Like any other standard, regulation or restriction, there will be those dissenters who believe building codes are unnecessary and ill-advised. Especially in the U.S., there exists a large subset of people who believe anything that tells them how to do things is counterproductive and not out for their best interest. But in the case of building codes, that couldn't be further from the truth: The regulations exist to improve people's lives through structural integrity and performance. With that in mind, here are a few of the common gripes against building codes and rebuttals for each:
"The current codes are good enough."
Building codes are designed based on contemporary building technology, weather patterns, energy expenditures and a multitude of other metrics. These items are not static – technology advances, weather changes, energy use ebbs and flows while the whole time the existing building performance systems grow older and less effective. While any building code compliance is better than none, the newest ones offer the best chance at sustainability and financial savings.
"Codes provide safer units with fewer maintenance needs."
"Those organizations don't understand the situation here."
On the contrary, the International Building Code and other institutions collect accurate and up-to-date information on every region where their codes apply. Plus, there are local agencies that institute their own standards – which often mirror those passed by federal or international organizations. That municipal leadership is tasked with knowing exactly the situation for its residents and determining the best course of action with regard to building codes.
"The changes are too expensive to implement."
On the surface, this may seem like a reasonable argument. Any upgrade to a building will cost more up front and people pay a premium for new structures with all the newest air and moisture barrier systems, the best insulation and the latest exterior coatings. However, those systems are designed to save residents money over time in energy payments and cost avoidance. By lengthening a building's life as a high-performance structure, codes provide safer units with fewer maintenance needs.
"Let someone else be responsible for promoting sustainability."
Unfortunately, sustainability is not something one group can take on alone. As long as there are structures across the U.S. that lack insulation or other fundamental performance measures, overall energy use will suffer. It isn't only a matter of environmentalism – it speaks to energy dependence, fiscal responsibility and an overall improved quality of life. The more communities that participate in the latest building codes, the better of the nation will be as a whole.
In most cases, no one is forcing anyone to adapt new codes. Unless a building is deemed untenable, existing structures can continue to be inefficient, expensive and uncomfortable. But it benefits the entire community when more buildings are built and updated to reflect the latest technologies and standards. Plus, with companies like Sto Corp, it's easier than ever to retrofit a home with energy-saving systems that don't sacrifice aesthetic appeal. Sto Corp makes it possible to implement high-performance systems while maintaining the look and feel of the structure.