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Orange County Home Inspector Building Code

 Building Codes Explained


Building codes often are confused with laws. When someone builds a structure and violates the building code nobody gets arrested. That’s the biggest difference between the two.


Building codes are guidelines set up as rules. The result of not following them is that you may be held liable if anyone is hurt or anything is damaged as a result of your not following the minimum requirement of those guidelines. Another result would be that the city or municipality would not allow you to occupy a building that is not in conformance with the codes they deem necessary.


With so much modern science involved in construction development and so much accountability being available to consumers, standards have been developed and tested that assure the safest construction possible. 


Building a house that conforms to the building code doesn’t guarantee that it will be safe but building a house that does not conform does have a greater chance of unexpected things occurring. Things like fires caused by poor electrical, foundational and structural failure as a result of weak or improper framing and concrete, or leaky roofs.


The organizations known as the ICC and the IBC and the ICBO were formed over a hundred years ago by individuals in the building industry concerned about safety and longevity. The code guidelines they developed at some point became reference manuals on minimum standards.


The manuals over time were assiduously compiled and the information in them so helpful in establishing quality and conformity that they became the ‘go-to’ guidelines for many if not all cities in the US and many overseas entities.


As the broad coverage became refined there appeared more specific code manuals like the National Electrical Code and the International Plumbing Code.


As it stands today there are over fifteen or so codebooks.

Jurisdiction’s across the US and even the world use these guidelines as the base model for their building standards. When working within the framework of building ‘to code’, one has to be very specific with which code was used when the given construction was completed. Cities often take a specific code compliance guideline and alter it to fit their circumstances.


For instance, one city may require a drip pan under a water heater and another may not, or one city may have different stairway egress standards.


When I perform code compliance inspections, I have to research the specific age of the given building and the specific code on that matter for that city. What’s ‘code’ in one city may not be ‘code in another.


Building codes are to contractors like laws are to lawyers or law enforcement officials. Cops and lawyers don’t know all of the laws but are required to know them at the point they are working with them. When a construction related lawsuit inspection is required by me, I immediately go to the code reference that was used on that building at that time so as to be correct in my evaluation of the conformance of the code. 


When I do home inspections in Orange County, or home inspections in Los Angeles, and home inspections in San Diego, or even home inspections in the inland empire, I look for code violations that matter.

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Home Inspections performed in Anaheim, Santa Ana, Huntington Beach, Mission Viejo, San Clemente, Irvine, Garden Grove, Orange, Costa Mesa, Westminster, Tustin, Aliso Viejo, San Juan Capistrano and surrounding cities.

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