One of the first things we do when beginning the engineering design for a project is to check the current building codes for the locality we are working in. This is especially true in our home state of Missouri, one of six states in the U.S. that has not adopted a state-wide code. Missouri does have a code of state regulations; however, these codes are subject to change piece by piece as administration changes and they do not specifically reference any code body.
The St. Louis metropolitan area has roughly 91 municipalities, each with a similar but potentially different set of rules or adopted codes. This also makes it difficult for the trades as interpretations vary from location to location. We had two projects of similar-type construction and arrangement at two high schools in the same school district but different municipalities. The plumbing venting arrangement was acceptable at one high school but not accepted in the adjacent municipality (even though they had adopted the same model code). Furthermore, authorities within different departments in the same municipality do not agree on interpretation. We had a plumbing plan reviewer and plumbing inspector request a direct connection for a fixture in a kitchen, but the health department inspector had a different interpretation and requested an indirect connection. It’s also challenging for a facility owner when the health department finds a new violation a year or so after occupancy, when the installation passed the original inspection.