even know what they require. Every place I've lived, I got a little pamphlet explaining lead paint and the dangers, mainly because everywhere I've lived has had lead paint somewhere, including the house I bought. As a renter, I just wanted protections spelled out for me in the case that I had to sue my landlord for some reason. Otherwise, I didn't care what they were as long as I had some legal protections. Does that make me favor gov't regulation? Not really. I could care less about lead paint and CO. I've never lived somewhere with a fireplace, wood stove, or forced hot air. So I've never really had to worry about it. I know the CO detector laws have gotten stricter. My last landlord had to install building-wide detectors that were connected to the power with batteries for backup only. Prior to that, I was responsible for changing the batteries in the smoke and CO detectors when they died, which was fine with me.

I'm still not seeing the correlation. Renters deserve some protections from bad landlords and building codes are there to protect the inhabitants, whether your rent or own (after all, you're not going to be the only one to live in a house after you build it).
I think you inadvertently proved my point.

I'm not arguing renters shouldn't have some recourse against bad landlords. I just don't want it spilling over onto people who wish to build their own homes, like myself. The lead law originally proposed here almost spilled over onto people who load their own ammo too. As it is it has had the effect of many historic structures having original trim, doors, windows, etc., removed rather than spend more to strip them of old lead paint. Unintended consequences, but I've been picking the stuff up cheap for myself too.

I'd argue the building codes have had the opposite of the intended effect. Buildings are generally now just built to code, which isn't that great, and people will cut corners too (I've seen both of these first hand BTW) and throughout the time building codes have existed, the average lifespan of a house has declined rapidly. It's now I think somewhere around the 20 year mark, versus 80 to 100 a century ago. If I built a house as they were 150 to 300 years ago, it could last several centuries, but it also wouldn't be allowed in several areas because of building codes, which in fact would cause the quality to be lower. If you've ever read the Foxfire Book (volume 1), there's an excellent section dealing with hewn log cabins in Appalachia. Those will last hundreds of years done as that book shows, but it wouldn't conform to most codes.

Building codes should not apply to homes people build and live in themselves. If the house is sold, there could be a disclaimer required explaining no code applied when it was built and no inspections were done, buyer beware, etc.
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Old 12-28-2009, 06:25 PM
 
Location: Inis Fada
16,789 posts, read 28,995,932 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctichomesteader View Post
I think you inadvertently proved my point.

I'm not arguing renters shouldn't have some recourse against bad landlords. I just don't want it spilling over onto people who wish to build their own homes, like myself. The lead law originally proposed here almost spilled over onto people who load their own ammo too. As it is it has had the effect of many historic structures having original trim, doors, windows, etc., removed rather than spend more to strip them of old lead paint. Unintended consequences, but I've been picking the stuff up cheap for myself too.

I'd argue the building codes have had the opposite of the intended effect. Buildings are generally now just built to code, which isn't that great, and people will cut corners too (I've seen both of these first hand BTW) and throughout the time building codes have existed, the average lifespan of a house has declined rapidly. It's now I think somewhere around the 20 year mark, versus 80 to 100 a century ago. If I built a house as they were 150 to 300 years ago, it could last several centuries, but it also wouldn't be allowed in several areas because of building codes, which in fact would cause the quality to be lower. If you've ever read the Foxfire Book (volume 1), there's an excellent section dealing with hewn log cabins in Appalachia. Those will last hundreds of years done as that book shows, but it wouldn't conform to most codes.

Building codes should not apply to homes people build and live in themselves. If the house is sold, there could be a disclaimer required explaining no code applied when it was built and no inspections were done, buyer beware, etc.
My husband is a carpenter/contractor who specializes in old home restorations. Not being able to speak for building code in VT, what we deal with in NY is for everyone's benefit. Sometimes it seems a bit too intensive, but we comply fully and build to code plus.

A home's lifespan is impacted by many things: the location (weather, etc.), builder's skill/knowledge, building materials, subsequent 'improvements' and the "improvers" degree (or lack) of knowledge and skills, maintenance (or lack thereof.) We have seen countless homes over 150 years old which look solid, but get to the nitty gritty and there are foundation issues, idiots in the past who have drilled through support beams to run plumbing (weakening the structure), removal of load bearing walls with improper (or lack) of proper headers and support, water service situated over an electrical panel, improperly supported fireplaces, corners of houses resting on cisterns, additions which were not correctly tied into the original structure, staircases not properly installed -- you name it --etc., I could go on.

Modern code is a good thing, especially when you take plumbing, gas, and electric into account.
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:45 PM
 
Location: The Woods
16,935 posts, read 22,198,202 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OhBeeHave View Post
My husband is a carpenter/contractor who specializes in old home restorations. Not being able to speak for building code in VT, what we deal with in NY is for everyone's benefit. Sometimes it seems a bit too intensive, but we comply fully and build to code plus.

A home's lifespan is impacted by many things: the location (weather, etc.), builder's skill/knowledge, building materials, subsequent 'improvements' and the "improvers" degree (or lack) of knowledge and skills, maintenance (or lack thereof.) We have seen countless homes over 150 years old which look solid, but get to the nitty gritty and there are foundation issues, idiots in the past who have drilled through support beams to run plumbing (weakening the structure), removal of load bearing walls with improper (or lack) of proper headers and support, water service situated over an electrical panel, improperly supported fireplaces, corners of houses resting on cisterns, additions which were not correctly tied into the original structure, staircases not properly installed -- you name it --etc., I could go on.

Modern code is a good thing, especially when you take plumbing, gas, and electric into account.
I've witnessed first hand new construction and how poor it generally is, as I have done a bit of construction work putting up some butt ugly mcmansions. A few things I noted: boards that should have been thrown out for their defects getting used in important locations (beams, etc.), foam board of some sort as sheathing, no plywood or boards (yes it meets code but it's crap and makes weak walls), OSB IMHO is junk, I've seen it come apart after a year or two, and you have to assume at some point something will leak and get it wet somewhere eventually, the foundation work looked poorly done (didn't see much rebar either before it was poored and it wasn't special concrete being used either at that), there were things way off square all over, largely because of the foundation being off, and plenty of other stuff...had I been in charge a lot of things would have been done differently...

Code sucks. And it makes it difficult or impossible to use some older methods that work better.

I've lived in older houses...occasionally the mortar will need repointing on old masonry (but the old lime mortar is also more flexible and self-heals, and doesn't damage stone or brick like modern mortar).

Lots of stuff on older homes doesn't meet code but it's not necessarily weak. Staircases or fireplaces may be "improperly constructed" according to code but when something has withstood 100, 200 or more years, I think it speaks for itself. I know inspectors and modern builders will shudder at the thought of joists at 2 foot centers but it works when done right, with the old timber framed houses. There's log cabins sitting on rocks on the ground that are 150+ years old doing just fine (yes now and then you need to level the floor a bit, not a big deal, it's actually not an uncommon problem even today in Alaska where there's permafrost issues), and 20 year old homes built to code on crumbling concrete collapsing. The older timber (old growth, very strong stuff, and of larger dimensions) was of better quality and will take more damage and still retain strength compared to modern fast-grown lumber. Actually, if you ever get the chance, compare the strength of split (rived) boards versus sawn, it's impressive how much stronger they are. Cut nails hold better than modern nails too.

I'm well aware of the things done when indoor plumbing got added but that is easily reversed and considering those floors have held up sometimes a century butchered up speaks volumes about their original strength...

Any way it's spun, average house life expectancy has declined in the U.S. rapidly as building codes got stricter. The government has no business telling a person how to build his/her own home.
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Old 12-29-2009, 04:28 PM
 
890 posts, read 2,560,887 times
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I have to agree with artichomesteader on this one. It's amazing that homes that are hundreds of years old are inhabitable at all, and it's a testament to their craftmanship, and the original materials used. If you are a historic/antique home afficianado as I am, then you want a home that is in as near-original condition as possible. Yes, I know some things like the electrical wiring have to be up to code or you cannot even get homeowner's insurance, but as many original features as possible ought to be preserved. Yes, even if it has lead paint. As a homeowner, that's my problem, and as he suggested, the law should not intervene unless I try and sell it. Then, it would require a disclaimer/notification, and let the buyer decide if they want it brought to code or not.
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Inis Fada
16,789 posts, read 28,995,932 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctichomesteader View Post
I've witnessed first hand new construction and how poor it generally is, as I have done a bit of construction work putting up some butt ugly mcmansions. A few things I noted: boards that should have been thrown out for their defects getting used in important locations (beams, etc.), foam board of some sort as sheathing, no plywood or boards (yes it meets code but it's crap and makes weak walls), OSB IMHO is junk, I've seen it come apart after a year or two, and you have to assume at some point something will leak and get it wet somewhere eventually, the foundation work looked poorly done (didn't see much rebar either before it was poored and it wasn't special concrete being used either at that), there were things way off square all over, largely because of the foundation being off, and plenty of other stuff...had I been in charge a lot of things would have been done differently...

What sort of sub parr builders have you been around? Anyone can call themselves a builder and it sounds like that's who you've worked for. Too many people watch Bob Vila, HGTV, take out a book from the library and get themselves in way too deep. We have to clean up an awful lot of that nonsense. Face it -- people like the cheap price, a smooth sales pitch and fall into a mess.

We have seen far too many POS houses built in VT and too many fine, older homes completely screwed up by well-meaning, homeowners who haven't got a clue what they're doing, or who've cut corners because 'they know better'.

Quote:
Code sucks. And it makes it difficult or impossible to use some older methods that work better.
Who cares if it is difficult -- so long as it is being performed by a competent, skilled individual? If you have a good working relationship with the building inspector, as well as a good architect, the old ways can be instituted into a build. My clients are willing to pay for this. One problem I have noticed in VT is that the local people (those who don't have the money) will cut corners wherever they can, compromising their structure.

Quote:
I've lived in older houses...occasionally the mortar will need repointing on old masonry (but the old lime mortar is also more flexible and self-heals, and doesn't damage stone or brick like modern mortar

Lots of stuff on older homes doesn't meet code but it's not necessarily weak. Staircases or fireplaces may be "improperly constructed" according to code but when something has withstood 100, 200 or more years, I think it speaks for itself. I know inspectors and modern builders will shudder at the thought of joists at 2 foot centers but it works when done right, with the old timber framed houses. There's log cabins sitting on rocks on the ground that are 150+ years old doing just fine (yes now and then you need to level the floor a bit, not a big deal, it's actually not an uncommon problem even today in Alaska where there's permafrost issues), and 20 year old homes built to code on crumbling concrete collapsing. The older timber (old growth, very strong stuff, and of larger dimensions) was of better quality and will take more damage and still retain strength compared to modern fast-grown lumber. Actually, if you ever get the chance, compare the strength of split (rived) boards versus sawn, it's impressive how much stronger they are. Cut nails hold better than modern nails too.

I'm well aware of the things done when indoor plumbing got added but that is easily reversed and considering those floors have held up sometimes a century butchered up speaks volumes about their original strength...).
My personal preference is for older homes because of the details that went into the build and the quality of older materials.

However modern kitchens with granite counters, tile floors, commercial appliances, add weight to a floor -- you can't be putting this stuff on 2' OC joists. Also spa tubs, marble showers, etc, on the second floor of these structures also need more reinforcement. We have 300 year old houses here on stone foundations which are solid -- those that have been unmolested, that is. But you and I both know over the years this one and that have had their hands in the pie and what remains can (and usually is) unstable. We've had chuckleheads put way too much weight upon improperly supported floors. I'm sure you've seen this.

The old growth wood is phenomenal compared to what one can pick up at the lumber yard. We try and use reclaimed whenever possible -- again, I have clients who can afford it. As for the old cut nails, that's one of our hallmarks when working on an old home restoration.



Quote:
Any way it's spun, average house life expectancy has declined in the U.S. rapidly as building codes got stricter. The government has no business telling a person how to build his/her own home.
Do you not feel that there should be some uniformity where electrical is concerned? I believe we've come along way since the days of people sticking pennies in the fuse box, overloading outlets, etc.

If you were to buy a home someone else built, based on their knowledge or lack thereof, and subsequently had a fire...what would you do when the insurance company refuses to pay out, because the structure was not properly constructed or improved upon?

I appreciate your government hands-off approach, I am not a fan of government control, either. But I do feel that there has to be some degree of uniformity to building methods to prevent potential dangerous situations. Look at the NYC firefighters who died in an apartment which was cut into smaller rooms -- against code. Look at the people who die in illegal apartments, trapped because windows don't meet egress, access is blocked, or suffocated by improperly vented furnaces.
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Inis Fada
16,789 posts, read 28,995,932 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by looking4home View Post
I have to agree with artichomesteader on this one. It's amazing that homes that are hundreds of years old are inhabitable at all, and it's a testament to their craftmanship, and the original materials used. If you are a historic/antique home afficianado as I am, then you want a home that is in as near-original condition as possible. Yes, I know some things like the electrical wiring have to be up to code or you cannot even get homeowner's insurance, but as many original features as possible ought to be preserved. Yes, even if it has lead paint. As a homeowner, that's my problem, and as he suggested, the law should not intervene unless I try and sell it. Then, it would require a disclaimer/notification, and let the buyer decide if they want it brought to code or not.
We are not only historic home afficionados, we are preservationists who work closely with local historic societies and boards.

Original features should and ought to be preserved. When a wall is opened and water or termite damage is extensive, everything is done to maintain he integrity of the building while effecting the repair, later leaving the structure to appear as it did centuries ago.

It's the yahoos who decide to Fypon and Azec, who rip down perfectly good trim for lead paint fears, who should be stood against the wall and fired upon with musket balls. Let's be real -- there are only a handful of people out there who truly love and respect their older home. Others fall for the charm and don't realize the labor of love it is to keep them.

We are the stewards preserving the past for the future.

Lead paint in the home is the homeowner's problem. Legislation has stopped the production of lead paint, which is a good thing. Medical References: Environmental Risks and Pregnancy
Old trim can be removed from the home, paint removed under proper conditions so as not to contaminate the worker or environment, and then returned to the home. When that is not the case, or if the trim is beyond repair, we have custom made dies fabricated in order to match the trim's reveal.

Let's go from lead paint to asbestos. The homeowner is responsible for notifying ANYONE who works in the home of it's presence, and for hiring the proper people for remediation. This isn't code, it's law, and even if it weren't --it's basic human decency not to place others in harm's way.
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Old 12-30-2009, 01:36 PM
 
Location: Winter Springs, FL
1,789 posts, read 4,056,149 times
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Unfortunately not every contractor is like your husband. I have two examples to share. Most towns in Vermont have inspectors. I just finished a remodel on my rental property. The contractor was great and honest. He informed me that if permits were not taken on the job, no one would ever know. There are state codes that have to be followed, but without a town inspector it is very easy to get buy on the town. A home was built on the lot behind my rental home six years ago. I made a complaint to the town because it was built close to my well. The town had no idea a home was built there. I'm not sure if there were any fines issued, but the only repercussion I was made aware of by the town was that the owner had to pull permits for the work.
Where I live now there are two developers that most people are aware of that build poorly constructed homes. The home look beautiful, but the quality of the materials is cheap. Everything meets code, but it starts to fall apart in a few years. A Friend of ours bought one of these homes and they had to have a fair amount of work done in the past 6-8 years. Their kitchen and bathrooms had to be re-tiled because the tile was put down on 1/2 inch plywood and they started to crack and pop up. Cabinets were cheap quality(pressed particle board) as well with a veneer that bubbled up in a wet area near the sink. Many contractors are trying to make the most money possible. Even cheap materials will live past the warranty period they give on their homes.
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