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1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 30 (18)

1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition
1947-48 Theatre Catalog
1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 30
Page 30

1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 30

ference and the Southern Building Code Congress among others. Many communities have adopted these model laws in whole or in part.

Although developed along traditional lines, fuunctional requirements to a certain extent have been introduced into the most recent editions of these model laws. The great majority of building laws in effect today are of this composite type.

Model Building Law

Since 1935, the American Standards Association through its Building Code Correlating Committee and with the co-operation of the National Bureau of Standards has been drafting component parts of a model building law. When these parts are complete, it is proposed that they be combined and correlated to form a model law that can be adopted throughout the country with modifications as needed for climatic reasons. To date, five of the 17 basic chapters have been completed and some of the material already has been incorporated in the revision of local laws.

The Building Officials Conference of America, Inc., is preparing a model building law which adheres more rigidly to the performance principle. It proposes a basic law to be adopted by the legislative body which in part will authorize the building official to promulgate rules and regulations. A model construction code (rules and regulations) is also being prepared by the BOCA and will be offered for adoption to the building official in looseleaf form. The basic law is to be written in performance terms while the construction code will be specific in defining the methods to be followed. The BOCA has organized a Building Officials

Foundation to promote the adoption of this model law and to provide related advisory service to municipalities and building officials. .

A New Approach

Also significant is the Uniform Building Code published in 1944 by the Committee on the Correlation of the Building Industry sponsored by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This proposal would create a State Department of Public Safety and the office of Commissioner of Public Safety. The Commissioner as a part of his duties would prepare rules and regulations with respect to the design, occupancy and construction of buildings and other structures, applicable throughout the state. In every city or town, singly or in combination, there would be a locally appointed Superintendent of Buildings. Primarily, enforcement of the rules and regulations would be on the local level.

On a more localized scale, much time and thought has been given to the preparation of model building laws by such groups as the New England Building thcials Conference, the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission of Denver, Colorado, the Association of Washington Cities and others. The Connecticut State Housing Authority recently has published a State Building Code that may be adopted by any municipality within the state.

The Suggested Basic Building Code for Washington Cities suggests a method for placing the responsibility of compliance with building law on the architect or engineer. Under the plan, the architect or engineer certifies that the structure built under his supervision complies

ANOTHER CONSTRUCTION IDEA which might occasionally run afoul of building codes is the use of pre-cast vermiculite slabs, as shown here. As with the Quonsel, the technical data indicate use: but the development is so new that building codes, so lctr back of advanced thoughts of ways and means of low-cost construction, cannot be properly interpreted to permit a forthright approval of the new ideas.

with the law and no inspection is re quired. While this proposal has evoked protest, it is not uncommon in modified form in some of the latest building lavizs.

Group Developments

Many parts of building laws have been developed by technical groups. The Building Exits Code of the National Fire Protection Association, the Manual of Accident Prevention in Construction of the Associated General Contractors of America, the Plumbing Code of the National Association of Master Plumbers, the National Electric Code of the National Board of Fire Underwriters are a few examples of such specialized codes.

Standards and specifications relating to the quality of materials and workmanship, testing procedures and safety codes have been developed by the National Bureau of Standards, the American Society for Testing Materials, trade associations and other agencies. Many of these standards have been approved by the American Standards Association and their adoption encouraged as a means of promoting uniformity. The National Bureau of Standards for years has conducted research and tests on building materials and methods and has encouraged the modernization of building laws,


None of the basic problems and conflicts outlined in this article would appear to present insurmountable obstacles. All could be resolved through an approach sufficiently objective, well qualified and adequately financed as to engender the confidence of industry, state and municipal officials and the public at large.

Major elements of such an approach are these:

(1) Unbiased leadership with the independence and courage necessary to adhere to the prime objective;

(2) Clear understanding of the economic, social and legal implications of building law modernization;

(3) A scientific approach through which existing data can be obtained and evaluated and original research under taken where necessary; (4) Co-ordinated action with those

agencies producing engineering standards and tests and with aid in the acceleration of those activies; and

(5) A promotional campaign sufficiently aggressive to overcome public apathy and inertia and the resistance of specialized, self-interested groups.

To a large extent, the solution lies not in the development of new techniques and the enactment of more law but rather in perfecting and extending the application of existing law. State enabling legislation should be amended where necessary to take full advantage of established methods. Provision should be made for the testing, inspection and use of new materials and methods. Codification of related laws should be given careful consideration. Immediate steps should be taken to obtain more adequate enforcement. Unbiased and competent assistance should be sought and utilized.

A program of this nature is entirely realistic, if existing resources are organized with the basic objective in view.

1947-48 Theatre Catalog, 6th Edition, Page 30