‘CODE’; a ‘four letter word’, an excuse and irrelevant.!


“Code” is irrelevant. It is an antiquated system, first standardized for banks and mortgage lenders. In all these cases,’code’ lags behind technology. (How long were backflow valves for sewers around before they were codified.) The building code is a base line standard. It’s the bottom. Banks won’t lend and insurers won’t insure below that mark.

Real estate market values and expectations are so much higher than that, it’s hard to comprehend. The standards expected are much higher than ‘code’. If a house were just built to code it would be unsellable. A spec builder /developer would not be able to sell it. So they are built much better.

So if properties in general are build better than code, what does it mean when you find details or systems that are only ‘up to code’? It means they are substandard. They are below par. They are not good enough.

Phrases like ‘by the book’, ‘to code’, and ‘that’s standard’ need to be recognized as the excuses they are.

What that means is inspectors report on the state of a home building so buyers (and sellers) can know that the property is what they think it is or expect it to be. So even though we are not appraisers we are in fact ‘value’ inspectors.


BUT; Fire code is relevant, as are Safety codes because they are meant to be standards for health and safety. Because of this, these codes are updated and enforced by governing bodies, and generally respected.

Electrical code, though part of the building code, is a section unto itself. It is a stand alone knowledge based technology. There is no craft or skill involved. It’s a fire and a safety code.

An installed electrical system is a safety system. So the electrical code is a safety code and is updated and improved regularly. But then each jurisdiction interprets it differently and it is enforced only for new construction and renovations. Existing buildings are not updated when codes are modified, only when renovated.

Even for most real estate professionals, and certainly the majority of their clients the word ‘code’ is a catchall for standards and peoples understanding is general and nebulous. “Code’ doesn’t communicate much and the usual sense is negative.

Good progressive builders, inspectors and other professionals will refer to ‘adequacy’, current standards’ or ‘best practices’ rather than ‘code’.

So when I inspect for you, I’m checking to see if it’s OK. Is it what you (and everyone) expect. Is everything working and up to par. Are the systems set up and installed correctly. And I’m doing a safety check; for health hazards, fire risks, electrical safety and physical safety (like handrails).

Should there be an issue I will advise and recommend accordingly and if there is a safety concern the current residents will be notified of the risk potential.

But ‘code’ ? I won’t even mention it. It’s too base and conflicted a reference for communication. It’s not what you need or want to know.



Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post