Building codes can sometimes be frustrating when they say you can’t do something you want to do or they make you do something you don’t want to do. However, you should know that building codes represent years of experience, research and trial and error. Codes represent good building practice and are not meant to penalize or add any needless requirements.
If you aren’t familiar with what a building code is, they are lists of rules, standards and requirements for the various parts of buildings. Codes exist for the structure itself, mechanical/electrical/plumbing systems, fire protection, etc. These codes are put together by committees of subject matter experts (officials, engineers, architect, contractors, etc). These committees create model codes that are released every few years. Cities, counties or states then adopt them at a less regular pace. In fact, many locations are quite slow to adopt new codes. For instance, Arkansas is still under the 2006 Arkansas State Plumbing code which is an adaptation of the 2006 International Plumbing Code. One of the main reasons for this is so that builders and designers aren’t having to constantly adapt to new codes.
Once adopted, it falls to building designers and contractors to design and build in accordance with the code. Building designers must produce drawings that are in line with code requirements such as size of electrical wiring and plumbing pipes, HVAC equipment selections and plumbing fixtures. Designs then go to a reviewing agency (typically a city or county department) where they are looked over for code compliance. If any issues are found, designers work with the reviewers to justify the design or make any necessary changes. Once construction begins, contractors use the code to ensure that proper materials and procedures are used to install the equipment and systems.
Codes can seem like a tough requirement during the design process, but following the code ensures that the inspector will allow the building to open, that all the systems will work as expected and that the building will be safe for use. Forward Engineers has experience building in multiple jurisdictions and you can have confidence that a project completed by us will conform to all local codes. If you are seeking to work with an engineering firm that is client-centered and strives to provide services that are on time, on budget and exceed expectations, please contact us. We would love to work with you on your next project!