Building Codes

Building Codes

History of the Building Codes

Building Codes can be traced back to approximately 1772 BC when the Babylonian emperor Hammurabi enacted Building Codesthe Code of Hammurabi. The codes – or laws – that pertained to construction were:

  • 229 – If a builder builds a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built falls in and kills its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.
  • 230 – If it kills the son of the owner, the son of that builder shall be put to death.
  • 231 – If it kills a slave of the owner, then he shall pay, slave for slave, to the owner of the house.
  • 232 – If it ruins goods, he shall make compensation for all that has been ruined, and inasmuch as he did not construct properly this house which he built and it fell, he shall re-erect the house from his own means.
  • 233 – If a builder builds a house for someone, even though he has not yet completed it; if then the walls seem toppling, the builder must make the walls solid from his own means.

In the early 1700’s AD, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson pushed for the development of Building Codes to provide minimum building standards for the health and safety of citizens. And then in the early 1900’s, Insurance Companies, in an effort to reduce property loss claims from improper construction, lobbied for further development of building codes.

The Building Officials and Code Administration (BOCA) was established in 1915 and developed  the BOCA National Building Code (BOCA/NBC). This code was primarily used and enforced in the Northeastern United States. The International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) was next to be established in 1927. The ICBO developed the Uniform Building Code (UBC) which was primarily used in the Midwest and Western United States. And lastly, in 1940, the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) was established. The SBCCI developed the Standard Building Code (SBC), which was primarily used in the Southern United States.

Building Codes Today

Representatives from BOCA, ICBO, and SBCCI came together in 1994 to begin the process of developing a comprehensive and coordinated code that could be used nationally. The first edition of the IBC was published in 1997 and is updated and revised every three years.

The current International Code Council codes are:

  • Building Codes
    • International Building Code
    • International Existing Building Code
    • International Green Construction Code
    • International Zoning Code
  • Mechanical/HVAC Building Codes
    • International Mechanical Code
    • International Energy Conservation Code
  • Plumbing Building Codes
    • International Plumbing Code
    • International Private Sewage Disposal Code
    • International Fuel Gas Code
  • Fire Building Codes
    • International Fire Code
  • Residential Building Codes
    • International Residential Code
  • Other Building Codes
    • ICC Performance Code
    • International Property Maintenance Code
    • International Swimming Pool and Spa Code
    • International Wildland Urban Interface Code

Get your copy of the Building Codes at:

Building Codes

Additionally, the National Fire Protection Association – NFPA – publishes a number of codes and standards including:

  • NFPA 70 – the National Electrical Code
  • NFPA 99 – Health Care Facilities Code
  • NFPA 101 – the Life Safety Code
  • NFPA 5000  – Building Construction and Safety Code
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