Cover Page


Seventh Edition


Katherine E. Kennon

Sharon K. Harmon








This book is dedicated to the special men in my life who have encouraged and supported me in this continued endeavor:
James, Drake, and Noel. And not forgetting, Caleb and Toby


  • Code and Standards Changes
  • ICC Evaluation Service
  • Codes and Standards in Other Countries
  • Testing Agencies and Certification
  • UL Labels
  • ADA‐ABA Accessibility Guidelines Development
  • Risk Factors and Hazards in Occupancies
  • Custodial Care versus Medical Care
  • Rooms and Spaces
  • Design Loads
  • Combustible Materials
  • Atriums and Mezzanines
  • Protected or Unprotected
  • High‐Rise Buildings
  • Elevators
  • Special Egress Strategies
  • Travel Distance Factors
  • Smoke and How It Travels
  • Carbon Monoxide Detection
  • Fire Technology
  • Integrated Alarms
  • Plumbing Systems
  • Mechanical Systems
  • Power and Electrical Systems
  • Low‐Voltage Cabling Systems
  • Building Automation Systems
  • Fire Development Stages
  • Industry Standards
  • CAL 133–Tested Products
  • Flame Retardant Treatments
  • Plastic Finishes
  • Administration Chapter
  • Knowing What Is New in the Code
  • Options in Codes
  • Performance Codes
  • ISO Standards for Sustainability
  • Federal Sustainability Certifications
  • The Red List


Codes and standards continue to change and evolve. Even federal regulations are amended and updated. Why does this seem like a never‐ending process? Because the many organizations and individuals that develop the codes, standards, and federal regulations strive to make the built environment as safe as possible: we learn from recent events and apply this knowledge to our future buildings and spaces.

A wide variety of factors are taken into consideration. Recent building fires, natural disasters, and even acts of terrorism shed light on how building safety can be improved. Industry trends, new building products, and improved technology provide additional options for addressing building safety. Instantaneous sharing of information worldwide affects every aspect of our lives including building safety. Changing concerns for safety and health in our buildings and for our environment have catapulted sustainability, energy efficiency, and green practices into the codes, standards, and federal regulations—at a much faster rate than ever anticipated. All of these influences continue to lead to new opportunities for collaboration between various organizations and future changes to the codes and standards. These ongoing changes challenge design professionals to stay up to date.

This book concentrates on the interior of a building because the codes, standards, and federal regulations affect projects on the interior of a building as much as the building shell. And most projects, whether new construction, renovation, or interior build‐out, will have to consider the codes directed to the interior of a building. The goal is to make the codes user‐friendly and to provide a good overall understanding of the various codes, standards, and federal regulations.

What sets this book apart is that it does more than just repeat the code requirements; it explains how various requirements and concepts work together to create building safety. This book considers the requirements from more than one specific code. It discusses the relationship of the various code publications and other related documents and indicates how different requirements may correlate in a project. Understanding the overall code process creates safer buildings. When the objective of code research is clear, the process can be more efficient, saving time and energy and allowing more time to be spent on the design process. This seventh edition of The Codes Guidebook for Interiors includes the most recent changes and updates to the codes, standards, and federal regulations. The following previews what is included.

  • Focuses on the most current and widely used building code, the 2015 International Building Code (IBC), as well as other related International Code Council (ICC) codes, such as the 2015 International Fire Code.
  • Discusses how to use the NFPA's 2015 Life Safety Code (LSC) in conjunction with the IBC regarding the various code topics presented, ranging from selecting occupancy classifications to determining means of egress and fire‐resistant assemblies.
  • Incorporates information on the many standards referenced by the codes or used by the building and interior industry.
  • Discusses the relationship of the ICC accessibility standard (ICC A117.1) and the 2010 ADA Standards and how to use them in conjunction with the codes. The differences between the original 1991 Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) and the new 2010 ADA Standards are also explained.
  • Explains sustainability practices as they relate to the existing codes and newly developed green codes and standards, including the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) and the ASHRAE/USGBC/IES 189.1, Standard for the Design of High‐Performance Green Buildings Except Low‐Rise Residential Buildings.
  • Describes the relationship between the energy codes, such as the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), sustainability codes, and federal energy regulations, and the IBC.
  • Includes interior‐related electrical code requirements based on the 2014 and 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC).
  • Explains plumbing codes (and plumbing fixtures), using the 2015 International Plumbing Code, and mechanical codes as they pertain to interior projects.
  • Discusses the newest information on finish and furniture standards and testing, including the most current sustainability and life safety issues.
  • Presents the role of alternative materials and methods and performance codes to allow creative options for meeting prescriptive code requirements.
  • Explains the terms, concepts, and requirements of the codes, standards, and federal regulations in a simple, organized format—explaining the differences, which codes to use, and how to use them together.
  • Includes multiple examples and sample floor plans covering a wide variety of building types and occupancy classifications.
  • Includes many diagrams combining code and accessibility‐related requirements for items such as means of egress, toilet and bathing rooms, and finish‐ and furniture‐related items.
  • Includes the latest information on working with code officials and documenting your projects using prescriptive, performance, and/or sustainability codes.
  • Addresses a variety of building and project types, both large and small, and includes information on existing buildings, historic buildings, and single‐family homes.
  • In past editions, individual checklists were included at the end of the chapter. New to this edition, access to a comprehensive code checklist in digital format is provided with the purchase of this book. This interactive checklist can be downloaded and used to assist you in code research and documentation for projects.
  • If you are an instructor, student, or new professional, additional information is available for the use of this book. For instructors, PowerPoint presentations and suggestions for classroom activities are available in the Instructor's Manual. If you are a design student or new professional, flash cards and similar study materials are available. These are available online with the purchase of this book.
  • Supplementing the information in this book, a Study Guide is also available. It is a valuable resource to test your understanding of the terms, concepts, and requirements presented in the Guidebook.

I hope that this book is helpful to you.

Katherine E. Kennon, AIA


I am often asked how I became interested and subsequently so involved with building codes and accessibility issues. I always relate it back to an event early in my professional career. It began with a sign‐up sheet circulating around the office with an offer to attend a code seminar compliments of the firm. At the time, not knowing a whole lot about codes from the brief introduction in design school and wanting to take advantage of the free education, I signed up. Days later, my boss, Richard Butcosk, called me into his office. He was wondering why I wanted to go to a code seminar, considering that I had been hired to be part of the design team, not particularly because of such pragmatic interests. My response was that if not being familiar with code requirements could negatively affect my designs, then I viewed them as critical design information. I was allowed to attend, the first of many. Shortly after that, the Americans with Disability Act was passed and again another series of seminars. And so began an interest intertwined in my design career.

Later, I taught a design studio class that integrated the teaching of codes and accessibility as related to a commercial project. This led to me meeting Sharon K. Harmon, who was the author of the assigned text book. That book was the first edition of what was to become this book. Beginning with the second edition, Sharon and I became co‐authors of the book. She has now moved onto a different emphasis in her career, and starting with the sixth edition, the book has been my opportunity to continue to present codes and accessibility issues to design students and designers (architects and interior designers). The common thread continues to be the importance of knowing code and accessibility requirements as we design buildings, particularly their interior layout and components.

For the book to continue to be relevant and accurate, having industry professionals give perspective on the content is essential. I luckily find people willing to take the time to read, comment, and make suggestions on sections and chapters within their professional purview. For this edition, I want to thank David Garrett for his contribution to the content of this edition. I appreciate your time and professional perspective.

I want to thank the International Code Council (ICC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), who continue to allow the use of their source material and to clarify code requirements so that they can be accurately represented in this text.

I want to thank the building and associated industry representatives who continue to allow the use of their images and products such APCO Graphics, Steelcraft Manufacturing, Underwriters Laboratories, and ACT. They make it possible to give real examples and images of code‐related elements.

Even though this book is on its seventh edition, the creation of the final product is defined each edition by new technologies, processes, and people. For perspective, the submission process for the second edition involved a large amount of paper and shipping time for the physical delivery of edited material: now, the process occurs almost instantaneously and completely through cyberspace. So, for this edition, I specifically appreciate Amanda Shettleton, Kalli Schultea, and Jayalakshmi Thevarkandi at John Wiley & Sons, Inc., who helped me through nuances of the process for this edition, including moving the checklists for each chapter to digital format. I appreciate all those at John Wiley who continue to be advocates for this book, to value its unique place in the industry and have been integral to its development, past and present.

I would particularly like to thank the readers, who continue to buy and recommend the book. Whether you use this book as an educator or student or for your own personal professional development, your feedback and support of the book is what motivates me to keep this endeavor up to date and pertinent to the industry. I hope that this relationship continues to benefit the design community and safe building environments.