Homeownership can be a tricky thing to manage, and not everybody is always up-to-date on the state of their own home. In some cases, major housing code violations can go completely ignored for months, only becoming relevant again when you make major changes to your living situation.
Dealing with your housing code issues can be extremely important. Not only do violations often lead to fines and major obstructions to your day-to-day life, but they can create even more problems if you try to sell your home, get renovation work done, or even rent out a spare room.
Windows are often overlooked when you inspect your own home, but they can be a major source of code violations and safety issues. For example, every room needs at least one egress window that can be opened up in emergencies to create an escape route and allow proper airflow.
Beyond that, windows near the staircase and in bathroom areas require tempered and glazed safety glass. While normal glass can be used in most rooms, high-risk areas need this safety glass since it will not shatter and scatter glass shards over areas that people may need to use during emergencies.
As a whole, glass windows should also be secure enough to not break easily. This means that the glass has to be tough enough, but it also means that the borders of the window should be stable and secure.
Handrails are one of the most common places that homes can run into code violations since the rules behind how handrails need to be constructed are not always immediately clear. However, as a major component of household safety, they need to be both reliable and up to code at all times.
Handrails and other important handholds need to be reliably graspable, meaning that they are at a convenient height and are made with materials that you can grip onto. They need to be placed at the right height – roughly three feet from the ground on average.
Most handrails should curve into the wall so that clothing can’t snag on the end, especially around stairs. If this is not done, then somebody could get caught at the bottom of a staircase and pulled back down or tripped up in a place where a fall can seriously injure them.
Housing codes can also include things related to your energy usage and electrical systems, things that you might not have initially considered when checking your home for major problems. However, this can be just as important as other code issues, if not more important.
Unconditioned areas of your home need to be insulated separately from the conditioned areas, preventing heat from transferring between them and wasting energy. Ductwork also needs to be insulated to improve its performance and reduce the risks of water damage.
It is also a good idea to make sure that any openings are sealed up. These ‘openings’ are the spaces around pipes, vents, and other parts of your home’s infrastructure that lead directly outside, which can often result in drafts and more water damage if they are not closed and insulated correctly.
Electrical systems are complex, but there are some core things that many people overlook when trying to check their home’s adherence to housing codes. A good example is your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, which have to be active and installed on every level of your home.
Permanent structures in your kitchen need to include proper wiring, even if the structure in question is just a small kitchen island. These wires have to be placed in a way that limits tripping hazards and does not put you in danger of accidentally disconnecting anything important.
Beyond this are all of the usual concerns, such as electrical hazards and the quality of the electrical system.
Fires are a serious risk in any home, and having proper protection against them can make a significant difference to your overall level of safety. For example, proper electrical wiring and fire-resistant walls can be vital to keeping yourself safe in the event of a fire.
Building firewalls and covering drywall holes can also play a large part in this, as can having at least one fire extinguisher available. While the latter is not part of the housing code, it is still a good idea and can easily help counteract any other mistakes you might have made.
One of the biggest things to consider when doing any kind of DIY work is having the right permits available. While permits are mostly meant for permission to do certain kinds of work, they also act as a good guideline for sticking to the housing code and keeping your home safe.
Permits are all based on the legal requirements of the housing code, meaning that you will want to follow them as closely as you can. This can help you get around problems like not knowing what limits you have to follow or how a certain part of your home might legally have to be constructed and maintained.
Having a good disposal option available is not part of the housing code, but it still forms a core part of any project, whether you are working DIY or calling in third-party contractors to make changes to your home.
Renting a dumpster can be a great way to handle a large amount of debris and scrap materials, no matter what kind of project you are having done. Consider renting one of our dumpsters to get some extra help and speed up the disposal process once the work is done.