International Building Code 2009 (IBC 2009)


Effective Use of the International Building Code



Chapter 1 Scope and Administration

Chapter 2 Definitions

Chapter 3 Use and Occupancy Classification

Chapter 4 Special Detailed Requirements Based on Use and Occupancy

Chapter 5 General Building Heights and Areas

Chapter 6 Types of Construction

Chapter 7 Fire and Smoke Protection Features

Chapter 8 Interior Finishes

Chapter 9 Fire Protection Systems

Chapter 10 Means of Egress

Chapter 11 Accessibility

Chapter 12 Interior Environment

Chapter 13 Energy Efficiency

Chapter 14 Exterior Walls

Chapter 15 Roof Assemblies and Rooftop Structures

Chapter 16 Structural Design

Chapter 17 Structural Tests and Special Inspections

Chapter 18 Soils and Foundations

Chapter 19 Concrete

Chapter 20 Aluminum

Chapter 21 Masonry

Chapter 22 Steel

Chapter 23 Wood

Chapter 24 Glass and Glazing

Chapter 25 Gypsum Board and Plaster

Chapter 26 Plastic


Chapter 28 Mechanical Systems

Chapter 29 Plumbing Systems

Chapter 30 Elevators and Conveying Systems

Chapter 31 Special Construction

Chapter 32 Encroachments Into the Public Right-Of-Way

Chapter 33 Safeguards During Construction

Chapter 34 Existing Structures

Chapter 35 Referenced Standards


Appendix A Employee Qualifications

Appendix B Board of Appeals

Appendix C Group U - Agricultural Buildings

Appendix D Fire Districts

Appendix E Supplementary Accessibility Requirements

Appendix F Rodentproofing

Appendix G Flood-Resistant Construction

Appendix H Signs

Appendix I Patio Covers

Appendix J Grading

Appendix K Administrative Provisions

Appendix J Grading



The provisions contained in this appendix are not mandatory unless specifically referenced in the adopting ordinance.

The provisions contained in this appendix are adopted as part of this code.
The provisions of this chapter apply to grading, excavation and earthwork construction, including fills and embankments. Where conflicts occur between the technical requirements of this chapter and the geotechnical report, the geotechnical report shall govern.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to grading, excavation and earthwork construction, including fills and embankments, in floodways within flood hazard areas established in Section 1612.3 or in flood hazard areas where design flood elevations are specified but floodways have not been designated, unless it has been demonstrated through hydrologic and hydraulic analyses performed in accordance with standard engineering practice that the proposed work will not result in any increase in the level of the base flood.

For the purposes of this appendix chapter, the terms, phrases and words listed in this section and their derivatives shall have the indicated meanings.

BENCH. A relatively level step excavated into earth material on which fill is to be placed.

COMPACTION. The densification of a fill by mechanical means.

CUT. See Excavation.

DOWN DRAIN. A device for collecting water from a swale or ditch located on or above a slope, and safely delivering it to an approved drainage facility

EROSION. The wearing away of the ground surface as a result of the movement of wind, water or ice.

EXCAVATION. The removal of earth material by artificial means, also referred to as a cut.

FILL. Deposition of earth materials by artificial means.

GRADE. The vertical location of the ground surface.

GRADE, EXISTING. The grade prior to grading.

GRADE, FINISHED. The grade of the site at the conclusion of all grading efforts.

GRADING. An excavation or fill or combination thereof.

KEY. A compacted fill placed in a trench excavated in earth material beneath the toe of a slope.

SLOPE. An inclined surface, the inclination of which is expressed as a ratio of horizontal distance to vertical distance.

TERRACE. A relatively level step constructed in the face of a graded slope for drainage and maintenance purposes.

Except as exempted in Section J103.2, no grading shall be performed without first having obtained a permit therefor from the building official. A grading permit does not include the construction of retaining walls or other structures.

A grading permit shall not be required for the following:

1. Grading in an isolated, self-contained area, provided there is no danger to the public, and that such grading will not adversely affect adjoining properties.

2. Excavation for construction of a structure permitted under this code.

3. Cemetery graves.

4. Refuse disposal sites controlled by other regulations.

5. Excavations for wells, or trenches for utilities.

6. Mining, quarrying, excavating, processing or stockpiling rock, sand, gravel, aggregate or clay controlled by other regulations, provided such operations do not affect the lateral support of, or significantly increase stresses in, soil on adjoining properties.

7. Exploratory excavations performed under the direction of a registered design professional.

Exemption from the permit requirements of this appendix shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this code or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction.

In addition to the provisions of Section 105.3, the applicant shall state the estimated quantities of excavation and fill.
In addition to the provisions of Section 107, a grading plan shall show the existing grade and finished grade in contour intervals of sufficient clarity to indicate the nature and extent of the work and show in detail that it complies with the requirements of this code. The plans shall show the existing grade on adjoining properties in sufficient detail to identify how grade changes will conform to the requirements of this code.

A geotechnical report prepared by a registered design professional shall be provided. The report shall contain at least the following:

1. The nature and distribution of existing soils;

2. Conclusions and recommendations for grading procedures;

3. Soil design criteria for any structures or embankments required to accomplish the proposed grading; and

4. Where necessary, slope stability studies, and recommendations and conclusions regarding site geology.

Exception: A geotechnical report is not required where the building code official determines that the nature of the work applied for is such that a report is not necessary.

For sites with mapped maximum considered earthquake spectral response accelerations at short periods (Ss) greater than 0.5g as determined by Section 1613, a study of the liquefaction potential of the site shall be provided, and the recommendations incorporated in the plans.

Exception: A liquefaction study is not required where the building official determines from established local data that the liquefaction potential is low.

Inspections shall be governed by Section 109 of this code.
The special inspection requirements of Section 1704.7 shall apply to work performed under a grading permit where required by the building official.

The slope of cut surfaces shall be no steeper than is safe for the intended use, and shall be no steeper than two units horizontal to one unit vertical (50-percent slope) unless the owner or authorized agent furnishes a geotechnical report justifying a steeper slope.


1. A cut surface shall be permitted to be at a slope of 1.5 units horizontal to one unit vertical (67-percent slope) provided that all of the following are met:

1.1. It is not intended to support structures or surcharges.

1.2. It is adequately protected against erosion.

1.3. It is no more than 8 feet (2438 mm) in height.

1.4. It is approved by the building code official.

1.5. Ground water is not encountered.

2. A cut surface in bedrock shall be permitted to be at a slope of one unit horizontal to one unit vertical (100-percent slope).

Unless otherwise recommended in the geotechnical report, fills shall comply with the provisions of this section.
The ground surface shall be prepared to receive fill by removing vegetation, topsoil and other unsuitable materials, and scarifying the ground to provide a bond with the fill material.

Where existing grade is at a slope steeper than five units horizontal to one unit vertical (20-percent slope) and the depth of the fill exceeds 5 feet (1524 mm) benching shall be provided in accordance with Figure J107.3. A key shall be provided which is at least 10 feet (3048 mm) in width and 2 feet (610 mm) in depth.

For SI: 1 foot = 304.8 mm.


Fill material shall not include organic, frozen or other deleterious materials. No rock or similar irreducible material greater than 12 inches (305 mm) in any dimension shall be included in fills.
All fill material shall be compacted to 90 percent of maximum density as determined by ASTM D 1557, Modified Proctor, in lifts not exceeding 12 inches (305 mm) in depth.
The slope of fill surfaces shall be no steeper than is safe for the intended use. Fill slopes steeper than two units horizontal to one unit vertical (50-percent slope) shall be justified by a geotechnical report or engineering data.

Cut and fill slopes shall be set back from the property lines in accordance with this section. Setback dimensions shall be measured perpendicular to the property line and shall be as shown in Figure J108.1, unless substantiating data is submitted justifying reduced setbacks.

For SI: 1 foot = 304.8 mm.


The setback at the top of a cut slope shall not be less than that shown in Figure J108.1, or than is required to accommodate any required interceptor drains, whichever is greater.

Where required to protect adjacent properties at the toe of a slope from adverse effects of the grading, additional protection, approved by the building official, shall be included. Such protection may include but shall not be limited to:

1. Setbacks greater than those required by Figure J108.1.

2. Provisions for retaining walls or similar construction.

3. Erosion protection of the fill slopes.

4. Provision for the control of surface waters.

Unless otherwise recommended by a registered design professional, drainage facilities and terracing shall be provided in accordance with the requirements of this section.

Exception: Drainage facilities and terracing need not be provided where the ground slope is not steeper than 3 horizontal to 1 vertical (33 percent).

Terraces at least 6 feet (1829 mm) in width shall be established at not more than 30-foot (9144 mm) vertical intervals on all cut or fill slopes to control surface drainage and debris. Suitable access shall be provided to allow for cleaning and maintenance.

Where more than two terraces are required, one terrace, located at approximately mid-height, shall be at least 12 feet (3658 mm) in width.

Swales or ditches shall be provided on terraces. They shall have a minimum gradient of 20 horizontal to 1 vertical (5 percent) and shall be paved with concrete not less than 3 inches (76 mm) in thickness, or with other materials suitable to the application. They shall have a minimum depth of 12 inches (305 mm) and a minimum width of 5 feet (1524 mm).

A single run of swale or ditch shall not collect runoff from a tributary area exceeding 13,500 square feet (1256 m2) (projected) without discharging into a down drain.

Interceptor drains shall be installed along the top of cut slopes receiving drainage from a tributary width greater than 40 feet (12 192 mm), measured horizontally. They shall have a minimum depth of 1 foot (305 mm) and a minimum width of 3 feet (915 mm). The slope shall be approved by the building official, but shall not be less than 50 horizontal to 1 vertical (2 percent). The drain shall be paved with concrete not less than 3 inches (76 mm) in thickness, or by other materials suitable to the application. Discharge from the drain shall be accomplished in a manner to prevent erosion and shall be approved by the building official.
Drainage across property lines shall not exceed that which existed prior to grading. Excess or concentrated drainage shall be contained on site or directed to an approved drainage facility. Erosion of the ground in the area of discharge shall be prevented by installation of nonerosive down drains or other devices.

The faces of cut and fill slopes shall be prepared and maintained to control erosion. This control shall be permitted to consist of effective planting.

Exception: Erosion control measures need not be provided on cut slopes not subject to erosion due to the erosion-resistant character of the materials.

Erosion control for the slopes shall be installed as soon as practicable and prior to calling for final inspection.

Where necessary, check dams, cribbing, riprap or other devices or methods shall be employed to control erosion and provide safety.
ASTM D 1557-e01 Test Method for Laboratory Compaction Characteristics of Soil Using Modified Effort [56,000 ft-lb/ft3 (2,700kN-m/m3)]. J107.6