Joshua Sukenick on Houzz



Codes are the written language that governs what is and is not allowed regarding construction. Today, all states in the United States are following the International Building Code (IBC). It is broken into about a dozen sections, loosely focused on the specialties of each design professional. The main exception is the International Residential Code (IRC) which directs all aspects of work on residential projects. While every state is following the IBC, it is ultimately up to the local inspectors to interpret the code. They have final say in how to read the code and what can be enforced. Therefore, slight differences are often encountered from one inspector to the next.

In addition to the IBC, larger municipal areas will often adopt a local code which often deals with specific issues that pertain to their area. Large cities often have these supplemental codes, whereas suburban communities rarely do.

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is a law that governs the design of spaces ensuring that any disabled person will have the same access to spaces as fully abled people. ADA and ANSII codes are the guidelines that require wheelchair ramps, oversized toilet stalls, grab bars, Braille signage, and many other aspects of a building's design. This code is enforced in all commercial spaces, but not in residential spaces. A design requirement to comply with this code will often add significant expense to projects and is part of the reason that commercial projects tend to be more expensive than residential projects.