Explain your understanding of building codes and

Explain
your understanding of building codes and how they relate to building design and
to construction. How have building codes evolved to contemporary time and what
factors or events lead to their evolution?

Building Codes

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            Building codes are a set of regulations or rules
governing the design, construction, alteration and maintenance of a structure
or building. They specify the minimum requirements to keep the health, safety
and welfare of the buildings occupants. To rather than create and maintain
their own codes, most states and local jurisdictions adopt the model building
codes by the International Code Council (ICC).

The
members in a typical design team is the owner. The architect who helps organize
the owner’s ideas for the new building, and also the engineer who works out
concepts and details of foundations, structural support, mechanical, electrical
and communication services. They relate to building design and to construction
because first the architect and engineer both develop drawings and specs. Then
those construction docs are sent to local government building authorities.
Where they are reviewed to see if they conform to zoning ordinances and
building codes. If everything complies, then they are approved and issued a
building permit.

Building
codes govern there design work when they are reviewed by building authorities
before given a building permit. Assuring protection to public health and safety
and by establishing minimum standards for construction quality, structural
integrity, accessibility, and most importantly fire safety. Also even after,
throughout the life of the project inspectors verify if the project is
complying with the building codes until the completion of the structure.

Factors
and events that lead to building codes evolving to contemporary times.
Generally recognized as one of the world’s first written codes that also
included some building codes is The Code of Hammurabi (1800 B.C), which are the
codes that were essentially criminal statute that included capital punishment
for poor-quality workmanship that sometimes ended up in death.          The
Code of Hammurabi contained 282 laws on twelve stone tablets which were placed
in public for all to see. Some building codes included in The Code of Hammurabi
were number 229 which said “If a builder builds a house for someone, and does
not construct it properly, and the house which he built falls in and kills its
owner, then that builder shall be put to death.” Also code number 230 which
said “If it kills the son of the owner, the son of that builder shall be put to
death.”, and code number 231 which said “If it kills a slave of the owner, then
he shall pay, slave for slave, to the owner of the house.” Also code number 232
which said “If it ruins goods, he shall make compensation for all that has been
ruined, and inasmuch as he did not construct properly this house which he built
and it fell, he shall re-erect the house from his own means.”, and code number
233 which said “If a builder builds a house for someone, even though he has not
yet completed it; if then the walls seem toppling, the builder must make the
walls solid from his own means.” These codes were somewhat vague and sometimes
brutal but this was somewhat of the beginning to the building codes used now.

The
beginning of modern codes can be said to be established in 1897 which was the
publication of the NFPA’s National Electrical Code, and today covers regionally
adoptable standards for the safe installation of electrical wiring and
equipment in the United States. Sanitation and fire concerns were the reasons
behind some early codes and over the years have led to requirements including
wider streets, and limits on building space and height, also have led to
plumbing standards, light requirements, and minimum room dimensions.            

Another
event leading to stricter building codes was a tragic fire at the MGM Grand in
1980 which led to more fire protection requirements, meaning having to include
sprinkler systems, and exit lighting.

            Natural
disasters are also factors to why there are more code improvements. Including
the 1992 Hurricane Andrew which ended in more strict construction codes or
standards. The storm destroyed most of South Florida which led to the first
statewide code system in Florida. Research programs have been led out and have
increased the understanding of earthquakes. Some serious research programs were
done 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 during
earthquakes. Seismic codes represent the best guide to how buildings should be
designed and built to limit any seismic risk. FEMA officials said some
jurisdictions have been slow to adopt the latest code editions with seismic
safety provisions, and warn that the new structures will probably not provide
the current minimum level of protection from earthquakes. FEMA also mentioned
that states and jurisdictions with really high levels of seismic hazards that
actually have used model codes have not included any seismic provisions.

The
International Building Code (IBC) is a model building code developed by the
International Code Council (ICC) which has been adopted throughout most of the
United States. Today building codes are more and more specific to ensure that
the understanding of each law is followed so at the end everyone is safe for
today and for the future. Also today building codes are one of the main
priorities when constructing a building because if building requirements are
not 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 the
inspector doesn’t let the structure pass inspection until that certain code is
followed accurately. Basically you can’t build any structure without having an
understanding of building codes and following building codes. So when getting
involved in construction I find that it is really necessary to know what the
building codes are to be successful.