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RE: What code to use

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-----Original Message-----
From: Deb [mailto:kendeb(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, September 28, 2000 5:46 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: What code to use

I have been asked to analyze a house that was built without a permit in
1984. I have the original plans and have been told that the house was
built per the plans, the owner just didn't bother to get a building
permit. This house is in a very rural area and building permits there
are often viewed as a burden that just isn't necessary. I will be
inspecting it to verify that it was built according to the plans before
I begin the analysis. My questions is, do I use the current version of
the UBC or go back to the version that was in effect at the time that it
was built?


Ken Reed, PE

 A lot depends on the building department that has jurisdiction over this
case and the standards that are customary in your local market. In some
situations the building department seeks to punish anyone who has not
obtained a building permit by making them meet all current codes. In most
cases this is simply impractical.

 I would analyze the home based on the codes that were in force when the
home was constructed. The tough part is determining if the home really does
meet these codes. For example, trying to expose a footing under a slab is
virtually impossible. All that you can do is to verify that the components
of the construction that are visible either meet or do not meet the code
when the home was constructed.

 I am always leery of owner built homes. They tend to have no understanding
of what is important and what is not.

 Good luck

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