The Argument Against Building Codes
The argument against building codes isn’t a haphazard attempt to loosen restrictions. Instead, it’s often made by experienced contractors and other industry veterans who are frustrated by certain trends and aware of hazards or risks the general public may not realize.
When construction teams “build to code,” what does this really mean? Unfortunately, it often means complying with the bare minimum of legal requirements.
Ponder this one carefully – “the bare minimum”. Or, in other terms just enough to get by. Would you prefer to fly in jet aircraft designed by engineers who were 4.0 students in college, or ones who barely scored high enough to graduate? How about buying a new car, with a highest speed capability which is equal to the speed limit, and no greater?
No reputable builder or building supplier will defy codes intentionally, but if the only goal is to make sure a property isn’t illegal, they may not have incentive to go above and beyond with quality or safety.
You don’t have to see into the future to know what happens when only the bare minimum requirements are followed. Martin Holladay, who serves as a Green Building Advisor (GBA) Senior Editor, points to historic Vermont homes with rotten sills, undersized rafters and bulging foundations as examples of corner-cutting craftsmanship which only barely complied with the building codes of the time.
Of course, safety is still the primary purpose of building codes. However, because construction crew training isn’t required and building owners aren’t necessarily savvy about the best materials and building practices, construction teams can continue to neglect the quality of their work.
What can the average post frame (pole building) future building owner do about it?
Don’t buy to minimum standards.
Repeat – don’t buy to minimum standards.
Just. This. Simple.
Oftentimes the investment to upgrade climactic loads (wind and snow) to standards more rigorous than the minimums is negligible.
I see lots of proposals from pole barn suppliers and builders, which do not even specify the design loads of the buildings being proposed! And even more amazing – PEOPLE BUY THESE BUILDINGS!!
Don’t be a fool, for a fool and his money are soon parted. Know what the minimum loading requirements are (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/01/building-department-checklist/).
Demand to have the design wind and snow loads specified on any quotation and most certainly upon any order.
Ask – how much more would it be to increase the design wind speed by 5, 10 or even 20 miles per hour. Ask – about the extra investment to increase snow load capacity.
And after all is said and done, don’t invest in a building which does not come with plans and calculations specific to your building, at your site and sealed by a registered design professional (RDP – engineer or architect).
For more reading on engineered buildings: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/12/engineered-buildings/