A monument that is the bane of firefighters

This article from Global News details an 18 story wood tower that hopes to inspire similar giant wood structures throughout the world. 

Sunshine on my shoulders...

Some history and science behind requirements for natural and artificial lighting requirements in building codes from metropolismag.com.

Might Want to come up with a better name

Inhabitat.com provides some details on the first North American manufacturer of "passive houses."

that last house in the 3 little pigs can add a deck now

Some info from concreteproducts.com on products that you may see in big box stores for an elevated paver patio system.

Literally Crappy Food? There May be an app for that

YDR.com interviewed Sec. of Agriculture Russell Redding about PA's Food Code and it's Caveat Emptor style of food safety.

Bathrooms for all

This article from PRI gives some back story on the surprisingly American-centric idea of gender segregated bathroom laws and standards.

An attempt at reason

Hatfield officials are considering some reasonable sprinkler exemptions for smaller assembly occupancies according to The Reporter.

Insurance Rates on their Way Up

This poignant letter to the editor at leehighvalleylive points out that PA's failure to update the building codes is really going to begin to be felt in the homeowner's pockets.

This Is Why

Next time the owner/operator of a proposed nail salon tries to tell you that they never heard of an exhaust system being required at the nail tables and they don't know why they would have to provide one you can just point them to this long form article from the NYTimes.

Code Maids

Gantdaily.com has a little blurb about a Virginia town that passed an ordinance that allows their code enforcement officers  to write tickets on the spot for certain violations. Luckily Paul McCartney is still alive should there exist a particularly attractive code official that require an ode penned to them.

No Sprinklers for YOu!

According to NJ.com local bridge troll...I mean Governor Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would require sprinkler systems in one and two family homes; however, Christie said he would reconsider the Bill should Jerry Jones decide to get into the residential sprinkler industry.

Mean old Codes

This short piece from the Hendersonville Lightning details a Bill recently passed in North Carolina that exempts open air cabins at summer camps from any code provisions. There is not enough detail in the article to determine whether or not this was the logical thing to do, but it was kind of interesting that one of the reasons they wanted to be exempt from costly code requirements was because of how much money they made.

Philly.com's Personal Whipping Boy

An article dumping on L&I's plan to enlist PFD in addressing derelict buildings. I am all for journalism being used as a vehicle of social justice and reform, but with all the systemic issues subject to attack in the city this intense focus on L&I is starting to seem like there may be a personal issue involved.


On the other hand you have non-rags like the Washington Post who can write an impartial article on some houses that were developed without the proper permits, even pointing out that part of the blame may even lie with the purchasers of such property.

The usual Process

According to this article from the Argus Leader, nobody in South Dakota seemed to care that the 2012 version of the codes weren't adopted until a toddler fell out of a window that would have required protection against such an accident had the codes been updated.

Form Based Zoning too Formal for Rural Areas?

Michigan State performed a study on whether or not form based zoning works for rural areas.

PA "The Honor System State"

A great article from The Intelligencer pointing out just how useless the Home Improvement Contractor Registration Act is. 

Blame the State

Local landlords in West Leechburg are upset over a new ordinance that requires their building to comply with UCC requirements in the TribLive article. When local officials were question they responded with, hey it's not us it's State law. I was unaware of any requirements in the UCC for existing residential buildings.

COnfirmed: Fun is against the Law in Utah

The City of Ogden Utah will not allow another box fort tragedy according to this article from SFGATE.


This article from the San Francisco Public Press points out that used shipping containers are more commonly being re purposed for public and private use. You can find them along our own Delaware River from time to time now being used as little retail kiosks, and while the article was concerning a use that officials were able to regulate, there are uses for such containers that code officials may be forced to accept without having specific regulations in place for such containers.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

This letter to the editor of the MV Times serves as a reminder that as public servants, code officials are under the constant scrutiny of the citizens they serve.

sweet Deal

An interesting article from the timberjay.com which outlines some concerns for a third party building official that was able to work out a deal for a $35 per hour rate in addition to receiving 85% of the permit fees in Ely, MN.

PHRC COnference

The annual housing and land development conference is coming up in March and according to Penn State News it will include a seminar on the code adoption process in PA, which could honestly consist of the instructor just raising his or her arms and repeating I'm not sure right now.

Not Happy with the State

TribLive.com helps to voice the opinions of a Youngwood councilman who thinks there is something wrong with the State doing nothing about commercial dwelling units being chopped up into high density occupancies, but shutting down the construction of a municipal playground in the opt-out community.

Logical Developer 

The Columbia Daily Tribune details a local mayor's concerns that code regulations are stifling development, but perhaps the Mayor needs to associate with more reputable developers like Rob Wolverton, whom basically says that line of thinking is nonsense. 

Hold On

This article from NJ.com shines a light on some concerns about a proposed housing development by the same company that was involved in the recently extra crispy Avalon at Edgewater Complex. The governments notion that it may hold approvals to wait and see if there are changes in the code seems illegal to me.

What is family?

Here is an interesting article form the Finger Lakes Times regarding the definition of family in the context of residential uses.


This is a gem from the Indiana Gazette that doesn't shine the best light on code  officials in PA. Highlights include:

Elected municipal officials stating they cannot comment on a controversial case because they  are  busy plowing roads? I suppose political office comes with different duties in the Western  part of our state.

The city's code official stating that he doesn't have to tell people what they need to submit in  order to get a permit.

The city's code official stating that permit is required for carpeting and painting, and when that  didn't stick stating that a change of use permit was required for  a personal care home to asubstance abuse rehab center. So a change in occupancy from I-1 to I-1? One could argue a  change of  use within the same occupancy group; however, that would be a tough stretch with  the similarity  of these uses, and it is logical argument that the previous use would have been a  higher hazard due to the average age and consequent likelihood of ambulatory issues.


They took our codes!

Here is an entertaining article from The Chattanoogan regarding residents resistance to new  building codes. Highlights include:

Resident's up in arms about the 2015 IBC's requirement that all work be performed by licensed  contractors, in spit of the fact that requirement doesn't really exist. Hey, don't let facts get in the  way of a good argument!

Resident's irate about insurance costs that would rise as a result of the new requirements.  Again, the exact opposite would be true.

One MENSA candidate stating: "I don't think we need to abide by the rules of other countries," It is hard to compete with a guy who went above and beyond in his amount of research by looking at the title of the code book.

Facts are Boring

This article from the Journal Gazette & Times Courier  in Charleston points out that updated    codes often times make building codes less stringent, and allow builders to use newer products  that will save them money. 

Welcome to the Year 3200 BCE

Milford Township is expected to revolutionize  their complaint system by... writing things down! No seriously, here is a quote from the article on pikecountycourier.com : "When they file a complaint now, we can remember it and we'll have it written down." 

Teflon Utilities

This piece from Leehighvalleylive.com provides a good example of how utility companies are permitted to operate with little regard for local regulations designed to protect residents.

Code Money

PostStar.com lauds Senator Elizabeth Little for earmarking $700,000 for the distribution of code update materials throughout the State of NY.

A Change is Gonna Come

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette details some changes to improve efficiency with Pittsburgh's code enforcement procedures.


In their march toward comic book villainy status there is yet another reason to be disgusted with the recent conduct of big banks pointed out in this article by the Alternative Press

Don't Let Facts Get In the Way

Chads Ford Live provides this biased article that paints local officials in an unfavorable light regarding a good intentioned use that is being restricted due to UCC issues. While the article is clear to point out the altruistic values of The Barn, it fails to give any specific details on what safety concerns there may be.

Bad Info or Journalism

This article from the Natchez Democrat details a public resistance to the adoption of the ICC Codes based upon requirements for resident to use licensed electricians and plumbers for any work. I'm not sure if the reporter is confused as to the regulations or, the politicians are trying to pass off a local licensing ordinance as part of the ICC Code books.

Tornado Brings Change

The ICC and ASCE are working together on some reactionary code changes to help cull the devastation from future tornadoes like the one in Joplin Mississippi according to this article from Equipment Journal.

Chile the Leader in Building Safety?

One would think Murican! pride would make us one of the leaders in building safety, bu greed and the protection of the interests of a few will cause us to be susceptible to natural disasters while Chile basically laughs in the face of an 8.2 magnitude earthquake as per CNN.

A New Recruit for the High Council

Now I don't know whether this is just poor reporting from Triblive, but in their blurb announcing Kathleen McCormick's appointment to the high council she lists her qualifications as: "Most of the questions I field from businesses and from residents deal with construction code."

Paper Work is Important

The Standard Speaker outlines a building code enforcement case in Hazleton where the notification and documentation standards of the UCC are being called into question.

Bright Lights

This article from Triblive discusses the possibility of legislation to place restrictions on the brightness of LED signage. Fans of Seinfeld will refer to any such law as the Kenny Roger's Chicken Act. 

Permit Extension Act Update

Recent case law according to Mondaq has set a precedent on a long debated issue of the permit extension Act(s). Government approvals do not automatically expire on July 2, 2016; rather, the standard time limit on the specific approvals will begin on that date. For example, commercial building permits could not be abandoned for greater than 180 days from that date, and would have to be fully complete by 2021.

The Cost of Being a Moron

State Farm Insurance is pursuing legal action to make a tenant, whom left a charcoal grill lit too close to a combustible wall, responsible for 1.2 million dollars of damage to an apartment building. Insurance News Net insinuates that the genius may be a graduate student from my Alma mater. I may also pursue action for damages to the value of my degree.  

Get on the Same Team

See if you can follow along on this story from insurance news net about Conygham Borough inspectors attempting to use enforcement procedures to for the Conygham Borough Authority to vacate its building. Yes, you read that correctly. 

Wood is Good Eh.

The wood lobby, which is quite literal not a euphemism for some drug company, is battling to allow wood frame structures in Canada to be up to 6 stories in height. I would have to think most anyone on the fire service side would be against this. I also couldn't help myself from adding "Eh" to the end of every quoted portion of this article from Daily Commercial News.

Do as I Say Not as I Do

This article for the Arizona Daily Star tells a story about one of my pet peeves, government agencies and officials that think they are above the law. According to The Star, the City of Tucson built a parking lot completely ignoring any building or accessibility requirements and even charged people to park there. If you are an enforcer of the rules you should hold yourself to a higher standard; rather, than ignoring the rules. 

Our Power is Limited

A refreshing objective and detailed look at the difficulty in dealing with blight in a Q&A with fellow Penn State Alum Tara Leo Auchey by PennLive. It takes a look at the practical problems of government agencies being only able to go so far, and delves deep into city and planning theory. Good read.

Angry Landlords

Some landlords were up in arms about what seem to be some pretty basic property enforcement in Tamaqua according to the Standard Speaker.

You Mad Codes?

A fun article from Gizmodo Australia that highlights some grade A architectural trolling from around the world.

China is Trying to Show Us Up

This article from R&D Magazine lauds China for their extremely successful implementation and enforcement of new energy code requirements in an effort to make their sky to look slightly less post apocalyptic.

Making the Silent Killer Audible

The Bensalem Patch outlines the recently approved PA ACT 121 of 2013 regarding residential CO detectors.

The Roof is On Fire

A recent New Jersey law requiring buildings to clearly identify the presence of solar equipment on rooftops is discussed in this article from cliffviewpilot.com.

Codes are Essential to Civilization

The Rapid City Journal takes a look at just how old the idea of building codes are in America.

Older Codes = Higher Premiums

This article from The Outer Banks Voice takes a look at one of the side effects of not adopting the most current building codes: higher insurance rates.

A Federal Endorsement

The Department of Homeland Security has endorsed the I-Codes becoming a part of the National flood insurance program as detailed by RealEstateRama.

Boston Strong

According to this article from the Boston Globe, Boston is looking to follow New York's lead and make the illegal apartment conversions a criminal offense.

Window Manufacturers Win

The Window and Door Manufacturers Association was happy with both the code amendments that were and weren't adopted for the 2015 series of the I-codes according to Plastics News.

New York Makes Some Sandy Adjustments

The New York Times details some local ordinance changes made in the wake of Hurricane Sandy

Fort Myers Whinery

The Fort Myers Beach Observer seems to champion the case of a business owner whom wants to expand his capacity for combustible humans willing to spend  money, but is not happy about having to pay fro a suppression system that would protect said flammable beings.

Facts or Proof Unnecessary

More input from the RAC chair Frank Thompson in this article from Pittsburgh's NPR station WESA. Frank states that the 2015 series of the codes would cause a $42,000 increase in the cost of each new home constructed. Nothing makes one's point like a high arbitrary dollar figure.

Free the Codes

The Washington Post tackles the question of whether people should have to pay for codes and standards once they are enforced as laws. Since this is the United States of America, there should definitely be free copies of any law available for public review; however, I have no issue with the developers charging for hard or downloadable copies of their intellectual property.

More Coverage that makes the RAC look silly

An article from witf.com regarding the PA code adoption process which includes comments from the chair of the RAC, Frank Thompson a residential builder. Having a residential builder chair the RAC makes as much sense as having A-Rod chair the MLB competition committee.