Building Code History

History of Building Codes

Building codes are written to protect people and property. The first building code dates from ancient Babylon in 2000 B.C. Hammurabi, the founder and king of the Babylonian Empire, is generally recognized as the first person to “publish” the laws of the people. The “Code of Hammurabi” was engraved on a 7-foot-tall black basalt stone monument and included building code provisions. For example, Law Number 229 stated, “If a builder build a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built fall-in and kill its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.”

Changes & Developments.  Since Hammurabi, building codes continue to change and develop. In early America, both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson encouraged building regulations. Changes and development of building codes are influenced by new construction techniques, new materials, natural disasters, and catastrophic events.

Modern Code.  Today, most of the United States is covered by modern building codes. The latest in building code development is the International Code series promulgated by the International Code Council (ICC).

Minnesota State Building Code

The first Minnesota State Building Code became effective on July 1, 1972, and provided the state with a uniform, construction standard. The State Building Code typically adopts model building codes by reference and is periodically updated to new model codes. The International Building Code and the International Residential Code are referenced in the current State Building Code. About 90% of the state’s population lives in code-enforced jurisdictions.

County Map Building Codes in Goodhue County

In 1979, the Minnesota State Building Code became effective in Goodhue County. The code is administered throughout the County, in all of the Goodhue County cities, and in each of the 21 county townships. Although the building code is not as harsh as in the day of Hammurabi, it continues the tradition of being written to protect people and property.