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Public Records and Code Online Free No. Not a big deal. A hugely massive deal. See, if you want a copy of a building or fire code, you normally have to find it at the library (and it's reference, so don't even think of checking it out) or buy it for some rapacious publisher charging $100 or more for public code.

But the San Francisco Chronicle/Examiner reports that Carl Malamud of Sebastopol, CA, is posting building, fire, and mechanical codes online for free. Why? Because information was meant to be free, etc., etc., right? Well, not just that, but these are public codes, so we're talking public information. I have long wondered why such an important thing as a plumbing code, for instance, is so hard to obtain, so expensive to obtain. Malamud's site, Public.Resource.Org, is far from perfect. Codes change all the time, so as soon as he gets a code posted, another one is coming down the pipeline. And it's not like he's getting paid for this, either (hint, hint - see the tip jar at the bottom of his page). A commendable effort.

Comments

June 29, 2012 at 11:23 pm
(1) Steevy Paaw says:

I just heard today that there is a code that requires treated lumber to be 6 inches off of the ground. Is this so?

October 10, 2012 at 12:58 pm
(2) Brian says:

No, just the opposite is necessary. Any lumber within 6″ of the ground, or in contact with concrete/masonry that is in contact with the ground, such as a basement wall or floor, must be treated lumber.

January 7, 2013 at 12:27 am
(3) Terry says:

Can I build 2 bedrooms in my garage without a permit? Do I have to have a bathroom there also? How about heat and air???

January 25, 2013 at 4:24 pm
(4) DonM says:

No. There are life safety requirements in the International Residential Code for sleeping rooms that need to be inspected by the local jurisdiction. Also, your local zoning code may have an issue with it. You should be able to call and ask the question.

All though it may be a bit of a hassel to get the permits, if and when you sell the property, the proof that you did it legally will be golden.

Another big consideration is your local health department. If you are on a septic system, they will have requirements because they calculate the size of the drain field by knowing the perculation rates of a liquid in your soils and the average gallons per day are calculated by the number of bedrooms a dwelling has. If you are on sewer, there is no issue with all of this.

February 13, 2013 at 5:55 pm
(5) Al says:

Is there a standard code for what is required for a doorway from a bedroom to a bathroom.

Example: is 24 in doorway acceptable by code?

February 18, 2013 at 3:43 pm
(6) harry stywall says:

do I need to add rebar to footing on commercial building 60L.. 30D…. 14H? thanks harry

April 15, 2013 at 5:26 pm
(7) todd Hazel says:

Hi can you answer questions about the 1994 SBCCI Building Code for the state of Florida?

May 2, 2013 at 5:59 pm
(8) Larry Nelson says:

Where can I find on the internet for Okla. electrical journimans practise test?

May 4, 2013 at 6:18 pm
(9) kelly says:

I have a building that has a s building . What does that mean?

July 28, 2013 at 9:10 pm
(10) Ron says:

If a house has a porch whose elevation is just one intermediate step between the top of the porch dcking and the sidewalk elevation required by code to have handrails from the top of the porch floor to the sidewalk?

September 11, 2013 at 3:11 pm
(11) Jeremy says:

You have a wonderful web site, somehow, if you can even cover the area with local county and city codes will be much better, especially the larger county and city such as Los Angeles County and City building codes and fire codes…etc. Only cover to the state building and fire codes is away not enough, due to the State codes does not apply at all by Los Angeles County.

January 8, 2014 at 5:13 pm
(12) Kyle says:

Hopefully not too many people use that public resource website because before not too long these INDEPENDENT standard developing organizations will need money to operate (since they wont have the revenue from their sales).

January 11, 2014 at 3:45 pm
(13) homerenovations says:

True. But there needs to be a way to strike a balance between those groups’ need for revenue to support their efforts <strong>and </strong>the need of the people to be able to read the things they are required to do. Recently, I’ve seen a couple of pilot programs that allow the public to access “as needed” code (for a railing or whatever) but not download the whole code.

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