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Architectural Codes & Standards: What are Codes & Standards?

Codes & Standards: an introduction

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) explains Codes & Standards in the following statement:

 "Just as construction practices have evolved over time, so have the regulations that govern the design, construction,and occupation of the built environment. With few exceptions, these regulations—our building codes—do not become less stringent over time, and many elements that used to be considered as best practices are now codified as minimally acceptable construction practices. Under new, higher performance codes, design professionals responsible for incorporating code requirements into the design process are subject to new expectations and legal requirements. Architects are typically the responsible design professionals with a corresponding duty to protect the health, safety,and welfare of both building occupants and the public at large. As a group, architects may be the most significantly affected by,and the most significant users of, the codes. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) represents the profession on these important issues by supporting member architects’ participation in code development and adoption processes."


Code - A published body of rules & regulations for building practices, materials, installations designed to protect the heath, welfare and safety of the public .  Codes, ie. a building code, established by municipal, state or federal authority usually have the power of the law. 

Standard - A document prepared by a recognized standard-setting organization, such as, American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), that prescribes methods and materials for the safe use and consistent performance of specific technologies; usually a procedure that has been developed by consensus of the interested parties.