One of the most challenging aspects to remodeling your home is making sure that you’re in compliance with all local building codes. Every city has codes to ensure that homes are built and remodeled according to certain safety standards. Simple home improvement projects like installing baseboard radiator covers or a peel-and-stick backsplash in your kitchen obviously won’t require pulling any kind of permit, but many other projects will. In those cases, it’s probably best to hire a professional contractor who will take care of the permits. But if you really want to do the work yourself, then here is a list of common building code violations that DIYers commit. Making these mistakes can mean added costs and added time to your remodel.
Not pulling the necessary permits
This is one of the simpler ones to avoid yet thousands of homeowners make this mistake every year. Many homeowners mistakenly assume that just because they’re doing the work themselves, they don’t need to get a permit from the city. They do. Unless you’re absolutely certain that the kind of work you’re doing doesn’t require a permit, you should familiarize yourself with the local building codes so you know which projects require a permit.
If you’re doing work on the exterior of your home, there’s a good chance you’ll be required to get a zoning permit. This is different from a building permit and they vary from state to state, county to county, and even city to city.
Improper electrical work
Because of the dangerous nature of electrical work, no homeowner should ever attempt this kind of work without bringing in a licensed electrician. Even though no one will know initially, you will have trouble selling your home if an inspection turns up faulty electrical work. That’s a best case scenario. Worst case you could burn down your home or seriously injure or kill yourself. Some of the most common electrical work mistakes homeowners make are using the wrong sized circuit, splicing wires without a junction box, or missing a ground-fault circuit interrupter. If that sounds like a foreign language to you, then hire a licensed electrician.
Venting a bathroom to the attic
In all likelihood, your local building codes require that your bathroom fan is vented directly to the outdoors and not into your attic space. While other rooms can be vented to the attic, and from there, to the outside, bathroom fan ventilation must bypass the attic. That’s because a lot of moisture is going to come through that particular fan and if it ends up in the attic, you’re going to have problems with mold and rot.
There are many other common building code violations most having to do with safety concerns. For example, not testing for asbestos in older homes, decks not properly fastened to the home, and basement bedrooms without a window exit.
Again, your safest option is to hire a contractor to oversee the remodel and make sure everything is in accordance with local building codes. If not though, make sure you do your research, pull the necessary permits, and do everything according to code.
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