What is the Building Code and Why is it Important?

What is the building code? Först Consulting GroupWhenever construction is to be performed on a residential or commercial property, it is imperative that any and all work conforms to the minimum standards and provisions of the building code. But just what is the building code, and why is it important? Let’s explore those answers here.

What is the Building Code?

The building code is “a set of rules that specify the standards for constructed objects,” according to Wikipedia. It controls the structural and mechanical integrity, and includes items like the electrical, plumbing, drainage, water supply, sanitation, lighting and ventilation. It also sets the minimum standards for means of egress, fire prevention and control, and energy conservation.

In a structure, the code can dictate the size and location of rooms, foundations, floor and wall assemblies, ceiling heights, roof structures, exit location and size rules, occupancy standards, stairs and hallways, and energy efficiency/energy consumption. For those doing the work, it requires qualification standards.

The United States building codes include the International Building Code and the International Residential Code (IBC/IRC) for electrical, plumbing and mechanical codes. They are sometimes known as the “I-Codes.” They are separate from local zoning ordinances.

Some building codes are national, and carry nationwide application for regulation and enforcement. Others are regulated and enforced by local jurisdictions. Buildings must obtain planning permission from the local jurisdiction and are subject to inspection. A passing score is needed prior to obtaining a certificate of occupancy.

Related: Wikipedia

Why is the Building Code Important?

The building code is the required standards, set into law, that protect the safety and welfare of the public as related to the construction and occupancy of buildings and structures. It is used in the occupations of architects, engineers, builders and contractors, interior designers, regulators, safety inspectors, developers, subcontractors, building product manufacturers, and environmental scientists. It is also employed by insurance companies, building and facility managers, tenants and others.

Related: How to Find Building Codes and Other Legal DIY Resources

What’s New?

The International Code Council (ICC) recently clarified and ruled that the Energy requirements in the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) superseded the International Mechanical Code (IMC) to declare that building cavities cannot be used as ducts or plenums for air supply or return air. (Energy Code excerpt N1103.3.5 (R403.3.5).

You need an Expert in Construction Errors and Defects: Först Consulting Group

Adherence to building codes is not only mandatory, it ensures the safety of those who use or occupy structures and buildings. Yet not all construction passes code. That’s why you need an expert in the field to identify existing or potential problems. Some older structures and buildings were erected prior to current building code requirements and therefore may require retrofits to bring them up to code. Other projects incur errors during construction with material failures, incorrect installation, or incompetency with those working on the job.

If you suspect a construction error or wonder “What is the building code in my area?”, contact Först Consulting Group. We will perform an inspection of your property and issue you a detailed report, along with supporting photography and remediation recommendations and costs. This will aid in either helping to fix the problem or in supporting your claim in a legal case.

Först Consulting Group is a subsidiary of The Falcon Group. Contact Först today to schedule your free consultation.


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