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Date Created: 12/21/15
UNDERSTANDING LOCAL BUILDING CODES AND ZONING WHEN CHOOSING A LOCATION, it’s never too early INTRO to start thinking about how zoning laws and building codes will affect the purchase and future renovations of an existing property. WHILE ZONING AND BUILDING CODES ARE CLOSELY RELATED, they both serve different functions. Prior to construction, you must first get a zoning permit before obtaining a building permit through your local planning agency. The following information will give you a better understanding of these crucial pieces to the puzzle. ZONING CODES & PERMITS ZONING CODES ZONING CODES regulate the type of structures that can be built in a given location, as well as how that structure interacts with the land it will be built upon. ZONING ORDINANCES ZONING ORDINANCES determine how land within boroughs, cities, counties, parishes and townships should be subdivided and developed for residential, commercial and industrial use. In addition to separating municipalities into different zones, zoning governs issues including but not limited to the placement of alleys, driveways, easements, fences, garages, parking areas, signs and even swimming pools. PURPOSE OF WITHIN EACH ZONING DISTRICT, there are ZONING guidelines governing how a building will function in its potential location as well as its actual location within the zone. Since there are a variety of different structures that can be built within each zone, these zoning regulations typically designate what bulk and density are allowed within each district. Functional zoning often regulates bulk (i.e. features related to floor-area ratio, height, open space and yards) and lot density (i.e. the maximum number of buildings allowed per zoning lot). ZONING IS IMPORTANT APPLYING FOR AND RECEIVING A ZONING Depending on the project and municipality, zoningss. clearance may be part of the application process for a building permit. In other cases, you must apply for a separate zoning permit prior to applying for a building permit. BUILDERS SHOULD ALWAYS CHECK ZONING ZONING IS LAWS before proceeding with the construction of a new structure. And if you’re thinking of setting up a home-based IMPORTANT business, there may be restrictions on what you can do to the building’s exterior or the number of visitors or employees who can use the building. Be sure to contact ordinance. You can also consult an attorney with expertisel in local land use to guide you through the zoning clearance and compliance process. Once you receive approval from your local zoning department, the next step is getting a building permit. BUILDING CODES & PERMITS BUILDING CODES BUILDING CODES deal with the structure itself: its physical features and how these characteristics affect International Building Code, also known as theunder the International Commercial or Residential Code (ICC/IRC). BUILDING VS. THE IMPORTANT DISTINCTION BETWEEN ZONING ZONING CODES AND BUILDING CODES is that, while zoning codes and zoning permits are concerned with exclusively with the structure itself. For example, you might have received a zoning permit for permission to build a luxury home, but you will still need a building permit that allows you to actually build it. BUILDING CODES COMPRISE A SET OF RULES that specify the minimal quality and safety requirements that developers must meet. Different sections of a building or structure are divided into numerous chapters or classifications to determine the level of risk they pose to occupants. These include: PURPOSE OF BUILDING CODES THE FUNCTION TOF PEOPLE THE SIZE AND OF(e.g. a factory,or occupant loadof rooms, walls, floors, museum, residentiaof the building roof structures, stairs, home, etc.). structure. hallways, plumbing and light fixtures within the structure. PURPOSE OF BUILDING CODES BUILDING CODES OUTLINE the level of performance and quality standards your building must adhere to, but it’s design satisfies ICC/IRC guidelines in your area. To ensureur compliance with code standards, a drawing or blueprint of your construction is generally required during the permit application process. WHY BUILDING BUILDING CODES ARE IN PLACE to ensure the CODES ARE safety and well being of tenants, residents and other IMPORTANT individuals who occupy buildings and structures. Before a building is erected, the agent, architect, engineer or owner building permit. In some municipalities, the applicant a must show the local agency that he or she is a licensed builder in order to secure a permit for construction. CONCLUSION SOME OWNERS AND BUILDERS MAY PERCEIVE zoning regulations and building codes as a hindrance. However, if you know what to expect before you begin the building process, they don’t have to be. If you’re a property owner, meet with your local architect, builder or engineer ahead of the construction schedule to start discussions about how these laws will affect your timeline and budget. Contact your local zoning agency to gather the information you need to make an informed decision. WWW.DONGARDNER.COM Sources: http://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/compliance-licensing/whats-difference-zoning-building-codes
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