Using Code to Improve Health

Housing codes govern the construction and maintenance of our homes, but many only provide minimal safety requirements. As more is learned about the critical impact of housing quality, communities are taking action to ensure codes and local code enforcement protect – and improve – health.

Below are critical resources about housing codes and tools for improving them.

Up to Code: Code Enforcement Strategies for Healthy Housing

Outlines practices and strategies to improve code enforcement policies that support healthy housing, including specific examples of code enforcement programs and community resources.

National Healthy Housing Standard
The National Healthy Housing Standard is a set of science-based minimum performance standards created by the American Public Health Association and NCHH for safe and healthy homes. The Standard features healthy home requirements and stretch provisions in seven key categories, with explanations for each provision about its public health rationale, along with references for more information. It integrates public health information into housing code parlance. The Standard is a tool for property owners, elected officials, code staff, and anyone concerned about housing’s interaction with health. [url; NCHH, 2014]

International Code Council (ICC)
Comprehensive set of International Codes (I-Codes) covering all aspects of commercial and residential building. I-Codes include residential (IRC) and property maintenance codes (IPMC), which are the primary resources for codes adopted by most jurisdictions across the country. Learn more about I-Codes that specifically promote healthier, environmentally-friendly buildings. [url; International Code Council]

  • I-Code Adoption 
    Scroll down and click your state on the map to learn what I-Codes (including version) have been adopted by your state and (where available) jurisdiction. Note that not all states and local jurisdictions adopt codes as updated (every three years) or set a mechanism in place to adopt updates automatically. Additionally, many states and local jurisdictions create supplemental codes provisions to meet local concerns and priorities. [url; International Code Council, 2014]