Building Codes - Minimum Requirements

Claudette Reichel  |  6/25/2008 3:00:07 AM

Before making building plans, it is important to be aware of the building code requirements for your location. You or your contractor should review the code or contact a building official to see if the code has any requirements that may limit your options or require modifications or engineering.

Standard codes have provisions for approving alternative construction methods or materials that are not specifically prescribed in the code. Local officials unfamiliar with newer technologies may be reluctant to approve them or may require evidence to prove that the technology complies with acceptable performance criteria.

Also, keep in mind that the primary purpose of standard building codes is safety, not high-performance benefits (except for energy codes and other special purpose codes). They also may contain requirements that are based on traditional practices, which may or may not be most appropriate for a hot, humid climate or other local conditions. Still, it is essential that your home’s construction plans do not violate local codes and ordinances.

Louisiana has adopted a statewide uniform building code based upon the latest version of the International Residential Code (IRC). Although the building systems listed previously are acceptable in the international building codes, local government building and permitting offices may not be familiar with them

To obtain a copy of the IRC and supplement wind provisions, visit www.iccsafe.org. For information and guidance about the energy codes, visit www.energycodes.gov

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