To many homeowners, a remodeling project is a way to adapt their home to meet their current or future needs. Few homeowners, however, consider the home to be noncompliant with local building codes. Ever popular room additions, for example, could be the source of a major headache in the future. Quality DesignWorks in Gainesville, FL, discusses common home building code violations homeowners encounter daily and why it’s important to resolve any violation as soon as possible.
7 Common Code Violations Found In Homes
1. Nonexistent Handrails
Handrails are required by building codes as they prevent potentially dangerous falls from any staircases or stairways. Most building codes specify railing heights of at least 30 inches and up to 37 inches for stairways. The same goes for any deck more than 30 inches off the ground. A quick remodeling project can correct this issue along with providing aesthetic value to any stairway.
2. Baluster Spacing
Whether you call it a guardrail, handrail, or something else, the vertical posts are called balusters. The spacing between them should be narrow — less than four inches — to prevent small kids from falling through the openings. If the spacing is larger than this, contact a company who specializes in home remodeling projects, such as Quality DesignWorks. Our team expertly designs new balusters to match existing ones while also tightening the spacing and bringing the railing up to code.
3. Bathroom Ventilation
Creating an in-home sauna experience with a hot, steamy bath or shower may sound relaxing but it’s detrimental to the structural integrity of the room and home. Excessive moisture and warm temperatures lead to water damage and mold growth, which is why the majority of municipalities expect builders and homeowners to install ventilation fans in bathrooms without windows that can be opened.
4. Missing GFCIs
If you have an older home, such as one either fully or partially built before 1971, there’s a high probability of the electrical outlets not having ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). When a surge of electricity is detected, this device shuts down the electrical current, stopping a possible electric shock and/or fire hazard. The requirement was implemented by the National Electrical Code for different parts of a home since 1971 as follows:
- Bathrooms: 1975
- Crawl Spaces: 1990
- Dishwasher: 2014
- Exterior: 1996
- Garage: 1978
- Indoor Spa Tub: 2008
- Kitchen: 1996
- Laundry, Utility & Wet Bar Sinks: 2005
- Pools: 1996
- Outdoor Spa Tub: 1984
- Unfinished Basement: 1990
5. Electrical Connections Not Inside Junction Boxes
A junction box, the metal or plastic box attached to a wall stud housing the spliced wire connections, is used to reduce the risk of an electrical fire. But if any splices are loose, they’re exposed to dirt, dust, and moisture — prime conditions for a fire hazard. This routine situation appears with many DIY approaches to the wiring in a home and is avoidable by having all electrical work completed by a licensed electrician.
6. Windows Without Safety Glass
Safety glass is less prone to breaking and/or shattering when struck and may also be fire-resistant depending on the glass type used. While many older homes are coming in vogue again for their architectural detail and style, few are equipped with safety glass. Yet, it’s only required if the pane of glass is:
- Larger than nine square feet
- Within 36 inches of a walking area
- The bottom is less than 18 inches above the floor
- The top is more than 36 inches above the floor
7. DIY Renovations
A can-do spirit is the backbone of many home renovation projects but it’s best to leave the actual work to professionals. This is because embarking upon a quick plumbing fix or adding a family room without obtaining appropriate local permits is a major no-no. But, many homeowners are none the wiser until it comes time to sell their home and these issues come to light. Avoid this headache by pulling permits for any type of structural renovation as each permit includes the latest building code requirements and accounts for safety updates.
What Can I Do If My Home Has A Code Violation?
The best recourse is to call a design-build company, such as Quality DesignWorks, for help bringing the home up to code. The sooner these issues are taken care of the better — and safer — your home and loved ones will be. If there are several violations at one time, we’ll create a custom plan to address the issues within your budget and schedule. Contact us today to begin your home remodel!