For many do-it-yourself enthusiasts, Building Code regulations can seem overly confusing. Many individuals see their local Building Code as another way for the government to make money. Unfortunately, failure to follow the proper Building Code can create significant issues for the homeowner and his project. Below are three reasons homeowners should investigate their local Building Code before launching any do-it-yourself project.
Safety is the most important reason that county and state governments impose a Building Code. Enforcing building codes for things like electric, plumbing, burning, and general construction helps to promote residential building safety. When do-it-yourself enthusiasts violate Building Code they are increasing the risk for fire, flooding, building collapse, and other dangers that can cause serious injury for the builder as well as his family and friends. Accidents in certain types of projects are so common that Building Code in some areas requires that a licensed professional do the work. No matter your project following Building Code is essential to help ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.
Another big reason to follow building code is for insurance purposes. Insurance companies are meticulous about what claims they will pay for, and if any damage to the home occurs due to homeowners violating building codes, in most cases the insurance company will deny claims for payment. Claims for fire, flooding, and water damage can all be denied if the job wasn't completed in accordance with your local Building Code.
Additionally, most homeowners and renters insurance companies will flatly refuse to defend parties in a lawsuit where Building Code was violated. This is especially true if someone else sustains severe and life-altering injuries while in your home. Homeowners insurance will not cover you in case of a lawsuit where you did not conduct a diligent search of Building Code requirements, especially if the Building code requires the work be completed or inspected by a licensed contractor or professional. By failing to look at Building Codes, you could be exposing yourself to unneeded risk.
Another highly important reason to follow building code is to protect property values. One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when trying to fix their house for a sale is skipping over proper Building Code. Most knowledgeable real estate agents will request to see a recent home inspection report that is no more than 90 days old, or they will have your home thoroughly inspected by their own company before enticing clients to put forward an offer for purchase. Home inspectors are usually general contractors that are specifically trained to search for improvements that are dangerous or outside basic Building Code.
Agents may also ask to see recipes proving that a professional handled all electrical, plumbing or construction repairs. If you have not followed your Building Code, you risk reductions in property value and purchase offers several thousand dollars below your goal or not receiving any offers at all.
The Build Code is there to protect the lives and property of the residents under its jurisdiction. To find out the Building Code for your area simply go online or drop by your city municipal building for information. Most times municipalities have information readily available, and you can find out Building Code requirements relating to your project within a few minutes.