Building Codes

Codes and Standards
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Contacts: Craig Drumheller
(202) 266-8565
cdrumheller@nahb.org

Gary Ehrlich
(202) 266-8545
gehrlich@nahb.org

Virtually all residential construction must adhere to comprehensive building codes and standards governed by local and state laws. Because of the cost and complexity of developing and maintaining such codes, state and local governments typically adopt nationally recognized model codes, often amending them to reflect local construction practices, climate and geography. Most U.S. communities adopt the International Code Council’s I-Codes for this purpose.

The I-Codes address all aspects of single- and two-family as well as multifamily construction, including structural elements and the electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, and energy conservation requirements.

The requirements established by national code bodies, the modifications made by state and local governments, and the standards set by national organizations that are used in developing the model codes can significantly affect the construction, configuration and cost of new residential buildings as well as remodeling or additions to existing ones.

The original purpose of codes was to protect public health and safety, but government agencies have increasingly turned to codes to implement other policies, such as energy efficiency, resilience, sustainability, and property protection. Worse yet, some agencies advocate for energy code changes benefiting specific product manufacturers and against providing code users options and flexibility.

Building codes can have a profound impact on the comfort and safety of residents as well as the cost of construction and the cost of operating the home. NAHB can help its members work toward cost-effective and safe codes. Contact your staff liaison to learn more.

Ultimately, individual members working together can have the largest impact on building codes. NAHB’s grassroots building codes campaign, One and Done, encourages one member of each HBA in the U.S. to contact one code official with information supplied by NAHB. If this happens, codes will be more favorable to builders.

BuilderBooks:  Codes Buy a copy of the latest I-Codes from ICC and other codes-related publication from the NAHB bookstore.
Construction Codes and Standards Committee Advocating for cost-effective and affordable codes, standards and regulations.
Construction Codes and Standards Research
Access reports from notable projects completed under Construction, Codes and Standards Committee oversight.

Construction, Codes and Standards Research

Construction, Codes and Standards Research

Access reports from notable projects completed under Construction, Codes and Standards Committee oversight.
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Code Development
Code changes that either have a negative impact on builders and home buyers or that will save builders time and expenses.

Code Development

Code Development

Code changes that either have a negative impact on builders and home buyers or that will save builders time and expenses.
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Code Adoption Kits
NAHB works closely with the development of the major model codes to make them as usable and affordable as possible.

Code Adoption Kits

Code Adoption Kits

NAHB works closely with the development of the major model codes to make them as usable and affordable as possible.
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Man spraying foam insulation in attic.
The two most widely adopted energy codes are the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and ASHRAE’s Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings (ASHRAE 90.1).

Energy Codes

Energy Codes

The two most widely adopted energy codes are the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and ASHRAE’s Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings (ASHRAE 90.1).
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Fire Sprinklers
NAHB continues to counter emotional arguments with reason, facts and common sense.

Fire Sprinklers

Fire Sprinklers

NAHB continues to counter emotional arguments with reason, facts and common sense.
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Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)
<p>Learn about NFPA 70, National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements for arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs).</p>

ARC-Fault Circuit Interrupters

ARC-Fault Circuit Interrupters

Learn about NFPA 70, National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements for arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs).

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Tech Notes
Resources&nbsp;to help builders navigate new code requirements and implement best practices.

Tech Notes: Best Practices for Home Builders

Tech Notes: Best Practices for Home Builders

Resources to help builders navigate new code requirements and implement best practices.
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Hurricane shutters
<span>A series of two-page guidelines illustrating techniques for retrofitting existing houses to improve their protection against natural hazards.</span>

Retrofit Improvements: MAKING HOMES SAFER IN DISASTERS

Retrofit Improvements: MAKING HOMES SAFER IN DISASTERS

A series of two-page guidelines illustrating techniques for retrofitting existing houses to improve their protection against natural hazards.
Learn more