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Residential building codes are construction guidelines for how to build homes to meet minimum legal requirements. They have been in use in the United States for more than 100 years when major cities began to adopt and enforce building codes in response to large fires in densely populated urban areas. While early building codes were in place to reduce fire risk, today’s building codes have expanded to address many hazards, both ordinary and catastrophic, and serve as the minimum acceptable standards to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of building occupants.