Monday, January 19, 2009

Unintended Consequences

Coyote on the unintended consequences of building codes designed to protect children from drowning in a backyard pool:
In short, the code is designed to keep small children from getting out of the house on their own to a pool area. Dead bolts must be 54″ off the ground where they cannot reach them, the doors must have automatic closers (and thereby be difficult for small children to open) and windows cannot open wide enough to allow the kids to pass. This is, of course, nominally for the safety of kids....

Can anyone see any possible problem with making it impossible for small children to exit the house? Perhaps, say, in a fire? Once I bring my house up to code, because none of the children’s wing of the house has any window or door except to the pool area, the state will have made it absolutely impossible for small children to escape in a fire. Yes, the state has forced me to turn the back of my house into a fire trap for kids.
(emphasis mine)

There is a way around this, though:
That is, of course, unless I reverse all the changes 5 seconds after the inspector leaves my property, which of course I would never, ever do because I am a good American who pledged allegiance to the state every shool day of my childhood.

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