Codes Corner
Excerpts from some of ICC's most beneficial code publications and resources
IBC Sections 104 and 1703 and the Authority of the Code Official

The rules regarding the duties and powers of the code official [building official in the International Building Code (IBC)] have been in place for several decades and are well understood by those who administer the codes. Code officials have the responsibility of protecting public safety in their communities. They alone have the authority to apply and interpret the code in their jurisdictions and determine whether to accept products, fixtures, construction materials, components and entities or agencies that evaluate products. Any attempt to imply or claim that "approval" is universal and that it can be automatically bestowed upon a specific agency without the approval of the local authorities is misleading and would appear as an attempt to undermine the authority of the code officials.

Section 104 of the IBC, and more specifically Section 104.9, addresses approved materials and equipment: "Materials, equipment and devices approved by the building official shall be constructed and installed in accordance with such approval." The approval authority of the building official is a significant responsibility and is a key to code compliance.

Section 104.11.1, Research reports, reads: "Supporting data, where necessary to assist in the approval of materials or assemblies not specifically provided for in this code, shall consist of valid research reports from approved sources."

Section 104.11.2, Tests in part reads: "Tests shall be performed by an approved agency." Tests submitted must therefore be performed by an agency approved by the building official based on evidence that the agency has the technical expertise, test equipment and the quality assurance procedures to properly conduct and report the necessary technical information.

Section 1703.1 Approved agency reads: "An approved agency shall provide all information as necessary for the building official to determine that the agency meets the applicable requirements." This section makes clear that the agency must submit the necessary information to each local building official so said official can determine whether the agency possesses the knowledge and expertise necessary to be approved for the specific subject matter, building element, or construction material under consideration.

Code sections quoted above contain italicized terms, indicating the term is defined in the code, and the definition must be used in the application of the code. Below are definitions of "Approved," "Approved Agency" and "building official":

• Approved: Acceptable to the building official or authority having jurisdiction.
• Approved Agency: An established and recognized agency regularly engaged in conducting tests or furnishing inspection services, when such agency has been approved.
• Building official: The officer or other designated authority charged with the administration and enforcement of this code, or a duly authorized representative.

This discussion shows the clear relationship between various sections of the code that deal with the powers and authority of the code official. No agency or entity can claim universal "approval," because approval is only vested in the local code administering authorities. While this article is focused on the IBC and its applicable sections, the same or similar provisions are present in other International Codes.
CODE UPDATE | Significant Changes to the 2009 A117.1 Accessibility Standard
(The information below is excerpted from the Significant Changes to the 2012 International Codes series.)
This change relocates the provisions that allow clearances to overlap into the "building block" sections of Chapter 3. Allows for the elimination of redundant provisions in other locations and adds door maneuvering clearances into the permitted overlap.

Click to continue reading more on this update to the 2009 A117.1 Accessibility Significant Changes.
            The Significant Changes to the 2012 International Codes series is designed to assist code officials, architects, engineers and other construction professionals transitioning from the 2009 to the 2012 editions of the International Codes. Authored by ICC code experts, the series offers a comprehensive yet practical analysis of hundreds of the most critical changes. Each color publication contains: revised code text; a summary of each change listed; in-depth change analysis; and a detailed photo, illustration or table for each change to deepen understanding. Coverage reflects provisions with special significance, including new and innovative design ideas and technologies, modern materials and methods of construction, and current approaches to safety and stability.
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CODE BASICS | Energy, Based on the 2012 IECC
(The information below is excerpted from the 2012 Building Code Basics series.)
The code provisions in Building Code Basics: Energy Section 3 apply to commercial buildings and building sites, systems, and equipment. In the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), a residential building "includes detached one- and two-family dwellings and multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses) as well as Group R-2, R-3, and R-4 buildings three stories or less in height above grade plane." This definition is specific to the IECC and is different than the definitions in the International Residential Code and International Building Code.

Click to continue reading more on this excerpt from the Building Code Basics: Energy, Based on the 2012 IECC.
       The Building Code Basics series explains requirements using non-code language. Technically accurate and easy to understand, these are the perfect resources for builders, owners, students, plan reviewers, inspectors and permit technicians. Each book contains: 150-plus color diagrams and photos that help readers visualize correct code application; numerous real-world examples; content that pulls together related information from various code sections into one convenient location; and a glossary of code and construction terms to clarify key terminology.
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CODE HANDBOOK | 2012 International Building Code Handbook
(The information below is excerpted from the 2012 International Building Code Handbook.)
The initial requirement of the code for frontage increase is that it adjoin or have access to a public way. Thus, the structure could extend completely between side lot lines and to the rear lot line, and be provided with access from only the front of the building, and still potentially be eligible for a small frontage increase. Therefore, if a building is provided with frontage consisting of public ways and/or open space for an increased portion of the perimeter of the building, some benefit should accrue based on better access for the fire department. Also, if the yards or public ways are wide enough, there will be a benefit due to the decreased exposure from adjoining properties.

Click to continue reading more on this excerpt from the 2012 International Building Code Handbook.
The 2012 International Building Code Handbook is a comprehensive, full-color guide to the entire 2012 International Building Code (IBC). Authored by ICC code experts and published by McGraw-Hill to assist code officials, architects and engineers in understanding the code, this publication covers both structural and fire- and life-safety provisions. This time-saving resource makes it easy to understand and apply complex IBC requirements and achieve compliance.
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