Safety Standards

As we are starting to look for places to live, all of the US building code standards are flashing before my eyes. Life abroad is very different and that goes for building code standards as well.  Not that this or any other country are wrong, just different and we have to view it with different eyes.   For example:  

Egress:  Many bedroom windows, if there are windows at all, open up to other rooms or an interior courtyard with no exit other than through the house. Doors are also locked from the interior with a key and there are bars on the windows if you face the street.  

One upside is that the construction is all concrete/block withstucco over it so that there is little to burn if there is a fire.   Wood is used for finish carpentry for doors, cabinets and some flooring only. 

Railings: There are plenty of glass railings in the newer buildings.  The nice thing about this is that there are no gaps and there is an unobstructed view.  Older buildings may have vertical spindles on the balcony with wide spaces of 6" or greater.  One new building that we saw had a gorgeous 12th story apartment with huge terrage and a railing with horizontal spindles that could be scaled like a ladder by a toddler.  Scary!  As you are walking through the city, you see mesh added to lots of balcony/patio areas to protect the small inhabitants inside from falling.  Excellent that things can be retrofitted but we are considering safety much more carefully as we look at potential home options.

Three decks, all with mesh over the railings

Three horizontal railings, all with mesh installed over it.

Horizontal vs. vertical spindles

Another example of railings with vertical or horizontal spindles.