If you're in the process of remodeling or building your home, you've probably heard of the building code. Your contractors will talk about it, or your building permit office may ask you about it. But what is a building code, why does it exist and how will it affect your project? We asked our resident expert about the building code to get some answers. Your project is compared only with the building code that governs construction at your location.
After spending more than 30 years in residential construction, hiring, remodeling, maintaining and repairing homes, Deane now contributes DIY, informational and financial content as a freelance writer and consultant for several publications. Throughout his career, he strived to help his clients find the potential hidden within the walls of every home and to empower them to take control of their home repair and remodeling efforts. Deane's main professional goal is to share knowledge related to the home and to provide self-reliance tools to as large an audience as possible. Eric Swiatek is a licensed home inspector with more than two decades of experience in the housing industry and an up-to-date license to test for radon.
He has conducted more than 1,500 property inspections and currently owns a home inspection business in Ohio. Before starting his home inspection business, Eric worked as a project manager for the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for 18 years.
With a comprehensive knowledge base, he provides customers with the information needed to make an informed decision in the homebuying process.Virtually all residential construction must comply with comprehensive building codes and standards that are governed by local and state laws. Because of the cost and complexity of developing and maintaining such codes, state and local governments often adopt nationally recognized model codes, and often modify them to reflect local construction practices, climate, and geography. The communities adopt the codes of the International Council on Codes for this purpose.An official website of the United States government Official websites use Government A.gov. The gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.
Over the past century, building codes and regulations in the U. have been improved to better protect people from harm.But what caused these updates? And how do you make decisions about what to change? As an agency that has studied and investigated building faults for more than 50 years and that exercises legislative authority to get to the bottom of disasters, NIST plays a key role in updating codes. In addition to calling for improved codes and standards based on technical findings, NIST experts, along with many others, are working to turn these recommendations into practical codes.Building codes are laws that establish minimum requirements for how structural systems, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), natural gas systems, and other aspects of residential and commercial buildings should be designed and constructed. In the U.
S., legislators and government officials in most jurisdictions don't create their codes from scratch. Instead, they start with a common draft called a model code, whose requirements they can adjust or make it more flexible, adapting the code to the needs of their state, county, or city.The model codes are intended to protect occupants from hazardous conditions by specifying safety and fire evacuation requirements, as well as the level of wind, rain, hail, or other hazards that buildings must withstand. These codes, mainly produced by the non-profit organization International Code Council (ICC), incorporate existing consensus-building standards developed by professional organizations with experience in a particular relevant field.The standards specify design practices associated with a wide range of construction elements, including sprinklers, exit signage, structural steel and concrete, windows, and more. ASTM International, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) are just a few of the many standards organizations commonly referred to in model codes.As gaps or errors are identified and pertinent information is discovered about engineering, natural hazards, or human behavior, standards organizations and the ICC can update standards and model codes through a process that normally takes many years.
The main components of model codes are standards, so a natural starting point for modifying a code is to update the appropriate standard first.The committees of standards organizations that produce consensual standards follow the guidelines defined by the United States National Standards Institute (ANSI). These guidelines call for balanced representation on committees between stakeholders (builders, manufacturers, construction officials, researchers, and others) so that one group does not dominate the process. NIST researchers frequently participate in these committees and often lead the creation of specific updates based on their research and research findings.New versions of the standards are published periodically, usually every three to six years, and are developed by committees of dozens or sometimes hundreds of volunteer experts.After a standard is published, time starts to run for the next update. The associate committee will publish a call for proposals for changes for the next version.
Any member of the public or committee can submit a proposal to modify a standard. Then once the call is closed; the committee deliberates and votes on the proposals.Building standards committees generally write standards with the intention that they become a component of a model code. This is because while state and local governments could refer to a standard directly; they are more likely to use a model code which organizes many essential standards in one place; in a way that streamlines the design process for the industry.The ICC model codes; which include separate codes for new and existing residential and commercial buildings; are developed and updated every three years. As in the development of standards; there is a period of time in which anyone can submit proposals to change a code.Subsequently; committees of about a dozen volunteer experts selected by the ICC vote on proposals for the model code in public hearings; in which anyone can give testimony.
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