Commercial / Residential Code

A building code, or building control, is a set of rules that specify the minimum acceptable level of safety for constructed objects such as buildings and non-building structures. The main purpose of building codes are to protect public health, safety and general welfare as they relate to the construction and occupancy of buildings and structures.

In essence they are minimum standards of design and implementation. Designers use ICC / PHCC / NFPA and NFIP standards out of substantial reference books during design. Building departments review plans submitted to them before construction, issue permits [or not] and inspectors verify compliance to these standards at the site during construction.

The following documents have been made available for educational purposes only!

  • ICC IEBC (2012): International Existing Building Code
  • ICC IRC (2012): International Residential Code
  • ICC IMC (2012): International Mechanical Code
  • ICC IECC (2012): International Energy Conservation Code
  • PHCC NSPC (2009): National Standard Plumbing Code

Few states compose their own building codes and regulations. Instead, they look to their regional model code for guidance. The process for converting the model code to state law varies greatly from state to state and from one section of code to another. Entire model building codes may be incorporated as is, or be rewritten. Some legislatures reference a model code by year; others cite the "current" model code so that their building regulations reflect recent code changes without legislative intervention.


Maryland's law related to building codes is called the Maryland Building Performance Standards (MBPS). It requires each jurisdiction in Maryland to use the same edition of the same building codes that are the International Building Code (IBC), the International Residential Code (IRC), and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The State has modified the IBC and the IRC to coincide with other Maryland laws. The International Building Code (IBC), the International Residential Code (IRC), and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), with modifications by the State constitute the Maryland Building Performance Standards (MBPS).

Each local jurisdiction in Maryland may modify these codes to suite local conditions with exception to the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC - The Energy Code)) and Maryland Accessibility Code (MAC - The Accessibility Code). The Energy Code and the Accessibility Code can be made more stringent but not less by the local jurisdictions. Please refer to the local jurisdictions listed under "Local Ordinances and Contacts" on this web-page to view local ordinances that may contain their modifications. Since ordinances change and are modified from time to time, please contact the local jurisdictions to obtain their current building code information.

Local Ordinances and Contacts