Various statutory codes, regulations, statutes, laws, and guidelines affect design and construction of projects. In most jurisdictions, the architect and engineer are required by law to design to applicable building codes and regulations, which vary from one jurisdiction to another and can vary between codes. Some jurisdictions that do not have sophisticated codes usually follow recognized national or international codes, which should be agreed on at the onset of a project so that the client and architect understand the rules for design and construction. All codes are intended for the health, welfare, and safety of the public and occupants of buildings.
The objective of equal employment opportunity and affirmative-action programs should be to ensure that individuals are recruited, hired, and promoted for all job classifications without regard to race, colour, religion, national origin, sex, age, handicap, or veteran status. Employment decisions should be based solely on an individual’s qualifications for the position for which the individual is considered.
Affirmative action means more than equal employment opportunity. It means making a concentrated effort to inform the community of the architect’s desire to foster equal employment opportunity. It also means making a special effort to attract individuals to the profession and to engage them in a program of professional development. Furthermore, architects should be committed to a meaningful minority business enterprise (MBE) and women business enterprise (WBE) participation program. Initial contact with local MBE/WBE firms should be pursued for each applicable project to respond to this important requirement. Architects should be prepared to review this requirement with clients to achieve participation targets consistent with client goals and objectives.
Most jurisdictions require a building permit for construction or remodelling. The building permit, for which a fee is paid by the contractor or client, is an indication that drawings showing the work to be done have been prepared by a registered professional and submitted to the governing authority have jurisdiction over design and construction of the project. Furthermore, it is an indication that this authority stipulates that the documents meet the intent of the applicable building codes and regulations. Issuance of a permit, however, does not relieve the governing agency of the right to inspect the project during and after construction and to require minor modifications. In addition, while most locales do not provide for a written permit by the fire department, this agency is involved in the review process relative to life safety provisions. It also has the right to inspect the project when constructed and to require modifications if they are considered appropriate to meet the intent of the code or the department’s specific requirements. Major items reviewed by both the permit-issuing agencies relate to occupancy classifications, building population, fire separations, exiting requirements, travel paths for exiting, areas of refuse, and other general life safety and public health issues.
Many jurisdictions require that a permit be obtained by the client or tenant of a multitenant building indicating that the building or tenant space has been reviewed by the applicable agency and fire department. This permit indicates that the building meets the requirements of the building codes and is appropriate for occupancy for the intended use and classification for which the building or space was designed and constructed.
In addition, elevator usage certificates are issued by certain building authorities. These certificates indicate that the elevators have been inspected and found to be acceptable for use based on the size, loading, and number of occupants posted on the certificate.
Furthermore, certain spaces within a project may have a maximum-occupancy limitation for which a notice is posted in those spaces by the applicable building authority. Examples of this type of usage include restaurants, ballrooms, convention centers, and indoor sports facilities where a large number of occupants might be gathered for the intended use.