Multifamily structures, those that house many different dwelling units and families, provide a much greater threat to many lives in the event of a building disaster. For these reasons, public facilities or public features in multifamily structures such as apartment buildings, restaurants or shopping centers must be built to a different, and typically higher, level of construction.

The International Building Code (IBC) is the most widely-adopted model code for commercial construction in the US. Today, government authorities do not publish their own construction standards. Rather, leaders draft ordinances and laws that reference model codes published by industry organizations like the International Code Council, the publisher of the International Building Code. If not considered “town homes” a multifamily building will likely be regulated under the IBC.