Building a custom luxury home is an incredibly exciting endeavor for both you and your financial portfolio. If you are working with a construction company, your need to research city codes will be relatively minimal. That said, any good investor will tell you that having a working knowledge of a topic goes a long way. That’s why we explain the four different classes of codes you and your contractor will encounter.
Number 1: Local Zoning Codes
Also called the Municipal Code or Planning Code, each city actively regulates the patterns of land development within the city by area. Zoning codes define what can be built where as well as what the property can be used for once the structure has been constructed. Zoning regulations dictate everything from the size of a lot, the maximum amount of stories aloud, and the overall footprint size and location of your home.
Number 2: Local Building Codes
Also known as the Building and Safety Code, Local building codes are designed to create a minimum safety requirement that each new structure has to meet to protect the people who live in it or near it. Building codes often take the form of structural requirements. They create standards for everything from what materials can be used to the dimensions of parts of your house (like the depth of a staircase).
Number 3: Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions
It’s not uncommon for more affluent and desirable neighborhoods to have their own unique set of covenants, conditions, and design restrictions for new home builders. If you have recently purchased property in this sort of neighborhood, this information is typically provided to new buyers during the escrow process. If not, all it takes is a call to the local Design Review Board to find out what they are. Once you have completed the design of your new home, you are also required to submit your plans to the same board for approval before construction can start.
Number 4: Miscellaneous Code
Depending on where your home site is located, there can sometimes be miscellaneous codes you might encounter. For example, it’s not uncommon for a neighborhood to have a “Hillside Ordinance,” requiring homes built on slopes to abide by an extra set of building restrictions. Another situation where you could encounter miscellaneous building codes is in a historic district. If you’re planning on building or remodeling a property in your cities “old town” you might have to comply with certain requirements that are designed to maintain the character of the neighborhood. Regardless of where you choose to build, meeting the requirements of local codes and guidelines is part of the building process. Even though they can seem complex and hard to understand, a good construction company can help you navigate through any red tape you might encounter.