I know I’m a little head of the game, but one of the sure fire ways to create awareness is to start early! May 2012 is Building Safety Month.
Countless accidents still occur in homes across the U.S. and globally where codes are poorly understood or used improperly. The expanded Building Safety Month will help bridge these gaps and provide a broader platform to share the sphere of knowledge among architects, engineers and skilled industry veterans so that families, businesses and communities can be safe, strong and sustainable.
Wikipedia describes a building code, or building control, as a set of rules that specify the minimum acceptable level of safety for constructed objects such as buildings and nonbuilding structures. Building codes have a long history. What is generally accepted as the first building code was in the Code of Hammurabi which specified:
- 229. If a builder builds a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built falls in and kills its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.
- 230. If it kills the son of the owner, the son of that builder shall be put to death.
- 231. If it kills a slave of the owner, then he shall pay, slave for slave, to the owner of the house.
- 232. If it ruins goods, he shall make compensation for all that has been ruined, and inasmuch as he did not construct properly this house which he built and it fell, he shall re-erect the house from his own means.
- 233. If a builder builds a house for someone, even though he has not yet completed it; if then the walls seem toppling, the builder must make the walls solid from his own means.
The Law of Moses stipulated a specific construction requirement which is also an early form of a building code. The Bible book of Deuteronomy, chapter 22 verse 8, states:
- “In case you build a new house, you must also make a parapet for your roof, that you may not place bloodguilt upon your house because someone falling might fall from it.”
I’m a proud member of the American Society of Home Inspectors – ASHI. In May ASHI members will be available to help answer questions and promote residential building safety. We at SafeHome Inspections are proud to be a part of that important initiative where we’ll help create community-wide recognition and understanding of building safety and sustainability. To that event we’re sharing the Building Safety Month Toolkit as seen on www.buildingsafetymonth.org.