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Even Architects Want Codes in Missouri


Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
Oct 16, 2009
Palm Beach County Florida
The editorial on Bangladesh ("Dying for clothes," May 23) touches the collective heart of St. Louis architects.

Factories are built in Third World countries without safety building codes. We think that is shameful.

And yet, in Missouri we have students in schools that are unsafe, built without building code safety requirements. We think that is shameful.

Missouri is one of five states that does not have a statewide building code. Moreover, third- and fourth-class counties (think Kirksville, for instance) may not adopt a building code.

This past legislative session, Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar, worked with The American Institute of Architects to pass legislation to permit these counties to adopt building codes, a foundation of a statewide building code. The legislation did not pass.

Building codes are not topics of cocktail party discussion, not the stuff of headlines and gossip. But what they are is protection every student in Missouri deserves and peace of mind every parent deserves when he leaves a child at school.

Codes cannot keep all buildings standing. What codes give us is the time and route to exit the burning or crumbling building, the knowledge of which wall will best protect us and give, for instance, the protection the workers in Bangladesh did not have. We deserve better and must demand more.

We will continue to work for a statewide building code and hope and pray that no tornado touches down in Missouri before our work is finished.

Dustin J. Bopp • St. Louis

President, The American Institute of Architects St. Louis Chapter