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Written by GJ Stott
Local fence codes may address wall integrity, fire prevention, noise mitigation, aesthetics, wall use, manufacturer qualifications and size requirements. Fence codes stem from a larger sector of national, regional or local building codes. Building codes are rules or guidelines outlining the minimal requirements for constructing edifices and other structures. Such code is designed to protect the general welfare of people by making specifications that guard against endangering health and safety.
Stemming from the Code of Hammurabi, penalties for violation of codes for buildings and fences were once even harsher than they are now. For actual buildings, the Code of Hammurabi stated that if a building killed the owner or his son, the builder would be put to death. If the building was found structurally unsound, the builder had to fix the edifice out of his own money. If a wall was crumbling, the builder also had to repair the wall without further compensation.
In today’s society, building codes vary by countries and governments. As there is much discrepancy between countries on the strictness and enforcement of such safety codes, standard organizations have arose to mandate the associated rules. These organizations are often referred to as national building code organizations, even though further rules may be imposed regionally or locally.
Where local regulations are increased from a national minimum, local leaders work to address specific hazards. For example, areas where natural fires are likely to occur add fire prevention rules. In areas where earthquakes occur, rules emphasize the need for stronger foundations and fortification.
Codes become law when they are formally added to the appropriate jurisdiction. When law, they must be followed by engineers and builders as well as architects, inspectors, developers, insurers and managers. Furthermore, code is the foundation for another optional level of safety precautions. This is often the case with fence codes. While few fence codes offer widespread rules, fence code does serve as a guideline for ensuring health and safety.
Manufacturing and installing a fence or building ultimately has an underlying purpose of protecting people or products from harm. Without adequate building codes and fence codes, a building or fence can be more of a danger than a protector. Referring to codes at all levels of production as well as choosing to follow a higher standard of precautionary measures will certainly add to the longevity and safety of a building or fence.