5 Ways to Make Sure Your Home Is Up to Code

  • September 10, 2023
residential building code

Creating a safe home environment is essential for your resale value and your household’s well-being. But to achieve that, it’s necessary to ensure your home adheres to the latest residential building codes. Not only is this a legal requirement in most areas, but it’s also a responsible initiative for homeowners. So, let’s explore five critical steps to ensure your home is up to code:

Educate Yourself on All the Local Regulations

Start by learning all about your area’s current residential building codes. Because these codes often vary from one location to another, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific ordinances in your region. This information is available through the local building department, so check their website for new updates and resources. Knowing the relevant codes will guide your home improvements and renovations.

Obtain the Right Permits Before a Renovation

Before starting any major renovation or construction project, you must acquire necessary permits from the municipal building authority. Failure to secure the required permits can result in expensive fines, work removal, or even legal consequences. Also, remember that If you plan to sell the home, most buyers will request proof that renovations were done with the correct permits, so obtaining them now is an investment in the future.

Inspect Your Electrical and Plumbing Systems

Electrical and plumbing systems are integral components to any home—as such, they must meet the local residential building codes to ensure safe, optimal functioning. Faulty electrical wiring and other issues can pose serious fire hazards, while plumbing malfunctions can cause leaks, water damage, and subsequent health concerns. Schedule regular electrical and plumbing inspections with a licensed technician to ensure everything works properly.

Comply with the Current Fire Safety Measures

Fire safety is another critical measure to prioritize. To meet the latest fire code requirements for your home, consider these basic—but essential—steps:

    • Smoke Alarms: Ensure that smoke alarms exist in every room on each level of the home. Regularly test and replace batteries to maintain working order.
    • Carbon Monoxide Detectors: If your home has fuel-burning appliances or an attached garage, you must install a carbon monoxide detector on each level to protect against this colorless, odorless (often undetectable) but lethal gas emission.
  • Sprinkler Systems: Schedule regular inspections for fire sprinkler maintenance to mitigate the risk of corrosion while ensuring the system is functional and code-compliant.
  • Fire Extinguishers: Store your fire extinguisher in an easily accessible location, and inspect (and professionally service) the device regularly.
  • Fire-Resistant Materials: Use fire-resistant building materials in home constructions or renovations—especially in high-risk areas such as kitchens and utility rooms.

Ensure Your Home is Accessible for Everyone

Most current residential building codes also emphasize space accessibility so all occupants can safely navigate the space. Here are a few specific initiatives to ensure your home complies with the latest accessibility regulations:

  • Install Handrails and Ramps: Staircase handrails and wheelchair ramps in necessary locations will assist those with mobility challenges.
  • Widen All the Doorways: All entry points must be wide enough for wheelchairs and feature lever-style handles for more accessible, convenient access.
  • Use Non-Slip Flooring: These materials reduce the risk of slips and falls, especially in bathrooms, kitchens, hallways, or other high-traffic areas. 
  • Maintain Well-Lit Interiors: Adequate light fixtures in each house room will help increase all visible sight lines and protect against injuries.

Is Your Home Compliant with Residential Building Codes?

Ensuring your home is up to code is a fundamental responsibility for all homeowners. It’s vital to know your area’s current residential building codes, obtain the necessary permits, and ensure compliance with electrical, plumbing, and fire safety regulations. When you prioritize these measures, the return on investment will pay off in the long term. To schedule a code-compliant home inspection, call A&A Fire Protection today.