Home Construction Rules and Regulations: A Couple’s Guide

Building a home before or after the wedding is a huge milestone for couples. That’s why it’s an important, life-changing decision that must be given enough thought and funding.

Couples would always spend time planning about their future home’s style, interior design, color, decor, and other aesthetics. However, building a home starts even before the first nail is hammered. You also have to hire the right team and decide whether to hire a custom home builder or a general contractor.

However, more than having the right team, you need to start the construction process with the right rules and regulations to comply with. Knowing them is an important step. If you don’t know what they are, this article can help. Below are construction requirements that you should complete before building or planning your home.


Whether you’re building a new home or renovating an existing house, you’ll need a building permit. You’ll need to submit your building plan to apply for a permit. It should include floor plans, measurements, and structural drawings, complete with elevation views. It should also mention what materials you will use for the construction. You should submit all requirements to your local building code office.

Under US home construction law, you’ll be designated as the contractor of your home. This means you’ll be liable for any construction-related damage. For this reason, you should know what types of permits you should get.

According to Family Handyman magazine, you may need permits for building fences, retaining walls, sheds, and decks. If you’re simply remodeling, you’ll need permits for roof repair or new installation, additional or replacement of windows and doors, basement improvement, and soil grading. If you’re adding electrical outlets or installing a new gas stove, you’ll need a permit, too.

You can discuss the process of obtaining permits with your contractor or builder. They can be tasked to do the filing for you. Some contractors or builders provide this as a service. Make sure to ask first.

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However, consider looking for a new construction team if a contractor or builder wants to forego any permit. Permits are required by law to ensure homeowner, public, and construction team safety.

Building Codes

The country’s building codes, which specify the proper construction of buildings and non-building structures, are covered under the International Building Code (IBC).

The IBC code is adopted in 50 states, including other US territories such as Puerto Rico, Northern Marianas Island, US Virgin Islands, and Guam. If you’re building in any of these places, you’ll need to follow IBC codes along with the other codes included in it, such as the National Electric Code and International Plumbing Code.

While contractors and builders often follow the IBC code and its inclusions, you must know them, too, to ensure your team complies. In fact, most codes in the IBC are implemented for fire prevention and safety in construction sites. This includes proper cleaning of the site daily and post-construction. Some contractors even hire a construction street sweeper to ensure all debris is cleaned up from the site and its surrounding area.

Ordinances and Covenants

Aside from the national building codes, you also need to check with local ordinances at the mayor’s office, your town’s city hall, the local housing department, or the planning commission. Before obtaining building permits and codes, you may want to check with them first.

If you’ll live in an area or community where homeowners are associated, it’s best to check with them, too. Your local county assessor’s office can provide information about neighborhood or community covenants that might affect your home construction.

Zoning and Lot Approval

Not all lands in the US are allowed to have buildings or any structures on them. This means you need to determine if the land you’re planning to build your house on is approved as a building site. According to This Old House, you can get this information from your local assessor’s office.

Aside from lot approval, you should also learn about local zoning laws, which can tell you what type of building can only be allowed to be constructed on your land. Knowing this can help you ensure that you’re not violating any zoning law and that your home construction can’t be prevented.

Non-compliance Will Cost You

If your local housing or building office finds out you’ve done work without following home construction laws, you can be required to comply at an increased cost. Your homeowner’s insurance provider can deny you coverage if they find out, too. You may not be able to sell your house in the future if you don’t have any of the permits or codes followed.

All of these are consequences of ignoring home construction laws.

To avoid problems in the future with your home, make sure to comply with home construction rules and regulations. Use this guide to help you understand what you need to take care of first when building your forever home.

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