LETTER: RDCK should refuse to follow Step Code

From reader Rod Retzlaff

RDCK should refuse to follow Step Code

I have a house in the rural West Kootenays. I designed and built the house by hand. I built the windows, the doors, jambs and all casings and baseboards, all the cupboards and cabinets, the stairs and stair railings and much of the furniture with the help of my very capable wife.

Our house is well insulated, though well endowed with windows, and situated to take advantage of the sun in the winter and avoid direct sun in the summer. It takes about 3.5 chords of wood to heat in the winter, and requires absolutely no air conditioning in the summer. It is a very fine, uncertified, house. Gerry Sawkins and Lukas Armstrong are encouraging the RDCK to tighten the building code by adopting Step Code regulations. Their judgement on this is severely compromised by the fact that they make their living forcing others to follow their doctrine.

The current building code does not allow you to build windows or doors. It dictates how much insulation you must use. You are not free to choose an uninsulated basement. Even the current code is full of regulations that remove your right to decide what kind of house you live in. I like big windows, and I do not want to live in a dimly lit, over-insulated, over-sealed box. Local window and door manufacturers will not be able to afford the fees required to manufacture local windows and doors for you, so it’s commercial vinyl and steel for you, no option.

These new building code changes will completely remove your right to build your own home, or have it built the way you want it built. They want to force every home to be built out of ticky-tacky.

The building code should concern itself with structural integrity only, and no rural British Columbian should be denied the right to build their own house to their own liking.

The RDCK is right to fear new provincially mandated energy-saving rules. It is time to minimize the rule book and allow citizens to make their own decisions. It’s called freedom.

Rod Retzlaff


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