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Historical development of fire and building codes

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Before, fire safety concerns were only a function of local and state governments. Through the initiatives of the National Board of Fire Underwriters (known today as the American Insurance Association), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Underwriter Laboratories, building, and fire safety codes were developed and refined. It was the National Board of Fire Underwriters which published in 1905 the first model building code.
Seeing the blatant unhealthy housing conditions, charitable organizations were established and many of them formed the National Housing Association in 1900 which pressed for housing reforms. This movement also provided the stimulus for passing the New York Tenement House Act of 1901 which was used as a model for other cities. In 1939, the American Public Health Association (APHA) developed housing codes which served as a prototype as it specifies health and sanitation requirements including room dimensions and arrangements.
The Engineering Profession provided the technical expertise for specifying applicable structural design thru the American Society of Civil Engineers, mechanical codes by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and plumbing codes and standards (American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE). This further improved the construction industry which by itself, were trying to make construction safer and more cost-effective.

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