Construction Law

How Frequently Do Building Codes Change? featured image

How Frequently Do Building Codes Change?

Construction law is always in a state of change as legislators try to find ways of fixing problems in the industry that affect the public. Unfortunately, these ever-changing construction laws can make it difficult for companies to reliably predict what will happen in the industry. This can make it hard for companies to plan for the future since it becomes more uncertain every time regulations change. Fortunately, there are some guidelines that can help construction companies prepare for and respond to changes in construction law. In this as editorial, a Charlotte construction attorney discusses how frequently construction codes change.

Related: The Value of Building Codes

Every State is Different

For the most part, construction codes are managed by each state. This means you usually only have to worry about changes to state codes since federal laws stay relatively consistent. Every state has a different set of codes and responds to the need for changes in their own way. For you, this means that you don’t have to worry as much about changes in federal regulations, but you do need to be aware of local and state construction code changes as they are more likely to change and directly impact your business in a variety of ways.

The best way to be prepared for legal changes is to stay up-to-date on the codes in your state as well as active legislation that may influence them. This will keep you from missing changes and being caught off guard when problems arise relating to different construction codes.

Your Responsibility to Know

If you’ve ever heard the term “ignorance of the law is no excuse,” you should know that it’s based on standing legal statutes. It means that it’s your responsibility to be knowledgeable about the laws relating to your work. In the construction industry, this means being up-to-date on changes in construction codes that you need to comply with all completing projects. Not knowing the law will not relieve you of your liability should you violate those codes.

Related: What Constitutes a Violation of the Building Code?

It Doesn’t Always Matter When You Started

One of the problems with changing construction codes that causes construction companies a lot of trouble is when the codes change in the middle of a project. Codes can change at any time, and it is your responsibility to comply with the changes as soon as they go into effect. You may have to make changes to how your company operates in order to comply, which means that you may have to make significant changes to your current projects if they are no longer in compliance.

In some cases, changes in construction codes are designed to allow current projects to continue without making substantial changes. This is because the codes are designed to work on future projects instead of current and past projects. However, it does not always matter when you start the project as you may be required to make changes to comply with codes, even if the project has already been underway for some time.

Minor Changes

Construction codes are rarely outright scrapped and replaced with completely new versions of the codes. Instead, legislators make changes in small increments. One reason for this is that it minimizes interruptions to projects that are currently underway. It also makes it easier for construction companies to adjust and move their project back into compliance with the new codes. If these codes were entirely rewritten, it would likely force construction companies to completely stop their work until they could replan their projects. This would cost a lot of time and money, hurting the economy and making the situation worse for everyone.

For you, this means that you may not need to make major changes to your operations in your projects to comply with minor changes in construction codes. The smallest change that you can make to get into current compliance will also save you the most money and have a soft impact on your project. Thoroughly investigate any changes that you plan to make before you make them to ensure that they will be effective without disrupting your operations.

Keep Aware of Possible Changes

Since construction code changes can have a significant impact on your operations, it’s important to always stay aware of possible changes. Unless there is a major catalyzing event, like a natural disaster, construction codes always take a long time to change. Legislation is announced long before it is finalized, making it easy for people to keep an eye on that legislation to see how it will affect their business. For you, this means you can have ample time to see changes coming before legislation is passed.

Monitor proposed legislation in the areas where you work so that you can respond quickly to possible changes and plan accordingly. With proper research and preparation, it’s easy to change the direction of a business to comply with legislation changes. These changes will not be immediate or abrupt, so you should have plenty of time to review them and restructure operations accordingly. Failing to do so may mean a serious interruption and loss of revenue for your business.

Changes in construction codes do not have to be a major interruption to your operations. With proper planning and foresight, you can make small changes to your company's operation, so that you can stay in compliance with the new legislation. If you have any questions about proposed legislation that will affect the construction industry or the current construction codes for your area, contact a Charlotte construction lawyer from Cotney Attorneys & Consultants.

If you would like to speak with a Charlotte construction lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.