Realistic building codes and safety requirements for DiDIY spaces

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The problem is…

The great majority of existing norms about manufacturing as a professional activity are de-facto written (intentionally or not) and practicable only by high-volume, full time production facilities. For example, a modern DiDIY wood processing machine may be as simple and cheap to build and operate to be sustainable even if it only processes very limited quantities of wood, maybe just working a few hours per week. Existing rules, however, may acknowledge and classify uit exactly as a much larger machine, used full time in the assembly line of a large factory. Occasional use of that machine in a fablab, that is, would still require safety spaces, surveillance procedures, mandatory filters and exhaust pipes for toxic substances, usage exclusively by certified professionals etc... that are only really necessary, or in any case economically affordable, when processing many thousands of cubic meters of wood every year. Those volumes are much, much higher than what a DiDIY common space (e.g. fablab, makerspace...) may ever reach, or want to reach.

Consequently, DiDIY spaces are forced to either use certain DiDIY machines illegally, or not use them at all, because doing it legally would be too expensive or onerous (e.g. be forced to have a certified supervisor on site, every time a DiDIY-er wants to use the machine), without any real safety-related reason to do it.

The proposed solution might apply when

Whenever a DiDIY common space (e.g. fablab, makerspace...) has the know-how and economical means to build, install, maintain.. and offer to its members, any sophisticated DiDIY machine that would be too expensive for a single DiDIY-er to own by herself.

The solution proposed is…

Define realistic building codes and safety requirements for DiDIY spaces, that still guarantee the safety of the machine users, but imposing more relaxed constraints, that are consistant with the actual operating conditions and production volumes of those machines, instead of those of full time, high volumes production inside large factories.

The expected outcome is…

  • Much more possibilities of collaborative advanced DiDIY
  • More possibilities for DiDIY spaces to be economically self-sustainable, by renting more machines to more DiDIY-ers

Other information

Rationale

Current laws and regulations see and create little or no intermediate space between occasional, private hobbies and professional manufacturing, which can afford, and objectively needs, very complex and expensive safety procedures. This leaves DiDIY-ers and common DiDIY spaces much less room to operate and innovate, without any objective need for such constraints.

Significant influencing factors

Existing norms and laws, at all levels from EU to city building codes, that do not take into account any manufacturing activity between private hobbies or e.g. home maintenance on one side, and full time, for-profit manufacturing on the other.

Evidence/Examples

Related Patterns

Links to further resources

Authors and Credits

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