ICC Building Safety Month Week 1
The International Code Council’s Building Safety Month is back. And 2019’s theme is “No Code. No Confidence.” With week one focusing on how building codes proactively help a community be proactive in disaster recovery. Preparing for disasters: Build strong, build smart.
But why do I need someone else to tell me what and how I can build on my property?
The simplest definition of building codes is that they are the minimum safety standards when building a structure. Electrical wiring, sanitary systems, structural, and other aspects of building construction each have the potential for incident. Building codes do not entirely remove the possibility of an accident, but they do significantly reduce risks and improve safety.
Building codes also protect you, your family, your community. Let’s say that you decide to build a patio that wraps around your house. You could forgo getting the proper permits and build without following any codes whatsoever. You could also face fines and be subject to local jurisdiction’s decisions on criminal charges, or be held liable if anyone is hurt due to part of the patio collapsing. Following building codes can help to protect you from legal action in the event that something goes wrong. As stated earlier, building codes are the minimum safety standard, so why would you not want to follow them to protect your family. They can ensure that proper wiring or plumbing is used, significantly reducing the chances of something terrible happening. Codes help to protect the community if a disaster does occur. Going back to the patio example, let’s say the add-on to your home is not built to code and is too close to a neighbor’s house. And the grill starts a fire that spreads to the roof of the patio, and because the structures are now so close, the fire spreads to their home. And if codes were not followed during the construction of their home, it could continue to spread across the entire neighborhood. While it seems unlikely, it has happened before, and that is the reason building codes exist.
So to answer the question of why you need someone to tell you what and how you can build on your property; previous experience. Learn from others’ mistakes and reduce your risk. Following building codes allow you to build with confidence.