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1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 29 (17)

1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition
1947-48 Theatre Catalog
1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 29
Page 29

1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 29

widely. In some instances, local practice is not in agreement with the state laws. Frequently, the reference to standards is incomplete or out-of-date.

To aid localities in examining existing laws, the Construction Division has prepared a "Work Sheet for Checking the Dates of Standards and Specifications Incorporated by Reference in Building Laws" (C. D. 2) showing the title, date of publication and originating agency. This publication can be obtained upon request to the Construction Division, Department of Commerce, Washington 25, D. C.

Closely allied to the problem of referencing is that of publication; A particular state may require that a building law must be published by the municipality in a newspaper, bulletin, by posting or otherwise before it becomes effective. Depending on the form of publication required, the cost may be large enough to affect adoption of the law.

Various means have been suggested for meeting this obstacle ranging from publication of a notice that copies of the law are available for public reference to the grant of power to reference standards uas amended" or tolaccept standards of specified agencies. As in referencing, the latter proposals involve the delegation of legislative authority and legal aspects of the problem should be considered carefululy before action is taken,

New Materials and Methods

Building law can be written so as to encourage progress within the industry as well as to provide greater benefits to the consumer. In one community, the administrative unit is authorized to accept new or alternate materials or methods providing they meet acceptable standards and that rules for their use have been issued. In another, however, new products not specifically provided for in the local law cannot be used until the law is amended by the legislative body-often a long and tedious process.

Pre-fabrication has produced new problems that cannot be treated satisfactorily in the traditional manner. For example, how is a building official to examine and approve a complex mechanical assembly or a pre-fabricated struc> ture manufactured hundreds of miles from his omce? And having once approved such a unit, how can he be assured that additional units will meet the same standards? Acceptance by the official of certificates of compliance from the manufacturer, from a recognized inspection service, or from a registered architect or engineer have been suggested by the translation of such a solu tion into law requires initiative and skill.

Two Types of Building Law

In recent years some leaders in the building law field have advocated a separation of the component parts of the law so that the administrative unit shall be authorized to promulgate rules and regulations traditionally included in the law itself. In other words, the. legislative branch creates the administrative unit, defining its powers and duties, and states requirements in terms of results to be obtained, that is, a wall of a particular building shall have a four-hour

fire resistance rating. Any material or'


method of assembly may be used that satisfies the performance or functional requirements under regulations prepared by the administrative body.

Advocates of this type law claim that it will permit the use of new materials and methods without legislative action, that the total law governing construction can more easily be kept up-to-date and that unncessary restrictions can be eliminated.

Quality of Administration

While a building law can minimize the dangers of abuse, it cannot completely eliminate them. In a large measure, effective enforcement depends upon the qualifications of the administrative personnel and upon the appropriation of adequate funds. The former can be controlled to some extent in the law. The appropriation of funds, however, usually is a matter of separate legislation.

Uniformity of Building Law

Finally, requirements in different 10 calities vary greatly. Permissible floor loads, allowable stresses of steel, and thickness of walls are a few examples of items for which requirements vary. The effect on volume production and costs is obvious. This situation, together with the lack of protection in man)r areas, gives rise to the interest in state building laws administered by local officials,

These few examples will suffice to show the nature and complexities of the problem and demonstrate the need for courageous action.


In preparing a list of HPublications Relating to the Preparation and Revision of Building Lawsll (C, D. 1), available on request to the Construction Division, Department of Commerce, Washington 25, D. C., the Construction Division has found a large number of organizations and individuals interested in the problem.

Model laws have been developed by the National Board of Fire Underwriters, the Pacific Coast Building Officials Con STRUCTURAL STEEL CONSTRUCTION of the kind shown here is the type probably universally acceptable for use in the erection of theatres. In the larger cinemas, naturally, this kind of construction is always indicated. but in the case of smaller houses it is expensive and not infrequently is the very factor that prevents the erection of theatres in communities where potential patronage is limited.
1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 29