» Codes and Regulations – Help or Hindrance?

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Bike LogoCodes and Regulations – Help or Hindrance?

dunes_on_beach

After making 5 trips to the City Planning Department to get all the right paperwork and permits submitted for review and becoming concerned that each person on task wants something different, one can get discouraged and frustrated – even architects.

Lots of DIY homeowners try to skip this process altogether – It is better if they do not skip it.

Recently we listened to a home owner complain about all the “right” codes and regulations that he had undertaken to build his new beach house on his family heritage property.  It took him 4 years to get everything taken care of and the project finished.  He was required to add 250 new native plants and a rain garden on the beach facing side of the property and was now waiting for approval.   Over the course of the weekend, he told many variations on the problems he faced and solved growing angry with each frustration recounted.  The owner had used an architect on one project and then followed through on that expensive experience with a drafting person to complete the second phase of the project.  He never stated whether or not the architect or the drafting individual were LEED certified – from all the problems encountered I would conclude not.

The week before, we had gone to hear and get training at AIA (American Institute of Architecture) lecture on the new Living Building Challenge Project completed or underway.  Those firms were all LEED certified and the Institutes were focused on what the requirements would be to go beyond the greatest LEED certification.    Both projects that were detailed involved hours of time by a professional group which was creating a data base and tracking down the products that would comply with the regulations and the RED LIST.   It took 22 researchers over a year to create the data base for the new University Building in Portland.   22 people working full time.

The room was not full enough of architects, engineers, developers, and construction people to consider it more than just a baby step in the educational right direction.  Continuing Education credit was offered. The applauded and were grateful for the new data base of products and code definition; including exceptions.

Our Do It Yourself (DIY) homeowner was rightly frustrated and right to believe that folks are just learning what all this means.

He was particularly nasty about our current Governor’s role in all his learning curve of projects and was very vocal.  We thought he needed to become proud of his efforts and celebrate how much he learned by doing these projects and reclaiming his beach.  His grandchildren may very well still have a homestead and beautiful view in their futures.

One of the frustrations for the DIY fellow was that on several bills he was charged for the time the city official had to sit down and LEARN how to use the new codes and regulations.  He did not want to pay for someone to learn – the county or city should pay for that.  What do you think?

The DIY homeowner did not wish to become an environmentally solid citizen – he just wished to comply and do what he wanted to do and finish his projects.   So he is doing that – he got his less expensive windows and now lives with out-gassing (PVC- top of the RED LIST) throughout the projects.  They use an extremely environmentally toxic laundry detergent and dryer softer and they have eliminated their solar clothes line.

Education    Education    Education    Education    Education    Education – NEEDED

Do you think he learned anything that will be useful or will his anger at Architects, the Governor, the City-County people, the Shoreline Management Folks – outweigh the benefits to everyone and especially the future of the environment?

Change is a process and sometimes very hard with the first steps.

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Thu, August 4 2011 » Discoveries

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