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Who is Responsible for Building Code Enforcement

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If you’ve looked into building or remodeling a home, you know that building code enforcement is an important aspect of the project. Depending on your level of personal involvement in the job, you might be wondering how much of this enforcement you’ll be personally responsible for, and how much of it will fall to your builders and/ or contractors. It’s important to know who exactly is responsible for upholding the codes as the project moves forward, because as the property owner, you might find yourself answering for any violations that occur… regardless of who causes them.

Who is Responsible for Building Code Enforcement?

The short answer here is that the person most involved with the project should know the codes that the building has to meet… and be vigilant about upholding them. This includes everything from material requirements to building rules and regulations, and it will likely affect every aspect of the project, from the insulation you choose to the wiring diagrams.

If you are primarily in charge of the build yourself, meaning you’re hiring various contractors and specialists and you’re planning the details of the job, then the responsibility falls on you to make sure each aspect of the project meets the required codes. You’ll have to pay some visits to your local city offices to get updated copies of the code requirements. This isn’t going to be a simple task, and you should set aside plenty of time, both before and during the build, to study the codes and ensure that you understand what is required well before you put money into going forward.

If, on the other hand, you’re choosing a more hands-off approach and you’ve hired a general contractor to be responsible for the project, the good news is that the contractor should take over a large part of this responsibility. Part of the reason many home owners and builders hire contractors is for this aspect exactly; the contractor should carry multiple licenses and certifications stating that he or she is trained in these codes and how to uphold them.

Of course, simply hiring a contractor isn’t a free pass to forget about the codes altogether; it’s still your responsibility to ensure that they are upholding them. If your contractor should cut corners and not produce work that is up to code standards, the city would ultimately hold you, as the person who hired them, responsible. Certainly you’d have the recourse of, in your turn, holding the contractor responsible, and you’d likely win if the battle went to court, but that’s a lot of (expensive) hassle to go through when you can simply hire the right contractor to do the job properly in the first place.

If you’re beginning a building project, it’s important to know what codes you must meet and to plan ahead when it comes to how to meet them. If you’re doing it yourself, do it correctly with plenty of research. If you’re hiring someone else to do it, make sure you hire the right person, and follow up to make sure it’s being done. Building code enforcement isn’t part of the project where you want to cut corners or leave things up to chance.

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