Codes & Standard

CODE DEVELOPMENT: WHOSE BATTLEFIELD IS THIS?

Issue 1 and Volume 160.

BY JACK J. MURPHY Informal 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; it took another 100 years to incorporate a nationwide International Building Code (IBC) and International Fire Code (IFC). In 1994, the International Code Council (ICC) was created, resulting from the merger of three regional code-writing organizations: the…

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