The Importance of Residential and Commercial Building Codes

Building codes have been around in the United States since the time of the Founding Fathers, but only within the last 20 years have they been standardized across all 50 states. Learn more about the importance of building codes—including the difference between residential and commercial codes—below. 

The Purpose of Building Codes

Building codes outline the minimum requirements that must be met to adhere to local health and safety regulations. They keep us safe by preventing disasters and also help prevent injuries if a disaster occurs. For example, emergency exits, proper installation of electrical wiring, and the use of fire-resistant materials are all the result of building codes. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, we spend 90% of our lives inside buildings—whether at home, school, or work—so it’s important to make sure they are safe and sound. 

The Difference Between Residential and Commercial Building Codes

The International Code Council (ICC) was created in 1994 in an effort to standardize building codes across the United States, consolidating the three separate organizations that had existed previously. The International Building Code (IBC) and International Residential Code (IRC) are two of the fifteen I-Codes outlined by the ICC. 

At first glance, it might seem like the IRC refers to residential construction and the IBC refers to commercial construction, however the IRC only covers new one- and two-family homes, accessory buildings (garages), and townhouses that are below three stories. The IBC, on the other hand, outlines codes for commercial buildings, including hotels and apartment complexes. The International Existing Building Code (IEBC) governs renovations, additions, and changes in occupancy on existing buildings.

No matter the job, contractors are required to obtain the proper permits prior to construction. Failure to obtain permits or adhere to codes could result in costly fines or delays.

The Unique Needs of Commercial Construction

Residential and commercial sites have very different needs when it comes to construction, including different building code regulations. Commercial buildings often have unique features such as elevators and accessible entrances, and some spaces may need to take specialized equipment or elaborate IT networks into consideration. 

At K & P Exteriors, we have the qualifications and expertise needed to complete both residential and commercial projects. Our contractors are licensed and insured, so you can be confident your job will be completed to the highest standards. Visit our website, or call (303) 853-0072 to learn more about our services.

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