Acquiring appropriate building permits is crucial for building owners and contractors. Compliance with building codes and permit requirements ensures compliance with minimum public-safety standards, zoning regulations, and contractors' license laws. Additionally, the failure to do so can result in violations with costly civil penalties, or even lien on the property.
Understanding Building Code Violations California
The consequences of building code violations can vary from one jurisdiction to another. In California, for example, building owners or contractors can face significant building code violation fines. The California Building Standards Commission ("CBSC") is a commission, within the Department of General Services, that adopts and enforces state building codes. It also has the authority to impose civil penalties on those who violate these codes.
Code violation fines can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands, depending on the severity. For example, a minor offense, such as failing to obtain a permit for a small project, may result in a fine of a few hundred dollars. In contrast, a major violation, such as failing to obtain a permit for a large construction project, may result in fines of tens of thousands of dollars. The 2022 California Building Standards Code published in July 2022 came into effect as of January 1, 2023.
The fines are intended to deter building owners and contractors who may be tempted to cut corners or ignore building codes to save time or money. The penalties can also serve as a means of compensating the community for any damage or harm caused by the code violation.
In addition to civil penalties, building owners or contractors who violate building codes can face other consequences. They may be required to obtain a permit or fix the violation before continuing work on the project. In extreme cases, the offense may be so severe that the building must be demolished.
What Happens if You Don't Comply With Code Enforcement?
Code enforcement officials are responsible for monitoring compliance with building codes and issuing violations. The officials are trained to identify violations and to work with building owners and contractors to correct them. They may give a notice of violation, which informs the building owner or contractor of the violation and the steps that must be taken to fix it.
If the building owner or contractor fails to comply with the notice of violation, they may face civil penalties. Sometimes, the code enforcement official may also seek a court order to force compliance.
In addition to civil penalties, building owners and contractors who violate building codes may face legal actions filed by individuals or groups harmed by the violation. For example, if a building owner fails to obtain a permit for a new addition and that addition collapses and injures someone, the building owner may be sued for damages based on negligence and other torts.
If you receive a notice of violation or believe that you may be subject to penalties, it is important to bring the project within compliance and communicate with code enforcement officials to prevent or identify and cure violations.
Compliance with Building Codes
Building codes and permit requirements are in place for a reason. They are designed to protect the community's health and safety and ensure that structures are built to last. By failing to comply with these requirements, building owners and contractors are not only putting themselves at risk, but they are also putting others at risk.
If you are a building owner or contractor, it is important to be aware of the applicable building codes and permit requirements to avoid costly civil penalties and reduce the risk of other consequences, including legal action. Experienced attorneys in this field can help you navigate compliance issues and work with code enforcement officials to ensure that your structures are compliant and safe for the community.
Contact Krogh & Decker to learn how to comply with all California building codes.