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Inspector seeks best book on common building codes

So many volumes, so little time

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Dear Barry, I need a good building-code reference book and am overwhelmed by the abundance of available volumes. Can you shed some light on the renowned Uniform Building Code (UBC), which you occasionally reference in your articles? For a home inspector or layman wanting a basic code reference, the number of options is daunting. First of all, the UBC comes in three volumes. Do you really need all three? And so many of the codes have nothing to do with residential construction. Who needs to know the code requirements for a hospital? In addition to the basic code books, there are commentaries that explain the codes. Adding to the confusion is the fact that the latest edition of the UBC is 1997, in spite of all the building-code changes that have taken place since then. And to top it all off, there are more code books than just the building code. There are the UMC, UPC, UFC, etc. How does one get the essence of all this without buying a library? --Willie Dear Willie, For those whose profe...