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Codes? We Don't Need No Stinking Codes!

When we walk into a building, we don't think twice that the building is safe and will not crumble under our feet. We feel this way because of a little thing called building codes and standards. Building codes have been in place for many years. Their main purpose is to protect the health and safety of the public.

Whether constructing a new home, remodeling a current home, or putting an addition onto your home, building codes should be followed and permits pulled by the architect, builder, or weekend warrior. This doesn't always happen and that is where the home inspection comes into play.

First and foremost, home inspectors are NOT code inspectors. That being said, home inspectors should be familiar with building codes in their area.

The benefits of your home inspector being familiar with the International Residential Council (IRC) building codes are:

What building codes do not regulate are:

  • Setbacks

  • Appearance

  • Historic preservation

  • Zoning

These are dictated by the local government.

Building codes themselves are not legally binding. They are simply a guide. The codes only become law when a community adopts them. You may have been told your local jurisdiction does not adhere to codes, which may very well be true, but when evaluating a home for integrity and safety, you will want a home inspection company that understands these techniques and applies them to their inspections. Otherwise, they are just pointing out cosmetic issues.


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