2012 International Residential Code – Section R301 – Design Criteria

Part III in the 2012 IRC is on “Building Planning and Construction” of which Chapter 3 is the first chapter and is entitled “Building Planning”. There are 23 subsections in this chapter and the first section (R301) is “Design Criteria”. This section provides all the information related to engineered design, design loads, and serviceability.

Subsection 1

This subsection emphasizes the fundamental importance that all structures, structural systems, and their elements must safely carry all the loads and have a full and complete load path for all of the applied loads.

There are 3 subpoints under this subsection:


-The first allows for the alternative use of the Wood Frame Construction Manual (WFCM) for wood construction, AISI S230 for cold-formed steel framing, and ICC 400 for log structures.

-The second states that the code is based on the assumed use of platform or balloon framing techniques for light-frame buildings and balloon framing for concrete and masonry structures. In order to meet code, any other systems will have to show comparable performance.

-The final subpoint says that anything not meeting the code can be designed “in accordance with accepted engineering practice” to provide comparable performance. Also, anything designed to meet conformance to the International Building Code (IBC) is accepted.

(Go here to view International Code Council (ICC) codes such as the IRC and IBC for free.)


International Code Council. 2012 International Residential Code: For One-and Two-family Dwellings. Country Club Hills, IL: International Code Council, 2011. Print.

2012 International Residential Code – Section R301 – Design Criteria

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