What is the difference between UBC, ASCE & IBC Standards?

What is the difference between UBC, ASCE & IBC Standards?

First thing the civil engineer shall decide when working on any project is to choose a standard to adopt in the design, execution and quality control of the materials.

In many countries the adopted standards are guided by the government or the associations controlling the engineering activities, e.g the Australian standard in Australia, Canadian standard in Canada, etc. But at the end, most of standards are inspired from each other’s and lead to almost similar results through different approaches. Nowadays, the most commonly used standards are the American ones. But many engineers still confuse between the American standards and its development in the past decades UBC, ASCE & IBC and their different versions (saying ASCE 7-05 & ASCE 7-10, IBC 2000 & IBC 2009, etc). We’ll try to clarify the difference in this post the shortest possible.

On October 18-21, 1927 the ICBO (International Conference of Building Officials) enacted the UBC (Uniform Building Code). Revised editions of this code are published approximately every 3 years until 1997.

In 1994, the three model building code organizations:

  • BOCA, the Building Officials and Code Administrators International, the publishers of The BOCA National Building Code (BOCA/NBC)
  • ICBO, the International Conference of Building Officials, the publishers of the Uniform Building Code (UBC)
  • SBCCI, the Southern Building Code Congress International, the publishers of the Standard Building Code (SBC)

formed the International Code Council (ICC) with the express purpose of developing a single set of construction codes for the entire country. Included in this family of International Codes is the International Building Code, which represents a major step in a cooperative effort to bring national unity to building codes. The first edition of the International Building Code was published in April 2000. ICC has decided to publish revised editions every 3 years.

In addition to this, there is ATC (Applied Technology council) standard, ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standard, ASCE Standard 7, ACI codes and AISC codes. Those are used in special applications only and are also referenced by IBC codes. For example, the IBC refers to the ASCE 7 standard Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures for all design loads, such as dead,  live and wind loads, as well as for seismic design provisions. Similarly ASTM is for testing materials &ACI for concrete structures, etc.


Post Author: Zahi Baroudi

2 thoughts on “What is the difference between UBC, ASCE & IBC Standards?

  • claire

    (April 28, 2016 - 4:06 PM)

    There is typo in the last paragraph. ASCE 7 was typed as ASCE 8.

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