What Are Building Codes?

Have you ever seen an article describing a building as not being up to code? What is the code? And who is keeping track?

Building codes can be confusing to the layperson. They are a series of rules governing the construction of buildings, and they cover everything from the types of materials used, to the plumbing, to the wiring. Building codes often vary by state, city, or municipality, meaning that it will require a lot of research to properly understand the building code for your area. Additionally, it is frequently updated, as new construction methods and materials are developed.

Building codes are designed to keep a consistent standard for the minimum quality of work needed in an area. It would be very unfortunate if you purchased a home, only later to find out that it was made using substandard materials or technique. In a similar vein, following code will decrease your risk of fire and other structural problems. Thus, the building codes for your area can give you an assurance that a structure is safe and valuable.

When selling or buying a property, one thing that will typically be done is an inspection. This inspection will cover many of the features of the property, but one of the most important things will be if the building meets code. Generally, a building must meet code to be lived in, but often older homes will be lived in without an upgrade. As there are national electrical standards, if your home does not have modern wiring, you may be required to install this. This will require an electrician, and will turn off prospective buyers. Taking the time to ensure that the inspection will reflect favorably on the property by hiring an expert electrician will return money back to you when you sell the property.

Insurance may also require that buildings meet code. If an insurance company finds out that your house was not up to code when you file a claim, they may be able to deny your claim and not make payment. This could put you in a terrible position. A fire caused by older wiring might leave you without a house, and without recourse to recoup your investment.

If your house has not been inspected in a while, it might be worth it to call an electrician and have him perform an assessment. In the long run, making sure that your home is safe from legal or other trouble.

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