Building Safety Month: History of the International Code Council

  • By Jeremy Thompson
  • 01 May, 2016
Did you know May is Building Safety Month? It happens every May, and it’s a public awareness campaign established by the International Code Council (ICC) in conjunction with its worldwide members and professionals from the construction, design and safety industries. During this month the ICC helps individuals as well as businesses understand the need for […] The post Building Safety Month: History of the International Code Council appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
It happens every May, and it’s a public awareness campaign established by the International Code Council (ICC) in conjunction with its worldwide members and professionals from the construction, design and safety industries. During this month the ICC helps individuals as well as businesses understand the need for codes, and their strong enforcement, as well as the need for a professionally trained workforce to maintain the system, all so we have safe and sustainable structures.
But why are building codes all that important you may wonder, and why should you care? Well, if you (or people you care about) live in, work in, or ever enter a building, you should consider stringent, professional building codes important!

History of the Codes

The establishment of building codes purportedly dates back to as early as 1800 BC. The first known building code was enforced by the Babylonian emperor Hammurabi, and called the Code of Hammurabi. It simply stated “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.”
Several building regulation codes were passed throughout the subsequent years, sometimes in reaction to disastrous events such as the Great Fire of London in 1666 and the Great Baltimore Fire in 1904. Much of the earlier codes were focused on fire resistance, but later codes focused as much on public health.
In the early twentieth century building regulations in the United States were based on building codes developed by regional model code groups: the Building Officials Code Administrators International (east coast and midwest), Southern Building Code Congress International (southeast) and the International Conference of Building Officials (west coast and midwest).

About the International Code Council

While the regional codes were deemed effective, in the early 1990s the three model code groups decided to organize and in 1994 they formed the International Code Council, a non-profit organization, as an effort to develop codes without regional limitations. The first edition of the International Building Code was published in 1997 and was based on the codes previously used by all three organizations. The ICC has been in existence ever since and still holds the mission of providing high quality codes and standards to create safe buildings and in turn protect the health, safety and welfare of people. The ICC’s International Codes® are comprehensive building safety and fire prevention codes that safeguard people at home, at school and in the workplace.

Conclusion/How You Can Help

This year’s Building Safety Month theme is Building Codes: Driving Growth through Innovation, Resilience and Safety . Each week of May there is a specific theme about building safety. You can check out the International Code Council’s events on their website, learn more about building codes, use the resources they provide to assist you in promoting Building Safety Month in your community or find out how to become a sponsor. Because while they are hard at work making sure our buildings are inhabitable, most of us take for granted the safety of the structures we walk through and live in every day.
Next Steps

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