I recently came across a short book, Administration of Building Regulations: Methods and Procedures for Enforcement, that presents a concise overview of US building codes. If you’re at all interested in the scope of American municipal building regulations, it’s worth the two hours or so that it takes to read. Published in 1973, it is a clear, well-written presentation, with a minimal number of unnecessary tangents. Building codes are direct heirs to the building bye-laws that Unwin discussed in Town Planning in Practice. They controlled, among other things, the geometry of development in the years before that aspect of land use regulation was subsumed by comprehensive zoning. Today’s building codes deal almost exclusively with technical specifications, including electrical, plumbing, and structural requirements. As its title suggests, this book also covers the broad legal frameworks and enforcement mechanisms of municipal building regulations.