Building codes

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Building codes specify construction methods and materials to protect the safety and welfare of people. Three major model building codes existed in the United States prior to 1994. These were the National Building Code (NBC), developed by the Building Official and Code Administrators International (BOCA), the Southern Building Code (SBC) developed by the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) and the Uniform Building Code (UBC) published by the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO).      
Any municipality or state could adopt one of these three codes or they could develop their own set of regulations, which is why they are termed 'model' codes. Since they are codes, they are not enforce able until they are adopted by a municipality. Codes provide minimum standards for occupancy classifications, types of construction and construction materials, interior finishes, accessibility, and fire protection systems. In 1994, the three organizations joined to form the International Code Council (ICC) to establish a uniform code. The uniform code should lead to wider code adoption, better code enforcement, and improved construction methods. Additionally, the intent is to phase out the three model building codes and incorporate all of the standards into one International Building Code.

References
Fisette, P. (1999). Decoding building codes. University of Massachusetts Building Materials & Work Technology Web site: <http://bct.eco.umass.edu/about-us/> Accessed 02.01.03.
Introduction to the ICC, International Code Council. <http://www.iccsafe.org/content/about-icc/> Accessed 18.11.08.

CAROLYN U. LAMBERT
PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY, USA

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