Commercial Building Codes

When purchasing a commercial building, it should never be assumed that the building is up to code. They should always be looked over to see if they meet code requirements. Commercial building codes were developed centuries ago to help ensure safety and to reduce incidents. These proactive safety measures help to protect those who work in the buildings as well as customers.

Many of these codes are related to fire, plumbing, and other possible indoor issues. Because commercial buildings vary widely in type and occupancies, commercial building codes reference several classifications, providing functional and regulatory standards.

Commercial Building Classifications:

  • Referring to the building’s fire resistance, each building is classified as construction Type I through Type V. Type I is the most fire resistant, while Type V is less fire resistant. Buildings are classified based on the function and risk associated with the building size.
  • Next is the classification of use and occupancy designation. This is associated with the building’s purpose and identifies many critical code requirements for specific occupancies. For example, restaurants would have different codes than a factory or office building.
  • Specific chapters in the code are dedicated to the structural performance and stability, fire resistance and protection requirements, means of egress and evacuation, light and ventilation, etc.

Building codes are adopted by individual states or localities. However, most jurisdictions base their codes on a model code developed by standards developing organizations, like the International Code Council. The codes are based on scientific and engineering principles. Once they are published by the ICC, the “authority having jurisdiction” can adopt them into law in their state or community.

When purchasing or constructing a new commercial building, the owner should be aware of these codes and verify that those doing their construction incorporate them into the design. Whether it is construction of a new building or renovating an old one, have Building Resources Inc. check to make sure it’s up to code. They can help ensure codes are adhered to in their construction or renovation plans.