If you’re starting a building project in Georgia (or anywhere else in America), you know one thing for sure:
You’ve got to make sure that your building is up to code, or you could be in big trouble before you know it.
Whether you plan an installation that’s slightly in the wrong place or don’t include enough windows in your structure, failing to check or understand Georgia’s building codes ahead of time is a recipe for disaster.
At Peak Steel Contractors, we’re here to help. Let’s go over the basics you need to know about building codes in Georgia.
What Are Building Codes in Georgia?
Building codes are references that builders, contractors, and inspectors can use to ensure their structures are safe. These codes establish the requirements a building must meet to be used for a specific purpose.
Making sure that a building is up to code during the design and construction process can seem like an extra step.
However, not only is it required, it’s usually worth it.
For example, besides being simply safer, an up-to-code structure may also hold its value longer in an unpredictable and often ruthless real estate market. A safe, well-built structure may also require less maintenance, which means that taking a little extra time to check codes early in the process can save you time and money later.
What are Georgia’s Building Codes?
Building codes can be a little tricky to navigate. They’re written as legal documents, authored by a committee of architects, engineers, inspectors, manufacturers, and other specialists, and they’re often very complex and confusing.
Working with a local contractor to truly understand your local building codes is a good idea. They’ll know these codes like the back of their hand — and you won’t have to spend time internalizing every nuance of a wordy, frequently-amended document with footnotes galore.
For reference, here are the latest Georgia building codes, organized into several general categories:
- Georgia International Building Code
- The Georgia International Residential Code
- Georgia International Plumbing Code
- The Georgia International Mechanical Code
- Georgia International Fuel Gas Code
- The National Electrical Code (with Georgia Amendments)
- International Energy Conservation Code (with Georgia Supplements and Amendments)
- The International Swimming Pool and Spa Code (with Georgia Amendments)
Depending on the nature of your project, you may have to check and align your plans with one or more building codes. These codes also provide the basis for much of the local administration surrounding building codes — such as permitting and inspections.
While these codes aren’t exactly user-friendly, there are accessible ways to get started on a project that references them.
Getting Started with Georgia Building Codes
Follow this general roadmap as you set up your construction or demolition project in Georgia:
- Get a construction permit. You’ll need to submit your plans and a permit application to your local inspection office to do this.
- As part of the application process, your local office will probably give you a list of people who need to approve your plans — from the city planner to the zoning officer. You may need to have all of these people review your plans before proceeding.
- Once you’ve got your permit, befriend the building inspector. Or at least involve the inspector in the early stages of your project, so the inspector has time to catch any potential code violations early on — while they’re easily fixable.
- For a similar reason, maintain an open line of communication with your inspector and any contractors you may be working with. This goes both ways: Often, codes need to be updated because of new building technology. Let your inspector know if your team notices something that a local code may not cover.
Ready to Build an Up-To-Code Structure in Georgia?
Navigating the complexities of building codes can be difficult. Figuring out how to mesh your vision for your building with your local codes can seem impossible. And it’s hard to know if you’ve done all of the necessary research, so you can feel confident about breaking ground on your structure.
We have specific expertise working with Georgia’s building codes at Peak Steel Contractors. Need help making sure your next steel design project is up to code? We’re ready to help. Scroll through our gallery to see what we’re capable of, and give us a call if you’d like further information.