Introduced in 1997, the Uniform Building Code is a body of regulatory requirements, established to ensure good practice and minimum safety standards throughout construction. In this article, we will examine some of the aspects which make up the code, and how to ensure you comply in any building work you do or commission, as well as the ramifications of failing to comply with the code or any of its elements.
The Need For A Code
The Uniform Building Code is clearly an important aspect of construction. But why? The main reasons for the code are to promote a basic minimum standard across all construction works to ensure fire safety, energy efficiency, and basically general standards of construction. Without it, there would be an enormous gulf in the quality of construction, with many unscrupulous builders sacrificing safety for cost reasons.
The code give a legal impetus for builders to ensure these standards, which are for the ultimate benefit of us all in terms of safety and better quality building. And the code is independently monitored, meaning local authority and governmental developments are also subject to its provisions.
What the Code Contains
The code itself adopts requirements for certain minimum standards through construction. One such requirement is a minimum level of fire safety through construction. This is independently monitored with legal effect to ensure that there is a minimum level of fire resistance, and that buildings are safe for long enough to evacuate everyone who may be left within during a fire.
The Uniform Building Code 1997 also contains provisions for trying to minimise seismic (that is earthquake) damage to construction. Developed with an engineering focus, the code deals with the technical aspects of the construction and attempts to lay down a blanket standard for all construction in the USA.
Complying With The Code
If you are interested in gaining more knowledge about the code, or the steps you will need to take to make sure your construction project will fully comply, there a numerous publications (both online and offline) on its nature, and specific requirements contained within. The code itself can also be obtained relatively easily.
Additionally, you may want to seek legal or expert advice from a consultant who will be better placed to elaborate on the specific quantitative requirements of the code. Alternatively, you could contract the services to a builder. It is highly likely that any builder worth his salts will be familiar with the uniform build code, and will subsequently be code-savvy when it comes to his work.
It is a good idea to ask about his level of knowledge, as it will be you who is liable at the end of the day if your construction does not meet these standards. Additionally, contact your local planning authority for more help and advice on the matter, before you begin construction.
Although the Uniform Building Code may seem like an unnecessary bureaucratic process, it is an important part of ensuring safety in construction. It is advisable that you are familiar yourself with the code before beginning any work, and it is for your own protection that these standards are in place. The Code was introduced to ensure a minimum benchmark standard in 1997, and is still relevant today as an important factor in maintaining both domestic and commercial construction standards.