With every home comes the need for home improvement at some point. It may just be standard maintenance, or you could be considering an addition to the house, or maybe converting an office to a bedroom, or finishing a basement perhaps. One thing to take note of in your planning process, however, is if there are any legal issues with the updates you are making. To ensure you don’t cross the law concerning state, federal, or local housing ordinances and codes, be sure to get your research in early in your thinking process.
So What are Building Codes?
According to FEMA, “building codes are sets of regulations governing the design, construction, alteration and maintenance of structures. They specify the minimum requirements to adequately safeguard the health, safety and welfare of building occupants.” There are different codes for family houses, apartment housing, commercial buildings, etc. Wherever youhome improvement project takes you, it is absolutely vital that you have a firm understanding of what these codes are. If you have any questions, there are plenty of people to call or ask about specific legal matters, and if they don’t know offhand, they can refer you to a specialist.
Some Typical Points of Consideration
Think for a moment if you want to add a bedroom into your basement. Thinking about both the construction of the room, and the legal aspects of it, there are a few directions you mind should take you. First, do you know how to install smoke alarms, and is will there be an escape route in case of fire or flooding? Are all the electrical outlets up to code already, and if not, do you have the tools to correctly install everything?
Selling Your Home After the Home Improvement Project
If you plan on selling your home at some point, that means that whoever is going to buy it has to like it. If you hyper-personalize some of your home improvement projects without considering eventual sales, you may end up have to undo your home improvement ideas later. Just because you want four offices, each with a half bathroom and a walk in closet doesn’t mean that is going to be practical for someone else later. Just make sure that you are not doing these projects on a whim, or they could be a severe expense later, especially if you have to worry about the legal aspects of the additions or modifications that you have made.
In the end, just be smart, don’t cut corners, and keep the law in mind. One of the best ways to keep yourself on the straight and narrow with the law is also to always hire contractors who have their licenses in order. When they do heavy construction work, they will keep everything legal to maintain their own reputations as well.