Window mandates put safety first

Part 2: Living by the building code

Editor's note: This is Part 2 of a three-part series. Read Part 1 here and Part 3 here. Last time, we talked about building code provisions that variously baffle or irritate do-it-yourself builders (and occasionally, seasoned builders as well). While some code requirements may seem arcane at first glance, most have a very simple purpose -- to keep you reasonably safe day to day, and possibly to save your life in a real emergency.There are still a number of different codes in use, along with regional variations (always check with your local jurisdiction), but most of them more or less agree on basic safety provisions. By way of example, here are some typical code provisions on just one narrow topic -- windows -- and what they're meant to accomplish: In general, codes require every habitable space to have a net window area equal to at least 8 percent of the room's floor area (a "habitable space" is defined as one intended for living, sleeping, eating or cooking). Th...