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"The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the cheap price is forgotten. "

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Are building codes necessary? Why?

In this segment we will consider what codes are for and if they are necessary.

Have you ever wondered why plumbing looks the way it does? Did you think it was just the way the plumber installed it was the reason it was so complicated? Actually the plumber is following a preset configuration practice that is known as codes. Codes help the construction industry progress from today's technology to future technology in each respective trade.

Its like this, since you are using a computer to read this you may relate. Do you remember your first computer experience? I am sure it is quite different from today. Computers today are a lot more intuitive and software is beginning to be more universal. Even if you don't know how it works you are sure somewhere there is a lot of engineers working to make it so. The more universal something becomes the more people will have access to it. We call this cross platform. Codes are the cross platform of the construction industry.

Building codes help the plumber, electrician, roofer, stucco, framing, flooring, hvac and other trades coordinate and work together so a structure can be built with integrity. Codes are reevaluated constantly and updated every two years by committee. These committees are made up of dedicated professionals who pour through thousands of documents from people who have questions or issues with respect to the current requirements. Then the most relevant issues are resolved and adopted into the code. It is a process that has helped America have some of the greatest buildings that are not only ornate but safe, energy efficient and valuable.
So, what makes them necessary? The question almost answers itself. First, why is your front door as wide as it is? Why do the steps leading up to the front door look like they do? All of these answers lie within the code. The code is the minimum you can do, you can do more. For instance, there is a minimum width of the steps or door opening. You can have a five foot door opening for your front door, yet not one less that three foot. Why? Well consider all of the furniture and appliances you need to get into your home. A door needs to be at least three foot wide... and so the code is used to require it. Imagine some poor guy who is trying to save as much money as possible puts in a two foot six door and can't get a refrigerator into the home and then sells his home to someone who doesn't realize what they have purchased and can't get one in either.

Codes protect you eventually. Training, understanding and application takes years of work. Make sure the person you hire is qualified before you let them take out your code approved plumbing and replace it with the cheapest job you can find. Most of the problems I see is you can no longer tell who is qualified until the job is done. Ask questions, do some research and be informed. Not everyone who can stop a leak is qualified to do so.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to call me and I will be glad to help you if I can. I can be reached at (408) 263-8433.

your plumber,


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