Code violations can have several undesirable consequences — design defects, construction delays, possibly even litigation. However, building codes exist to guard the safety of construction crews and the eventual occupants of a building, so you should not ignore them.

Every contractor aims to prevent violations, but building codes are a complex combination of laws and ordinances. Many regulations are specific to one region or municipality, and they are constantly changing. It can be easy for construction firms to violate codes simply because they are unaware. However, the situation is not hopeless; there are steps you can take to prevent code violations.

Know the code

If you are a general contractor, hire reputable local subcontractors if possible. Experienced local professionals are likely to know local laws and best practices. Remember that you are ultimately responsible for all the work on your firm’s project, so take the time to brush up on regulations. If you get served with a violation notice in spite of your best efforts, you should seek a legal professional familiar with building codes. A knowledgeable firm can help you handle existing violations and prevent future mistakes.

Follow instructions

Manufacturers typically include instructions with their products; be sure your crews follow them. For example, workers may have installed hundreds of windows in the past, and do not want to use valuable time reading instructions. However, if this set of windows is an untested brand, a different type of window, or a new and improved design, the instructions may have changed. A simple error such as using the wrong fasteners may mean the windows do not work; worse, they may be unsafe.

Coordinate your teams

Contractors must be communicators. Completing a project on time involves a great deal of coordination among various trades. Do not try to cut corners or rush crews into doing substandard work. Do not allow one trade to deny access to another trade, or allow one crew to complete work left undone by another. Likewise, ensure one crew does not damage work done by a previous team. Schedule work strategically and communicate constantly with subcontractors and clients.