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Building Code Basics: Residential - Based on the 2009 International Residential Code
Copyright 2010

Building Code Basics: Residential (2009 IRC)


2009 International Residential Code
2009 International Residential Code (IRC)

Significant Changes to the International Residential Code: 2009 Edition
Significant Changes to the International Residential Code: 2009 Ed

Common Code Problems
Common Code Problems

Deck Construction Based on the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC)
Deck Construction Based on the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC)

2009 International Building Code
2009 International Building Code

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Building Code Basics: Residential
Based on the
2009 International Residential Code

Stephen A. Van Note

Technically accurate and easy to understand, this is the perfect resource for beginning inspectors.

The first book of its kind to hit the market, BUILDING CODE BASICS: RESIDENTIAL, BASED ON THE 2009 INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTIAL CODE departs from traditional code books by using non-code language, detailed illustrations, and an emphasis on practical information to give readers a solid, working knowledge of critical code applications.

Part of Building Code Basics, a series dedicated to providing high-quality, technically accurate, simplified code texts for anyone seeking greater understanding of the workings of the I-Codes; this installment focuses on the basics of the residential code.

Topic coverage follows the logical order of construction, beginning with site work and foundations, and ending with fire- and life-safety and the environmental requirements of a finished building. These code requirements are introduced using non-intimidating language and an easy-to-understand writing style, facilitating learning and comprehension.

Code references are also included, and when paired with these practical explanations, they are a valuable addition to the book's resources, making this an ideal tool for students of construction technology or anyone considering a career in the design, construction, or inspection of residential buildings.

  • Offers completely updated content that reflects the 2009 edition of International Residential Code
  • Highlights critical changes from 2006 edition of the code.
  • Illustrates changes between code editions with new and improved illustrations.
  • Clearly illustrates correct code application with full-color diagrams and photographs.
  • Clarifies key terminology as it applies to the code with a detailed glossary of code and construction terms.
  • Rounds out comprehensive coverage with the inclusion of requirements for plumbing, mechanical, fuel gas, and electrical system and equipment.



1. Introduction to building codes.
The building codes: scope and limitations. International Residential Code (IRC).
2. Legal aspects, permits and inspections.
Code adoption. Authority. Permits. Inspections. Board of appeals.

3. Site preparation: building location, excavation, fill, and grading.
Location on property. Site preparation.

4. Structural Design Criteria.
Prescriptive and performance. Basic loads (live and dead). Wind, snow, seismic and flood loads.
5. Foundations.
Materials. Footings. Masonry and concrete foundation walls. Moisture protection. Underfloor space.
6. Framing.
Grade marks. Engineered wood products. Trusses. Wood treatment. Cutting, boring and notching. Fireblocking. Draftstopping. Floors. Walls. Ceiling and roof.

7. Interior and exterior finishes and weather protection.

Interior finishes. Exterior wall coverings. Roof covering.

8. Home safety.

Room areas. Ceiling height. Means of egress. Protection from falls. Emergency escape and rescue openings. Safety glass. Carbon monoxide alarms.
9. Fire safety.
Smoke alarms. Fire sprinkler systems. Separation between dwelling units. Dwelling separation from garage. Foam plastic.
10. Light, ventilation, sanitation and heating.
Natural and artificial light. Natural and mechanical ventilation. Stairway illumination. Heating and cooling. Sanitation.
11. Chimneys and fireplaces.
Exterior air supply. Masonry chimneys and fireplaces. Manufactured chimneys and fireplaces.

12. Mechanical and fuel-gas.

Appliances. Exhaust systems. Duct systems. Return air. Combustion air. Vents.
13. Plumbing.
Piping. Water system. Sanitary drainage. Venting. Plumbing fixtures. Fixture traps. Water heaters.
14. Electrical.
Electrical services. Grounding. Branch circuits. Wire and terminal identification. Wiring methods. Power distribution. Receptacles and luminaries.

15. Energy conservation.

Building insulation. Windows and doors. Sealing against air leakage and infiltration. Moisture control. Duct insulation and sealing. Energy certificate

16. Other hazards of the built environment.

Termite protection. Swimming pools and hot tubs. Radon control. Lead. Asbestos.


288 Pages

About the Author:

Stephen A. Van Note is a member of the senior technical staff of the International Code Council (ICC) where, as part of the Product Development team, he is responsible for authoring technical resource materials in support of the International Codes. His role also includes the management, review and technical editing of publications authored by outside sources.

Prior to joining ICC in 2006, Van Note was building official for Linn County, Iowa. He has 15 years experience in code administration and enforcement, and over 20 years experience in the construction field including project planning and management for residential, commercial and industrial buildings.

A certified building official and plans examiner, Van Note also holds certifications in five inspection categories.


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