This code applies to most buildings in most juridictions. It's the 2006 revision, so check with your local authority having jurisdiction as to which revision cycle is currently in force (we have later revisions; use the breadcrumb trail to find them).
The 2006 International Building Code features time-tested safety concepts, structural, and fire and life safety provisions covering means of egress, interior finish requirements, comprehensive roof provisions, seismic engineering provisions, innovative construction technology, occupancy classifications, and the latest industry standards in material design.
It is founded on broad-based principles that make possible the use of new materials and new building designs, and based on years of combined experience andtechnical expertise of the three model code groups: ICBO, BOCA, and SBCCI.
Please note that detached one- and two-family dwellings and multiple single-family dwellings, such as townhouses, not more than three stories above grade plane in height with a separate means of egress and their accessory structures are regulated under the provisions of the International Residential Code, which is available separately.
The 2006 International Building Code provides safety to firefighters and emergency responders during emergency operations and establishes the minimum requirements to safeguard the public health, safety and general welfare through the following:
Adequate light and ventilation.
Means of egress facilities.
Safety to life and property from fire and other hazards attributed to the built environment.
Author: International Code Council Format: Softcover Copyright: 2006 Pages: 680 ISBN: 1580012515
For every building or structure or any appurtenances connected or attached to such buildings or structures, the provisions of this code apply to their:
Who is the ICC? It's the International Code Council. The ICC says it's "a member-focused association dedicated to helping the building safety community and construction industry provide safe, sustainable and affordable construction through the development of codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process."
Why should you care? These codes form the basis for how construction must be done.
Many jurisdictions in the USA have adopted International Codes--sometimes in addition to other codes, sometimes in place of them. All fifty states (and U.S. possessions and many jurisdictions outside the USA) have adopted one or more of the International Codes, either with amendments or exactly as is.
Many owners (construction customers) are bound by International Codes, due to corporate policies--especially if the parent company is based outside the USA.
Code convergence is increasing. Other codes are becoming more like the International Codes with each code cycle.
Conforming to these codes, even if not specifically required to do by the local authority having jurisdiction, can make a huge difference in a liability suit.
The International Codes, if not required in your jurisdiction, can fill some "holes" in other applicable codes for engineering or design quality purposes. Thus, they make it easier for you to "sell" to the customer the right way to do the job. You have an authoritative basis for the "price hike" you are proposing over a less suitable design.
If you are not using International Codes now, you will be. Get in the habit of working with these codes.
Bonus! Now, here's a bonus for you. Suppose the state doesn't list a specific code. You do the work, something happens, and you are in court defending yourself against claims that your work resulted in an unsafe installation. There's no inspection report, because there was no standard required by your state. But wait. You did the work per the applicable ICC codes. Now, assuming good workmanship and good materials, the other party has a frivolous case.
Safety first. The International Codes, or I-Codes, published by ICC, provide minimum safeguards for people at home, at school, and in the workplace. The I-Codes are a complete set of comprehensive, coordinated building safety and fire prevention codes. Building codes benefit public safety and support the industry’s need for one set of codes without regional limitations.
Federal applications. Many federal agencies (such as the Architect of the Capitol, General Services Administration, National Park Service, Department of State, U.S. Forest Service and the Veterans Administration) require work to be done per the the I-Codes. The Department of Defense references the International Building Code for constructing military facilities, including those that house U.S. troops, domestically and deployed.
Where ICC came from. The founders of the ICC are Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA), International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO), and Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc. (SBCCI). At one time, they each published their own codes. But in 1994, they established the International Code Council (ICC) as a non-profit organization dedicated to developing a single set of construction codes. The International Code Series subsequently replaced the codes previously published by these organizations.
Code Compliance Tips
Obviously, you need to know what the regulations and requirements are. That's why you should buy this standard.
As you apply a requirement, look at the principle behind it. If you satisfy the principle, you won't be subject to "interpretation revisions" being forced on you later.
To understand a particular provision, understand its context. So rather than look up a sentence and try to parse out its meaning, look at the entire code and how it's arranged. Where does the provision fit within this framework, and what is that chapter or section trying to accomplish?
Remember that members of all code-making bodies write the codes in respect to the laws of physics, and to the body of knowledge in the respective trade or skill area addressed by the code. If you also understand these things, then you will be able to more properly apply a given code requirement.
Codes are nearly always written as minimum requirements. You may need to go beyond the code requirements for optimum operational efficiency or to satisfy engineering requirements based on best practices. The codes almost never limit you from going beyond the requirements.