Having worked on many homes around the Tucson area since 1999, we’ve come across a lot of home improvement projects in process. Whether it be installing a garage door on a newly built house or fixing a garage door on an older Tucson house that is undergoing remodeling work, we’ve heard many conversations about codes, and what is or is not a code violation. Below, we’ll share some great information about common code issues people may encounter when doing various home improvement projects.
Doing home improvement projects that are code compliant is really the key to save happy D.I.Y. projects.
That is true. Building codes which you can check with your local building authority they protect not only you the homeowner but the contractors and the housing stock in your area so that projects are improved in a safe way with the best building materials and technologies.
Okay I bet one of the most common issues of course is working without a permit.
It is, permits cost money and a lot of people’s rationale is often well who’s going to know if I don’t get one? And you might get away with it but sometimes the neighbors will call on you. It happened to a neighbor of mine, someone next door ratted him out. I felt pretty bad for him.
Yeah. But the bottom line is permits are required and important.
Yeah and also the work you do isn’t up to code and you go to sell an inspector for the buyer may discover that and that could affect your sale.
And you might be required to fix any problems before a buyer is going to consider making an offer on your house.
Right and then if the fixes aren’t also up to code, the buyer could later sue for repairs and damages.
Yeah exactly and by the way, when a lot of people buy homes and something’s been done, one of the things that that you do is you pull the permits and you make sure that the work was permitted and therefore inspected because when you get permits you can expect your project will be inspected.
Exactly, exactly and it’s also important enough to consider it a bad thing or surreal thing. It’s a chance to learn about construction techniques especially if you’re a D.I.Yer so you can learn about techniques, materials so building inspector can be helpful to a D.I.Yer. But I do want to point out that not all projects need permits and inspection so check with your local building authority or building inspections department to see what’s required.
What’s another common code violation?
Adding a basement bedroom without an exit window, certainly a seemingly nice and simple upgrade to add some dry wall and a carpet in your basement and poof you’ve carved out a bedroom for your teen or some guests but it’s not that simple.
And no it never is this simple.
So code say that any sleeping room must include an egress window that’s at least twenty inches wide and twenty four inches high and the opening has to be a minimum of about five point seven square feet so that an adult could crawl through it if needed and of course to add a window you might need to because of the basement, you might need to excavate outside the window and add a window well to help keep water out so you’re looking at the window install portion of this project at about twenty five hundred to five thousand dollars and certainly it’s a cost commitment to keep in mind but it’s worth the peace of mind in case of an emergency.
We have time for maybe one more common code violation.
Then I’d like to go with decks. Building a deck is the ideal D.I.Y. project, it’s a great value add for your home and it’s something that a lot of people can do. But as we know from the news, decks can collapse and a common culprit is improperly fastening the deck ledger to the house that’s what kind of supports it against the house. If it fails there could be a collapse and it is one of the more technically challenging parts of deck building.
In fact the North American Deck and Railing Association names some common mistakes involving the ledgers. So if you don’t include or use improper flushing that’s what keeps the water from seeping behind the ledger where it can soften and rot wood that could lead to a collapse and also using improper fastening methods such as plain nails to secure the ledger to the house, you really need special screws and bolts.
So obviously to get your deck, you need to get your deck inspected for proper construction techniques when you build it and also do yearly D.I.Y. inspections and repairs of a deck and we’ll have more on other common code violations that people make at HouseLogic.Com/radio.
Example of Code Violation