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A Code is a collection of requirements that pertain to a specific subject, to regulate specific practices. A Building Code is a collection of requirements (such as exit signs and smoke detectors) that pertain to specific subjects (such as exiting and fire protection systems) and regulate specific practices (such as designing, constructing, or remodeling a building.
No matter what the specific subject may be - construction property maintenance, fire prevention, electrical, or plumbing - all codes have the same purpose:
To protect public health, safety, and welfare by requiring safe construction.