|State and local housing, property maintenance,
and building codes contain a wide array of legal requirements pertaining
to housing construction and maintenance. Below are listed
provisions found in model codes that address pest prevention
and control. The opening file on Housing
and Building Codes features a chart listing code provisions
on several healthy home attributes.
IPMC § 302.5: Rodent Harborage. Property
exterior must be kept free from rodent harborage or infestation. If rodents
are found, they should be eliminated using an approved method in a manner
that is not injurious to human health. After extermination, measures should
be taken to prevent reinfestation. (Ideally, the code would require or
promote integrated pest management.)
IPMC § 303.5: Foundation Walls. Foundation walls
must be maintained free from open cracks to prevent the entry of rodents
and other pests.
IPMC § 303.13.1: Glazing. Glazing materials must
be free from cracks and holes. (Holes in glass can admit moisture and
IPMC § 303.14: Window Screens. During [time period
to be determined by code officials], doors, windows, and other outside
openings required for ventilation must have tightly fitting screens of
at least 16 mesh per inch. (Screens help to prevent pests from entering
IPMC § 303.16: Basement Hatchways. Basement hatchways
must be maintained to prevent the entry of rodents, rain, and surface
IPMC § 303.17: Guards for Basement Windows. Openable
basement windows should have rodent shields, storm windows, or other barriers
against the entry of rodents.
IPMC § 306.1: Infestation. Structures should be
kept free of insect and rodent infestation. When insects or rodents are
found, they should be exterminated using a process not injurious to human
health. After extermination, measures should be taken to prevent reinfestation.
(Ideally, the Code would require or promote integrated pest management.)
IRC § 408.2: Openings for Under-Floor Ventilation.
Ventilation openings must be covered with material such as perforated
sheet metal plates, cast iron grills, wire mesh, or other materials. (Installing
a covering material keeps rodents or other animals from entering the crawl
IRC § 408.4: Under-Floor Space/Removal of Debris.
The under-floor grade must be cleared of all vegetation, organic material,
and construction materials. (These materials can attract termites, insects,
or other animals.)
IRC § 504.2: Pressure Treated Wood Floors (On Ground)/Site
Preparation. The area within the foundation walls must have all
vegetation and foreign material removed.
IRC § 506.2: Concrete Floors (On Ground)/Site Preparation.
The area within the foundation walls must have all vegetation, top soil,
and foreign materials removed.
IBC § 1202.2.1. Openings into Attic. Exterior openings
into the attic space must be covered with corrosion-resistant wire cloth
screening, perforated vinyl, or other similar material that will prevent
the entry of birds, squirrels, rodents, and other similar animals into
IBC § 1202.3. Openings for Under-Floor Ventilation.
Ventilation openings must be covered with perforated plates, corrosion-resistant
wire mesh, or other covering to keep small animals out.
IBC § 2304.11.6: Termite Protection. In geographical
areas where the hazard of termite damage is great, floor framing must
be of naturally durable or preservative-treated wood, or provided with
approved methods of termite protection. (Some preventative termite treatments
are highly toxic and should not be used.)
IBC Appendix F: Rodent Proofing. Provides minimum mechanical
methods for preventing the entry of rodents into buildings, including
covering foundation wall vents with metal grills or plates; sealing openings
in foundation and exterior walls created for pipes, cables, and conduits;
covering windows located within two feet of ground level with wire screens;
and ensuring minimum clearance between doors and door jambs.
IECC § 502.2: Heating and Cooling Criteria/Table (footnote
d). Slab edge insulation is not required for unheated slabs in
areas of very heavy termite infestation probability. (This insulation
can provide a pathway for termites.)
IECC § 602.1.10: Caulking, Sealants, and Gasketing.
All joints, seams, penetrations, openings, and other sources of air leakage
through the building envelope must be caulked, gasketed, weatherstripped,
wrapped, or otherwise sealed to prevent uncontrolled air movement. (This
helps to prevent the entry of pests and moisture into the building.)
IMC § 401.6: Outdoor Opening Protection. Air exhaust
and intake openings terminating outdoors must be protected with corrosion-resistant
screens or grills, and protected against weather conditions. (This protects
against entry of pests and moisture.)
IMC § 504.4: Clothes Dryer Exhaust/Exhaust Installation.
Dryer exhaust ducts must terminate outside the building, and be equipped
with backdraft dampers, not screens. (The damper will prevent the entry
of rodents. Screens are not permitted, because they could become clogged
- The IPMC applies to existing residential and commercial
structures and premises.
- The IRC regulates the construction, alteration,
repair, use, and occupancy of detached one- and two-family dwellings
and townhouses not more than three stories high. While the section numbers
in the code are preceded by a letter, e.g., “R” for the
administrative, definitions, and building, planning, and construction
portions of the code, “N” for the energy conservation portion,
etc., those prefixes have been omitted from this document.
- The IBC governs new construction in residential
buildings 4 or more stories high.
- The IECC sets forth alternative compliance approaches
for new construction in both residential (one-and two-family buildings,
and multi-family buildings three or less stories in height) and commercial
buildings (including residential buildings four or more stories high).
For residential buildings, these approaches include a systems approach,
which considers the entire building and its energy-using systems as
a whole; an approach based on the performance of components in the building
envelope; an approach based upon the performance of the building envelope
as a whole; and others. Commercial buildings can comply using a prescriptive
approach, which sets standards for the building envelope, mechanical,
lighting, and service water-heating subsystems; a total building performance
approach; or an energy cost budget approach. Therefore, the code provisions
cited in this table may not be required in a particular building if
that building is constructed using an alternative approach to compliance.
- The IMC governs the design, installation, maintenance,
alteration, and inspection of permanently installed mechanical systems
used to control environmental conditions within buildings. The IMC does
not require the removal and replacement of existing mechanical systems,
although work performed on existing systems must conform to the code’s
requirements for new work.