Overview of the International Building Code® (IBC®)

The International Building Code (IBC) is the foundation of the complete Family of International Codes®. It is an essential tool to preserve public health and safety that provides safeguards from hazards associated with the built environment. It addresses design and installation of innovative materials that meet or exceed public health and safety goals.

Benefits of the IBC:International Building Code Book Cover

  • The principles of the IBC are based on protection of public health, safety and welfare.
  • The IBC results in efficient designs that provide flexibility for the code official, designer, engineer and architect.
  • Provisions of the code encourage the use of new and smarter technological advances.
  • The IBC emphasizes both prescriptive and engineered solutions and allows the use of time-tested methods.
  • The IBC references nationally developed consensus standards.

Today's IBC is known for:

  • Safety – It has a proven track record providing safe and sanitary plumbing installations.
  • Ease of Use – The IBC uses the same easy-to-use format provided in all I-Codes
  • Embrace of New Technology - The IBC and its predecessors have a tradition of innovation while protecting the health and safety of the public.
  • Correlation – The IBC is specifically correlated to work with ICC's family of codes.
  • Open and Honest Code Development Process - The IBC is revised on a three year cycle through ICC's highly-respected consensus code development process that draws upon the expertise of hundreds of plumbing, building and safety experts from across North America.

Code Development

Current Version: 2018 IBC

  • Purchase the newest edition of the code and references.

Upcoming Version: 2021 IBC Development

The International Building Code provisions provide many benefits, among which is the model code development process that offers an international forum for residential construction professionals to discuss prescriptive code requirements. This forum provides an excellent arena to debate proposed revisions.

Get Involved

Adoptions of the IBC

The International Building Code is in use or adopted in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Northern Marianas Islands, New York City, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

As a model code, the IBC is intended to be adopted in accordance with the laws and procedures of a governmental jurisdiction. When adopting a model code like the IBC, some jurisdictions amend the code in the process to reflect local practices and laws. Click here for additional code adoption resources and for sample adoption ordinances.


Support References for the IBC

ICC publishes a wide range of support products and materials to help users and enforcers of the IBC to improve their knowledge and understanding of the code. Several key publications are provided below, or get the full list from the ICC Store.


Certification of Personnel

ICC offers certification programs for inspectors and examiners inspectors, special inspectors and plans examiners to the International Building Code. Current certification programs specifically designed for the IBC include:

Code Safety Professional Exams: Accessibility Inspector/Plans Examiner, Building Plans Examiner, Commercial Building Inspector, Coastal and Floodplain Construction Inspector, Disaster Response Inspector, and Permit Technician.

Special Inspection Exams: Prestressed Concrete, Reinforced Concrete, Structural Masonry, Structural Welding, Structural Steel and Bolting, Spray-Applied Fireproofing, and Soils.

ICC-ES Evaluation Reports

ICC Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) is the United States' leader in evaluating building products for compliance with code. A nonprofit, public benefit corporation, ICC-ES does technical evaluations of building products, components, methods, and materials.

Technical Opinions

Staff Code Opinions and Committee Interpretations are intended to provide technical support and clarification of code text for adopting jurisdictions, design professionals, and members of the construction industry. Technical Opinions on codes and standards are an exclusive benefit of ICC Membership.


Training and Education for the IBC

ICC provides a full suite of training courses geared specifically for the IBC. ICC instructors provide hands-on, practical problem-solving training and are available to teach on-site single or multiday courses.For more information, visit the ICC Learning Center.

Select topics include:

  • 2015 IBC Update
  • 2015 IBC Significant Changes
  • 2012 IBC Fundamentals
  • 2012 IBC Means of Egress
  • 2012 IBC Wood-framed Shear Walls
  • 2012 IBC Structural Provisions
  • 2012 IBC Performing Nonstructural plan Reviews
Get Involved

Get Involved

ICC operates a number of committees and councils related to the development and maintenance of codes and standards. There are several that relate specifically to the IRC.

  • Building Code Action Committee
  • IBC Egress Code Committee
  • IBC Fire Safety Code Committee
  • IBC General Code Committee
  • IBC Structural Code Committee
  • Building Code Interpretations Committee

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