Who checks that Residential Building Codes are all met?

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Hi! It's the first time I am going to be buying investment property in the States. I read about Residential Building Codes, which consist of hundred or thousands of pages and is updated almost yearly, differing depending on state. I was wondering, who in the power team ensures that these codes are met? Will some authority check that the codes are met prior to issuing work permit? Or are all contractors supposed to adhere to the codes by law? If there are no contractors involved, then is it the inspector who is supposed to point out any violations? As the Owner buying the property, are there good practices that I need to check related to Residential Building Codes?


Anytime a building permit is issued they will usually inspect the work.  If it's something small like replacing a front door they usually won't inspect it.  Anything structural they will inspect.  The building department is the authority on whether or not it meets current building code in that particular area.  That doesn't mean that your contractor / carpenter actually adheres to it.

Good question!!  If you're not going to have a contractor or building official involved then I would leave it to the property manager to point out obvious code deficiencies especially concerning safety issues like fire / smoke / CO detectors or railing height issues.

Of course some non-conforming code issues do NOT need to be addressed if there is no renovation.  For example winder stairs from last century the winder treads would come to a point.  The building code now requires 6" minimum.  If you're not renovating the stairs you may leave it non-conforming.

Majority of homes built prior to code changes are exempted. However, new laws mandate safety, health requirements are to be disclosed, changed especially dealing with non conventional loans.