• 5 minutes

International Building Codes: The Language Framework - Prescriptive vs. Performance


Understand how different types of codes can impact the construction process.

Codes are written primarily in language that is prescriptive – that is, precise requirements (minimum or maximum dimensions, operation of doors, fire ratings of walls, amount of ventilation, etc.). Codes can also be written in language that describes the intent of the code without prescribing a solution. This type of language is performance-based. This video reviews the differences between these two different types of codes.

Runtime: 5 minutes



Christopher E. Chwedyk, AIA, CSI

Christopher E. Chwedyk, AIA, CSI

Burnham Nationwide, Inc.

  • NCARB Director – The Code Group, Burnham Nationwide, Inc.
  • Illinois licensed architect and chief code consultant and Director of the licensed architectural subsidiary of Burnham that he assisted in founding in 2001
  • Since 1998, has also been an adjunct faculty member of William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, IL, where he teaches a course on building codes
  • Previously the principal of the Chicago office of Hughes Associates and been a member of such prestigious Chicago architectural firms as SOM
  • With over 40 years of experience in the profession, has concentrated on the technical requirements of building design and has managed the production of code-compliant construction documents for a wide variety of project types
  • Over the past three decades has performed numerous code compliance plan reviews for the City of Chicago and other municipalities
  • Currently serves on the International Code Council’s Board Committee on the Long-Term Code Development Process, the International Fire Code Action Committee and is the 2021-2022 chair of the ICC Compliance Code Action Committee
  • Other professional affiliations include the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and was the 2018 chair the National AIA Codes and Standards Committee

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