b"Th e Importance of Building Cod es by Bob Lacosse, MRCA Technical Adviser A building code should be understood byTheisof hearings and recommendations.The BOCA National Building Codeused allthoseinvolvedinthebuildingandbyorItprocedures are similar for eachthe three the northern statesMidwest.dealsof constructionindustry,asitaffectsthewith the extensive useinsulation typicalgroups, as follows: of regulationsofmethods,productsandin colder climate construction. systems used in structures.Anyone mayto propose a revisiona model The ICBOUniform Building Code hasbuildingcode.Aproposalmustbe A building code is a legal document writtenbeen adopted mostly by the western states,submittedinwritingwithsupporting to set minimum requirements applying tobut overlaps into some Midwest areas.Itdocuments describing why the code change the design, construction,- location, repair,includesdeserttomountainclimateis needed.After publishing the proposal, demolition,andoccupancyoruseofdemands and emphasizes requirements forthe sponsoring organization's code change buildings. Itbyorseismic loading for earthquake resistance.committee schedules an open hearing and is enforceda municipal county building department.invites the testimony ofinterested parties. all The SBCCI Standard Building Code takes The purposea building code is to protectinto account high-force hurricane winds,Once the code change committee has heard of the lives of people and provide for theiranever-presentdangertothesouthernall testimony on the proposal,may make it safety and welfare while inAtlantic and Gulf Coast states.revisions. The committee then votes on its or near buildings. The adoption and use ofrecommendationtothegeneral building codes is authorized through the police powers ofThese building codes are only models. Theymembership. Ital may recommend approvthe states and is usually extended to theirare not enforceable unless they are enactedof the proposal as submitted, approved as counties and cities. Therearebetween16,000and17,000''uildingcodesestablishminimum municipal, city, county and state building code jurisdictionsin theUnitedStates.Bforthedesignand However, most adopt one of the three model building codes (the remainingjurisdictions write their own).These model buildingrequirements codes are sponsored by the following major model building code organizations:constructionof buildingstosafeguardlife, 1.The Building Officials and Codehealth and public welfare, as well as to protect Administrators, International (BOCA) sponsors the Nationalthe building itself. 2.Building Code;ofinto law at the county, municipal or staterevised, denial, or'' The International Conference Building Officials (ICBO) sponsors the Uniform Building Code; and 3.The Southern Buildingfurther study. The code Code Congress,level.Iforganizationpublishesthesecommittee the model code is revised by the International (SBCCI)sponsor, the changesinto effectrecommendations for membership review. do not goat sponsors the Standardthe local level until they are specifically Building Code.adopted by the !~cal jurisdictions.Attheorganization'sannualbusiness meeting,theproposed revisionmaybe by Launching a CodeA local jurisdiction adopts a model codediscussed again.Normally, only editorial reference at a meeting ofchanges may be made during the second the city council, The model building codes are written bycounty board or state legislature.Duringhearing.When discussion has ended, the votingmembersofthesponsoringthe proceedings, the code may be amendedgeneralmembership votes tosustainor organizations.However, in some cases,toreflectlocalrequirements.Somechange the committee's recommendation. non-voting members assist in the writingjurisdictionspermitoralorwritten as part ofor jointtestimony from outside sources. AlthoughSustaining the recommendation requires a joint ad-hoc committees task groups.Voting members are codejurisdictions are free to modify the modelmajority vote.Overturning the committee enforcement officials from the state andcode, they normally adopt it with little orrecommendation requires a two-thirds or locallevels.Otherinterestedpartiesno revisions.three-fourths vote, but this is seldom done. representingmaterialmanufacturers,The finalized revisionsthen published, are architects,contractors,associationsRevision Procedureseither as supplements to the code or as a representing all segments ofrevised code. The revisions, if the buildingadopted by industry, and others can become non-votingThe model codes are updated annually by these three organizations.Continued on page 4 . members ofsponsoring organizations through a series Page 3"