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The Building Code, Part 1

September 23, 2011

The building code is a large book that sets on the shelves of most Architecture offices, typically only brought down then some obscure technical issue crops up. Code books are often confusing, worded with all sorts of regulations and exceptions that seem to contradict each other. 

There are many different building codes. Nationally the International Building Code (IBC) is the most common, but some jurisdictions, like the city of Chicago have their own codes. Many adopt the IBC but publish their own amendments altering the IBC to their own requirements.

There are two types of building codes:

Performance base building codes described what needs to be achieved by the building. (Example, a building can only use a certain amout of energy or water.)

Perscriptive based building codes described exactly what is needed to meet the requirements. (Example, a railing must me 42″ high)

For the remainder of the posts, I will be giving an brief overview of building codes, using references from the IBC.


Part 2 – Use and Occupancy

Part 3 – Special requirements

Part 4 – General Building Height and Area Limitations

Part 5 – Types of Construction

Part 6 – Fire Resistant Construction

Part 7 – Interior Finishes

Part 8 – Means of Egress


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