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CODES: Electronic Version Should Be Provided

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Regardless of whether or not one is required to purchase a copy of a design
code or standard (building code, material-of-construction design standard,
etc.) I believe that an electronic version of the document ought to be
provided, preferably in a standard format such as Adobe Acrobat.

I say that for one very important reason: It gives one the ability to do
text searches.

As codes and standards grow in complexity, the effort required to "keep up"
with what they actually say also increases. Most standards do not have an
adequate index provided. For example, I have found the index in the 2000
International Residential Code to be almost worthless. The Table of Contents
provides more relevant information when you are trying to find something in

Even the most thoroughly indexed standard is going to miss something. And
indexing doesn't necessarily help you find inconsistencies in the document.
A searchable electronic version allows more relevant searches, and also may
help uncover inconsistencies which (while I'm sure it would be a short-term
PITA to the code-writing body) would help to stamp out bugs and possibly
reduce the amount of errata required.

Anyway, my two cents' worth on a Monday morning still under the gun.


Bill Polhemus, P.E.
Polhemus Engineering Company
Katy, Texas, USA

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