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Residential Construction Contractor's Guide

#5 - Building Codes and Standards

When constructing or renovating a building, codes must be followed to assure that quality and safe construction practices are used.  Although building codes have traditionally addressed the vulnerability of a structure to forces such as fire, wind, rain, snow, sun, and seismic activity, more recent codes have been developed to address environmental concerns. The most common environment-related codes have been developed to reduce energy consumption while controlling interior comfort and to enhance indoor air quality.

Building codes are complex and vary across the country.  Many levels of codes may apply to your project, i.e.: national, state and local.  Many codes do not directly apply to pollution prevention, however codes can dictate issues such as material selection, energy efficiency, indoor air quality and water/sewer systems.

  • Applicable building codes, examples may include (but are not limited to):
    • plumbing
    • electrical 
    • energy
    • mechanical
    • elevator
    • type of housing 
  • Applicable building permits
    • determine if you need a permit, some types of construction may be exempt
    • state
    • local
    • plumbing
    • electrical
    • others
  • Building inspection
    • verifies adherence to codes
    • need to be performed at various stages of completion

For exact code details, you should contact your local home builders association, and appropriate state and local agencies.

NAHB's list of State and Local Associations

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