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About Me

I am an architect (unlicensed) with 10 years experience working on k-12 schools, college buildings and multifamily residential projects located primarily in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs of New York City.

I am not a building code expert, but I regularly face building code issues in the course of every day at work.

Building code research is an unnecessarily tedious task that completely breaks my workflow. I’ve been thinking for a while that there has to be a better way to do this. This is why I started this site.

Why Building Code Research is Such a Time-Suck

  1. Architects are visual people, the Building Code is not. Personally, I both understand and remember concepts much better when they are presented visually rather than described in sprawling legalese.  I’m guessing there are other people who will agree with me on this.
  2. The Building Code was not organized with the architect’s workflow in mind. For example, if I am designing a stair, it would be great if everything I needed to know about stairs was easily accessible in the same place. Unfortunately, I have to flip back and forth to completely disparate sections to get the complete picture, all the while wondering if there is something vital in some other section that I am completely missing.
  3. The Building Code is subject to interpretation, so architects need to talk to each other. You can think you are doing everything right and still end up with pages of objections from the DOB.  Instead of just relying on our own interpretation, what if we could access a pool of knowledge and experience from many architects? There are a few building code forums out there but forum threads are often difficult to track, and when the OP’s question is answered the thread is abandoned. It may be a good way to get an answer to an urgent question right now, but it is not a way to collect and catalogue valuable information that can be continually updated and accessed in the future.

Three Ways This Site Will Alleviate Some of the Pain of Building Code Research

  1. I am documenting concepts in the building code in pictorial form with notes. This way I can build an easily accessible and searchable repository of my previous building code research and interpretations and I don’t have to feel like I am starting from scratch with every project. I am calling these “Sketches”.
  2. Putting everything online allows me to link relevant topics together. So instead of flipping through the building code (or even clicking if you use the online version of the code), looking for relevant sections, you can sort using keywords and categories, follow links to all related sections or of course just run a search on whatever you want to know.
  3. Architects need to talk and learn from each other. The “Sketches” are just my personal interpretations of particular sections of the building code and are not meant to be taken as fact. I invite anyone to challenge anything I post, relay your experiences, or even back up anyone’s comments so everyone can learn from each other. I may be asking for a lot here, but I am hoping we can create a little community of architects  actively filing projects with the DOB in New York City and actively looking to share knowledge about building code issues.

 

I am still working on this site and adding sketches every week.  It is a lot of work and as you can see it is just in its beginning stages. But I hope you can overlook its current rough edges and sparseness and imagine with me for a moment what it could be. Feel free to email me if you have any suggestions to make this site better or even if you just want to say hello.

Come back soon to see the updates, share your knowledge and be a part of the community.

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12 Comments

  1. Xu

    I like you explain the building code in a fun way!

  2. Thank for your best effort!
    I am Cambodian architect and I used to be there in new York, practicing the building design with NY code. I appreciate much for your research and it help me to revise back to what I’ve learned in the past 10 years in the firm.

  3. I quite appreciate your effort to create a resource to help decipher the NYC building code, while pulling together the relevant sections and making it visual.

    I had the same frustrations with building code and the time it takes to locate relevant sections and discuss with a team. I began working on a project (UpCodes) with a small team to create a platform to search and navigate code.

    Our sites seem to be quite complementary to one another. If you had any time free it would be great to speak with you and get your input from your experience working with code.

    An idea we have been throwing around is to create a “Supplemental info” panel adjacent to each code section which could point to resources such as yours.

    Best,
    Scott

  4. Hello very nice website!! Man .. Excellent .. Superb ..

    I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds also?
    I am glad to search out so many useful info here in the publish, we need develop extra strategies on this
    regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  5. FYI: Your section on Common Path of Egress Travel indicates a diagonal path of travel. That path must be along the path of natural travel and not along a diagonal since the room is likely to be filled with furniture and will not allow a diagonal path of egress. Most official references on the Internet and the Architect’s Studio Companion indicate as much.

  6. Amazing work with the sketches, really helps a lot.

  7. Hi,

    Is there something in the code where it talks about the distance between exit discharge doors? BC1027 mentions it in note 4.1 but does.’t say much

  8. Came across this during google “code research,” great idea for a site you should do more examples.

  9. Thanks a lot for this great and helpful basics! It helps a lot during corporate internal audits of fire and life safety.
    THANK YOU VER MUCH INDEED!!!!!!!!

    Elena (from Lithuania)

  10. Jai

    HI,
    Great initiative ,I have not come across concepts well explained like this .It helps for deciphering the fundamentals .Wishing you continue to update & share .
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge & taking pain to present it for an architect.

  11. Thanks for this. I found it really useful. I agree with you completely. It would be great to have a forum to share info. Do you have some good forum sites you can recommend that i can subscribe to? I was looking for your name but did not see it anywhere. Thanks for posting this.

  12. Hi,
    I love that you are doing this. Wish IBC commentary could incorporate your colorful but simple way of explaining code issues. however, i wanted to point out an error in the ‘Dead end corridor’ diagram. In your explanation which is supposed to help everyone remember how to tell a dead end condition – Apt F and Apt G do not have a dead end condition. They are simply experiencing the continuation of the common path of egress travel. Now let’s say the door to Apt E was more than 20′ or 50′ (depending on the condition) away from the end of the corridor (where Apt F and G have their doors), then whoever got out of Apt E would be presented with a right or left turn. If they took the left turn and had to go more than 20′/50′ they would experience a dead end. Let me know if you agree with my interpretation. Life safety code commentary actually explains this confusion between dead ends and common path of egree travel pretty well. Adios amigo.

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