Resources & ToolsHere are links to some of our favorite resources and tools
Here our resources and tools that you might find helpful as you consider building or remodeling:
This first link https://codes.iccsafe.org/codes/i-codes will take you to a plethora of codes published by the International Building Code Committee, and these are generally re-published every three years. When any selection of these codes is adopted by the city, county, or jurisdiction, they are adopted as force of law. The adoptions vary from one place to another, so, at the local level, it is important to know which ones are adopted. For those constructing houses, the International Residential Code will be the one which applies in nearly all places. This particular code contains references to plumbing, mechanical, electrical, as well as construction. It will apply to the construction of single houses, duplexes, and townhouses up to three stories
The International Building Code, also found in this collection, will apply to construction of all other types of buildings. Much more extensive. Separate codes will also be applicable.
This link https://www.huduser.gov/portal/publications/PDF/FAIRHOUSING/fairfull.pdf leads to the Fair Housing Act Manual which contains guidelines on accommodations for disabled people. Legally, it will apply to the construction of multi-family establishments, but also contains information that would be useful for households who want to accommodate a disabled family member in their homes.
Zoning and land-use restrictions are adopted at the local level, and prescribe principal use type, setbacks, height limitations, lot coverages, site standards (including parking counts), landscaping, accessory uses, density limitations, with some places regulating architectural form and massing. Goal was originally meant to separate housing from undesirable factories during Industrial Revolution era, but evolved to segregate residential living and be used as race, and later–class warfare–weapon tool. Need to research at local and county level. Check out if your are inside city limits, what jurisdictions apply.
For Colorado Springs, link is https://codelibrary.amlegal.com/codes/coloradospringsco/latest/coloradosprings_co/0-0-0-7755
Americans With Disabilities Act adopted around 1990 is civil rights litigation, and dictates reasonable accommodation for disabled persons in public accommodations. Link https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/2010ADAStandards/2010ADAStandards.pdf much more detailed, applies to public buildings and areas. Can also be referred to as Architectural Barriers Act.
Restrictive covenants, as in HOAs, are tied to the land, and privately enforced. The best recourse is to look up your property records in the County department to verify what is recorded and enforceable. Can limit the development of your property even further than the zoning ordinances.
Utilities, gas, water, power, sanitary will have their own standards about capacity, underground layouts, utility meters, and such. Residential projects are generally uniform, commercial and industrial projects often require more detailed planning. If away from the city, septic and water well will factor in.
Energy use is becoming more of a factor as successive code adoptions occur. Department of Energy specifies how much insulation the building must have. Includes roofs, walls, windows, doors, heat loss through each. Link https://www.energycodes.gov/rescheck
The National Fire Protection Association NFPA also publishes codes and standards. Largely applicable to commercial/industrial fire protection and certain specified operations. Certain ones often adopted at the local level. There may be a charge to download and use. Link https://www.nfpa.org/Codes-and-Standards/All-Codes-and-Standards/List-of-Codes-and-Standards
Various product manufacturers can also be researched online.
There’s more, but these are the major starters.
Whenever there is any conflict between the standards and provisions that are adopted, the industry standard is to apply the most stringent or restrictive outcome of all of them as they are collectively applied to the project you are undertaking. e.g. one more lenient provision of one standard won’t ‘cancel-out’ or override a more stringent provision of another standard. This is where issues quickly get contentious and debatable.