Working in the home improvement industry comes with a lot of unique challenges. Learning how to navigate the legal codes and restrictions around home building and maintenance is just as important as learning to use all of the tools of the various trades, because the last thing you want is to be on the wrong side of the law. Sometimes it feels like you have to be a lawyer yourself just to keep up with them, which is why becoming a licensed professional before doing home work is so important.
We wanted to know how home improvement experts work within and around legal codes to make sure their clients are happy and safe. We asked them about their experience with the law, and for their tips and tricks for making sure that projects are resolved legally. As usual, they had a lot of good insight!
Below, we’ve compiled a few of the helpful answers our experts provided. Check back later in the week for a follow-up article!
What laws do you often have to work around?
Are there any building regulations in your area that you don’t agree with?
How can homeowners find out about building regulations before they start designing a project?
If you could make up a new regulation, what would it be?
"Reputable General Contractors, plumbers and electricians follow codes. If a homeowner finds a person or company that suggests not following codes don’t hire them. If they are not licensed and don’t carry the correct insurance, don’t hire them. Poor work and bad reputations come from sketchy un-licensed and non-code compliant companies." read more
“Certainly we as contractors are need to follow laws, codes and local regulations when it comes to working on homes. Just as important are the laws of physics, and paying attention to building science when improving homes makes for effective and lasting improvements.” read more
“There are also types of building codes that can get in the way of rehabbing your home. For example, if a homeowner wants to change the layout of their historic home, believe it or not state regulations can prevent these changes to maintain the history and character of the home. Although these laws can take time to work around, it is often worth the wait of approval instead of moving out of a dream home.” read more
“As a plumber, many things require a permit to be replaced. Technically all plumbing fixtures such as a water heater, toilet, sewage ejector, shower valve, and so on. If every water heater getting installed as replacement to a leaky one actually got a permit, the county/city would need to build a new building and hire a large enough staff to issue and inspect the water heaters.” read more
“Many pest control operators have come and gone because either they can’t afford the changes, or just don’t want to follow them. Unfortunately, like many other industries, regulations are ignored and corners are cut, which puts their customers at risk. ... Safety is the most important factor in our business. Always check the local governing boards for the contractor you're considering to use and check for complaints.” read more