A Guide to Understanding Residential Building Code (IRC)

Building code is a set of regulations governing the design, construction, maintenance, and alteration of structures. The primary purpose for building codes is to protect the health and safety of the general public, related to the construction and occupancy of buildings. 

Codes may vary from place to place, but most follow the model codes created on a national, or international, level by an organization called the International Code Council (ICC). Custom homes, or buildings that are one- and two-family dwellings, abide by the International Residence Code (IRC). These codes are typically enforced by local government building officials who review design plans, issue permits, and inspect projects during construction. Violating these regulations can result in fines, or penalties, and significantly delay construction.

Some areas are prone to certain natural disasters; therefore, the city may adapt their codes to avoid destruction due to these natural disasters. Older buildings undergoing renovations will need to be updated based on the most recent codes. Failure to do so may lead to a building inspector deeming the residence unfit to live. New buildings must also meet current codes to avoid costly delays.

The plans provided by Architectural Designs meet IRC code (residential building code) based on the time they were designed, and are often update to the latest iteration. Due to the wide range of requirements throughout states and municipalities, it is recommended to check with your building department to ensure the plan selected provides all of the information required. If additional information is required for the local code requirements, you builder can help

In most cases, homeowners do not need to know, or review, the building codes when building a custom home. The professionals hired, typically the designer or general contractor, will take care of any discrepancies between the plan and local building codes.

If you need more information about a plan, what is included, and which IRC code they were drawn to meet, use the contact form to speak with a customer service representative at Architectural Designs.