International Building Code

Since the early twentieth century, the system of building regulations in the United States has been based on model building codes developed by three regional model code groups. The codes developed by the Building Officials Code Administrators International (BOCA) were used on the East Coast and throughout the Midwest of the United States. The codes from the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) were used in the Southeast. The codes published by the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) were used primarily throughout the West Coast and across a large swath of the middle of the country to most of the Midwest.

Although regional code development had been effective and responsive to the regulatory needs of local U.S. jurisdictions, by the early 1990s it had become obvious that the country needed a single coordinated set of national model building codes.[citation needed] Therefore, the nation’s three model code groups decided to combine their efforts, and in 1994 formed the International Code Council (ICC) to develop codes that would have no regional limitations.

After three years of extensive research and development, the first edition of the International Building Code was published in 1997. A new code edition has since been released every three years thereafter. The code was patterned on three legacy codes previously developed by the organizations that constitute ICC. By the year 2000, ICC had completed the International Codes series and ceased development of the legacy codes in favor of their national successor. The word “International” in the names of the ICC and all three of its predecessors, as well as the IBC and other ICC products, despite all 18 of the company’s board members being residents of the United States, reflects the fact that a number of other countries in the Caribbean and Latin America had already begun to rely on model building codes developed in the United States rather than developing their own from scratch.Thus, ICC from its inception was well aware that it was writing model codes for an international audience.