The Importance of Getting Home Certifications

Updated: Aug 30

A home certification is the final inspection of a newly completed structure, typically done by an independent party. While there are no mandatory regulations for these certifications, they are recommended for protecting consumers from faulty or subpar quality within the construction industry. This inspection helps to ensure that the construction meets specific codes and clear safety rules.

Is It Necessary to Get a Home Certification?

Some people think that getting a home certification is unnecessary because it costs money and doesn't affect their personal lives. However, even if you don't live in your new home yet, this process can be beneficial because it can help prevent problems down the road. Issues like mold growth or electrical fires may develop over time because of improper sealing or other difficulties with blueprints. Having this type of documentation early on can give you peace of mind and protect your investment.

As a general rule, it is a good idea to get a home certification on any type of newly completed building project. This can include a house, a garage, or even a storage shed. By following this process on all new projects, you will be setting yourself up for success from the start on any future projects that you may have in mind.

Different Codes for Different Locations

When talking about codes and construction, one of the questions that people ask is, "What are those numbers on my house?" People ask this question because they have been told by someone else that their home's codes might not meet the requirements for new regulations. The codes on a person's home indicate whether or not a building was built to comply with different sets of rules and regulations according to location.

In most cities around the United States, government-sponsored agencies are responsible for enforcing statewide building codes within an area's jurisdiction. In some areas, such as Boston, Massachusetts; New York City, New York; and Chicago, Illinois, one must be certified by the city to build anything. Some cities like Denver, Colorado; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania even require that any contractor working on a significant remodeling project follow its city's codes.

What Does the Code Numbers Mean?

The first part of the code number identifies the area where the construction occurred. The second part indicates what type of building is being constructed, including whether or not it is residential or non-residential. Residential code types include one, two, and multi-family dwellings, while non-residential has everything such as hotels, office buildings, and industrial spaces. According to the International Code Council (ICC), there are over 200 different areas in the United States that have their own set of codes, which means that someone living in California may have to meet additional requirements than someone in Texas. The ICC also posts over 1,000 International Codes, which are used throughout the rest of the world. Often, if a city does not follow any predefined guidelines, it is referred to as "unzoned."

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