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Local Building Codes

03/31/2016 11:53 AM

This is why local building codes must be followed. Complying to the local codes may not prevent a disaster like this from happening but if you cannot prove your construction met the local codes you can kiss your engineering career good-bye!

Kolkata collapse.

Think a kind thought today for the people of Kolkata, India.

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#1

Re: Local Building Codes

03/31/2016 12:18 PM

Thoughts and prayers for the victims and their families.

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#2

Re: Local Building Codes

04/01/2016 8:34 AM

"...local codes may not prevent a disaster like this..."

What are local codes for if they are not meant to prevent disasters such as this.

And wouldn't engineers have spotted the possibility of failure in the local codes.

My general experience is that when you design something 'new' according to proven formulas, you find the codes force you to go well beyond what seems necessary.

But if local codes are not very demanding and thus seen to be inadequate "...it might fail, but it meets the codes...so it's not my fault..." might not save you

What I am saying, is you can be held liable (in the context of being a professional engineer) even if you meet the local codes. Some clever lawyer will argue that you (being a qualified engineer) should have known better...!

And you can bet your boots, the inspector enforcing the codes for the local authority won't accept responsibility if the codes are inadequate when something goes wrong.....oh dear what a shame...I ticked all my boxes...!

I have a vague recollection of a householder here who had an extension to his house built, but the whole wall collapsed because (on inquest) the footings were found inadequate. The trenches had been officially inspected and approved at every stage of the construction.

It was the underlying soil/ground unable to carry the load that was found to be at fault and had the builder carried out soil loading tests it would have shown the 'code' size trench was not adequate.

The local authority claimed their inspector had only to check the trench was the right size according to the approved drawings. The fact the council approved the drawings had nothing to do with it.

The builder was blamed for using the wrong trench on the drawing.

....it all hinged on who pays for the damage and remedial work...I think it went to court where it was decided the council were not liable for damages because of shortcomings in the codes....only to apply them.

Mind you, I could be wrong. This is my personal interpretation of an earlier news item at the time, and memory of vague events. But it fits my cynical view of life in the way rules and regulations and 'officialdom' works.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Local Building Codes

04/01/2016 10:18 AM

Yes. This is exactly why I carefully chose my few words to start this discussion. The local codes are nothing but the minimum requirements mandated by the local authorities. If one does not know or understand what the local codes mean (like so many visitors to CR4) then hire somebody qualified to engineer in that field.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Local Building Codes

04/02/2016 1:13 AM

You may have chosen your words carefully, but I sense a rush to judgement vis a vis the codes. You can follow the codes to the letter, but poor construction/inspection techniques (and bribes) will get you every time.

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