Codes and Standards

How Are They Different and How are Codes Developed?

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Overview of Codes and Standards

On May 20, 2021, the Women in Standards welcomed Sara Yerkes, Senior VP of Government Relations at ICC. Sara provided attendees with a comprehensive overview of the Codes development process and highlighted the differences and similarities between a code and a standard.

Of note, attendees learned that in the governmental consensus process, anyone can participate, anyone can propose a change, but the final vote, held each fall, is made by public officials representing their jurisdictions. 

Model codes are used throughout the United States and abroad and provide for a unified framework. This allows professionals to operate in any country, city, or country that uses the same model codes and provides for consistency throughout the country. 

Model codes also reference hundreds of standards with further specify how to perform specific tasks or specifications for materials, as examples. 

To learn more, review the recording today.


Sara Yerkes Headshot

Sara Yerkes 

Senior Vice President of Government Relations

International Code Council (ICC)

Sara Yerkes is serving the International Code Council (ICC) as Senior Vice President of Government Relations. Her duties include overseeing public policy and government relations functions of the organization; developing and implementing a pro-active program of effective lobbying and persuasive advocacy; representing and speaking for ICC on policy matters and program activities; coordinating the strategies to implement policies at the Federal, State and local levels; supervising the accomplishment of the developed action plans; working closely with Members of Congress, State legislators and their staff to draft and endorse legislation that will support and benefit the ICC’s mission and related goals; seek opportunities to showcase ICC and to expand ICC’s circle of influence.  Sara oversees the State and Local activities that have successfully gained the adoption and use of the International Codes in all fifty states, US territories and by Federal Agencies, as well as overseeing programs like the Plumbing, Mechanical and Fuel Gas Program (PMG) Resources for code adoptions, and Fire Service Activities.

Sara managed the ICC’s annual national campaign supporting Building Safety Month; and created the ICC High School Technical and the Community Colleges/Universities Programs to teach students how to navigate and use the building codes. In 2018 the Military Families Career Path was added to Safety 2.0, an ICC initiative to welcome a new generation of members and leaders to the building safety profession.

During the COVID pandemic Sara initiated a survey of ICC Members to gauge their needs and created a COVID webpage with resources for ICC Members and stakeholders that includes numerous white papers on a variety of relevant issues to hospitals, restaurants and to remote operations of building and fire departments.

As the primary contact with other national organizations based in Washington, D.C., Sara also works to strengthen existing alliances; and seek opportunities to create new ones.

She has been involved in several professional organizations, including serving as a board member of the of the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) Consultative Council, Chair of the NIBS Multi Mitigation Council,  Vice-Chair of the ANSI Organizational Member Forum, Member of the ANSI Committee on Education, Member of the High Performance Building Coalition Education & Outreach Committee, ASAE member,  Sleep Products Safety Council, charter member of the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI), Member of the National Advisory Committee of the CFSI, Member of For a Safer America Coalition, the NASFM Residential Fire Sprinkler Advisory Committee,  Vision 20/20, member of the FLASH  Resilience Policy Council; and has served as a subject matter expert on federal initiatives to develop strategies to encourage and support state and local adoption of current safety codes, co-chairs the national Coalition for Current Safety Codes.

Sara is a Dame of the Royal Equestrian and Military Order of Saint Michael of the Wing, a dynastic order of the Royal House of Portugal, founded in 1147.

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