All over the world, certain industries are strictly regulated by governmental and non-governmental authorities to safeguard public safety. Operators in the construction industry are placed under various building regulations in the same way that doctors, pilots, lawyers, and other professionals are keenly monitored.

The reason for this is that should these critical service providers fail in their duties, intentionally or otherwise, the public they serve will ultimately suffer.

Commercial and residential roofing contractors both fall under the building and construction industry’s umbrella and, thus, must adhere to the building codes applicable in their jurisdiction. 

These codes might be international, national, state, or local regulations designed to ensure that all buildings meet safety standards. They determine the materials, construction techniques, and designs used in the construction of virtually all buildings in the United States.

In this post, we’ll explore the basics behind roofing and building regulations in the United States to help you determine what you need to know before carrying out a roof replacement on your property.

Who Determines Roofing and Building Regulations?

Building codes are general templates of guideline regulations designed to ensure that safety and utility standards are met on construction sites worldwide. 

They are drawn up by private international bodies such as the International Code Council (ICC), after which they are adopted by individual countries, states, and municipalities according to their particular needs and circumstances.

State legislatures and city councils, for example, will adopt and enact these codes according to their judgment and have the authority to update them as they see fit to adapt to changes in best practices, building technology, and the will of the people they represent.

At the ground level, local bodies might be granted the leeway to amend the code as it applies to them to tackle issues that affect them specifically. 

In the wake of a destructive tropical storm, for example, affected municipalities might vote to amend their local code to make roofs more durable and wind resistant to optimize the safety and welfare of their residents.

The Basic Codes and Regulations That Govern Roofing

In the United States, two basic model building codes form the foundation for all federal, state, and municipal regulations. 

The first one is the International Residential Code (IRC) which governs the construction of One- to Two-family houses that do not go beyond three stories up. The second one is the International Building Code (IBC), which sets the standards for all other types of buildings.

Because roofs can often be complex structures and face multiple threats and challenges in the course of their lifespans, you will find that the IRC and the IBC both reference other model codes and incorporate them into the general roofing guidelines. 

These codes include the International Mechanical Code (covering HVAC systems), the International Plumbing Code (Covering roof drainage systems), the International Fire Code, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), etc.

All of these codes are essentially formulated by one global body – the International Code Council (ICC), and this is the resource on which other regulatory authorities base their specific protocols. 

Individual states, legislatures, and municipalities are given the authority to amend these codes to suit themselves because of the different climatic, socio-economic, and geographic conditions that prevail from region to region.

In Florida, for example, the state authorities have made valiant efforts to tweak the Florida Building Code so that roofs built in hurricane-prone regions can withstand strong winds without failing. 

As we’ve mentioned, you will find that roofing codes and regulations may vary from State to state and from one local jurisdiction to the next. Inspectors are typically granted the leeway to authorize reasonable deviations to these guidelines as long as all the safety standards are met. 

To make it easier for roofing contractors and property owners to familiarize themselves with their local roofing codes, most state, municipal, city, or town websites will either have this information or contain links directing you to the information you seek. You will typically find it under the ‘Office of the Building Inspector’ or ‘Building Inspection’ parts of these websites.

Final Thoughts

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), building codes and regulations determine the minimum requirements for how the plumbing, HVAC (ventilation and air conditioning), structural systems, natural gas systems, roofing, and all other aspects of commercial and residential buildings are constructed. 

Roofing is a critical element of any construction project, which is why carrying out a roof replacement should only be trusted to roofing contractors with the skills, tools, knowledge, and experience to not only deliver the results you desire but to do so in compliance with all applicable codes and regulations. 

If you wish to carry out a roof replacement or any other roofing-related operation in Central Florida, make Alan’s Roofing your first choice for safe, affordable, and code-compliant roofing solutions. Call us today for any questions or concerns you might have. You won’t regret it!