Q&A - Building codes then and now

One of the lessons I've learned from over 30 years of building my own homes is that there is one constant in the world of home building. That constant is change, and it affects just about every facet of the process of building a home.

The change I am talking about specifically is the evolution of building codes. The town in which I am building my home has codes that provide standards for the structure, placement of features within the structure, how large the structure can be, and what it can be used for, among other things. Building codes can be useful for regulating parking, protecting structures from the danger of fire, and helping to determine who is qualified to do certain jobs.

Many of the items that are included in today's building codes were born out of a way of doing things that was passed down through the generations. It took a long time for building science to evolve, and people made many mistakes along the way.

There aren't very many downsides to building codes, but one of them is that building codes have the potential to detract from the aesthetic appeal of buildings, especially when people build to the minimum code requirements. Also, homes don't have the same look and feel that they used to - think of homes built in the late 19th century versus now. Many of the construction techniques and materials used are either no longer available, lost to time, or against the law.

I'd be interested to hear what your thoughts are - do you think the benefits of building codes outweigh the nostalgia of building projects past? Join the conversation and let us know!

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