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Avoiding Building Code Violations

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Follow the rules or risk paying the price -- that's especially true when planning a home improvement project that is big or small.

This Angie's List Report explains why you want to be certain all the work being done on your home is up to code. If you don't, it could cost you.

It didn't take long for homeowner Maureen Dunlap to figure out something was wrong after having a new furnace installed.

"It was held together with some duct tape, or furnace tape and a flimsy board," Dunlap said. "And, when the furnace came on, the walls would suck in. And I knew that wasn't right."

Dunlap called a different contractor for a second opinion, who found a number of code violations.

"As far as the wires passing through the cabinet, what can happen there is the wire can rub into the metal and short out," Alan Winters said, who is a HVAC contractor. "That can cause a potential fire, it can cause a loss of control where there would be electrical component or something like that, even electrical shock to the homeowner."

Any new renovation work must meet current code at the time it is performed. Code violations often involve electrical, plumbing or structural issues that pose some sort of safety hazard. Ignoring a code violation could be an expensive mistake.

"If you ignore code violations in your home you might find that you face financial fines as well as legal ramifications," Angie Hicks said, who is the founder of Angie's List. "It's really important that you bring things up to code when you discover them."

Now many contractors offer code violation inspections. If something is up to code when you put it in and then the code changes, you don't have to bring it up to code, although you might want to for safety reasons.

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