Studying Code

Hi All,

Getting back to studying for PPD & PDD. Code was an area I didn’t do so well on the last time I took these exams. Any recommendations for how to study this - is just reading the IBC the best way?

Thanks for the help in advance!

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Hi @lauren.kennedy and welcome to the ARE Community!

Let’s get a few of our expert architects to provide some tips!
@coachlizschneider @coachdarionziegler @coachglennparks

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Hi @lauren.kennedy,

This is a great question!

Reading through the code isn’t fun… But it always helps. I think in particular Chapters 3, 5, 6, 7, & 10 come up a lot on the exam, so I would focus on reviewing those chapters! More important than memorizing everything in the code (which is probably impossible I think) is understanding how the code is organized, where to look in the code for the answers you need, and what the code is concerned with or the methodology behind it.

If you can get your hands on a copy of the Code Commentary through work I would definitely see if you can borrow it for a couple days. It is a huge help in understanding some of the more ambiguous sections.

Ching’s “Building Code Illustrated” is also a great resource for helping learn the code:

Plus, it has pictures :slight_smile: .

The International Code Council has some free training on the code at the link below:

Last but not least, try to find practice questions that force you to look through the code. Look for questions that ask you about occupancy classifications, allowable building areas/heights, construction types, occupancy counts, and fire/smoke protection requirements!

Check out some of the old practice quizzes on the Community below:

Hope this helps!

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Thank you so much for such a varied array of resources! These are definitely going to be helpful understanding code!

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Hi @coachmarkbailey, following up on our Virtual Workshop just now. In 4.1 Documenting Code Adherence - Fire and Emergency Safety, Mike describes the association between Construction Type/Structural System and length of the egress path. See minute 16:30. As we just discussed in the Virtual Workshop, that association is not actually in the IBC, however per Table 1017.2 exit travel distance is impacted by the Occupancy Group. And additionally, elements like stairways, ramp, and aisles within the path of egress have to be the same material classification as the Construction Type (i.e. if there is a Type I Non-Combustable Building, it cannot have a Type V Wood Ramp which would have a lower fire rating).

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Hi @allison , thank you for the follow up from our Virtual Workshop discussion yesterday! I have watched the passage you referred to and I will review with @brynnherman and perhaps get a clearer understanding of what Mike was referring to. Mike is correct in stating that you can get an increased exit access travel distance if you have an Automatic Sprinkler System, but I haven’t been able to find a passage in the IBC where Construction Type can increase your exit access travel distance. Perhaps my colleague @coachadamcoers could also give us his perspective? Great question!


I am not familiar with any additional gains in egress travel distance based off of construction type. Depending on the Construction type (type IA,IIB etc) there are some restrictions on what materials can be used for different elements. For example, in noncombustible construction, wood may be allowed if it is Fire Retardant Treated; but in terms of travel distances, the only adjustments I have seen are based off of occupancy type. For example an F-1 (Factory) and S-1 (Storage) can have it’s travel path increased from 250’ to 400’ with an Automatic Sprinkler System if certain additional criteria are met ( IBC 1017.2.2: building height <24’, 1 story construction)


@coachadamcoers that’s exactly what I had found as well. We briefly discussed during the Q&A during this past Sunday’s Virtual Workshop, and I agree with your assessment above.

@coachmarkbailey I passed PDD today! I’m done! Thank you for the help the past weeks. I have found the Sunday classes to be really helpful :slight_smile:


@allison WOO HOO!!! Congratulations! I am so very happy for you. Isn’t it the greatest feeling in the world?? I wish you much success in your future endeavors as a Registered Architect!


AMAZING news @allison !!

We’d love for you to share a few tips on how you passed the PDD in this thread! That’s a tough exam! I know everyone would be grateful for the additional tips!

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Thank you @coachmarkbailey for your help and support along the way!