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Old 05-10-2013, 07:56 PM   #1
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Were there building codes in the 1960's?


I live in a house that was built in the mid '60's. Through remod projects I've learned that my floor joists are 2x8 and my ceiling joists are 2x6. Was this standard building in the '60's? It's an 1100 sq ft house.

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Old 05-10-2013, 08:03 PM   #2
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Were there building codes in the 1960's?


don't know if there were codes then, and even if so, i do know that certain areas had very lax enforcement untill the 80's in my experience.

whats the span/spacing and loads.... where do ya live... any snow

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Old 05-10-2013, 08:06 PM   #3
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Were there building codes in the 1960's?


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I live in a house that was built in the mid '60's. Through remod projects I've learned that my floor joists are 2x8 and my ceiling joists are 2x6. Was this standard building in the '60's? It's an 1100 sq ft house.
"Codes" are not (and were not) some arbitrary standards someone dreamed up as a complete and totally effective construction or safety "cure-all" at a given point in time.

Codes evolved and developed over a long period of time. Time that demonstrated weaknesses and needs as, unfortunately, structure failures and resulting deaths occurred.

Time went by... methods and materials advanced... building got better and safer. No one had a crystal ball back in those days.

No one has one today. Codes will probably always continue to evolve.
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Old 05-10-2013, 08:15 PM   #4
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Were there building codes in the 1960's?


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Originally Posted by rawjams View Post
I live in a house that was built in the mid '60's. Through remod projects I've learned that my floor joists are 2x8 and my ceiling joists are 2x6. Was this standard building in the '60's? It's an 1100 sq ft house.
2x8 is decent, but they used to be REAL 2" by 8" not 1-1/2"

Codes have been around a lot earlier than 1960, I know in 1901 the NYC dept of buildings changed the codes in that city, I once had a copy of the 1901 "new law" book, it was about 3/4" thick.
It was from that book I learned how to run an electric freight elevator without electric. All the standards for everything from joist size and cutting the ends at an angle to allow for fall-out from the brick walls in case of fire were detailed.
But, builders continued to build pre 1901 type residential apartment buildings for several years after the 1901 change outlawed them, payola, bribes, croneyism, and a corrupt dept of buildings allowed it to continue.

Floor joists in apartment buildings were usually 2 to 3" x 10" spaced on 12" centers, 24' long but supported in the center with a partition stud wall, 3/4" T&G flooring

Last edited by RWolff; 05-10-2013 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 05-10-2013, 08:25 PM   #5
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Were there building codes in the 1960's?


I think what is more important for you to know is whether what you have will work from a structural standpoint. If you are not seeing cracks in your drywall, there is a pretty good chance that what you have is fine, especially owing to the fact that its been there since the sixties.

With the data you provided, which is basically none, other than the depth and width of the joists, there is no way for us to comment on whether it works mathematically.

Yes there were definitely codes back in the sixties, but back then most community bureaucracies did not make it a cash cow and tax enhancer like they do today. Back then if somebody built something that fell down they laughed, blamed themselves and fixed it, considering themselves stupid for not getting educated, or they were smart enough to become educated. If someone builds something that falls down today they whine, get a lawyer and try to blame someone else.

There have been many posts on these forums where it was obvious that the OP would have been better off demolishing and starting fresh, but they cant because of new regulations. We are being drowned in regulations, and most of it is because of Lawyers.
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Last edited by jagans; 05-10-2013 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 05-10-2013, 08:33 PM   #6
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Were there building codes in the 1960's?


Welcome to the Forum!

a call to your local building department should determine if your locale had a building code back then or not, and what they code was. Some of the larger cities have codes going back over a 100 years. other areas still don't have building codes (but they are fewer).

This link shows the national legacy codes, some have been around since the 20's. http://shop.iccsafe.org/codes/legacy....html?limit=32

if you have a span of 12' on a 2x8 (depending on species and grade) floor joist at 16" o.c. you should be ok. My house has a 16' span, and yes it is a little bouncy .....
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Old 05-10-2013, 08:37 PM   #7
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Were there building codes in the 1960's?


Codes were in effect long before the 1960's.

A code has no affect unless it is adopted and required by a legal jurisdiction (city, country, state, etc.) even it did exist. A jurisdiction may adopt and modify a "model code" only if the charges result in a higher standard and a local jurisdiction cannot lessen the standards of a model code (a minimum standard) without some very costly and complicated efforts that may incure liabilities.

rawjams - The question is whether they even had a code in your jurisdiction when the home was built and then variations from current model codes may be grandfathered in unless they were modified. Model codes are minimal and are slow to change, but through the years they have been changed based on new observed problems from materials and procedures. Some wood stresses have be decreased due to the current strength/properties, so some standards refereed to in the newer codes have resulted in different sizes and spacing, but that does not affect the existing structures that are "grandfathered".

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Old 05-10-2013, 09:11 PM   #8
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Were there building codes in the 1960's?


The first building code I am familiar with is the Code of Hammurabi, 1772 BC. Here are a few excerpts from this code:

  • 228. If a builder has built a house for a man, and finished it, he shall pay him a fee of two shekels of silver, for each SAR built on.
  • 229. If a builder has built a house for a man, and has not made his work sound, and the house he built has fallen, and caused the death of its owner, that builder shall be put to death.
  • 230. If it is the owner's son that is killed, the builder's son shall be put to death.
  • 231. If it is the slave of the owner that is killed, the builder shall give slave for slave to the owner of the house.
  • 232. If he has caused the loss of goods, he shall render back whatever he has destroyed. Moreover, because he did not make sound the house he built, and it fell, at his own cost he shall rebuild the house that fell.
  • 233. If a builder has built a house for a man, and has not keyed his work, and the wall has fallen, that builder shall make that wall firm at his own expense.
Pretty draconian, but perhaps more effective than the 1000 page building codes of today.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:00 PM   #9
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Were there building codes in the 1960's?


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Originally Posted by jagans View Post
There have been many posts on these forums where it was obvious that the OP would have been better off demolishing and starting fresh, but they cant because of new regulations. We are being drowned in regulations, and most of it is because of Lawyers.
and beuracracies.

my edit
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:12 PM   #10
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Were there building codes in the 1960's?


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and beuracracies.

my edit
And lobbyists
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Old 05-11-2013, 02:15 PM   #11
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Were there building codes in the 1960's?


codes evolve every year or two we find things that work and don't work and better ways of doing things. What was code in 1960 was the best they had what is code now id the best we have. you can not say what a bunch of tards. when you were not there. The building in question is still standing right? might not be the way it should be done today. Just bring it up to code the best you can.
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Old 05-11-2013, 03:27 PM   #12
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Were there building codes in the 1960's?


One need only look at what can happen when there are no real codes to see how fast thiings get out of control. The expensive shorline of Belize comes to mind where Americans, for the most part, just built willy nilly.

Codes may seem like ominous government intervention but without it not all would build things that respected their neighbors, their own safety or the environment.

As mentioned, codes evolve over time, based on new materials, ways of doing things and better engineering. But it takes about a decade for codes to catch up with engineering data as demonstrated by changes in earthquake zone construction.

Too often some codes are knee jerk and in response to some horrid disaster but most, as annoying and senseless as they many seem, do make sense. Many outdated codes in Chicago date back to the great fire. Municipalities call for strapping roofs to structure after tornados tear them off and smash them into other property. Framing gets better anchored to foundations after a major earthquake, etc. Should people adapt good building practices and do these kinds of things before a disaster? Of course! Do they always if they do not have to do so? Nope. Will they skimp without an inspector watching them. Absolutely. I have found too much lamp cord for wiring hiding in walls where at least romex (still have to wire in conduit here) should be.
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Old 05-11-2013, 03:31 PM   #13
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Were there building codes in the 1960's?


so true sdsester!

no engineering thought had gone into residential construction in regards to hurricanes until after Hurricane Andrew. That's when we got the Wood Frame Construction Manual and changes in building codes. Sometimes we wait until disaster strikes and then in the words of that Great American Homer Simpson we say "DOH!"

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