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What Should I Know About Local Codes?

As part of your check list before the design process begins, make sure you have a team in place that understands the unique codes, regulations and requirements of your specific location.

How Does Climate Affect Design?
Snow Covered Log Home RoofThe structure and configuration of your roof can be impacted by heavy snow load requirements in certain areas. Other weather phenomenon such as hurricane winds or earthquake zones can play a factor in the engineering value needed for your entire shell.  Even areas with dense humidity can play a part in your overall design needs. The general idea is that your architect should have a full understanding of the special nature of your build location and how the design will be affected because of the weather conditions.

What are the Zoning Laws and Codes?
Some remote locations may not have zoning laws or strict codes but it is a bad idea to assume that your home’s design will automatically meet the codes you do have. Your architect should make themselves aware of the codes in your area so that when engineered plans need to be submitted for approval, the process is smooth and changes are not needed that might delay your project.

Does Your Location Have a Review Board?
If you plan to build in a development, it is imperative that your architect is fully aware of any regulations the development might impose. Some boards have few restrictions while others have very specific requirements that can greatly affect the design your home. You may need to change the height, use alternative materials or remove features. If you know what your parameters are early, you can avoid problems later on.

Will Your Design Meet the Changing Energy Codes?
Energy codes are getting more and more strict throughout the United States and Canada and can vary from region to region. Your architect should not only know and understand how these new codes affect your plan, but be experienced in designing homes that meet these changing requirements. Even with new regulations in place, a quality designer can create a home that both meets your aesthetic needs and is energy-efficient.