The International Code Council is an organization which helps to organize United States local governments, to create baseline building codes and other building safety standards. Its main focus is fire prevention and building safety in the residential and commercial building industry, and promoting reliable code enforcement. The first edition of the International building code was published in 1997, with updates every three years. The 2003 International building code was updated to include new provisions for steel framing, and energy savings.
A large portion of the 2003 International building code addresses fire prevention in the construction and design industry. It has a focus on the number of and location of exits, and the code designates those exits be left unblocked. The 2003 International building code also has provisions for handicapped access, and wall stability in regards to standing up to earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters.
It is the duty of local government building departments, to enforce the building codes. The 2003 International Building Code set minimum standards for those in the construction industry to follow. Local agencies are free to add amendments to the building codes that must be tougher than the requirements of the 2003 International Building Code. A county in Florida for example will want to have tougher standard in regards to the structural stability of a roof to stand up to wind damage because of the threat of hurricanes. Conversely, a county in New England would want a roof to be able to withstand the weight of a couple of feet of snow, and would tailor their codes to deal with that.
A building must get a certificate of occupancy in order for humans to be able to live or do business there. The certificate of occupancy is issued after a local building inspector certifies that the design, materials, and workmanship meet the minimum standards set forth in the local building code. The standards guided by the 2003 international building code.