Why are building codes so important?

Why are building codes important, and what do they mean for you and your project? Without building codes, there would be no standards aimed at keeping construction workers safe, as well as those who will occupy these structures after completion. Building codes are built around best practices and procedures to ensure the integrity of buildings. So what are building codes and why are building codes required? Read on to learn more about the importance of building codes.

Building codes are intended to protect the public and to set a minimum standard for building design. For example, building codes include requirements for fire protection, structural sufficiency, air quality, usability, accessibility and energy efficiency. They anticipate the everyday needs of occupants, as well as emergency procedures in case something goes wrong - like a fire. 

Each state has its own building code, but all of them are based on the same national model code: "The International Building Code" or IBC, so they are all similar. This IBC means you can visit buildings in industrialized nations around the world and rest assured that each is built with integrity and expertise. Visits to shopping malls and stores, office buildings, warehouses, stadiums, homes and other structures all come with the promise of maximum safety and security. When something goes wrong at a structure and it's because these standards were not followed, those involved in the construction can be held liable for the oversight.

The local climate and weather are also important to building codes in your area. Your building code will have a state map divided into climate zones with different characteristics, including maximum wind speeds and snow loads.  The structural design of your building will need to be based on those values. 

Imagine building in a place that experiences heavy winds, but not building to withstand those exceptional winds. Consider building in an area that sees heavy snowfall, but not building to hold the weight of accumulated snow. What if you built in a coastal area that experiences humidity, in addition to the corrosive nature of salt and sand, without considering how that would affect your building plans? These things need to be considered, and building codes are what ensure they are enforced. At MBMI, our engineers have the information and expertise needed to design your building's structure for the climate that it will be located in, according to code.

There are other rules that new building designs need to conform to, as well. These rules are set down by your local government and are enforced through site plan requirements. They are non-negotiable and must be followed to ensure the ultimate compliance and success of your project. When you submit your plans to the local building department, they actually go through two sets of approvals: planning approval and building code compliance. The planning requirements are unique to your local area and include things like required setbacks from property lines and zoning rules. 

Forgoing any portion of this process can create significant issues later on in your project. You may find that your structure is too tall for where it was built or that it's too close to the street in a certain neighborhood. You may also find that it does not adhere to local deed restrictions, which may call for certain types of roofs or certain finishes on structures. This can be expensive and time-consuming should you have to go back and fix it, and it can also lead to the demolition of your structure in the most extreme cases.

Your new building will need to conform to all of those requirements, so the sooner you find out what they are, the better. MBMI knows how to design a metal building to code for every state in the union. However, we are not familiar with the planning requirements and bylaws in every city and town. Just call the building department and answer their questions, and they'll be able to tell you what you need to know. 

Keep in mind that these local authorities are working with builders just like you each day, and they can quickly deliver the information you need. Many also have web-based information that is easy to find and easy to search. Consider streamlining your information-gathering process by checking online before picking up the phone or doing anything in person.

As always, MBMI is here to be a resource however we can be. We have the experience needed to quickly guide our customers on best practices and processes, including the importance of building codes. 

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