Common DIY Construction Code Violations
There’s a feeling of accomplishment that comes with completing your own home renovation project. Not only is there money to be saved by doing so, but it also gives you a chance to express your creativity while getting your hands dirty. Home improvement television shows showcase drama, décor and daring designs, but one thing they often neglect to showcase is DIY home improvement projects that go seriously wrong. After all, the point of these shows is to encourage homeowners to try projects on their own and purchase the products being showcased. Showcasing disasters that result from homeowners can be counter-intuitive on both fronts. Some of the most serious missteps can take place when a homeowner ignores building codes during their project. It’s easy to see how this could happen if you don’t work with them on a consistent basis. Here is a list of some of the top building code violations that weekend warriors commit.
Working without a Permit-It’s a common misunderstanding that permits are only needed for contractors. The truth is the type of project that you’re completing and where the property is geographically located dictate whether a not a permit is a necessity. Permits add an additional cost to your project so it can be tempting to skip getting one. Not getting a permit could cost you thousands of dollars in fines, or worst case scenario could land you in jail. A homeowner can even be forced to have unauthorized work torn out if it does not meet standards. Additionally, your insurance company may not cover damages to your home that occurred during a project that required a permit where none was pulled.
Ignoring Asbestos- Out of sight and out of mind is a foolish approach when it comes to acknowledging the presence of asbestos within your home. If inhaled, asbestos can cause several types of respiratory problems including cancer and scarring of the lungs. Flooring, insulation, plaster, caulk, ceiling tiles, paint and furnace ducts are common places that asbestos are found. The substance was banned from building materials in 1972. Asbestos, when not disturbed is not a health hazard. It only becomes one as the product starts to deteriorate and asbestos particles enter the air. We highly recommend that you allow a trained professional to detect and remove asbestos in your home. Do know that most municipalities have strict guidelines regarding the removal and disposal of asbestos.
Skipping a Lead Test- Since 1978, the use of lead in paint has been illegal. Exposure to lead paint particles can lead to brain & kidney damage, hearing & vision impairment and nerve problems. There are state and federal programs in place to ensure that testing is done effectively & correctly. Call 800-424-LEAD (the National Lead Information Center) to see who the service provider in your area is. Home kits are not the most effective way to determine if your home has lead hazards, as their results may not be entirely accurate.
Basement Bedrooms Without Egress Windows-A great way to add livable space to a home without expanding its footprint is to finish your basement. While it can seem like an unnecessary expense, an egress window with dimensions that meet local building codes should be added. This allows the room to be counted as a bedroom and also ensures a safe exit for the occupant of a room, in the event of a house fire.