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Codes & Permits Frequently Asked Questions

CODES

We all need building codes for our homes, offices, schools, stores, factories and places of entertainment because we rely on the safety of structures that surround us in our everyday lives. The public deserves to be protected from disaster due to fire, structural collapse and general deterioration, underscoring the need for modern building codes and their enforcement.

Building codes provide safeguards for most aspects of building construction, such as electrical wiring, heating and sanitary facilities, which may represent a potential hazard to building occupants and users. Although no code can eliminate every possible risk, reducing risks to an acceptable level is the goal of code enforcement professionals.

What is a building code?
A building code is the government’s official statement on building safety. It is a collection of laws and ordinances which set minimum safety standards. Building codes cover all aspects of building construction including fire and structural items as well as plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems.

Who uses building codes?
There are many people who are impacted in a building construction project including architects and engineers, contractors and subcontractors, the manufacturers and distributors of building materials and the occupants and users of the building.

Why inspect a building during construction?
Inspections are the only way to verify code compliance. Most people don’t realize that, before they move into a home, office or factory, an average of ten inspections had been made to verify conformity to minimum standards regarding electrical safety, sanitation, structural, fire and other hazards.

How are safe buildings achieved?
Safety is achieved through proper design and construction practices and code administration programs which verify compliance to established standards. Homeowners and business owners have a substantial investment which can be jeopardized through less-than-complete code compliance and enforcement.

The adherence to minimum safety codes is important for several reasons:

  • For your personal safety and that of your family and the guests you invite into your home
  • To ensure the economic well-being of the community by reducing the potential spread of fire and disease
  • For the conservation of energy
  • To protect future home purchases who deserve to be reasonably assured that the home they are buying is safe

 

PERMITS

A building permit is a license which grants legal permission to begin construction of a building or to make alterations to an existing building.

Why use permits?
Permits allow the enforcement of the codes which have been adopted as law by a state, county, city or township to assure safe construction. No matter what the specific project may be, the enforcement of codes is carried out to protect the public health, safety and welfare.

Permits provide the means by which Code Officials protect us by setting guidelines that help reduce the potential hazards of unsafe construction. Before any construction or remodeling work beings, application for a permit should be made. Applying for a building permit notifies code officials that you are constructing or remodeling a building. These officials then inspect construction projects to ensure that minimum standards are met and appropriate materials are used.

You have an investment in the home or business you are about to build or remodel and if that building does not comply with the codes, your investment could be compromised.