Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What the .........

Type L copper pipe versus Type M, is pipe measurements for electrical pipe is OD but yet for plumbing it is ID, the fact that 6" lumber is actually 5.5" if you are lucky, probably more like 5 and 3/8" but all plywood is measured in 32nds, arc faults, thermal bridging, % fly ash content of concrete, multiple contradicting charts indicating distance of sprinkler heads in relation to surrounding obstruction.....and the list goes on of things I never thought I would be uttering in life and now my world revolves around these bizarre issues. You go into building a home mostly concentrating on layout and fireplace design. You dream of wall colors and a kick ass kitchen faucet BUT in reality 99% of your time is spent researching, worrying about and stressing over sheer walls (picture really ugly, ridiculously heavy metal panels that make screwing anything into them near impossible), the height of steps out of each door and not picking out cool looking electrical receptacles but making sure they are GFI and tamper resistant (because of all the babies we have crawling around sticking pennies into outlets) and pondering over why we need an outlet every 12'.....who plugs that much stuff in?

Source - Yes, would LOVE this staircase.
You can see the dream isn't quite the reality and if you are brave enough to crack open the International Building Code to look for some clarity on some of these bizarre code requirements - good luck. It is pretty much written in Na'vi (that language from Avatar) and if you are REALLY brave and start to look at the Electrical Code or god forbid, the Plumbing Code, your head will just spin off and fly across the room. You wonder who writes this gobbledygook because it isn't decipherable to the average human. 

Source - always a way around

They say each code requirement is a result of some idiot doing something stupid and filing a lawsuit to someone over it - you know, the American way. So as we come across each code limitation requirement you sit quietly to ponder the event that resulted in that code addition. Of course most of them are not PC enough to repeat so I will leave it with your imagination.

I do get frustrated at these glorious pictures of beautiful homes in magazines and online only to realize they must be built in southern Zimbabwe because there is no developed or half-developed country that would allow half these blatant code violations to fly. And then you see homes in our area that have so many dangerous issues but have been grandfathered in and are just a heartbeat from a 911 call. But we are required to jump through more hoops, spend more money and lock down more stuff, add more precautions and I am sure the ones that come after us in years to come will have to do even more to make sure they, their neighbors and visitors don't EVER get hurt hurling themselves through a 4.01" gap in the stair railing.

Source - as long as you aren't a sleep walker
And all those beautiful restored timbers that we love to reuse out of old barns and factories - just for show. Don't even think of using them structurally, that won't pass code.

Yeh, not be Debbie Downer here, but keep dreaming, this bedroom ain't never passing code. Of course many of the code requirements do in fact exist to save lives and have made our houses so much safer over the years.

And yet there are still building approaches out there that won't stand the test of time as seen in Charlotte, NC the other month. If you are condo shopping in the southern NC area, steer clear of this builder.

Source - just not acceptable
So it is a balancing act, the building code works so well in so many ways and has made us safer. It is a tad slow to adopt new building technologies but the entire building industry is sloth like in adopting anything new and is way behind the times and many other developed countries in adapting to new building techniques. But there are some codes that just make you chuckle, scratch your head and shrug your shoulders and surrender to it.

As we get close to our Certificate of Occupancy - I have to laugh that our county is concerned with how shy we are - requiring bathroom doors before signing off. Go figure.