It’s Not What you Spec, It’s What you Inspect

Lucas Hamilton

Maybe it is time for a Federal Building Code for residential construction as a way to level the playing field.

The only thing that guarantees good construction is inspection. When you get below a certain population density construction inspections and code enforcement is lax because money to pay for inspections comes from permitting and plan review fees that building code departments collect.  When a region drops below a certain density level the fee structure falls apart.

The building codes in the United States that are in place range from 1995 to 2009.  Even in states that have model codes there are large areas where there is no enforcement because there are no building code departments.

There is a movement gaining popularity among experts on this subject saying that a Federal Building Code is required. Maybe the time has passed for leaving it to the states as a way to standardize the process.

If we had a Federal Building Code and a structure to pay for its enforcement the impact it would have on American culture would be amazing. It would improve the quality of construction we would have throughout the country, decrease the level of energy consumption in the building envelope and improve the overall energy efficiency of the building in terms of insulation and air tightness.

What do you think?  Is it time for a Federal Building Code to level the playing field?

Lucas Hamilton is Manager, Building Science Applications for CertainTeed Corporation

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