How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
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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:
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