• Welcome to the new and improved Building Code Forum. We appreciate you being here and hope that you are getting the information that you need concerning all codes of the building trades. This is a free forum to the public due to the generosity of the Sawhorses, Corporate Supporters and Supporters who have upgraded their accounts. If you would like to have improved access to the forum please upgrade to Sawhorse by clicking here: Upgrades

Model Code Agency

JCraver

Sawhorse
Joined
Feb 20, 2014
Messages
722
Location
Southern IL
I am a bit of a code historian, so there is more to this subject than I can write at this moment. However, the feds have long history of involvement with building codes in this country. In the 1920s it was from the Chamber of Commerce and was primarily concerned with the increased cost of construction due to local codes. It has been steady ever since. In recent time, it was threats from the DOE regarding energy code development. That is why you saw the big increase in energy codes in the 2012 edition. They also tied funding for the recession bail out to what edition of the IECC was adopted, but also provided funding to help jurisdictions update their energy code.

In the 1960's there was a special interest that wanted a national building code. It was the NAHB and the design community. They wanted to the four legacy codes to come together in one national code, and they got it (the code, that is). CABO was formed and the predecessor to the IRC was written in 1971. This was the response to a call for a national code, but to keep it out of the feds hands.

Now, I see history repeating itself. We have a "national code" (the I-codes) but we are back to where we were in the 1920's where individual, local codes are driving up the cost of construction. The local governments might like their unique code, but the people are growing weary of it. The lack of definitive rules is again chaos and makes the public less trusting of the importance of the code provisions.

Times are ripe for more big changes in the code industry. I don't know what they will be, but my lessons in history tell me change is inevitable.

My lesson from society (at the moment) is to expect history to repeat itself.
This is a great book from 1969 that provides insight from the mind of a building code professional at that time. I very much enjoyed reading it and I refer to it often. In all things, not just code, the "truths" that modern people hold to dearly are often not supported by recorded history.

The best way to learn history, is from history written in history. A modern explanation of history is good, but still a copy of a copy. I'm not sure how much I trust today's society to properly provide me history. Too many folks want to rewrite it.

https://books.google.com/books/about/Codes_and_code_administration.html?id=qXVAAAAAIAAJ

Thanks, for both of those.
 

CodeWarrior

Registered User
Joined
May 18, 2016
Messages
60
Location
USA
This is a great book from 1969 that provides insight from the mind of a building code professional at that time. I very much enjoyed reading it and I refer to it often. In all things, not just code, the "truths" that modern people hold to dearly are often not supported by recorded history.

The best way to learn history, is from history written in history. A modern explanation of history is good, but still a copy of a copy. I'm not sure how much I trust today's society to properly provide me history. Too many folks want to rewrite it.

https://books.google.com/books/about/Codes_and_code_administration.html?id=qXVAAAAAIAAJ
I have read the Sanderson book, too. I agree, it's a great book and well written. Wow, 51 years old. I haven't found another publication quite like it out there.
 

Glenn

Corporate Supporter
Staff member
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
627
Location
Denver
I have read the Sanderson book, too. I agree, it's a great book and well written. Wow, 51 years old. I haven't found another publication quite like it out there.
Here are three others I have from the 70's that offer perspective of the time and of our code history.

"Readings in Code Administration" This is also by Sanderson, but its a compilation of papers from code officials across the country. I have volume 2 about fire protection. I have yet to find a volume 1 or 3 for my collection. A line is the preface is so very cool:

"Many of the papers are old. They were selected because their message is timeless. They were relevant when they were written. They are relevant today, and they will be tomorrow."

Now is "tomorrow" and I do find them relevant. I love it!

"Men against fire" by Percy Bugbee. It is the story of the NFPA from 1896 to 1971 (when it was written). It is awesome. Yep. I think you can read this one online if you google it.

"Preservation and Building Codes" by the national trust for historic preservation in 1974. I honestly have not read this one yet. I bet it will be great insight into Uniform Code for Building Conservation, first edition, 1985
 

Mark K

Platinum Member
Joined
May 12, 2010
Messages
1,664
If there is a problem with different jurisdictions enforcing different code provisions, which I believe there is, then I suggest that each state should adopt a state building code and limit the local modifications. Then the local jurisdictions should minimize their local modifications.

The vast majority of local code provisions really do little to provide better outcomes, rather they reflect the idiosyncratic preferences of the local building official. If the local provisions had a real value then I would expect that there would be compelling data showing a difference in outcomes between different jurisdictions and if that were the case I would hope that the model codes would be modified to reflect the lesson learned. Antidotal evidence is of questionable value.

If your jurisdiction has a unique local requirement then submit it to ICC or other model code organization as a code change proposal. If the model code does not adopt the change then the local code should be modified to make it compatible with the model code. You could also attempt to have the state codes modified to reflect your preference and if not successful it is suggested that your local modifications were not needed.
 

CodeWarrior

Registered User
Joined
May 18, 2016
Messages
60
Location
USA
Here are three others I have from the 70's that offer perspective of the time and of our code history.

"Readings in Code Administration" This is also by Sanderson, but its a compilation of papers from code officials across the country. I have volume 2 about fire protection. I have yet to find a volume 1 or 3 for my collection. A line is the preface is so very cool:

"Many of the papers are old. They were selected because their message is timeless. They were relevant when they were written. They are relevant today, and they will be tomorrow."

Now is "tomorrow" and I do find them relevant. I love it!

"Men against fire" by Percy Bugbee. It is the story of the NFPA from 1896 to 1971 (when it was written). It is awesome. Yep. I think you can read this one online if you google it.

"Preservation and Building Codes" by the national trust for historic preservation in 1974. I honestly have not read this one yet. I bet it will be great insight into Uniform Code for Building Conservation, first edition, 1985

One more for the code commentary:
Handbook to the uniform building code: An illustrative commentary, by Vince Bush, 1988. ICBO didn't let Vince do any updates, and I would pass on any edition that does not show him as the author. They just seem to lack the same insights.
 
Top