WHAT ARE CODES? WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?
Codes are a jurisdiction’s official statement on building safety. They are a set of minimum standards to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the people. Codes address all aspects of building construction––fire, life safety, structural, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical. The regulation of building construction can be traced through history for more than 4,000 years. Through time, people have become increasingly aware of ways to make buildings safer for occupants and avoid catastrophic consequences of building-construction failures.
WHO NEEDS BUILDING CODES?
Everyone. Whether in our homes, offices, schools, stores, factories, or places of entertainment, we rely on the safety of structures every day. The public need for protection from disaster due to fire, structural collapse, and general deterioration underscores the need for modern codes. Resilient construction has the potential to substantially reduce property damage and loss of life.
During the early 1900s, numerous building codes were authored by various code enforcement officials at a cost to their individual communities. Today, model codes are the central regulatory basis for the administration of code enforcement programs in cities, counties, and states throughout the U.S. They represent a collective undertaking that shares the cost of developing codes and keeping them up-to-date, while ensuring uniformity of regulations and optimization of technological advancements. Jurisdictions that adopt the International Codes® task ICC to develop, coordinate and update the nationally vetted model codes. This undertaking is not feasible for most local or state governments to justify in terms of cost, accuracy and efficiency.
The ICC CODE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
ICC develops construction and public safety codes through the governmental consensus process. This system of code development has provided the public with the highest level of safety in the world for more than 80 years. Every three years a new code cycle begins with code change proposals then proceeds to committee hearings and public action hearings. The cycle culminates with the publishing of a new edition of the International Codes ready to be adopted throughout the U.S. and by the global community. As one code cycle comes to completion, the next code cycle begins.