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Code Costs, Redux

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Okay…Now I think I begin to understand.  Sitting innocently here in CA, happily wallowing in a 10 year old UBC, I had no idea what the hub-bub was over code costs.  THEN, after code conversation here, I decided I’d get myself moving into the 2006 IBC in anticipation of its adoption here next year.  What do I find?


First, there are tons of references to lots and lots of OTHER codes, which now I see I’m going to have to go out and buy as well.  Heck,  the second paragraph of the code exempts detached single family dwellings and directs me to something called the International Residential Code.  Cha-ching.  There goes another $80 just to work on houses.  I bet I find it identical to pertinent sections of this code, but I won’t know until AFTER I fork over the money.  Everywhere I see sly references to weird esoteric stuff like 1612 which has references to something called Flood Insurance Rate Map, as well as to something called NAVD and to NGVD .  Do I have to buy those x all the other obscure references found elsewhere?   And what am I to make of stuff like Figures 1613.5(1-4) for that little commercial strip center I’m working on in Burbank?  You can bet the CBC will have its own map.  Cha-ching.


 I’m finding things that I’m sure the CA code writers will likely delete entirely, like probably all of Chapter 11.. Cha-ching.


Anyway, you get my drift.  Now I get it.  I’ll have to get all of it, and pay for it handsomely….


Second, and this is really what I’m on about, I’m finding the IBC a rather sloppy code so far.  I may be too unfamiliar with it so far, but I’m finding syntax loopholes that are sure to drive me and plan checkers crazy for years to come; I’m finding lack of direction from section to section, which brings up just what applies to what.  I’m finding stuff that is more lenient than the CBC is now, which if adopted by CA would be the first time in my career I’ve seen something relaxed instead of strengthened.    I doubt that kind of stuff will survive amendment here in CA.  Now perhaps this is an Architect’s nightmare more than an engineer’s nightmare, since there doesn’t seem to be much about engineering that doesn’t direct you elsewhere anyway,  be it ASCE 7 or AITC or ASTM-(nnnn) or whatever, but overall, is anyone else finding this code more ambiguous than prior codes or do I just have 97UBC withdrawal symptoms?