Earthquake codes have been revised and updated depending on the improvements in the representation of ground motions, soils and structures. These revisions have been more frequently seen in recent years. One of the key changes in earthquake codes has been performed on the design spectra. In this paper, the design spectra recommended by Turkish Earthquake Code and three other well known codes (Uniform Building Code, Eurocode 8, and International Building Code) are considered for comparison. The main purpose of this study is to investigate the differences caused by the use of different codes in the dynamic analysis and seismic verification of given types of buildings located at code defined different sites. The differences in expressions and some important points for elastic and inelastic spectra defined by the codes are briefly illustrated in tables and figures. Periods, base shears, lateral displacements and interstory drifts for the analyzed buildings located at code defined ground type are comparatively presented. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006.