The Codes

Titlesort icon Author Date Place Description
An Act for Rebuilding the City of London John Raithby (editor) 1667 England The Rebuilding of London Act 1667 is an Act of the Parliament of England passed in the aftermath of the Great Fire of London. This Act regulated the rebuilding as well as authorising the City of London Corporation to reopen and widen roads.
Building Act of London William Meymott 1774 England - London A comprehensive set of building regulations covering the whole built-up area that forced conformity on artisan builders.
Code for Washington George Washington 1791 United States - Washington, D.C. These are building codes which regulate the relationship of the building with the street as well as the building form, thus influence the street character.
Code of Hammurabi Hammurabi, King of Babylon 3rd Millenium, B.C. Babylon This is the best-preserved ancient law code, enacted by the sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi. It includes laws about the liabilities of builders.
Commentaries on the Laws of England William Blackstone 1768 England An influential 18th century treatise on the common law of England.
Constitutional Amendment to the Dominican Rules on Architecture Dominican Order 1228-1300 Europe (Based off of General Chapter Meeting in Paris, but edited and approved in many places over several years) “Let our brothers have moderate and humble houses in such a manner that the walls of houses without a loft should not exceed 12 pedes in height and with a loft 20, the church 30. Neither should it be vaulted in stone, except perhaps over the choir and sacristy. If anyone contravenes in anyway, he will be subject to punishment corresponding to the more grievous fault.”
Constitutional Deletion to the Dominican Rules on Architecture 1300 Europe Removed restrictions on vaulting height and materials because of an (1) inability to enforce them, and (2) wood vaulting was more expensive to maintain because of fire hazards. Maintained the restrictions on decoration.
Dominican Rules on Architecture Preachers at Bologna 1220 Italy - Bologna “Let our brothers have moderate and humble houses so that they should neither burden themselves with expenses, not that others—secular or religious—should be scandalized by our sumptuous buildings.”
Edenton, NC 1722 United States - Edenton, NC
Elizabethan Proclamations Elizabeth I 16th century England - London Some proclamations of Queen Elizabeth I legislated building in London. They addressed issues such as building new structures and subdividing exiting ones, building materials, etc.
Hexa-biblos (“six books”) Harmenopoulos, Constantine 14th century Greece - Thessaloniki The last code of the old Roman Empire.
Hillsborough, NC 1754 Unites States- Hillsborough, NC
Ibn Abu Zaid's code Ibn Abu Zaid 10th century Tunisia Ibn Abu Zaid's codes from the 10th century include complete details of construction and building codes, and matters related to cities.
Ibn al-Imam treatise Ibn al-Imam 10th century Mediterannean The treatise of Ibn al-Imam (died 996 A.D.) is an early code from Islamic culture in Spain, dating from the late 10th century.
Ibn al-Rami code; includes Ibn al-Imam’s lost treatise Ibn al-Rami and Ibn al-Imam 14th century Tunisia "A master builder by the name of Ibn al-Rami wrote a complete treatise on building construction. He used a lot of the material ... from those earlier Arabic manuscripts, including Ibn al-Imam’s manuscript. Plus, he included his own experiences and interpretations from being a master builder" (Hakim, 2002, Byzantine and Islamic Codes from the Mediterranean).
Jacobean Proclamations James I 17th century England - London A proclamation concerning buildings in, and about London.
Julian of Ascalon’s Treatise of Construction and Design Rules Julian of Ascalon 6th century Palestine "Julian's treatise is a compilation of construction and design rules that address the prevention of nuisances and potential damages to proximate neighbors resulting from building activities associated with change and growth in the built environment" (Hakim, 2001).
Justinian’s Code Justinian I, Byzantine Emperor 6th century Eastern Roman Empire The Justinian Code (or Corpus Juris Civilis) is a compilation of Roman law published during the reign of Emperor Justinian I (A.D. 483–565).
Malik's code Malik 8th century Some texts of Imam Malik (712-795) from Medina in Arabia include a number of issues related to building codes and construction matters.
New Town James Craig 1765-1850 Scotland - Edinburgh A city extension, designed on a basic grid pattern with numerous squares, crescents, and terminal vistas, built on high ground on the opposite side of a polluted loch, which was drained and developed as a large public garden. Specifies building materials and building heights and roof pitches.
Newtown, NC 18th century United States - Wilmington, NC
Plan for Laying Out Towns and Townships Granville Sharp 1794 England - London From John Reps: “Sharp (1735-1813) was a native of Durham, England, the grandson of the archbishop of York…In 1783 he broached the idea of founding a colony for freed slaves in Africa, and with his associates launched such a project in 1787. This venture proved more difficult than anticipated, and in 1808 the crown took over its affairs. Doubtless Sharp drew on this experience in working out the details of the proposed community that he described and illustrated in the tract from which this reading comes. In preparing his town plan Sharp may have relied also on information about the town of Savannah, Georgia, for by the time he wrote Sharp had corresponded with Savannah's founder, James Oglethorpe, who may have passed on to Sharp his own ideas about town planning.” From
Plan for Washington, D.C. Pierre Charles L'Enfant 1791 United States - Washington, D.C. This is the city plan designed by architect and engineer L’Enfant regulating the streets and avenues with emphasis on public buildings and areas.
Plato's Laws Plato 360 BC Greece - Athens Laws governing the construction of new cities
Reggimento of the Commune 1206, 1287 Italy - Bologna Ring of trenches ordered to protect homes and churches in the suburbs in 1206. Walls ordered to protect the suburbs in 1287.
Statutes of 1249, 1250 Bologna 1249, 1250 Italy - Bologna Property owners must maintain porticos at a height of 7ft. from the ground so that a man may ride a horse underneath it. Prohibits excavation, or digging in order to achieve this height and imposes a fine for violations. The latter law was enacted to free streets of encumbrances and sever later ordinances further regulate height and material.
The Law for Regulating Streets and Water Courses in the Citys and Towns of This Government Legislature of Pennsylvania 1698 United States - Philadelphia, PA This code regulates maintenance of urban infrastructure.
The Laws of the Indies King Phillip II of Spain (and others) 1573 Spanish colonies in America (Indies) These are the codes that concern founding of new towns throughout the Spanish colonies.
The Ten Books on Architecture Vitruvius 1st Century BC Various This chapter describes Vitruvius’ ideas on the siting of new towns.
The Zahringer Foundations The Zahringer Family 1122 Germany 1. market thoroughfare must be 75-100 ft. wide and run the length of town gates 2. absence of other interior open spaces 3. the homestead was the planning module 4. creation of property taxation units 5. grid iron development with harmonic proportions (2:3 and 3:5) 6. public buildings kept separate from the main street 7. fortresses at corners and side walls 8. introduction of a sewage system
Towers of Bologna Laws 1256, 1265 Italy - Bologna Regulates against the demolition of towers in order to preserve the character of the city. Also limits the height of towers to 15 ponti (or, 21 m.).