By Bellevue Plumbing Pro

If you’re a homeowner, you may want to do some home remodeling. The building codes outline what modifications you are allowed to your home and the requirements that you must meet regarding plumbing, electrical wiring, structural integrity, and any other features. It can be difficult to keep up with all the laws as they are often confusing. They are also updated by your local government every few years. Experts can help ensure that your home is up-to-code and safe. You should take the time to learn about the laws that can impact your remodel, expansion, or sale of your house.

What are Building Codes?

You can do almost anything to your home that is not covered by building codes, even minor modifications like wallpaper. There is a law that will help you, whether you’re changing a light fixture or installing new plumbing fixtures. Although it can be frustrating to have all the details listed, this code is necessary for your safety.

Local jurisdictions may have their own housing codes, but most are based upon models such as the International Residential Code or the International Plumbing Code. Visit the building department or check out the website of your local government for more information.

Are My Old Plumbing and Heating Systems Up to Code?

There is a good chance that your plumbing does not comply with current code if you live in an older home. Many cities take part in code development and update their laws three times a year, largely based on the International Plumbing Code, published by the International Code Council, Washington, D. C.

Some of the most common problems with existing buildings are not installing shield plates at the points where pipes cross the studs, not digging the plumbing deep enough underground, and not having proper shut-off valves. Poor drain slopes can cause pipes to clog due to the solid material left behind by the water escaping. Proper venting can also lead to problems later.

Another thing to remember when designing construction is to not install uninsulated pipes where they can freeze. If you do not follow the legal guidelines, you could flood your house and burst your pipes in colder areas.

What Happens If I Am Not in Compliance?

If your plumbing is not up-to-date and isn’t compliant with current codes, there’s no reason to panic. Because it would be impossible and expensive to upgrade your system every three years, grandfather clauses protect older buildings. If you plan to remodel your bathroom or kitchen, you may need to replace any parts of your plumbing.

You can do some research to determine when you will need a permit from the city or an inspector. The local building department may be able to help you navigate the process. You can seek the guidance of a certified plumber if you’re not sure. They are up-to-date on current codes and will ensure your project is compliant. A local plumber will be able to answer any questions you have about plumbing, plan your project and do any necessary work to make it compliant.