2021 International Building Code Illustrated Handbook

2021 International Building Code Illustrated Handbook

Internationally, code officials and design professionals recognize the need for a modern, up-to-date building code addressing the design and installation of building systems through requirements emphasizing performance. The International Building Code

need by providing model code regulations that safeguard the public health and safety in all communities, large and small. The 2021 IBC Illustrated Handbook is a valuable resource for those who design, plan, review, inspect, or construct buildings or other structures regulated by the 2021 IBC.
The IBC is one of a family of codes published by the International Code Council that establishes comprehensive minimum regulations for building systems using prescriptive and performance-related provisions. It is founded on broad-based principles that use new materials and new building designs. Additionally, the IBC is compatible with the entire family of International Codes® published by the ICC.
There are three major subdivisions to the IBC:
1. The text of the IBC
2. The referenced standards listed in Chapter 35
3. The appendices
The first 34 chapters of the IBC contain both prescriptive and performance provisions that are to be applied. Chapter 35 contains those referenced standards that, although promulgated and published by separate organizations, are considered part of the IBC as applicable. The provisions of the appendices do not apply unless specifically included in the adoption ordinance of the jurisdiction enforcing the code.
The 2021 IBC Illustrated Handbook is designed to present commentary only for those portions of the code for which commentary is helpful in furthering the understanding of the provision and its intent. This handbook uses many drawings and figures to help clarify the application and intent of many code provisions.
The handbook examines the intent and application of many provisions for both the nonstructural- and structural-related aspects of the IBC. It addresses in detail many requirements that are considered as “fire- and life-safety” provisions of the code. Found in IBC Chapters 3 through 10, these provisions focus on the important considerations of occupancy and type of construction classification, allowable building size, fire and smoke protection features, fire protection systems, interior finishes, and means of egress.
The discussion of the structural provisions in this handbook is intended to help code users understand and properly apply the requirements in Chapters 16 through 23 of the 2021 IBC. Although useful to a broad range of individuals, the discussion of the structural provisions was written primarily so that building officials, plans reviewers, architects, and engineers can get a general understanding of the IBC’s structural requirements and gain some insight into their underlying basis and intent. To that end, the numerous figures, tables, and examples are intended

to illustrate and help clarify the proper application of many structural provisions of the IBC. Because the IBC adopts many national standards by reference rather than transcribing the structural provisions of the standards into the code itself, in some cases the discussion in this handbook pertains to the provisions found in a referenced standard such as ASCE 7 or ACI 318 rather than the IBC. The structural provisions addressed focus on the general design requirements related to structural load effects; special inspection and verification, structural testing, and structural observation; foundations and soils; and specific structural materials design requirements for concrete, masonry, steel, and wood.
Questions or comments concerning this handbook are encouraged. Please direct any correspondence to
Participation in ICC Code Development Process. Architects, engineers, designers, builders, and other professionals can freely participate in the ICC Code Development Process by
submitting proposed code changes, collaborating with colleagues in developing code language and submitting changes, participating in giving testimony, and becoming ICC members to have voting opportunities in person or online at Committee Action Hearings. The Code Development Process is conducted via the ICC’s state-of-the-art, cloud-based cdpACCESS system. Committee
Action Hearings and Public Comment Hearings are broadcast live so anyone can follow the testimonies and actions taken. All building design and construction professionals are encouraged to participate in the ICC Code Development Process and have a say in the outcome of future editions of the International Building Code or any other of the ICC International Codes. Because architects, engineers, and other design and construction professionals apply the code to actual buildings and experience first-hand the effectiveness of code provisions, it is very critical for them to participate in the Code Development Process and improve the code each cycle.

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