Building codes are a set of rules or guidelines specifying the minimum levels of safety in buildings. It is imperative to be familiar with them for architectural construction drawings.
Types of Codes
Codes can be national or international. They are followed by architects and engineers, are also used by safety inspectors, environmental scientists, real estate developers, contractors, subcontractors, manufacturers of building products and materials, insurance companies, facility managers, tenants, etc.
International building codes cover safety (such as building fire safety), ease of use, embrace of new technology, and an open and honest code development process.
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 that limit the spread of 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 of 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 cover:
Accessibility for people with disabilities
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
The result of the merging of the publishers who formed the ICC was the International Code Series, part of the US’s first unified comprehensive and coordinated building codes. These codes govern the construction and design of buildings in and out of the US.
No matter how accurate your architectural construction drawings, without knowledge of the building code, they will be irrelevant.
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