BY JACK J. MURPHYInformal building codes can be traced back to the Code of Hammurabi: When a building collapsed and killed the occupants, the designer and his firstborn son were put to death. The U.S. building code started unceremoniously in 1625, but it was not until 1873 when the National Association of Fire Engineers (NAFE, later the International Association of Fire Chiefs) developed a list of eight fire safety concerns in building construction. In 1884, John S. Damrell, a former Boston (MA) Fire Department chief, petitioned the NAFE to formulate a building code. It was not until 1906 that the National Board of Fire Underwriters introduced the first published National Building Code; i...

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