Buildings Permits 2 - The Why - a Sequel.

in #fire7 years ago (edited)

The cost of fire.

I can’t leave you dangling with the quick answer to “why a building permit, because its the Law”. You may need a note about building code compliance today, and changes to views regarding legal compliance.

To regroup, the law is reinforced by coercion by the state, the state born of the legacy of ancient war, and defended by the military. This state coercion in the building permit case is usually a fine, and a large one, set against your title if necessary. This won’t happen unless you are unlucky enough to appear in court for building permit violations. I encourage anyone to avoid this education on state power, if possible.
Your government is very serious about compliance with the building codes. It is fully the owner's responsibiity.

A basement apartment, cheaper but often a fire trap.
GEA Revit rendering.

I sense Steemians already know and are rightfully suspicious of such state force. Their common will is at risk with every shifting majority government, in the age of mass political and human movements across the globe. Who is your neighbor? What do they want from their home? What can required changes cost? Can I afford them?

The justification of laws is an overhead each state faces, the manufacture of consent in its ever more independent civilian populations a struggle. State budgets for education on building permit issues are very small, so you may not understand your responsibilities until reminded by an inspector, when it may be too late.
With such large new populations arriving, diverse changing cultures can weaken the guarantee of security and safety to each person. In this matter at least, diversity is not our strength. The consensus is important, and to that end I write this.

Jean-Jacques Rosseau, Philosopher. 1712-1778.

Since Rousseau’s romantic definition of state power and personal liberty under social contract, many ideas have been written that modify that set of base assumptions, too many for my quick blog.

Such ideas are a counterpoint to the certainty of Rousseau’s claim for the states service to the common will, and our obligations.
What is at risk with each objection to legal state coercion is the continuing security of each resident. I admit to being conservative, in this at least.

It has been 100 years since the start of the world wars. That devastation was a lesson in state control. The perceived protection racket of state guaranteed security may need refreshing to be justified. Building codes are often born by massive fires and great destruction, rare occurances. Many today don't care to worry about a fire, an eviction, an airborne disease, loud noises, and pest infestation.

But that risk is still real. We have just become complacent in innocence.

What this rambling bit is trying to say, is the objection to building permit laws are sometimes valid, but the amending formula is of necessity slow and careful. Each owner wishes to be protected from the financial risk of the city inspection. This can lead to gaming the system, and its corruption. The building permit really defends and protects against this corruption.

Bringing this home, an owner of a basement apartment, for example, may feel hard done by a state that incurs legal, professional and construction costs to make basements safe for tenants. The image of a loved one, tortured by fire, with no means of escape, is forgotten among the rent seeking. Until reminded by the loss of life and security, laws are defiled daily in the hunt for profit. Such unnecessary human suffering is unforgivable. Fire extinguishers are not enough.

Basement safety exits through easily openable unit windows of a minimum size into window escape wells. One exit is not enough.
GEA Revit rendering.

Long practice in the regulation of the built environment, with its deep urban lore, guides the state.

Although I can see that over reach of the state is a common complaint, it doesn’t come to the building code department often when people are reminded of the price of being wrong.

Only those so ignorant of the general will may challenge the presuppositions of local building codes, fire codes, access, parking and even zoning bylaws in the provision of shelter for our daily needs.

Most people just wisely comply.


Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.

- Albert Einstein

Indeed wise. Some state control is the operating system of our society, and without it, nothing functions. Alberts WW2 bred caution is not a condemnation of the preservation of life, just of oppressive systems. Drawing the line is the problem each generation faces, as it reinvents the past, then throws its dice into the future, risking the lives of the unborn.

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