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RE: "Water in the Hole"

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Tripp Howard wrote:
Also, I just want to make sure I understand you correctly.  Has the state of Texas _not_ adopted a statewide building code?  I not, how did they rationalize that decision?
The only building code that is enforced statewide in Texas is the IRC 2000, and even that leaves a lot to be desired.  For nonresidential building construction, there literally are no building codes enforced outside of municipalities.  By state law, Texas counties are not allowed to adopt and enforce any building code in unincorporated areas (i.e., beyond the city limits).  For more than a decade now, I have acted as SEAoT's legislative liaison to try to correct this sorry situation.  Working in concert with groups of building officials, fire chiefs, architects, and others, we have lobbied every session of the Texas Legislature (which meets for four months every other year).  We have written proposed bills, recruited legislators to sponsor them, and provided testimony at committee hearings ... all to no avail.  While we argue that these changes would promote the interests of public safely and welfare, others argue that such changes would needlessly increase the cost of development.  They cleverly ask "Where are the bodies?"  In particular, the "colonias" along the Texas/Mexico border argue that they cannot afford code compliance, and that such constraints would greatly slow the pace of development beyond their current 18th Century standards of living.  I am convinced that we won't prevail unless or until Texas has a mammoth natural disaster, because we simply can't point to very many casualties resulting directly from building code violations.
Of course, other than that and the current weather, Texas is perfect!
Stan R. Caldwell, P.E.
Dallas, Texas