Federal Regulations

The federal government regulates the building of federal facilities, including federal buildings, Veterans Administration hospitals, and military establishments. The construction of federal buildings is typically not subject to state or local building codes and regulations. The federal government issues regulations for government built and owned buildings, similar to the model codes. On a particular project, the authorities involved may opt to comply with stricter local requirements, so the designer must verify what codes apply.

There are over 1000 separate codes and a wide variety of federal regulations. In an effort to limit federal regulation, the Consumer Product Safety Commission encourages industry self-regulation and standardization, and industry groups have formed hundreds of standards-writing organizations and trade associations representing almost every industry.

Congress can pass laws that supersede all other state and local codes and standards. The Federal Register publishes federal regulations daily. They are collected in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is revised annually. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), Federal Housing Act (FHA), and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are examples of congressionally passed laws with wide implications for interior designers and architects.

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