While homeowners probably don’t have to worry about a visit from a building inspector in the same way owners of commercial properties do, building codes are there for all of us. Even residential buildings need to comply with the laws in their area to ensure a safe and comfortable living environment. This is even more important when purchasing a house or making an improvement on an existing residence.
Do You Know the Local Building Code?
Building codes vary between countries and from state to state. When making any kind of addition to an existing structure, or even changing the inside of that structure, building codes should be consulted before any actual construction begins to make sure everything that is planned is compliant with the area’s laws.
Generally, if you hire a contractor to do the job, they are responsible for keeping construction within the perimeters of what is allowed. If you are planning to do the work yourself, not only are you responsible for adhering to building codes, but zoning codes as well. Building codes generally deal with issues of safety and encompass things like structural soundness. Zoning codes vary dramatically from place to place and include regulations on sizes of structures, and even the aesthetics (style of building, color, etc.) of the structure. If you plan on, say, putting up a garage with the help of friends or family, it’s a good idea to consult a building inspector before breaking ground.
The building code plays a big part when renovating a residence. Many have the idea of purchasing an old house that is in disrepair, and making it into something beautiful with their own hands. Here, the building code is especially important because of structural considerations. While preexisting conditions aren’t a problem when the property is purchased, they certainly become an issue when that property is being renovated. While it is rare for an old residence to be sited for an existing condition, building inspectors need to be sure that the new construction is in line with the latest guidelines for safety. This is even more pertinent when dealing with commercial property. If that dream was renovating an old pizzeria, the rules that need to be followed increase immensely.
The best way to make sure your property is up to code is to have it inspected, and have a professional present when deciding how to proceed with your plans. Adhering to building code is a good way to ensure that your newly renovated home will be safe and sound for years to come.