I think many of America’s planning departments have a Code fetish that is counter productive, since they try to impose on every single building — and every aspect of every building — a standard of perfection that is unreasonable for the ordinary risks and uses people face in connection with those structures. For example, if I were to build a second unit on my lot, I would have to make the unit wheelchair compliant, despite the fact that I’m not planning on having a wheelchair in there any time soon, or ever (God willing).
In a rational world, if I ever did need a wheelchair in there, I could make the improvement at a later date. Likewise, if I were to sell the house (and second unit) 20 years from now, the new owner could do a wheelchair remodel as he pleased. For me, the insistence on wheelchair compliance in the here and now is an unnecessary burden and is, in fact, one of the reasons why there will be no second unit on my lot.
Having said that, however, whenever I read about an earthquake in foreign parts where buildings collapse like pancakes and tens of thousands of people die, I’m grateful for the attention we pay to our buildings’ seismic security. While there are many obsessive Code requirements I can do without, the focus on structural solidity is not one of those wearisome, PC bureaucratic burdens.Email This Post To A Friend
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