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We have 45 years of professional experience constructing a wide range of projects, providing design services, preparing construction documents and participating in construction contract administration services

Code Compliance Investigations

Other than during construction, building code compliance becomes an issue when failure to adhere to a code or a standard caused, or has the potential to cause, personal injury or property loss. Depending on the situation, failure to comply with the building codes may be either supportive or central to the case.

For example, code compliance used as supportive evidence strengthens any construction defect case, and in fact may further strengthen the case where defects are found to be non-compliant. The steepness of a ramp, the absence of handrails, the rise and run of a stair, or voltage drop in electrical circuits, or lack of proper bonding and grounding may contribute to the danger in a building and serve to show the negligence of a contractor in the construction.

Identifying the governing code of any project is as important as determining code compliance. There are several model codes that are updated on a three-year cycle. Municipalities can write their own code, promulgate the model codes “as-is” or amend and/or modify a model code before adopting it. In addition to the local building code, various state and federal standards can also govern construction. Usually, a building must comply with the code(s) promulgated at the time it was built.

Effective determination of code compliance must address the following issues:

• What code governed construction at the time the building was built?
• Did the incident occur within the physical boundary over which the code has authority?
• What is the configuration of the building at the location of the incident?
• What sections of the code are relevant to the construction?
• Does the construction comply with the code?
• If the construction fails to comply, in what way does it violate the code?
• Could this violation have been foreseen and prevented?

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