Building Codes Save Lives

Cutting corners on home improvement projects could cost you big, so get your permits and follow building codes. (This information is from a NW Insurance Council blog: www.nwinsurance.org/pr_bldgcodes.htm)

SEATTLE - With summer winding down, many homeowners are rushing to complete "do-it-yourself" home projects such as remodels or additions.

NW Insurance Council reminds homeowners to protect their homes and their families by following all local and state building codes while working on home-improvement projects.

"Building codes save lives," said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. "While it may sometimes seem like a hassle, getting the right permits and following building codes helps protect you, your family and your investment in your property."

The National Science Foundation conducted a 2004 study on the 2003 Turkey earthquake that killed 168 people. The study suggests that many of those deaths could have been prevented had builders followed Turkey's existing structural codes.

In December 2007, a powerful windstorm ripped through Western Washington and Oregon, causing more than 32,000 claims and $165 million in property damage to homes and small businesses. The December 2006 Hanukkah-Eve windstorm was even more severe with 57,500 claims and $ 220,000,000 in damage in Washington and Oregon.

The damage would have been much greater if homes and businesses weren't built in compliance with modern building codes.

Cutting corners or un-permitted work puts your family and neighbors at risk and can lead to fires, structural instability and water damage. If you're looking to sell your home, faulty work can reduce the value of your home as potential buyers may find the work unreliable. Worse yet, if your home were to experience a loss as a result of a home-improvement project that didn't meet current building codes, it could result in nonrenewal of your insurance policy or a higher insurance premium.

If you're thinking of starting a home-improvement project, NW Insurance Council offers the following key facts about why it's important to follow building codes:

  • Building codes ensure that homes and building are constructed to protect lives, reduce injuries and property damage.
  • Obtaining a building permit ensures that a certified inspector can examine your project to verify that it is safe and up to code.
  • Building codes can help alleviate costly repairs down the road as the result of faulty work.
  • Building codes protect your investment because they ensure that electrical, plumbing and structural work is done safely and inspected by a professional.

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