Following deadly building collapse in Florida, code enforcement explains safety protocols in WV

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PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — In the wake of a deadly building collapse in Florida, many are asking what goes into making sure buildings like that are safe. The two Virginias are full of mountainous terrain and uneven land. So how do buildings and homes go up without a hitch?

Ty Smith Code Enforcement Director for the City of Princeton, said they follow the International Code Council for building codes and restrictions.

“As far as buildings, foundations and such in West Virginia, we follow the guidelines in these books. And it gives you everything from the depth of the footer below the frostline, the width of the footer depending on the size of the building and how that’s constructed as well as site preparation,” said Smith.

With more than 40 years in the construction industry he said there’s no shortage of checks and balances in the designing and building of a structure. However, those checks and balances only fall under city limits.

“A lot of places in West Virginia you don’t even need a building permit. You’re not required to do anything. There are no building codes,” said Smith.

Smith said permitted or not, a structurally sound build starts from the ground up.

“In West Virginia we don’t have a lot of things that we’re dealing with except for mine subsidence, we deal with a lot of rock, we deal with a lot of unstable types of dirt. Drainage problems cause a lot of issues on foundations. So these are some of the things we have to address,” said Smith.

Smith said while building permits can get pricey, it’s not about money, it’s about safety and the well being of the public.

The ICC is also aiding in the investigation of the Florida condo collapse.

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