What is the purpose of building codes and standards?
Throughout North America, we take comfort in knowing that our homes and building stock are considered safe and resilient.
When we enter a building, we generally do it without concern or hesitation for our personal safety or wellbeing.
We take it for granted that the design and construction are sound and will hold up to the rigors of nature and time. People are right to expect that their homes, workplaces, schools, hospitals and other structures are safe.
This long-standing expectation is founded on the existence of building codes and standards—a comprehensive set of interconnected regulations that are designed to govern new construction, renovations/remodels, repairs and demolitions.
While building codes have several objectives, their primary goal is to protect public health, safety, and wellbeing as it relates to the construction and occupancy of buildings.
A brief history of building codes and standards
Prior to the creation of Model National Building Codes, the criteria and performance standards were left to each municipality to develop, which resulted in a multitude of different guidelines and regulations.
Sometimes similarities existed between the municipalities, although often codes and standards from one municipality to the other could be unique or even contradictory.
The vast array of variations in codes and standards across many municipalities made it difficult for architects, specifiers, and designers, as well as manufacturers and contractors to offer solutions to address diverse needs.
This hampered their ability to conduct business effectively across larger geographic regions. To address this, a more universal and standardized system developed, from which model codes emerged.
While model codes can be adopted in whole or revised on the local level, codes and standards endeavor to form a mostly uniform regulatory framework across a region or nation.
Within this page
- ASTM and CAN/ULC Standards
- Tall Wood Buildings
- Wildland Urban Interface (WUI)
- Collaborating for Fire Safety