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Building Codes

Building Codes

When designing, constructing, or renovating a building, architects, specifiers, consultants and contractors must comply with building codes, which address safety, structural stability, and energy efficiency requirements.

Local building codes have been changing rapidly to address changes in building technologies, the consequences of weather events, and to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. Contacting building authorities or zoning boards early in the design phase can help to ensure that the most updated  codes are considered in the building design. Plans can be submitted to the city or county’s municipal office to verify that the most recent version of local codes have been applied.


Future-Proofing the Design

Most building design professionals consider, from an investment standpoint, designing and building beyond code requirements. Anticipating materials, technology, and systems that can extend the viability and usability of a building helps to reduce demands on natural resources. Studies show a link between climate change and increasing temperatures and precipitation – a situation that will continue, but that can be addressed by enhancing the energy efficiency and long-term performance features of buildings designed today.


Code Requirement Overview

  • The International Building Code (IBC) offers a model code with minimum requirements for safeguarding public health, safety, and general welfare.
  • The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC-2021) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2022) Standards provide building and design professionals with two options for the new energy codes.
  • The American Society of Civil Engineers, ASCE 7 engineering code provides a set of minimum requirements for the building’s structural resistance.

Energy Efficiency (IECC, ASHRAE 90.1)

Thermal (IECC C402 and ASHRAE 90.1 Chapter 5)

Air Barrier (IECC C402.5 and ASHRAE 90.1-

Exterior Walls (Chapter 14 IBC)

Weather Protection (IBC 1402.2)

Vapor Retarders (IBC 1404.3)

Flashings (IBC 1404.4)

Roof Assemblies (Chapter 15 IBC)

Weather Protection (IBC 1503)

Requirements for Roof Coverings (IBC 1507)

Flashings (IBC 1503.2)

Copings (IBC 1503.3)

Wind Resistance (IBC 1504.1 and ASCE 7)

Edge Securement (IBC 1504.5 and ANSI/SPRI ES-1)

Fire Code Requirements

In Type I, II, III and IV buildings, the air, water and thermal control layers must simultaneously meet material fire requirements, such as ASTM E84, Class A, and assembly fire requirements, including NFPA 285 compliance with combustible components in the wall assembly insulation, cladding, or AWB. Manufacturers can demonstrate compliance with NFPA 285 requirements with project-specific testing results or engineering evaluations based on performing and passing full-scale assembly and material analysis results. Type V buildings, considered combustible buildings, do not need to meet these requirements.