For the average homeowner, the answer to whether their home is “up to code” is often a mystery. While California municipalities have an established set of building codes that determine the standards for properties, for many homeowners this can frequently be overlooked and misunderstood. Often times it is not until beginning a construction project or planning a new build that a homeowners attention to California Building Code is brought up. If code inspectors visit your construction project it is important to be informed and prepared.
The building regulations and standards for the state of California are set within the California Building Code, Residential Code, Fire Code, and other subsets of the California Code of Regulations (CCR), which is issued by the California Building Standards Commission. These consist of the regulations passed by California that enforce builders and property owners to follow state laws and requirements. This includes all regulations for the design and construction of buildings, guarantees maximum structural integrity, and the overall safety of public and private buildings.
The California Building Code relates to most of the structural and architectural requirements for structures, while other sections like the Existing Building Code or the Historical Building Code provide additional specifications for these types of buildings. The CCR also contains codes for fire protection, plumbing installation, energy efficiency, and many other disciplines that are involved in the construction process.
These codes are ultimately enforced by county and municipal inspectors. Their job is to ensure strict compliance with the standards based on location, climate and geography. For example, in California standards for earthquakes, fires, mudslides and drought must be considered and reviewed by the California Building Standards Commission.
If your home is a new build, then it will likely will meet most modern code standards. This is because all of the plans and permits had to be checked and approved all the way through the final inspection. The city itself would issue a certificate of occupancy indicating that your new home was within code compliance.
For older buildings, specifically those built 10-15 years ago or more, may or may not meet these same California building code standards. The best way to find out if your house complies with current state codes is to ask for previously completed permits and plans. An engineer or home inspector can review this and evaluate the structure on site to determine if there are code requirements that have not been met or other issues.
California law dictates that the current homeowner is responsible for any code violations that arise in a home. If a city inspector visits your home to verify the code violation complaint is valid, the homeowner will then be notified of any corrections that need to be made within a given time frame. If your home is undergoing a remodel, it is likely that inspectors will be at your house throughout the process, and a violation notice could lead to significant delays in the construction process.
Designing, building or remodeling a home is often a homeowners dream, but making mistakes during the process can be costly and unwanted. The following is a representation of some of the most common mistakes homeowners make during the planning of a redesign or new build.
It is not uncommon for mistakes to happen during the construction phase of a home. Avoiding these mistakes though will result in a higher quality build without extra cost to the homeowner. A finished project will feel even more rewarding if these simple mistakes are prevented.
Protecting your building projects from these construction mistakes and following the California Building Code guidelines will protect you as a homeowner. Successfully avoiding these mistakes will result in a higher quality, time managed, cost-efficient build. If you have questions about the compliance in your own home please contact Design Everest at 877-704-5687.