Foreign Building Codes

This is a very abbreviated list of countries, their building codes, and several organizations which help establish them. It is meant to provide links for further information on a particular country. Keep in mind that local and regional regulations may exist in addition to any listed here. Please feel free to correct and/or add any information as you see the need.

In some countries, the government or a government-selected organization develops building standards which are then enforced nation-wide, while in others, local authorities adapt a set of model codes to fit their needs. Most model codes require purchase; however, an almost-identical adaptation of this code by a municipality is most-often free of charge.

Association of Caribbean States :
ACS was established in 1994 and is now comprised of 25 Caribbean and Central American States. Summits are held every few years, and over the last decade, member countries have established the following goals for themselves: the strengthening of the regional co-operation, preserving the environmental integrity of the Caribbean Sea, and promoting the sustainable development of the Greater Caribbean. To meet these goals, they have focused on the industries of transport, trade, sustainable tourism and natural disaster preparedness, the latter of which has led to a set of recommended Wind and Seismic Codes. These model codes were developed using precedents, such as International Building Code. They are not mandated by any country but are used when revising current building codes (see CUBiC and individual countries). (

Australia : The Building Code of Australia is written and maintained by a government board and has been adopted by all states and territories, making it a true national building code.

: A national set of codes were first published in 1941 by the National Research Council, and fire codes were established in 1963. However, similarly to the United States, each province has its own set of additional codes which are modified from the national model. Only Labrador has failed to adopt the plumbing code province-wide, with Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island either following no fire code or their own. An abbreviated, interpreted version of Ontario's codes can be found here, while a portion of Manitoba's version can be found by navigating around this site. The province of Alberta has recently adopted more stringent fire codes, with the changes shown here, while national codes are expected to follow in the next few years.

Caribbean Uniform Building Code (CUBiC) : This set of codes was developed by Caribbean engineers in 1985 for a group of 15 countries. It has been adopted by some countries but is mostly used as a guideline. (see ACS and individual countries)

China : Chinese Building Codes and Regulations can be found here and here, as summarized by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and green standards have also been laid out. Enforcement of codes and regulations is very unreliable, varying greatly depending on geography and demographics.

European Union (EU) : The EU developed a list of 58 standards in 2007
which have been or are in the process of being adopted by all member states as national codes. Implementation and enforcement is variable, and more information can be found here.

France : The Housing and Construction Code can be found in French here.

Jamaica : The most current enforceable building code dates back to 1902, with CUBiC being voluntarily adopted by about 50% of engineers. Fears of earthquakes and flooding have led some to spearhead the effort to draft new IBC-based codes. The slow process of passing a new law means that it could be a decade or more before an up-to-date code is enforced.

India : The National Building Code of India serves as a model for each construction project in the country, with local authorities deciding which apply in their respective jurisdiction. A copy of the standards is available for sale, while a portion of fire safety standards can be found with commentary here.

International Code Council (ICC) and International Building Code (IBC) : This non-profit group first published a cohesive set of codes in 1994 which have become the most widely-adopted model in the United States. The IBC has also been applied to many other countries' drafting of national codes.

Italy : As part of the EU, Italy has a set of up-to-date codes at its fingertips, but the enforcement of these codes is a problem for the country. Emphasis on historical preservation and a generally laid-back national attitude have probably contributed to the lax implementation of standards, but it needs to change rapidly.

Mexico : In a partnership with the ICC, Mexico's government began rewriting their residential codes for residential projects. In a move toward sustainability, energy-efficient guidelines are also under development. The world's most populous urban center of Mexico City is also known for its seismic activity. It has some of the most stringent earthquake codes, while the rest of the country struggles with implementation and enforcement of regulations.

New Zealand
: Published in 1992 and last revised in 2004, the current Building Act is performance- rather than detail-based and is meant to provide transparency to consumers.

United Kingdom : UK Building Regulations are administered by local governments, except those countries which have established their own codes: Northern Ireland and Scotland. An explanatory booklet for English and Welsh building regulations is available online.

Vietnam : As in much of Asia, Vietnam has a heightened concern for earthquakes, but their building standards do not reflect this. Currently, codes are only used for large, highly-trafficked or highly-visible projects, and these are borrowed from other countries' codes since Vietnam does not have any established by the government.

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