Building Safety Month plays key role in our community

We are in the middle of celebrating Building Safety Month at the City of Minot, which gives us an opportunity to reflect and focus on building safety both as a city and as a society.

Building codes weren’t always a priority in the United States. Historically, the Chicago fire of 1871 helped change the construction industry in this country. The fire destroyed more than 17,000 buildings and caused millions in property damage. Following the catastrophe, building standards were created to prevent similar disasters in the future.

Unfortunately, many times in the past, building codes weren’t changed or improved until a major tragedy happened. For instance, there weren’t always codes regulating staircases; often they were built as one long set of stairs, with no intermediate handrails or landings. If someone fell down the stairs, they fell down all the stairs and sometimes died.

Thankfully, those unsafe times are a thing of the past. Now, building codes are regularly updated and improved, all in the name of safety.

Building codes save lives by incorporating the latest technology and providing the safest, most resilient structures for our families and communities. The International Codes, developed by the Code Council and adopted by our community, are the most widely used and adopted set of building safety codes in the U.S. and around the world. Nowadays, you take it for granted that the buildings you walk into are safe. That’s one of the positive effects of modern building codes.

We use Building Safety Month to raise awareness of critical safety issues from structural to fire prevention, plumbing and mechanical systems, and energy efficiency. Each week of this month, we’ve spotlighted a specific area of building safety, including Preparing for Disasters, Ensuring a Safer Future Through Training and Education, Securing Clean, Abundant Water for All Communities, and Innovations in Building Safety.

In addition, the City of Minot is holding seminars throughout 2019 at the Minot Public Library, Home Depot, Minot Municipal Auditorium, and the Quentin Burdick Job Corps Center. We schedule these seminars so the City of Minot Inspection Department can work with private individuals and contractors to help ensure the safety of the buildings where we live, work and play. Building officials provide the first line of defense against building disasters. We are silent but vigilant guardians who work daily to ensure the safety of our communities.

The inspection department has adopted model codes such as the International Building Code and International Residential Code since 1975. We currently reference ICC 2015 Model Codes: IBC, IRC, IFC, UPC, IECC, IMC, IFGC. In 2020, we intend to adopt International Existing Building Code to assist in evaluating older commercial buildings downtown and in other sections of our city.

Not every project requires a building permit. If you aren’t sure, contact our office at 857-4102, by email at inspections@minotnd.org or visit the City of Minot’s website at http://www.minotnd.org/163/Inspections. We’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you have, and work with you to determine if you need a building permit.

We want every project, large or small, to be done in a safe, efficient manner. Adhering to building codes and performing building inspections are major factors in maintaining the safety of our community.

Sincerely, City Hall

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