Code Publishing Company turns 27 next year, and, as you might imagine, that means we’ve done a lot – a lot – of code updates over the years. Customers may update their codes weekly, monthly, annually, once every few years, or a handful of times per year. No matter how many times a code is updated, CPC keeps copies of old versions on hand, either on our server (as PDF files) or as physical manuscripts that date back to the 1990s.
A little over a decade ago, as scanning technology improved, CPC went exclusively electronic for archiving manuscripts. Rather than stuff ordinances and their corresponding updated code pages into boxes, we decided to scan them into our server in order to conserve office space and make referencing much easier. Recently, CPC added a state-of-the-art scanner that can scan two duplexed (double-sided) pages per second. In 2003, archiving a 500-page code could take an entire week. Today, it can be done in time for lunch.
Code Publishing keeps old codes for a few reasons. First, they are readily available in order to research mistakes. From time to time, customers will notice a mistake (or, what they perceive to be a mistake). Having old code versions on site allows CPC editors to review old materials and either make an appropriate correction, or determine that no error was made.
Older codes are also helpful for developers and engineers, whose work must comply with zoning regulations. Zoning codes, like city codes, change over time as well. However, many older buildings and houses are grandfathered into past regulations. In these cases, developers need to reference older codes in order to override current standards.
Obtaining copies of the old code is one phone call (or e-mail) away, as CPC provides old copies free of charge to its customers. If for some reason we don’t have it (because it’s just that old), the University of Washington Law Library has a readily available archive for most Washington jurisdictions. Other states with Federal depository libraries may also have older versions of municipal codes.
To obtain a copy of an old code, call 1-800-551-2633, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.