Building Code Documents

Browse our collection building code documents, which provide guidance on the hazard-resistant provisions in the building codes for property owners, engineers, design professionals, building codes officials, and the general public.

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The International Building Code, International Exiting Building Code, International Residential Code and International Code Council 500 can be purchased at the International Code Council.

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) publications can be purchased from the ASCE Store.

You can order FEMA publications from the FEMA Distribution Center.

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The Structural Engineers Association of California has partnered with International Code Council to update its series of Structural/Seismic Design Manuals to the 2015 International Building Code. Each of the three volumes provides a step-by-step approach to applying the structural provisions of the 2015 International Building Code and referenced standards. These manuals can be purchased from the International Code Council.

The American Society of Civil Engineers maintains ASCE 24, a referenced standard in the I-Codes.  ASCE 24-14 is referenced in the 2015 International Building Code® (IBC) and the 2015 International Residential Code® (IRC). ASCE 24-05 is referenced in the 2012, 2009, and 2006 IBC and IRC. Buildings and structures within the scope of the IBC proposed to be constructed in flood hazard areas must be designed in accordance with ASCE 24. The IRC requires dwellings in floodways to be designed in accordance with ASCE 24 and permits use of ASCE 24. The 2015 IRC permits use of ASCE 24 for dwellings in any flood zone, while earlier editions permit its use in Zone V and Coastal A Zones. The requirements of ASCE 24 meet or exceed the NFIP requirements for buildings and structures in special flood hazard areas. Separate documents summarizing ASCE 24-05 and ASCE 24-14 include the following topics: Building Performance; Flood-Damage Resistant Materials; Utilities and Service Equipment; and Siting Considerations.

The International Code Council (ICC) 500-2014 is a referenced standard in the 2015 editions of the International Building Code, International Residential Code and FEMA P-361, Safe Rooms for Tornadoes and Hurricanes: Guidance for Community and Residential Safe Rooms, Third Edition. Buildings or spaces designated for use as a shelter from tornadoes and/or hurricanes within the scope of the International Building Code and International Residential Code must conform to the requirements in International Code Council 500. Highlights of International Code Council 500-2014 cover Administration and Oversight; Structural Design Criteria; Occupancy, Means of Egress, and Access; Fire Protection, Essential Features, and Accessories; and Test Methods. The highlights paper also covers significant changes made to the 2014 edition compared to the 2008 edition of the International Code Council 500.

Prefabricated safe rooms are becoming more popular as people seek protection from tornadoes. Due to the extreme forces safe rooms may experience, there are very specific foundation and anchoring requirements that, if overlooked, can leave occupants at risk of injury or death during tornadoes. This fact sheet provides graphics and useful information about the foundation and anchoring criteria in FEMA P-361, Safe Rooms for Tornadoes and Hurricanes: Guidance for Community and Residential Safe Rooms, Third Edition, which uses ICC 500, Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters, as a referenced standard.

FEMA 296, 297, and 298 comprise the Code Compatibility Report and its appendices. This report provides a comparison between the NFIP technical guidelines and standards and the model code and standards in place in 1992. The report's recommendations provide a basis for coordinating NFIP documents with model code and standards. This report is a resource document.

The CodeMaster provides designers with an easy-to-use desk reference that identifies the flood provisions in the International Building Code® (IBC®) and International Residential Code® (IRC®), as well as the flood requirements of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) standards ASCE 7 and ASCE 24.

There are two versions of the Flood CodeMaster – one for the 2015 IBC and IRC, ASCE 7-10 and 24-14, the other for the 2009/2012 IBC and IRC, ASCE 7-05/7-10 and 24-05.

The CodeMaster is a unique and useful tool for designers to make sure that they incorporate the flood-resistant provisions of these codes and standards. The guide provides sections on preliminary considerations and design process, key flood terminology, a 12-step process to incorporate flood resistance in the design of a building, an example showing the 12-step process being executed and information on additional FEMA mitigation resources related to flood-resistant design.

The document also uses illustrations to ensure a clear understanding for users in the professional community. These guides can be purchased from the International Code Council.

The CodeMaster products provide designers with an easy-to-use desk reference that identifies the seismic provisions in the International Building Code as well as the seismic requirements of ASCE/SEI 7. The CodeMaster is a unique and useful laminated guide for designers to make sure that they incorporate the seismic-resistant provisions of these codes and standards.

Subjects addressed include determination of mapped spectral response accelerations; consideration of exceptions to the seismic code requirements; Seismic Design Category determination; consideration of plan and vertical structural irregularities; determination of seismic base shear, redundancy coefficient and seismic load effects; and compliance with drift control requirements. These guides can be purchased from S. K. Ghosh Associates.

These fact sheets summarize the flood-resistant provisions of the 2021 International Codes (I-Codes) and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 24-14, Flood Resistant Design and Construction, that are “higher standards” and that are more specific than National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requirements.

The first fact sheet provides a detailed comparison of NFIP and the I-Code “higher standards.” The second fact sheet provides a summary comparison of the NFIP and more significant I-Code “higher standards.”

This guide illustrates the similarities and highlights the differences between the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) minimum requirements and the requirements of the International Codes® (I-Codes®) and ASCE 24, Flood Resistant Design and Construction, a standard referenced by the I-Codes. Separate documents for the 2018 I-Codes (ASCE 24-14) and the 2012 I-Codes (ASCE 24-05) use illustrations to highlight some of the key similarities and differences between foundation types, lowest floor elevations, enclosures below elevated buildings and utilities requirements contained within the NFIP and I-Codes for most residential and commercial buildings.

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This document provides a readily understandable explanation of the intent and requirements of the seismic related building codes and standards that are based on the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) Recommended Seismic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Structures (FEMA P-750). Understanding the basis for the earthquake-resistant provisions contained in the building codes and standards is important to many people outside the technical design community. This publication explains the history and purpose of building regulations in the United States, including a summary of the seismic-resistant provisions found in the current building codes and standards. Among the topics addressed are the national seismic hazard maps developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS); the seismic design maps incorporated in the building codes and standard, as well as an overview of the seismic design procedures contained in the building codes.

These documents are compilations of flood resistant provisions, prepared by FEMA of the I-Codes. These include:

  • International Building Code
  • International Residential Code
  • International Exiting Building Code
  • International Mechanical Code
  • International Plumbing Code
  • International Fuel Gas Code
  • International Fire Code
  • International Swimming Pool and Spa Code
  • International Private Sewage Disposal Code and
  • International Code Council Performance Code.

Also included, as separate documents, are summaries of changes from the previous editions. The 2018, 2015, 2012, and 2009 editions of the I-Codes contain provisions that meet or exceed the minimum flood-resistant design and construction requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program for buildings and structures. FEMA and states use a standard checklist when reviewing local floodplain management regulations/ordinances to determine whether such regulations and ordinances are complete for the purpose of participating in the National Flood Insurance Program. The checklists for the I-Codes may also be used to guide floodplain managers, building officials and designers as they compare the flood provisions of the 2015 I-Codes and ASCE 24-14 to the minimum requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program. See link below for Highlights of ASCE 24 (ASCE 24 is a referenced standard in the 2015 IBC and IRC).