Internationally, code officials recognize the need for a modern, up-to-date residential code addressing the design and construction of one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses. The International Residential Code®, in this 2015 edition, is designed to meet these needs through model code regulations that safeguard the public health and safety in all communities, large and small.

    This comprehensive, stand-alone residential code establishes minimum regulations for one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses using prescriptive provisions. It is founded on broad-based principles that make possible the use of new materials and new building designs. This 2015 edition is fully compatible with all of the International Codes® (I-Codes®) published by the International Code Council® (ICC)®, including the International Building Code®, International Energy Conservation Code®, International Existing Building Code®, International Fire Code®, International Fuel Gas Code®, International Green Construction Code® International Mechanical Code®, ICC Performance Code®, International Plumbing Code®, International Private Sewage Disposal Code®, International Property Maintenance Code®, International Swimming Pool and Spa Code, International Wildland-Urban Interface Code® and International Zoning Code®.

    The International Residential Code provisions provide many benefits, among which is the model code development process that offers an international forum for residential construction professionals to discuss prescriptive code requirements. This forum provides an excellent arena to debate proposed revisions. This model code also encourages international consistency in the application of provisions.


    The first edition of the International Residential Code (2000) was the culmination of an effort initiated in 1996 by a developement committee appointed by ICC and consisting of representatives from the three statutory members of the International Code Council at the time, including: Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA), International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) and Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI), and representatives from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The intent was to draft a stand-alone residential code consistent with and inclusive of the scope of the existing model codes. Technical content of the 1998 International One- and Two-Family Dwelling Code and the latest model codes promulgated by BOCA, ICBO, SBCCI and ICC was used as the basis for the development, followed by public hearings in 1998 and 1999 to consider proposed changes. This 2015 edition represents the code as originally issued, with changes reflected in the 2009 through 2012 editions, and further changes developed through the ICC Code Development Process through 2013. Residential electrical provisions are based on the 2014 National Electrical Code® (NFPA 70). A new edition such as this is promulgated every three years.

    Energy provisions in Chapter 11 are duplicated from the International Energy Conservation Code®Residential Provisions applicable to residential buildings which fall under the scope of this code.

    Fuel gas provisions have been included through an agreement with the American Gas Association (AGA). Electrical provisions have been included through an agreement with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

    This code is founded on principles intended to establish provisions consistent with the scope of a residential code that adequately protects public health, safety and welfare; provisions that do not unnecessarily increase construction costs; provisions that do not restrict the use of new materials, products or methods of construction; and provisions that do not give preferential treatment to particular types or classes of materials, products or methods of construction.


    The International Code Council maintains a copyright in all of its codes and standards. Maintaining copyright allows ICC to fund its mission through sales of books, in both print and electronic formats. The International Residential Code is designed for adoption and use by jurisdictions that recognize and acknowledge the ICC’s copyright in the code, and further acknowledge the substantial shared value of the public/private partnership for code development between jurisdictions and the ICC.

    The ICC also recognizes the need for jurisdictions to make laws available to the public. All ICC codes and ICC standards, along with the laws of many jurisdictions, are available for free in a nondownloadable form on the ICC’s website. Jurisdictions should contact the ICC at adoptions@iccsafe.org to learn how to adopt and distribute laws based on the International Residential Code in a manner that provides necessary access, while maintaining the ICC’s copyright.


    The International Residential Code is kept up-to-date through the review of proposed changes submitted by code enforcing officials, industry representatives, design professionals and other interested parties. Proposed changes are carefully considered through an open code development process in which all interested and affected parties may participate.

    The contents of this work are subject to change both through the code development cycles and the governmental body that enacts the code into law. For more information regarding the code development process, contact the Codes and Standards Development Department of the International Code Council.

    The maintenance process for the fuel gas provisions is based upon the process used to maintain the International Fuel Gas Code, in conjunction with the American Gas Association. The maintenance process for the electrical provisions is undertaken by the National Fire Protection Association.

    While the development procedure of the International Residential Code ensures the highest degree of care, ICC, the founding members of ICC, its members and those participating in the development of this code do not accept any liability resulting from compliance or noncompliance with the provisions because ICC and its founding members do not have the power or authority to police or enforce compliance with the contents of this code. Only the governmental body that enacts the code into law has such authority.

    Code Development Committee Responsibilities

    In each code development cycle, proposed changes to the code are considered at the Committee Action Hearings by the applicable International Code Development Committee as follows:

    [RB]=IRC—Building Code Development Committee
    [RE]=Residential Energy Code Development Committee
    [RMP]=IRC—Mechanical/Plumbing Code Development Committee

    The [RE] committee is also responsible for the IECC—Residential Provisions.

    For the development of the 2018 edition of the I-Codes, there will be three groups of code development committees and they will meet in separate years. Note that these are tentative groups.

    Group A Codes (Heard in 2015, Code Change ProposalsDeadline: January 12, 2015)Group B Codes (Heard in 2016, Code Change ProposalsDeadline: January 11, 2016)Group C Codes (Heard in 2017, Code Change ProposalsDeadline: January 11, 2017)
    International Building Code– Fire Safety (Chapters 7, 8, 9, 14, 26)– Means of Egress(Chapters 10, 11, Appendix E)– General (Chapters 2-6, 12, 27-33,Appendices A, B, C, D, K)Administrative Provisions (Chapter 1 all codes except the IRC and IECC, administrative updates to currently referenced standards, and designated definitions)International Green Construction Code
    International Fuel Gas CodeInternational Building Code– Structural(Chapters 15-25, Appendices F, G,H, I, J, L, M)
    International Existing Building CodeInternational Energy Conservation Code
    International Mechanical CodeInternational Fire Code
    International Plumbing CodeInternational Residential Code– IRC-Building (Chapters 1, 3-10,Appendices E, F, H, J, K, L, M,O, R, S, T, U)
    International Private Sewage Disposal CodeInternational Wildland-Urban Interface Code
    International Property Maintenance Code
    International Residential Code– IRC-Mechanical (Chapters 12-24)– IRC-Plumbing(Chapters 25-33, Appendices G, I, N, P)
    International Swimming Pool and Spa Code
    International Zoning Code

    Note: Proposed changes to the ICC Performance Code will be heard by the code development committee noted in brackets [ ] in the text of the code.

    Code change proposals submitted to Chapters 1 and 3 through 10, Appendices E, F, H, J, K, L, M, O, R, S, T, U and Definitions designated [RB] of the International Residential Code are heard by the IRC—Building Committee during the Group B (2016) cycle code development hearing. Proposed changes to all other chapters are heard by the IRC Plumbing and Mechanical Committee during the Group A (2015) code development cycle.

    It is very important that anyone submitting code change proposals understand which code development committee is responsible for the section of the code that is the subject of the code change proposal. For further information on the code development committee responsibilities, please visit the ICC web site at www.iccsafe.org/scoping.

    Marginal Markings

    Solid vertical lines in the margins within the body of the code indicate a technical change from the requirements of the 2012 edition. Deletion indicators in the form of an arrow () are provided in the margin where an entire section, paragraph, exception or table has been deleted or an item in a list of items or a table has been deleted.

    A single asterisk [*] placed in the margin indicates that text or a table has been relocated within the code. A double asterisk [**] placed in the margin indicates that the text or table immediately following it has been relocated there from elsewhere in the code. The following table indicates such relocations in the 2015 edition of the International Residential Code.

    R302.13 R501.3
    Tables R602.7(1) and (2)Tables R502.5(1) and (2)

    Italicized Terms

    Selected terms set forth in Chapter 2, Definitions, are italicized where they appear in code text. Such terms are not italicized where the definition set forth in Chapter 2 does not impart the intended meaning in the use of the term. The terms selected have definitions that the user should read carefully to better understand the code.