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15 Essential Reference Books Every Code Official Needs

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Lets face it…as code officials the code books we use on a daily bases can sometimes seem overwhelming with all the text and tables. Sometimes it can be helpful to look at a reference book to help provide some commentary on a specific section of code or help understand updated codes and concepts. These can be achieved through handbooks, illustrated guides, or commentary books.

In addition to having the codes themselves, below is a list of essential reference books I believe would benefit the Code Official to have up on their bookshelf.

For a list of all the I-Codes you can read online for free, be sure to check out this POST.

From illustrated guides to design manuals, the list below is not an all-inclusive list of reference books, but a list of suggested books to help aid the code official with effectively applying the code.

1. 2018 IBC® Code and Commentary Combo, Vol. 1 & 2

Volume 1

A practical tool that helps you to master the code you deal with every day!

This comprehensive publication provides a convenient reference for regulations in chapters 1 through 15 of the 2018 International Building Code® (IBC®).

Presented in an easy-to-reference format the commentary includes the full text of the code, including tables and figures, followed by corresponding commentary at the end of each section in one document. Every chapter begins with “General Comments” and “Purpose” sections followed by code and commentary to subsequent sections, tables and figures.

This in-depth publication focuses on providing the full meaning and implications of the 2018 IBC®. The commentaries are designed to suggest the most effective method of application, and the consequences of not adhering to the code.

This is an excellent reference for code officials, engineers, architects, inspectors, plans examiners, contractors and anyone who needs a better understanding of the 2018 IBC®.

Volume 2

This comprehensive yet concise publication provides a convenient reference for regulations in chapters 16 through 35 of the 2018 International Building Code® (IBC®).

The commentary series is presented in an easy-to-understand format. Every chapter begins with “General Comments” and “Purpose” sections followed by code and commentary to subsequent sections, tables and figures.

2. 2018 IRC® Code and Commentary, Vol. 1 & 2

2018 IRC® Code and Commentary Combo, Volumes 1 & 2 (Cover Image)

Volume 1

This comprehensive publication provides a convenient reference for regulations in chapters 1 through 11 of the 2018 International Residential Code® (IRC®).

The commentary series is presented in an easy-to-understand format. Every chapter begins with “General Comments” and “Purpose” sections followed by code and commentary to subsequent sections, tables and figures. This in-depth publication focuses on providing the full meaning and implications of the 2018 IRC®.

Volume 2

This comprehensive publication provides a convenient reference for regulations in chapters 12 through 43 of the 2018 International Residential Code (IRC®).

The commentary series is presented in an easy-to-understand format. Every chapter begins with “General Comments” and “Purpose” sections followed by code and commentary to subsequent sections, tables and figures. This in-depth publication focuses on providing the full meaning and implications of the 2018 IRC®. The commentaries are designed to suggest the most effective method of application, and the consequences of not adhering to the code.

3. 2018 International Building Code Illustrated Handbook

Thoroughly updated to address the provisions of the 2018 International Building Code®, this fully-illustrated guide makes it easy to understand and apply the most critical code provisions. Covering both fire- and life-safety and structural provisions, this practical resource contains hundreds of user-friendly diagrams designed to clarify the application and intent of the IBC®. The 2018 International Building Code Illustrated Handbook provides all the information needed to get construction jobs done right and achieve compliance. An invaluable companion to the 2018 IBC, it is a must have resource for building officials, architects, engineers, contractors and all building construction professionals.

Features:

• Updated to fully align with the 2018 IBC

• Features more than 500 full-color illustrations

• Covers both fire-and life-safety and structural provisions

• Includes in-depth discussions and applications

4. A Guide to the 2018 IRC Wood Wall Bracing Provisions

Wall bracing is a common source of confusion and misapplication although it is of critical importance when designing, performing plan review, building or inspecting a structure. This full-color illustrative guide was developed to help building designers, builders, building officials and others using the code in the application of the lateral bracing requirements of the 2018 International Residential Code® (IRC). The authors identify and explain the key elements of wall bracing and demystify the IRC prescriptive bracing provisions.

5. NFPA 70®: National Electrical Code® (NEC®) Handbook, 2020 Edition

The National Electrical Code Handbook is specially designed for electrical professionals, and combines the full text of the code with expert commentary and additional illustrations that help provide guidance for using the code. The most practical and powerful resource for electrical design and installation

6. Code Check: An Illustrated Guide to Building a Safe Home, 8th edition

Now in its eighth edition, this invaluable reference guide gives users the information they need to avoid the most common code violations, emphasizing the central safety principles that underlie building codes throughout the U.S.

Code Check: An Illustrated Guide to Building a Safe House 8th Edition emphasizes safety principles underlying building codes. Using clear language and helpful diagrams, this edition reflects the most up-to-date changes in the 2015 International Residential Code. It is also cross-referenced to the Uniform Plumbing Code, Uniform Mechanical Code, and the 2014 National Electrical Code. With durable laminated pages, the flipbook is designed to be used on-site for quick reference.

7. Building Department Administration, 4th Edition

A comprehensive one-stop resource critical to successful management and operation of building safety administration, it has benefitted from the expertise and practical knowledge of more than 50 experts participating as authors, contributors, peer reviewers and editors, making it one of the most widely participatory publications in any industry. Every chapter has been revised and/or reformatted, updating to the most current state-of-the-art information for the needs of the 21st Century building safety. Online Bonus features are included as an added benefit for support and more in-depth information.

It contains 21 chapters among which are outstanding topics and features such as:

  • Tables, Graphics, Forms
  • Information tips in highlighted boxes
  • Employee performance evaluation approaches and forms
  • Green and Sustainability
  • Disaster mitigation and building security
  • Technology and Automation in plan review and code administration
  • Legal approaches, liability, court cases

8. Legal Aspects of Code Administration, 2017 Edition

Legal Aspects of Code Administration is an excellent starting point for building officials who want to become better acquainted with the duties and legal responsibilities of enforcing the building code. It is also designed to serve as a refresher for those preparing to take the legal module of the ICC Certified Building Official or Certified Fire Marshal, or both, examinations.

Organized in a logical sequence, this book will take the reader from the earliest building codes to modern codes. Building officials must understand their role in shaping, administering, and enforcing the building code. As agents of state and local governments, building officials must also understand the law and execute their duties in accordance with prevailing statutory and case law. This book will examine and discuss those duties and allow building officials to become successful at their jobs. This updated edition includes recent court decisions affecting building officials.

Topics discussed include:

  • History and evolution of the building code
  • Federal, state, and local legal considerations
  • Administering and enforcing the code
  • Constitutional authorities and limitations
  • Fourth Amendment (search and seizure) issues
  • Property law concepts
  • Liability for intentional and negligent wrongdoing
  • The public duty doctrine principle
  • Federal civil rights considerations
  • Taking a case to trial and being an effective witness
  • Prevailing case law

9. A Budgeting Guide for Local Government, Fourth Edition

Discover new arenas that shape the “warp and woof” of budgets and the policies and processes managers use to craft spending decisions. Navigating the increasingly complex crosscurrents of local government finance has become an essential skill for today’s public administrator. The convergence of rising expectations from citizens and council members, anemic growth in revenue sources, and unfunded pensions now coming due has complicated the local manager’s task of preparing a budget that balances revenues with expenditures. More fundamentally, today’s managers must deliver services at a time when public confidence in government and its ability to perform have reached unparalleled lows.

This book examines the issues that a local manager confronts in developing a budget— both the choice of public services and projects to provide, and the choice of revenue sources used to pay for them. When formulating a budget, the manager must balance what is economically best, politically expedient, and administratively possible. Because the manager must also respond to citizens’ perceptions of an issue, whatever their accuracy, this book also examines budgets in those terms. In a more general sense, effective leadership requires that the public administrator shape as well as follow public opinion. The recommendations made throughout this book are designed to enhance citizens’ confidence in the responsiveness and competence of local government leaders.

10. Inspector Skills

Inspector Skills is the first text to focus on the “other” skills that are essential for success as a construction inspector. These “soft skills” are the non-technical traits and behaviors that enhance an inspector’s ability to interact with others and to successfully carry out his or her job duties.

Inspector Skills aims to raise awareness of the importance of soft skills and to provide guidance toward recognizing and improving those skills. When coupled with the technical knowledge of codes and construction practices, developing effective soft skills elicits cooperation, generates respect and credibility, and improves the image of inspectors and code safety departments.

Inspector Skills was written for construction inspectors in all disciplines and will also benefit students, permit technicians, plan reviewers and building officials.

11. Report Writing for Code Inspectors

Report writing skills are essential to success in your code enforcement career. Your notices of violation, letters, and reports are public documents that may be read by supervisors, attorneys, judges, citizens, design professionals, contractors, and reporters. Quality inspection reports and notices of violation help ensure code compliance, impress superiors, and win respect from colleagues. They facilitate repairs, reinforce requirements for safe operations, and ensure unsafe practices are discontinued.

“Report Writing for Code Inspectors” covers a wide range of topics: basic principles for organizing and writing reports, bullet style, punctuation, capitalization, sentence structure, English usage, and the specialized vocabulary you need for your reports. Sample reports are included, along with a pre-test, post-test, practice exercises, and a complete answer key.

12. Significant Changes to the International Building Code®, 2018 Edition

This convenient, easy-to-use resource provides a comprehensive analysis of notable changes since the 2015 International Building Code, including the origins, implications, and real-world applications of those changes. Covering updates to both structural and non-structural provisions of the IBC, the text presents an analysis of affected code sections, highlighting modifications to the existing language with strikethroughs and underlines.

Each update also features a brief explanation, detailed illustrations, and thoughtful discussion of the changes’ significance, so you can interpret the code’s technical jargon and understand its practical applications to real-world scenarios. With its attention to detail, logical organization, and thorough, yet concise coverage, SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO THE INTERNATIONAL BUILDING CODE, 2018 Edition, is an ideal resource to help you transition from the 2015 IBC.

13. Significant Changes to the International Residential Code®, 2018 Edition

This convenient, easy-to-use resource provides a comprehensive analysis of notable changes since the 2015 International Residential Code, including the origins, implications, and real-world applications of those changes. Covering updates to building, energy, mechanical, fuel gas, plumbing, and electrical provisions of the IRC, the text presents an analysis of affected code sections, highlighting modifications to the existing language with strikethroughs and underlines.

Each update also features a brief explanation, detailed illustrations, and thoughtful discussion of the changes’ significance, so you can interpret the code’s technical jargon and understand its practical applications to real-world scenarios. With its attention to detail, logical organization, and thorough, yet concise coverage, SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO THE INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTIAL CODE, 2018 Edition, is an ideal resource to help you transition from the 2015 IRC.

14. Design of Wood Structures ASD/LRFD Eighth Edition

Fully updated to cover the latest techniques and standards, the eighth edition of this comprehensive resource leads you through the complete design of a wood structure following the same sequence used in the actual design/construction process. Detailed equations, clear illustrations, and practical design examples are featured throughout the text. This up-to-date edition conforms to both the 2018 International Building Code (IBC) and the 2018 National Design Specification for Wood Construction (NDS).

Design of Wood Structures-ASD/LRFD, Eighth Edition, covers:

  • Wood buildings and design criteria
  • Design loads
  • Behavior of structures under loads and forces
  • Properties of wood and lumber grades
  • Structural glued laminated timber
  • Beam design and wood structural panels
  • Axial forces and combined loading
  • Diaphragms and shearwalls
  • Wood and nailed connections
  • Bolts, lag bolts, and other connectors
  • Connection details and hardware
  • Diaphragm-to-shearwall anchorage
  • Requirements for seismically irregular structures
  • Residential buildings with wood light frames

15. Building Codes Illustrated: A Guide to Understanding the 2018 International Building Code

THE BESTSELLING, FULLY ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO THE 2018 INTERNATIONAL BUILDING CODE

Uniquely marrying the graphic skills of bestselling author Francis D.K Ching with the code expertise of Steven Winkel, FAIA, the new sixth edition of Building Codes Illustrated is a clear, concise, and easy-to-use visual guide to the International Building Code (IBC) for 2018. Fully updated throughout, it highlights all of the changes to the code for quick reference and easy navigation. It pulls out the portions of the building code that are most relevant for the architect and provides an easy-to-understand interpretation in both words and illustrations. 

The first two chapters of Building Codes Illustrated: A Guide to Understanding the 2018 International Building Code, Sixth Edition give background and context regarding the develop­ment, organization, and use of the IBC. The following sections cover such information as: use and occupancy; building heights and areas; types of construction; fire-resistive construction; interior finishes; means of egress; accessibility; energy efficiency; roof assemblies; structural provisions; special inspections and tests; soils and foundations; building materials and systems; and more.

  • A complete, user-friendly guide to code-compliant projects
  • Highlights all the significant changes in the 2018 IBC
  • Uses clear language and Frank Ching’s distinctive illustrations to demystify the 2018 International Build Code (IBC) text
  • Provides students and professionals with a fundamental understanding of IBC development, interpretation, and application 

Building Codes Illustrated: A Guide to Understanding the 2018 International Building Code gives students and professionals in architecture, interior design, construction, and engineering a user-friendly, easy-to-use guide to the fundamentals of the 2018 IBC.

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