Efficient Building Codes
One of the foundations upon which fire prevention is built is the law which provides for the proper construction of buildings from the standpoint of fire safety. If a building is faulty in its original construction, no amount of care in preventing fire causes will be of much avail to save it from eventual destruction, unless these defects are remedied. A properly formulated building law is designed to and will prevent such errors of construction, if the authorities see to it that its provisions are rigidly lived up to by builders.
As pointed out by Mr. Kearns in his excellent paper on the subject of building laws on page 105, of this week’s issue, it is wiser for the city or town to have its own building code rather than to rely upon the more general provisions of the state law. It is easier of enforcement and it can cover specific problems in the municipality which the state code cannot. In a general way, the local law should conform to that of the state, so as to cause no legal conflict between the two, but it should be, in the nature of the case, more detailed and specific in its provisions. Two of the most important matters which the code should cover are the prohibition, or at least regulation, of the wooden shingle roof and the compulsory lining of all flues and chimneys newly constructed. These two items alone, if properly enforced, would decrease the fire losses of a municipality many per cent.
Ironwood to Curb Water Waste—In order to curb water waste and save the expense of drilling new wells and enlarging the water mains, Ironwood, Mich., has purchased the first installment of water meters with which the entire city will be ultimately equipped. The acute scarcity of water this year has been attributed to the wastefulness of the people and not to the present wells and mains, which are considered amply sufficient for Ironwood’s population by engineers in charge of the situation.