There are two types of standards published by government agencies: those that have the force of law (laws and regulations) and those that don't. The latter are usually mandatory on projects of the public agency owner but not on private projects, unless so specified in the contract documents.
The principal U.S. laws and regulations affecting construction are listed below.
U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
Web access at www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/index.html
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Design Guidelines (ADAAG)
Web access at www.access-board.gov
SpecLink includes those provisions of the ADA that can be implemented via the specifications.
In addition to laws that apply nationwide, individual states, cities, and other local jurisdictions also make regulations that affect construction.
ICC International Codes
Published by International Code Council, www.iccsafe.org.
Model codes do not have the force of law until adopted by the authority having jurisdiction. The ICC codes have been adopted by many cities and states.
NFPA 70 and NFPA 101
Published by the National Fire Protection Association, www.npfa.org.
NFPA 70, National Electrical Code, and NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, are also model codes that have been adopted by many jurisdictions. Frequently, these two are adopted by Fire Marshall offices independently of building code departments.
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