The Timeline of the Building Code

The Timeline of the Building Code

Where did the model building and fire codes come from?

How did we get to a single code?

Well, here is a short history lesson.

by Kelly P. Reynolds ALA Code Consultant

1896 – The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is founded. In 1912 it published Exit Drills in Factories, Schools, Department Stores and Theaters. In 1927 it became known as the Life Safety Code (NFPA No. 101).

1915 – Nine states and Canada formed the Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA). The first edition of the BOCA Basic Building Code was published in 1950.

1923 – The National Board of Fire Underwriters (NBFU) was created for insurance companies to develop rates based on fire risks and losses. It published the National Building Code under the imprint of the American Insurance Association. In 1976 publication was halted due to the national acceptance of the three regional models codes (BOCA, ICBO, SBCCI).

1927 – The International Council of Building Officials (ICBO) published its first Uniform Building Code in 1927. Most of its influence was in the Western states.

1940 – The Southern Building Code Congress (SBCCI) was formed so serve communities predomi- nately in the Southern states. They publish the Standard Building Code.

1994 – The International Code Council (ICC) was established to develop a single set of comprehensive and coordinated national model construction codes. The three model organizations (BOCA, ICBO, SBCCI) became one with the 2000 International Building Code. It is hoped that the best code require- ments of all three legacy codes will appear in the new single code. It is updated on a three-year cycle.

2003 – Because NFPA was not part of the new ICC coalition it published its own building code, NFPA 5000 Building Construction and Safety Code. The code has not been adopted by many communities. The I-Codes reference most of the NFPA standards

ALA members can call me if you have any code questions: 1-800-950-2633 or e-mail

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