Norton Introduces the Building Code

The population in 1862 exceeded 800,000 and this was the year that a real building code was created. The code addressed fire safety as well as exit requirements. Plumbing codes emerged in 1880 and elevators and hoist codes in 1883.

In 1927 the Pacific Coast Building Officials Conference successfully compiled a complete set of building codes. Ten years later in 1937, the Recommended Uniform Building Code of the New England Building Officials Conference appeared and it mirrored the Pacific Coast code in many ways. (Source: “Building Department Administration,” Copyright, 1989, International Conference of Building Officials.)

Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (VUSBC)

In the early 1970s, Virginia adopted the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (VUSBC) which incorporated BOCA and CABO as the model codes for construction and existing buildings.

The Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code goes through change cycles every three years. Codes are modified by a process of code hearings consisting of code change requests from building officials, contractors, and manufacturers from around the country. Virginia will adopt the model codes with amendments and the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code goes to the General Assembly for a vote. When the proposed codes pass the General Assembly, they become law. This process has just been completed with the adoption of the 2012 VUSBC. The 2012 version of the VUSBC adopts the International Code Council’s standard in the form of the International Building Code, the International Residential Code, the International Mechanical Code, the International Plumbing Code, the International Fuel/Gas Code, and the 2011 version of the National Electrical Code.

Building codes are state-mandated and localities have no choice when it comes to enforcement. However, the property maintenance code can be adopted at the locality’s discretion. The City of Norton adopted the property maintenance code in 1987.