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Building Safety Week 2008 Starts Today

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Building Safety Day 1Today is the first day of Building Safety Week.  This year, building departments across America, including Portland’s Bureau of Development Services, are celebrating Building Safety Week from May 5 through 11.  This year’s theme is Building Safety:  Where You Live, Work and Play.

I learned an interesting fact this week.  Turns out that building safety goes back to ancient times.  In fact, more than 4,000 years ago, the Hammurabi, circa 2200-1800 B.C.E., prescribed the execution of any builder whose faulty construction of a house caused the death of the owner.  Wow!

Thankfully, building safety codes have become much more precise and the consequences less drastic since the days of the Hammurabi.  Here are some interesting facts I came across about the history of building codes:

  • 1625 - The first building codes in the United States addressed fire safety and specified materials for roof coverings
  • 1630 – Boston, Massachusetts outlawed wood chimneys and thatch roof coverings
  • 1788 - Winston-Salem, North Carolina wrote the first known formal U.S. building code, entirely in German
  • 1865 - New Orleans, Louisiana became the first city to enact a law requiring inspections of public places

Today’s building safety and fire prevention codes address all aspects of construction from structural soundness of buildings to the reliability of fire prevention and suppression systems to plumbing and mechanical systems to energy efficiency and sustainability.

Check out our blog all week for helpful tips and interesting information on how building safety codes save lives and protect property.

Alisa Cour,
Public Information Manager

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