How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes

What is the difference between prescriptive and performance building codes?

Friday, July 27, 2018

Most building code provisions are “prescriptive,” meaning that they lay out a recipe for the work, with specifications for both the material and installation. For example, a prescriptive code for roof sheathing nailing states that the plywood must be secured with eight-penny ring-shank nails at a maximum spacing of six inches apart.

    Most of sections of the building codes are prescriptive, but some are performance-based. Instead of specifying a method of construction, a performance code provision allows a manufacturer to create a new building product utilizing the latest technology and materials, and then have it approved by the building code, after meeting specified safety and performance standards. 

   An example of a performance provision would be one of Miami-Dade County’s standards for approving storm shutters in the wind-blown debris zone of South Florida. The shutter must survive being struck at a test lab with a nine-pound 2x4 piece of lumber shot into it at 50 mph. Much of the HUD-code for mobile homes is also prescriptive.

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To learn more about exterior walls and structures, see these other blog posts:

What is the average lifespan of a house foundation?

What causes vertical cracks in fiber cement siding planks?

What causes raised white lines of residue on a block wall that are crusty and crumbling? 

What is the difference between soil subsidence, heave, creep, and settlement? 

How much ventilation is required for the under-floor crawl space of a home? 

 What causes stair-step cracks in a block or brick wall?

What causes a horizontal crack in a block or brick wall? 

How can I tell if a diagonal crack in drywall at the corner of a window or door indicates a structural problem?

What causes the surface of old bricks to erode away into sandy powder? 

What are the pros and cons of concrete block versus wood frame construction?

Should I buy a house with a crawl space? 

Why is my stucco cracking?

There's cracks running along the home's concrete tie beam. What's wrong? 

What would cause long horizontal lines of brick mortar to fall out?

How do I recognize serious structural problems in a house?

What is engineered wood siding?

Should I buy a house that has had foundation repair? 

What is a "continuous load path”?

Should I buy a house with asbestos siding?   

How can I tell if cracks in the garage floor are a problem or not? 

What do you look for when inspecting vinyl siding?

Why is housewrap installed on exterior walls under the siding? 

How do I recognize serious structural problems in a house?

Why did so many concrete block homes collapse in Mexico Beach during Hurricane Michael? 

How can I tell if the concrete block walls of my house have vertical steel and concrete reinforcement?

Should I buy a house with structural problems? 

What are those powdery white areas on my brick walls?

What causes cracks in the walls and floors of a house?

How can I tell if the exterior walls of a house are concrete block (CBS) or wood or brick?

What are the common problems of different types of house foundations? 

• What are the warning signs of a dangerous deck?

How can I tell whether my house foundation problems are caused by a sinkhole or expansive clay soil?

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