Avoiding Code Compliance Troubles

The review of applicable code requirement items and development of egress plans specific to your project is essential early-on in the design process to ensure the building project design is in compliance with governing building codes. The initial code review process can be a tedious exercise and is subject to further interpretation and reviews by state and local municipal code reviewing agencies in order to obtain the necessary building permits. Floor plan configuration revisions beyond the design development phase that are required due to code related issues accounts for valuable time lost across multiple disciplines and exposure to additional fee request from your engineering consultants.

Sample Code Review Sheet

In order to stream-line the code review process, a uniform and clearly organized approach must be established. At a minimum, a carefully organized code review and egress plan prepared at the Schematic Phase should include the following:

  • Identify those governing code articles specific to your project including the Building Construction Type and building use group classification.
  • Calculate Occupancy for each individual space with total for both calculated and actual occupancy loads indicated.
  • Identify occupant load for each individual space with the length of travel distances to exit locations at the Egress Plan.
  • Indicate means of egress stair width and door width calculations
  • Identify Means of egress User Group, Occupancy Factor, space square footages with total Occupancy calculations


A (Assembly) 5 net 5,000 SF 1,000
Storage / Mechanical 300 gross 900 SF 3
B (Business) 100 gross 1,000 SF 10
TOTALS 6,900 SF 1,013 occupants

Also, be sure to schedule a meeting with local building code officials during the design development phase to ensure “buy-in” on the project. The meeting agenda should include a review of items listed above along with a general overview of the fire protection and building fire alarm system features being planned for the project. An overall project time line will assist the code reviewing agency with future planning of permit submission drawing dates and their ability to review project more efficiently. This is especially true for larger scale projects. Allowing an opportunity for the local code officials to provide initial review commentary early-on in the process saves time later for all parties involved during the actual building permit review.

Additional Technical assistance through the International Code Council ( www.iccsafe.org) may serve as an additional invaluable resource throughout entire code review process for further clarification and interpretation of building code requirement items. By following these simple guidelines you will be able to “stream-line” the building permit review process.

Written by Bruce Bachtle, Principal and Partner of SCHRADERGROUP (SG)