Building codes, standards, and the diligence of dedicated building safety professionals are important ingredients in keeping our communities safe. So are the efforts each of us can take individually.
Building Safety Month is a public awareness campaign to help individuals, families, and businesses understand what it takes to create safe and sustainable structures. Each May, the campaign reinforces the need for adoption of modern, model building codes, a strong and efficient system of code enforcement, and a well-trained, professional workforce to maintain the system.
The campaign is presented by the International Code Council (ICC) and its 57,000 members worldwide along with a diverse partnership of professionals from the building construction, design, and safety community. Corporations, government agencies, professional associations, nonprofits, and more come together to support Building Safety Month because they understand the need for safe and sustainable structures where we live, work, and play.
This year’s theme is Resilient Communities Start with Building Codes. Each week of Building Safety Month spotlights a specific area of building safety. This year, weekly themes during are: May 4-10, Don’t Get Burned–Build to Code; May 11-17, Bounce Back Faster from Disaster–Build to Code; May 18-24, Water Safe, Water Smart–Build to Code; and May 25-31 $ave Energy–Build to Code.
Week One: Don’t Get Burned—Build to Code emphasizes smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, sprinklers, and passive fire-rated construction practices. These are some of the essential safety measures outlined in fire and building codes published by the ICC.
Compliance with the International Codes, or I-Codes, provides minimum safeguards for fire prevention and protection in jurisdictions throughout the United States. Other safety measures such as creating escape plans and avoiding careless smoking habits are keys to minimizing damages from fires and saving lives.
Based on building science, technical knowledge, and past experiences, model building codes provide protection from man-made and natural disasters, guarding public health and reducing property losses. The codes address all aspects of construction, from structural to fire prevention, plumbing and mechanical systems, and energy efficiency.
Building codes have protected the public for thousands of years. The earliest known code of law—the Code of Hammurabi, king of the Babylonian Empire, written circa 2200 B.C.—assessed severe penalties, including death, if a building was not constructed safely. The regulation of building construction in the United States dates back to the 1700s. In the early-1900s, the insurance industry and others with similar concerns developed the first model building code.
For the last 35 years members of the ICC have celebrated advances in constructing safe, sustainable, affordable, and resilient buildings. The Building Safety Month campaign helps to improve public safety by increasing awareness about how building codes and code officials improve and protect the places where we live, learn, work, worship, and play.