How Good is Code Compliance?

Often I hear someone tell me they are building to “code” as if that is doing something very good. Well it is not. While code is ok, there are better and best practices that can provide superior results. In New Jersey building code requirements are stipulated in the NJ Uniform Construction Code (UCC) (N.J.A.C. 5:23). Building codes are actually the very minimum requirement to be “legal” in accordance with the NJ-UCC. Building codes are intended to protect the public health safety and welfare. They provide a baseline of requirements. For the most part they are only applicable at the time of new construction. With time and with state of art improvements in materials and methods of work, newer codes often provide better results than older codes. My point here is that codes are minimum requirements not unlike the worst jalopy that can legally drive on the highway.