Explainyour understanding of building codes and how they relate to building design andto construction.
How have building codes evolved to contemporary time and whatfactors or events lead to their evolution?Building Codes Building codes are a set of regulations or rulesgoverning the design, construction, alteration and maintenance of a structureor building. They specify the minimum requirements to keep the health, safetyand welfare of the buildings occupants. To rather than create and maintaintheir own codes, most states and local jurisdictions adopt the model buildingcodes by the International Code Council (ICC). Themembers in a typical design team is the owner.
The architect who helps organizethe owner’s ideas for the new building, and also the engineer who works outconcepts and details of foundations, structural support, mechanical, electricaland communication services. They relate to building design and to constructionbecause first the architect and engineer both develop drawings and specs. Thenthose construction docs are sent to local government building authorities.
Where they are reviewed to see if they conform to zoning ordinances andbuilding codes. If everything complies, then they are approved and issued abuilding permit.Buildingcodes govern there design work when they are reviewed by building authoritiesbefore given a building permit. Assuring protection to public health and safetyand by establishing minimum standards for construction quality, structuralintegrity, accessibility, and most importantly fire safety. Also even after,throughout the life of the project inspectors verify if the project iscomplying with the building codes until the completion of the structure. Factorsand events that lead to building codes evolving to contemporary times.Generally recognized as one of the world’s first written codes that alsoincluded some building codes is The Code of Hammurabi (1800 B.C), which are thecodes that were essentially criminal statute that included capital punishmentfor poor-quality workmanship that sometimes ended up in death.
TheCode of Hammurabi contained 282 laws on twelve stone tablets which were placedin public for all to see. Some building codes included in The Code of Hammurabiwere number 229 which said “If a builder builds a house for someone, and doesnot construct it properly, and the house which he built falls in and kills itsowner, then that builder shall be put to death.” Also code number 230 whichsaid “If it kills the son of the owner, the son of that builder shall be put todeath.”, and code number 231 which said “If it kills a slave of the owner, thenhe shall pay, slave for slave, to the owner of the house.” Also code number 232which said “If it ruins goods, he shall make compensation for all that has beenruined, and inasmuch as he did not construct properly this house which he builtand it fell, he shall re-erect the house from his own means.”, and code number233 which said “If a builder builds a house for someone, even though he has notyet completed it; if then the walls seem toppling, the builder must make thewalls solid from his own means.” These codes were somewhat vague and sometimesbrutal but this was somewhat of the beginning to the building codes used now.Thebeginning of modern codes can be said to be established in 1897 which was thepublication of the NFPA’s National Electrical Code, and today covers regionallyadoptable standards for the safe installation of electrical wiring andequipment in the United States.
Sanitation and fire concerns were the reasonsbehind some early codes and over the years have led to requirements includingwider streets, and limits on building space and height, also have led toplumbing standards, light requirements, and minimum room dimensions. Anotherevent leading to stricter building codes was a tragic fire at the MGM Grand in1980 which led to more fire protection requirements, meaning having to includesprinkler systems, and exit lighting. Naturaldisasters are also factors to why there are more code improvements. Includingthe 1992 Hurricane Andrew which ended in more strict construction codes orstandards.
The storm destroyed most of South Florida which led to the firststatewide code system in Florida. Research programs have been led out and haveincreased the understanding of earthquakes. Some serious research programs weredone in the 1970s which led to more code improvements.
Codes within the IBC,IRC and IEBC were added to ensure structures can resist seismic forces duringearthquakes. Seismic codes represent the best guide to how buildings should bedesigned and built to limit any seismic risk. FEMA officials said somejurisdictions have been slow to adopt the latest code editions with seismicsafety provisions, and warn that the new structures will probably not providethe current minimum level of protection from earthquakes.
FEMA also mentionedthat states and jurisdictions with really high levels of seismic hazards thatactually have used model codes have not included any seismic provisions.TheInternational Building Code (IBC) is a model building code developed by theInternational Code Council (ICC) which has been adopted throughout most of theUnited States. Today building codes are more and more specific to ensure thatthe understanding of each law is followed so at the end everyone is safe fortoday and for the future. Also today building codes are one of the mainpriorities when constructing a building because if building requirements arenot followed then the building from the beginning won’t be issued a permit.Then later on if found that it is not following building codes then theinspector doesn’t let the structure pass inspection until that certain code isfollowed accurately. Basically you can’t build any structure without having anunderstanding of building codes and following building codes. So when gettinginvolved in construction I find that it is really necessary to know what thebuilding codes are to be successful.