Letters to the Editor: Invitation to a Lawsuit
Regarding your Aug. 14 story on “NAHB Members Reviewing ICC Code Change Proposals,” the concept of minimum regulation set forth in the code is one of its shortcomings because it establishes a beachhead for "construction defect" litigation on many levels.
At one level, it takes away the ability of the building authorities to use local knowledge to determine if the requirements are reasonable, excessive or inadequate for that area. This is a boon to litigators.
Second, it reduces or eliminates the ability of professionals to develop design standards for specific buildings or projects. This becomes even more of a problem if the building official cannot or will not allow exceptions, which are limited by the code. Reasonable interpretation is limited at best and strict compliance is essentially mandated.
Look at construction defects in California, for example.
Code officials like tighter control, but this drives up the cost of housing, insurance and compliance with questionable results in many cases. However, it does promote conflict between builders, developers and their customers. Who promotes this conflict? It’s the litigators.
There are probably some construction professionals who should be sued, but most are threatened and intimidated as a result of poorly drafted codes.
Spike Rumley, Denver