Housing codes are the foundation of an effective and healthy home program. These regulations set the minimum standards that all homes, whether new or existing, must meet to protect the health and safety of residents. In some communities, they are referred to as property maintenance codes or sanitation codes, but their scope and purpose remain the same. In a nutshell, a house is said to be “in compliance with the regulations” if it meets safety requirements that prevent fires and high-voltage shocks for people.
The code may require specific types of wiring, outlet upgrades (such as GFCI and AFCI outlets), surge protectors, etc. If a home passes an electrical inspection, it is said to be “in compliance with the code”. If you are buying an older home, it is highly recommended that you commission an inspection to verify compliance with the code. Many home construction projects require permits from local authorities to ensure that they are built “according to the code”.
The primary purpose of building codes is to protect public health, safety and general welfare with regard to the construction and occupation of buildings and structures. A housing code, building code, or building control is a set of rules that specify the minimum standards for constructed objects, such as buildings and structures that are not buildings. Building inspectors can make mistakes, disreputable builders can cut costs, or a home may be older than current building codes. The ICC developed the International Building Code (IBC), a set of building codes to protect health and safety while avoiding preferential treatment of specific materials or construction methods, thus avoiding unnecessary construction costs.
If you want to make sure your home (or one you want to buy) is in compliance with the building code, here are some steps that will help you determine if there are any violations. Building codes are generally intended to be applied by architects, engineers, builders and regulators, but they are also used for a variety of purposes by safety inspectors, environmental scientists, property developers, subcontractors, manufacturers of building products and materials, insurance companies, facility managers, tenants, and others.