Tuesday, February 12, 2008

up to code

My parents are in Wisconsin, relishing the process of finishing their basement to include some more useful space. There are restrictions that prohibit bedrooms with a limited amount of natural light. Basements do not traditionally have large windows, so the necessary changes would involve removing the land which surrounds the house until the basement was actually no longer a basement, at which time other codes would mandate the installation of a sub-basement.

At least they do not have to comply with Indian building standards.

In India, the hot water pipes must circumnavigate the outside of the house three times from the water heater to the kitchen faucet. This assists with global warming.

The outside doors must be too big to shut for six months and too small to remain shut for the other six. This encourages air circulation. Additionally, no inside door shall have a knob that allows the door to be simply "closed". Rather, each side of the door should have a bolt, and it must not stay closed without the bolt. This develops a deep sense of patience/defeat in a person who gets to walk through three rooms to go to the other door of the bathroom after I realize it is locked from the other side.

In Mussoorie, we enjoy the pure solitude of a national forest of some sort. Besides only being able to chop down trees in the dead of night, we are not allowed to build any new structure except directly onto the foundation of a previous building. If your house is made of sticks and tarps, this law usually slides a bit. If you 'know a guy', the construction codes seem to be somewhat negotiable.

The chimney should be carefully routed to fill the attic with smoke. This gives the rats lung cancer, and they die quickly within 83 generations.

If a wood stove is being installed in a classroom, the stove should be placed adjacent to a window and the chimney should be routed out of the window as directly as is convenient without thinking, in order to avoid Major Improvements to the Room Through Heating (MIRTH). This allows the infrared radiation (a.k.a. heat) to escape harmlessly without thawing my toes. Careful removal of the window pane is forbidden, as its structural integrity has been compromised. The window pane must be bashed out with a chunk of wood, and the shards are to be left on the window ledge as an example to others.

Each electrical outlet must be fitted with a Safely Unsafe Plastic Device of Untimely Death by Electrocution (SUPDUDE) which covers the holes except when the outlet is in use. These jam by design and annually drive millions of frenzied but previously rational adults to stick foreign objects inside an electrical outlet. To plug in an Indian extension cord for example, you must stick a pencil or screwdriver into the grounding hole of an outlet in order to slide the plastic guard away from the holes. The pencil does not need to be removed, since the extension cord is not grounded. Also, the extension cord is just two wires.

Yeah, those Americans should be glad they don't have all of our rules to follow.


  1. LOL! I feel improved already!

  2. Building in Colombia means you put bars over all your windows and cages around your street level patios. Top the walls with razor wire, electric wire, or good ol' broken glass.

  3. Nate B.
    I've really enjoyed your blog. You're a great writer. Allison and I got a ton of laughs out of this post.

    -Dave W.