Codes Codes Codes

Like I want to know anything about codes, but I got a question about them today and felt completely ignorant. All I could do was direct her to the huge book of city codes, and find some state codes online. I don't want to write about her specific needs, so I'll delve into my own experience with codes.

When we bought our house, the inspector said that the height of the deck off the ground was within the city code limit to not have railings, but that we should have railings anyway. We ignored him. Two years later, we got a letter from our home insurance agent saying they would not renew our policy unless we had a railing put around the deck. When we had a contractor come out, he too said that the deck did not need railings because the height of the deck did not require railings according to the city codes.

Now, their job requires them to know the codes, but what if the average person wanted to know how high a deck can get before you need railings?

Step 1: Know that each city determines their own codes, and that you have to comply.
Step 2: Go to your city web site, and search the codes. Do it online, so that you can using the search function in your browser, which should be Firefox or Opera.
Step 3: Trust the professionals, and leave it to them. That's my vote. I am not a do-it-yourselfer.

After a quick search, I realized that the city I live in (Minneapolis) has very detailed codes, and the city I work in does not. They publish their codes using a different publishing service, (not Municode), which I thought was odd, but I stopped caring after trying to read through the codes.

Can you blame me? Take this, from the Minneapolis codes, for example:
Shades, drapes.Every window of every room let to another for sleeping purposes and the windows of bath and toilet rooms used in conjunction with such sleeping rooms shall be supplied with shades, draw drapes, or other devices or materials which when properly used will afford privacy to the occupant of the room. However, upon written agreement of the owner and the occupant, separate from other lease agreement, said shades, drapes or devices need not be provided.

In library school I got into the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, and even grooved on those rules. But it ends there.

Last summer we had the new deck built. It would have been cheaper to shop for a new insurance company, but I really love having the railings. And they meet the codes.

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