Do building codes do any good?

Here is an article in Fine Homebuilding. Please comment there, and here

Hope this helps;

Good article.
Saved it.

Nice article Will, Thanks

I think the article does a good job of pointing out something… when throwing mud at building codes, it’s important to remember that building codes don’t cause shoddy construction, they exist because of it

Much of the building that I’ve been involved with has been the direct result of engineering coupled with codes. Much of the time, whatever it is you’re building, exceeds code in many aspects, at least per plans, anyway.

The problem lies with what and how the structures are built.

It’s my humble opinion as a builder, that the practice of piece-work is at the root of demise in quality of residential and commercial stick-built construction. The minute somebody made more by working faster than what they would have made… it went downhill from there.

Having said that, I was at a new construction site the other day… things looked, well better. The guys that were/are working, wanted little to do with tempting fate, I suppose… jobs aren’t too plentiful right now.

This is for Will
Tim in your estimation how many of these “piece-worker’s” are Union? :slight_smile:


Historically,…less than non

IMO, the union does a, dare I say, better job training an apprentice, than a job-site-trained apprentice.

As an example, I can teach someone to roll trusses and cut blocks, detail and plate a residence per plans… but to say that some of the underlying principles can be properly field-taught, I’m not convinced. Some will take pride in their trade and study, learn improve. Others, through motivation of piece-work will always take the easy way out by force of habit, motivated simply by how many XXXX’s can be produced in a workday. Somebody knows that #5 rebar goes somewhere, but has no idea as to how this particular piece improve the aspects of the concrete product it is reinforcing.

Without the understanding of the underlying concepts of what we do… you lack all the “tools” you need… The world always needs another laborer though.

I hope that Unions never lose their ability through their classes and apprenticeship programs to produce technically proficient and educated tradespeople. Unfortunately, they don’t always stay in residential.

What do they call a contractor that got D’s on all his test? A contractor.

I live near Chicago which is a BIG union town. My best and longest friend, Tommy Noble, is a Union electrician (but he also has a Masters Degree in History) used to be the Asst. Chief electrical inspector for the city and now teaches at the IBEW / NECA school.

True, unions, at least the good ones, are really guilds. That is to say that they have programs to teach and apprentise their members so that they are well trained. But, at least around here, they have priced themselves out of the market.

I have seen some “union built” houses that are crappy to mediocre. I have seen some non-union built houses (usually Mexican or Polish workers) that are great. The problem is that you never know, going in, whether the trades people are good or bad and being a union tradesman is not a valid predictor.

As to this article, codes are now seen as the zenith of how the work should be done. In other words, the tradesman believes that if he meets the code, that is all he has to do. There is plenty of wiggle room between just doing it to code complience and doing a quality, professional job.

Also, around here at least, the Building Code dept is pretty much a wholey owned subsidiary of the Unions.

And don’t even get me started on the so-called “Public Employee” unions. They shouldn’t even exist.

Some of us see home inspection licensing laws in the same light and oppose them as being just as misleading and dangerous to the consumer.

Imagine a bare minimum code compliant home inspected by a full time hamburger flipper inspecting his first house with his new license. Meeting the bare minimum requirements and proclaiming it as a “credential” is not unique to building codes, by any means.

Imagine a firetrap of a house with bad wiring and faulty GFCI’s.
We still recommend GFCI protection though do we not?

Worst case scenario’s both.hmmm

Just curious but have you ever been a member of a building trades union?
If so how long?

imagine if you will, that the Hamburger Flipper has a Really Cool Logo? :smiley:


Which is why in Canada, we have NHICC

Some Alliance is grandfathering inspectors with a minimum of 20 fee paid inspections (subject to verification)…

You’re not going to believe this news report.

The code officials are being sued for not finding all the defects. News team recommends having a home inspector follow up before you buy.