The International Building Code (IBC), which is the standard throughout the United States, sets forth dozens of building codes that trustworthy contractors abide by when they do remodeling projects. Even as a homeowner, though, it is important to understand which of these codes are likely to come into play during your upcoming renovation. As you continue reading this guide, you will discover a list of five essential codes you ought to be aware of.
- GFCI outlets – Any electrical outlet in a bathroom, kitchen, or garage must be of the ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) variety. These look slightly different than standard outlets and function as quick circuit breakers, automatically shutting off power if a ground fault occurs. It is also important for all outlets, GFCI, and standard, to be spaced appropriately; by kitchen countertops, for example, they must be no further than 4 feet apart.
- Egress – The word “egress” refers to leaving a location in a specific fashion. In terms of building codes, it sets forth requirements for door and window widths and methods of opening. All entry doors, for instance, must be at least 32 inches wide, while bedroom windows must be able to open at least 24 inches vertically and 20 inches horizontally. There are many other egress codes your contractor can help you understand if you are interested.
- Stairways and handrails – There are a variety of building codes that pertain to stairways and handrails. If these architectural features are not properly constructed, they can be the cause of severe injuries. Of note are the facts that stair risers must be a maximum of 7 ¾ inches high and the depth of each stair must be a minimum of 10 inches. Furthermore, all stairways have to be at least 36 inches in width with railings that are between 34 and 38 inches from the nose of the staircase. Your contractor will know whether or not your Carolina municipality has different requirements for interior and exterior stairs.
- Protection from termites and mold – Building codes that are designed to prevent termite infestations and eliminate moisture retention that could cause mold are especially important in humidity-prone North Carolina and South Carolina. These codes include specifications for flashing installation, drainage systems, and proper ventilation under any homes with raised foundations, such as those on the Carolina coast. If you are remodeling a house that already has mold problems or an insect infestation, that problem will need to be taken care of before construction can begin.
- Insulation – Properly insulating your home to comply with building codes has a variety of benefits. Not only will it keep you and your family more comfortable throughout the year, but it may very well save you money on your utility bills. These codes typically dictate how much R-value ceiling, attic, and wall insulation need to have. Depending on where in the Carolinas you live, the R-value requirements will differ; those who reside at Asheville’s altitude, for instance, will probably have to invest in insulation with a higher R-value than those who live in Charleston.
As you read earlier, this is certainly not an exhaustive list of the building codes your contractor will have to be aware of during your renovation project. It is, however, a great primer for you as a homeowner. The team at Hatch Homes takes great pride in understanding local building codes and making sure they are met during every job we do. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation!