January, 2003
You Tell Us
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Described as Misguided


To the editor,

I was more than a little surprised and displeased with your nearly 11/2 page article dedicated to publicity for NFPA’s (National Fire Protection Association) misguided efforts to publish a competing set of building codes. (October 2002)

I am sure you are aware that for over 85 years, since ICBO (International Conference of Building Officials) published its first building code in 1927, there have been three national and different building codes within this country. Many voices have been raised during that time lauding the logical rationale for one uniform National set of building codes. The three code entities in the early 1990s finally swallowed their pride, subjugated their egos and began conversations. During the ensuing discussions NFPA as well as IAPMO (International Association of Plumbing and Mechanics Officials) were invited to participate.

As you may not be aware, previously IAPMO had been working with most of the code bodies in preparing the past mechanical and plumbing codes. As it turned out the three code bodies could no longer deal rationally with them, so they decided to end their long relationship. Also NFPA decided not to cooperate with the three national code bodies in issuing one uniform code.

Now, after 87 years, we were finally on the verge of having one national set of building codes, NFPA decides  to start up another set of codes. I dropped my NFPA membership over this and told them why. I guess the only good thing about it is that now we will only have two sets of codes instead of three.

As a further point, NFPA has been recognized at the forefront of publishing fire codes and the electrical codes. No one can discredit their expertise in these two areas. They have not, however, been involved in building codes.

Currently 28 states adopted and enforce statewide one or more of the International Building Codes. Additionally, 12 more have adopted or enforce the international Codes either on a statewide or local level, with five states having adopted the codes to go into affect at a future date. That leaves five states with their own codes having little to do with the older three national codes or the new International codes.

Additionally, HUD, FHA, FmHA & VA as well as the Dept. of Defense have all approved the International Codes. The American Institute of Architects, the National Assoc. of Homebuilders, the National Multi Housing Council, the American Seniors Housing Assoc. and the National Apartment Assoc. have all announced their support of the International Codes without modification. Now as you can ascertain, NFPA does not have a chance in the world of selling its building codes to almost anybody.

I hope you can see that giving NFPA the type of publicity, which you uncritically did in your article, does absolutely nothing in the furtherance of one unified national set of building codes.

James Tucker
The Building Inspectors
Des Moines, Iowa

Editor’s Note: As of publication date, NYS has adopted the IBC with revisions. It is called the NYS code (Article 19). The old NYS code (Article 9) is also valid. As of 1/1/03, the new version of IBC (Article 19) takes effect for all new buildings.