Dr. Mor & Associates
13036 Mindanao Way, #6
Marina del Rey, CA 90292 
Direct: 310.776-5667
Office: 310.574-0080

What are the Building Codes?

The Building Codes are a set of laws that are adopted by Government (Local or Federal) in order to establish a minimum standard requirement for construction.  These codes are put in place as a safeguard that will ensure the safety of people who might be hurt when failure occurs.  It is important to understand that these codes are not intended to property but the "life and limb" of whoever uses the structures.  In many cases protecting the occupants will result in superior quality and protection to property as well.

One common example is the way the code mandates requirements for design and construction in areas susceptible to earthquakes.  The intention is to keep the structures standing long enough to allow egress of the occupants.  It is not intended to prevent damage and  keep the structure from cracking.  In most cases the structure is considered a success if everyone got out alive, even if it is necessary to demolish the remains and start over.

These codes are "minimum requirements" and any builder may use its own rules to exceed the code requirements in order to construct quality structures.

Who writes the Building Codes?

The Building Codes are a work of volunteer committees working under the direction and supervision of the code authoring authority.  Currently, in the United States, this body is called the "International Code Council" or ICC.  Earlier, it was the "Uniform Building Code" (UBC) and it was published by the "International Conference of Building Officials" (ICBO).  The transition to the ICC started after the 1997 version of the UBC was published.

Referenced in the Building Code are various publications from the "American Society for Testing and Materials" (ASTM) and from the "American Concrete Institute" (ACI).  Although not physically included in the code book, these references become part of it and have similar authority.  An example will be the ACI publication ACI 318-08: Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete and Commentary.

Where to get the Building Codes?

The Building Codes are available from the ICC directly or (at a considerable discount) from other online sources (below).

Make sure you are getting the correct Building Code for your situation.  All Building Codes come in the original version (from ICC) and in localized versions as adopted by local Building Departments.  For example, below are links to the International Building Code, as well as to the California Building Code (Title 24) and the City of Los Angeles Building Code. The local versions are modified to address local regulations and concerns.

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