How Do You Interpret Hospital Building Codes?


Quick Answer

Hospital building codes differ depending on local and national requirements and are interpreted according to the standards set for each code type, explains the National Institute of Building Sciences. Standard codes may be interpreted by building designers, code officers and other professionals, notes the International Code Council.

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Full Answer

Building codes are set using International Building Code, or IBC, standards for interpretation and use by officials and construction professionals, according to the International Code Council. These codes are incorporated into legally enforceable documents setting minimum standards for hospital and other building construction. Each code has specific terms that are defined by the ICC and each word and punctuation mark contributes to the legal and technical interpretation of the code.

In some locations, codes are specifically adopted by states or local governments, and these regulations apply to all hospitals under construction except U.S. federal hospitals built on federal lands, states the National Institute of Building Sciences. While most federal agencies comply with IBC, some additional federal standards may override IBC including Life Safety Code and National Electrical Code rules. Interpreting the guidelines applying to these hospitals also involves consideration of legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, and input from federal agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA.

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