A home makeover that is handled by an unscrupulous or incompetent contractor can be riddled with code violations. The worst of these can mean that the “renovation” itself has to be torn up, repaired and done over again. If this extra work isn’t covered by your contractor, you’re stuck footing the bill. Perhaps more importantly, this process can lead to a seemingly endless cycle of work and repair that turns your home into an open-ended construction site. When it comes to renovations, get it right the first time!
From Fences to Fans, Don’t Be Sunk By Subtleties
Code violations can come in many different forms, and many of the most common problems aren’t so obvious. Did you know that it’s almost always illegal to build a basement bedroom without a window? How about creating a bathroom exhaust fan that doesn’t fully terminate outside the home? Were you aware that most municipalities have strict regulations that require fences to be a certain height? Only a skilled local contractor will understand these nuances, as well as the local regulations that apply.
Get Your Permit Before You Break Ground
Most municipalities require the homeowner to secure a permit before work begins for certain jobs. It is up to you to know what types of work require a permit and which do not. Again, the surest way to make sure you’re in compliance is to work with an experienced local contractor with a good reputation. Although all localities are different, you generally need a permit any time you alter you home’s “footprint” or roof line. If you move or remove a load-bearing wall, you’ll likely need permission. Building decks and fences of a certain height requires a permit, as does the building of an addition and the building of a fireplace.
Other common work that frequently results in code violations include:
- Garage conversions
- Carport construction
- Water heater and furnace replacement
- New openings for skylights and doors
- Home-business conversions.
- Any manipulation of a sewer line.
Home renovations are stressful under the best of circumstances. Tight budgets, strained timelines, the inevitable unforeseen headaches and the overall intrusion into your home are enough to make you want to just get it over with. But getting it over with is not good enough. It is crucial for you and your contractor to get it right the first time, because any code violations could mean having to do it all over again. You can find some other issues to watch out for in 7 Most Frequently Seen Home Renovation Code Violations.
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