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Building Codes: .

Building Codes

 

A quick guide to finding and

beginning to use building codes

 

 

 

In the United States, most building construction and renovation is regulated by state law.  Often, a state legislature enacts building codes that apply to buildings across the state, but there can be exceptions.  A state might allow a city within it to apply a separate set of building codes (New York City is an example), or a state might choose to regulate construction at the county level, as in Delaware, or at the city or town level, as in Arizona.

 

 

1. How do I find the building codes that apply to my project?

 

If your project is located in the United States, click on the link to the left to use the Building Code Reference Library provided by Reed Construction Data.  If your project is located outside the U.S., however, you will need to consult your professor for guidance on what codes to use and how to access them.
If your project is located in the United States, click on the link to the left to use the Building Code Reference Library provided by Reed Construction Data.  If your project is located outside the U.S., however, you will need to consult your professor for guidance on what codes to use and how to access them.

 

 

For each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the Building Code Reference Library explains what building codes apply.  The New England states all have state-wide building codes (though some allow for variations at the town and city level).  For these states you will generally find a list of applicable codes, including: building/dwelling, structural, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, and many others.  The list provides the name of the state code together with the name of the model code on which the state code is based. 

Print copies of the state building codes for Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts are available in the Architecture Library reference collection.  Full-text copies are also available online via the list below.

 

2. New England state building codes

 

IMPORTANT NOTE:  The building codes published by individual states are not the complete text of the code.  The states only publish amendments to model codes, and it is the amendments along with the text of the model codes that comprise the complete state building codes.  Please see the section on model codes below for more information.

 

Rhode Island state building code   ARCH REF KFR459.A1 B8

 

 

Click on the image to the left for online access or use the print copy in the Architecture Library reference collection. 

Connecticut state building code   ARCH REF KFC4059 .A3 2005 

Click on the image to the left for online access or use the print copy in the Architecture Library reference collection. 

Massachusett state building code   ARCH REF KFM2859.A1 M37 2008   Residential and Commercial

Click on the image to the left for online access or use the print copy in the Architecture Library reference collection. 

 

Maine state building code    Click on the title for online access.

 

New Hampshire state building code    Click on the title for online access.

 

Vermont state building code    Click on the title for online access.

 

3. What is a model code?

A state's building codes are typically based on model codes that are written and updated by code professionals.  Most states now use the model codes created by the International Code Council (ICC).  The ICC edits multiple codes that cover the various aspects of construction. The International Building Code (IBC) might be considered the main code, but it is supplemented by others: the International Residential Code, the International Plumbing Code, the International Mechanical Code, etc.  Model codes are updated on a regular basis.  The ICC codes, for example, are typically updated on a three year cycle. 

 

4. State codes from model codes

Generally, a state legislature adopts a series of model codes and then modifies them to create the official state building codes.  Each state that uses a model code must formally decide which edition it will use.  This means that Connecticut may be using the 2003 edition of the IBC at the same time that Massachusetts is using the 2009 edition, and Rhode Island the 2006 edition.  The modifications made by a state are usually published as separate documents that refer back to the model codes; listing all additions, deletions, amendments, etc.  IMPORTANT NOTE: When a state publishes its building codes it does not publish the text of the model codes because the state does not own that material.  Therefore, to use a state's building codes, it is usually necessary to refer to both the state's published modifications and the model codes at the same time.

 

 

5. A case when using print may be easier 

While online versions of model codes exist, because it is necessary to use them with a state's amendments, it is often easier to use the print versions of the codes instead of the online versions.  See the lists of print materials and links to online codes below.

 

 

 

Print materials available 

 

International building code

ARCH REF KF5701 .A37 (yr)

NFPA 1, Uniform Fire Code Handbook

ARCH REF TH9111 .N47 (yr)

International mechanical code

ARCH REF KF5708 .I55 (yr) 

International energy conservation code

ARCH REF TH151 .I64 (yr)

International plumbing code

ARCH REF K3542 .I58 (yr)

International fuel gas code

ARCH REF K3542 .I573 (yr) 

National electrical code

ARCH REF TK223 .N27 (yr)

Building codes illustrated: a guide to understanding the 2006 International building code

ARCH DESK RESERVE TH420 .C49 2007

  

 

2003 ICC Codes Click on the link to the left to access the full-text of the 2003 editions of the ICC model codes.  Please note that that they have very limited searching and printing functions.
2003 ICC codes Click on the link to the left to access the full-text of the 2006 editions of the ICC model codes.  Please note that that they have very limited searching and printing functions.
Click on the link to the left to access the full-text of the 2009 editions of the ICC model codes.  Please note that that they have very limited searching and printing functions.