The set of Code City before cast and crew arrive for filming. See bulk.resource.org/codes.gov/ for context.
Codes from the council cartels typically cost $100  and sometimes much more! States like Massachusetts that roll their own codes sell them for $30 for paper and online  for free and don't assert copyright.
Lots of meetings in fancy hotels and huge salaries for the codemeisters drive the cost of materials up beyond the reach of most citizens.
Salaries of a half-million to a million per year are not uncommon, and there are lots of percs like lavish travel for those lucky enough to become Standards Professionals.
All of these "national standards" aspire to become enacted. The creators of the standards lobby heavily for their work to be enacted into law by the states and in the Code of Federal Regulations. The whole point of the process is to be law.
In Veeck v. Southern Building Code Congress Int'l, Inc. it was held that posting the building codes as enacted into law was the right thing to do.http://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F3/293/293.F3d.791.99-40632.html
The public domain doesn't just happen. It has to be cultivated.
In our complex world, technical codes govern our everyday work and have become the law of the land. Just as the protocols that govern the Internet influence what we can and can not safely do in cyberspace, a host of other codes govern everything from safety standards for industrial steam boilers and gas lines to consumer protection standards that govern how work is to be conducted safely by electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and other professionals.
It can be argued that standards in general should all be considered public, but certainly those enacted into law can have no copyright. Unfortunately, being enacted into law brings with it the "perverse incentive"  of being able to stake a claim in the public domain, extracting rents through the sale of the law, the ultimate mandated product.
 http://people.ischool.berkeley.edu/~pam/papers/BC questioning standards.pdf
Part of the reason these standards are so expensive is the industrial-style  production used, a model dating from the 1880s when printing was expensive and the 1980s when computers were expensive. Paper with fancy binders and an expensive distribution system, layers of lawyers enforcing copyright, and an enterprise mentality all drives costs up beyond the realms of reality.
Would making standards available destroy our volunteer-based, consensus-style production of high-quality, peer-reviewed standards? Not a chance!
Standards have never been about money. Making standards is about making the world work better. From the early 1900s when freelance radio engineers got together and created national radio networks and interoperable standards to our modern era, model codes and technical standards are part of the very process of engineering our public infrastructure.
In a good standards process, it is technical excellence that matters and the only barriers to entry are bad ideas. But, that open process can get hijacked by industry players or those wishing to stake a financial claim in the process.
Despite the daunting bureaucracy behind many standards processes, many professionals participate simply because they want to create better infrastructure. Safety standards for electrical work, for example, are at the heart of being a working electrician, a public safety official, or an electrical engineer.
People participate in standards organizations for the same reason they volunteer for their local fire department or work in their community. it is a way to share what you know and make the world a better place.
In the U.S., 30,635 fire departments responded to 24.7 million incidents. Safety standards for emergency workers, building safety standards, electrical and gas fire safety standards all help spread critical public safety information.
The major public safety codes are laws of general applicability. You are presumed to know the law and to follow it. If you own a building and your elevators plummet to earth or your boilers blow up, evidence showing that you violated the mandated public safety codes is a prima facie factor in showing you are responsible.
Every one of these model codes are meant to become law. Many of them even include a model ordinance at the beginning incorporating the text into law! The government of [Your jurisdiction here] does hereby enact the following materials as the law of [Your jurisdiction here].
Banks v. Manchester, 128 US 244 , is part of a line of decisions that hold that no copyright may be held in the law. In Banks, when Ohio tried to copyright their law, the court held that it had no right to do so.
Howell v. Miller  was a Michigan dispute between Miller, who got himself appointed the official compiler for the state (how's that for a position!) and Howell tried to stop him claiming it violated his own Howell's Annotated Statutes. Harlan let Miller proceed to publish.
Goldstein  is joined by other noted authorities  who are skeptical of any restrictions on distribution of the law.
 http://www.law.stanford.edu/directory/profile/25/Paul Goldstein/
BOCA v. CODE  was a 1980 case that first presented the question of incorporation by reference and copyright of model building codes to the courts. The decision was inconclusive, but provided a survey of the law and enunciated the basic legal principles very clearly.
When the Veeck decision was handed down, the code people appealed to the Supreme Court. The U.S Solicitor General recommended to the Supreme Court  that they allow the ruling to stand and thus support the 5th Circuit decision and Peter Veeck's right to post building codes by denying cert. The Supreme Court followed the government's recommendation.
When it comes to public safety codes, it seems self-evident that this material, so critical to our daily lives, must be available to all. But, copyright on code extends beyond public safety codes. Companies have staked claims on administrative codes, which are the regulations enacted by executive-branch agencies, and compiled statutes from the legislative branches. In many cases, states mistakenly claim copyright over these materials, and then cut deals for the commercial rights with their corporate partners.
Codes and standards don't have to cost a fortune. Internet standards are all free. Many states do their own plumbing standards. Others even do their own building codes. And, whenever they make their own, the jurisdictions find their costs go down and (most importantly) their distribution goes up because a much larger population has access to these critical documents.
By the 1980s, there were two models of doing computer networking. The official, big-government, closed-standard approach was called Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) and it cost many thousands of dollars to buy their docs. The open approach was a ragtag group called the IETF, and it was those standards that became the Internet, but it was a pitched battle  between the two camps!
Open standards mean the barriers to entry come down. This is as much about innovation as it is about democracy. It shouldn't cost thousands of dollars to gather the technical documentation that describes how a piece of public infrastructure operates. Any kid in a dorm room should be able to gather this information and use it to help create a better world.
Computer operating systems, network protocols, and other fundamental building blocks of our modern society were all collective enterprises based on distributed efforts. Locking up knowledge about how these systems work would have destroyed them  and our world would be a much poorer place today.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14hJtzPcdaw
Public safety codes are critical to public safety, there are criminal penalties for violating them, and these are laws of general applicability.
Enjoy!  http://bulk.resource.org/codes.gov/