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Building Codes

Building codes are a set of rules or guidelines specifying the minimum levels of safety in buildings.

Building codes are a set of rules or guidelines specifying the minimum levels of safety in buildings.

Types of Codes

Codes, which are followed by architects and engineers, are also used by safety inspectors, environmental scientists, real estate developers,
contractors and subcontractors, manufacturers of building products and materials, insurance companies, facility managers, tenants, etc.

Building codes generally include:

  • Structural Safety: The building should not collapse and should withstand a certain amount of applied external or internal force.
  • Fire Safety: The building should incorporate features into its design which limit the spread of the fire, prevent fires,
    allow safe exit from the building, etc.
  • Health and Habitability: The building should have adequate washrooms, plumbing, electrical fittings, etc.

As well as:

  • Specifications on components and parts
  • Permissible installation methodologies
  • Room and exit size specifications and locations
  • Qualification of individuals and corporations undertaking the work

The codes do not include specifications related to the aesthetics of the building, upgrades (unless the building is being renovated), traffic convenience and building use.

Nowadays, building codes also include:

  • Accessibility for the disabled and the infirm
  • Noise mitigation
  • Energy conservation

Countries usually have differing approaches to building codes depending on the laws in their countries. The ICC, however, governs and develops codes globally.

  • International Code Council (ICC): The international Code Council (ICC) was formed from the joining of publishers of National and Standard Building Codes, Building Officials and Code Administrators International, the Southern Building Code Congress International, and the International Conference of Building Officials. It deals with fire prevention and building safety. It develops construction and safety codes used in residential and commercial construction, promoting consistent code enforcement and higher quality construction.

Codes and Structures

Codes and specifications also differ from country to country and in most cases from state to state as they must be formulated considering the geographical conditions of the area.

International Code Series

building codes

The result of the merging of the publishers who formed the ICC was the International Code Series, part of the U.S.’s first unified comprehensive and coordinated building codes. These codes govern the construction and design of buildings in and out of the US.