A building code is a legal ordinance enacted by public bodies, such as city councils, regional planning commissions, states, or federal agencies, establishing regulations governing building design and construction. Building codes are enacted to protect public health, safety, and welfare.
A building code presents minimum requirements to protect the public from harm. It does not necessarily indicate the most efficient or most economical practice.
Building codes specify design techniques in accordance with generally accepted theory.
They present rules and procedures that represent the current generally accepted engineering practices.
A building code is a consensus document that relies on information contained in other recognized codes or standard specifications, e.g., the model building codes promulgated by
building officials associations and standards of AISC, ASTM, and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Information generally contained in a building code addresses all aspects of building design and construction, e.g., fire protection, mechanical and electrical installations, plumbing installations, design loads and member strengths, types of construction and materials, and safeguards during construction. For its purposes, a building code adopts provisions of other codes or specifications either by direct reference or with modifications.