Jul 16 2009
If you are planning to build a new home using stock blueprints it is necessary to educate yourself about building codes. When a home plan is drawn, each residential designer or architect puts great care into ensuring the blueprints meet or exceed the national building code in place at the time of creation. However, this does not mean the house plans will meet all or even some of the local building codes for the area in which you plan to build. Beyond the national building code, each city, county, township or municipality follows its own list of residential building codes based upon specific geographic qualities for that area. It is necessary that you contact your local building office to learn more and/or find out what is required for the construction of your new house in the area where you plan to build. Furthermore, you may need to work with your builder or building official or hire a residential designer to make modifications to your house plans ensuring they will meet any additional building codes required by your municipality.
In addition to your blueprints, you may need to provide a few other documents and items when you apply for a building permit. Check with your building department for the items you will need. They can supply a list which may include the following:
· Energy Code Compliance – A form that must be filled out verifying the materials used to construct the house will be energy compliant.
· Site Plan – A drawing or sketch of the lot reflecting the location and positioning of your future home as well as locations of other structures presently on the lot. Your builder will be able to help you with this.
· Septic System Design – A diagram showing the details of the septic system. This is not necessary if your lot is served by a sanitary sewer system.
Be aware, some areas of North America have very strict engineering codes. It may be necessary to hire a local engineer to review your house plans and provide additional drawings, details and calculations required by your building department. For example, Northern areas have snow load and 2×6 wall framing requirements. There are wind load requirements for hurricane-risk areas along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Earthquake-prone areas of California follow seismic zoning regulations and demand additional structural elements.
If you need further information about any of the items mentioned above or have questions about local residential building codes, be sure to contact your building official regarding the requirements in your area.