2012 Building Code Changes

Major work on a house usually requires a building permit and an inspection by a city official to make sure all remodeling is done in compliance with local building codes. But building codes change over time, so how is someone supposed to keep track of a moving target? Well, it’s not easy, but one tip is that many municipalities model the local codes on those of larger building-code authorities, such as the International Code Council (ICC). And now the new 2012 International Codes are available for your reading pleasure at www.iccsafe.org/2012icodes. (You must pay for the download.)

I’m going to take a wild guess that the freshest updates will not yet have been adopted by most municipalities, but if you’d like a sneak peek at some of the code changes that may soon make it to your neighborhood, then check out the ICC’s free “preview” PDF for an overview. The following are some “highlights.”

From 2012 IBC:
• Reformatted requirements for protection of vertical openings through floors.
• Automatic sprinkler systems required where furniture and mattresses are manufactured or stored.
• Increased capacity for stairways and other egress components in buildings with sprinklers and an emergency communication system.
• Clarification of when unenclosed stairways can be used as a part of the means of egress system, including how travel distance is measured.
• Wind design requirements extensively revised.

Check out the list of code changes here.

— Matt Weber

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