Maryland Building Codes

How to Find Maryland Building Codes

The state of Maryland passes building codes at the state level. There is also some local involvement in the adoption of building codes for the construction, engineering and design industries. Maryland building professionals should first get familiar with the process of how building codes are adopted and become law in Maryland. They can then figure out how to find these Maryland building codes for use in their business.

Step 1:

Get familiar with how laws, rules and regulations related to building and construction come about in Maryland. At the state level, the legislature has the power to adopt pretty much any constitutional law. It can also delegate authority to pass rules and regulations to a Maryland administrative agency.

In the case of Maryland building codes and construction rules and regulations, the Maryland Codes Administration plays a large part in the Maryland administrative law for this industry. The Maryland Building Performance Standards Regulations prescribe which building codes and amendments are adopted for use in Maryland. You may see links to the regulations in the Resources below.

After these regualations are passed and codes adopted, they go to the local Maryland county and city building departments. The local government may then amend certain portions of the Maryland building codes.

Step 2:

If you are working on construction or maintenance in a Maryland county or city, the first thing you need to do is find out if there are any amendments to the state building codes in that local city or county. To aid in this step, the Maryland Codes Administration has a directory of local building departments. Use the link in the Resources below to find the local office. Get a copy of any amendments from that office.

Step 3:

Next, click on the “Maryland Building Performance Standards List of Adopted Codes and Standards” page in the Resources below. That document will tell you which building codes have been adopted. You then know which codes or standards to find.

Step 4:

From there, if you know the publisher, you can contact the publisher to get a copy of a building code adopted in Maryland. If you do not know the publisher because you are unfamiliar with that particular industry or code, then ask the Maryland Codes Administration how to access that particular building code. Use the following contact information:

Maryland Codes Administration

100 Community Place

Crownsville, MD 21032-2023

410-514-7218

You should also refer to the administration’s main page for additional information related to building codes in Maryland (see Resources).

Arizona Building Codes

How to Find Arizona Building Codes

Arizona essentially has a decentralized system of building codes. City or county governments in Arizona select and adopt from a number of available construction and building codes. They then have the option of amending those codes. Professionals in the construction and engineering industries need to find out which codes are used in municipalities or counties where they intend to work. They also need to find sources of these codes for ready access if encountering compliance questions or problems.

Step 1:

The first thing you will need to do is find your local building department. The name of this agency varies based on local rule, but each city or county has an office dedicated to building codes, construction permits and other matters related to regulation of the construction and engineering industries.

The easiest way to do this is to enter the city name and “building codes” or “building department” in Yahoo! or another search engine.

Example:

Let’s say I am looking to run a plumbing contractor business or participate in a construction project in Tucson. When entering “Tucson building codes” into Yahoo!, I come up with the Planning and Development Services Department “Building Codes” web page on the official Tucson City website. By looking at that page, you can see that Tucson adopts multiple international building codes. The city has also adopted some other uniform and national building codes and offers a copy of these codes online.

Step 2:

Ask the local building department which building codes are in effect in that jurisdiction. Now, it may be helpful to know how the process of adopting building codes in Arizona and other places work. Organizations like the International Code Council create model building codes. In fact, you can see the latest versions of the main international building codes online at the ICC website (see Resources below). But the problem is that local cities and counties in Arizona can amend these model codes.

To avoid using incorrect code provisions, it is vital that you access the local version of any model codes. This is why you must ask your local building department where to find the building codes as locally amended. The original codes can be used for reasearch and construction planning only if a code is not amended by the local building authority.

Additional Sources of Information on Arizona Building Codes:

  1. The National Electrical Contractors Association lists various local Arizona building departments, their contact information and which codes are used in that city or county. This will not be the end of your research for local Arizona building codes because you still need to contact the local agency to find the amended versions of the codes used in that jurisdiction.
  2. The Structural Engineers Association of America also has a similar list. Use that list to find contact information for local building agencies. Contact the agencies to find the proper Arizona building codes.
Construction

Things to Consider Adding to Your Home During Construction

If you are getting ready to build a home or are in the middle of construction, here are a few luxuries to consider having installed by your builder.

Granite counter tops and tile back splash. If you already have it in the kitchen, why not the bathrooms?

Home theater with recessed wall speakers. Do you like sports, movies and engaging TV? Why not get that home theater installed before you move in? A decent home theater costs $5,000 – go ahead and get it rolled into that mortgage.

Double D’s – Do you have a dishwasher picked out? Is it top of the line? How about a second one? What? A second one? Redesign your kitchen to install one dishwasher on the right side of the kitchen sink and an identical one on the left. Sound crazy? You will thank me later.

Concrete walls. Did you know concrete walls insulate your home better than anything on the market right now? Sure it costs more but you will save money on your energy costs and you could receive a 20% reduction on your home insurance.

Attic or loft? Spend the extra dollars to make your attic an air conditioned loft instead of a hot, musty attic. You can organize your junk and put a pool table up there should you choose to do so in the future. Just ask you builder about the options available to you.

Halogen lighting is out – LED is in. Do you know what LED lighting is? You should. It is just as costly as halogen but you never have to replace the bulbs and your house will be cooler given that LED’s give off no heat whatsoever. This is the better bargain. Go with LED’s.

Heated hardwood flooring? Get the additional heating element installed under your hardwood. If you live in a climate that is subject to freezing temperatures, you will thank me in the morning when the temperature is 10 degrees outside.

An additional bathroom? Did you know that adding on a bathroom can cost about $8,000 during construction? That’s a little price to pay considering that it will add $15,000 value to your home for each additional full bathroom.

Security cameras. Call your local security company and ask how much it would cost to set up a six camera security camera system. It could be around $5000 but consider the peace of mind – whether your infant child made a noise in their crib or you heard what sounded like a door shut – just turn on your TV in your bedroom and search the cameras. This is my favorite luxury on the list.

Central Vacuum System? Install one and save yourself the trouble of replacing a bulky plastic contraption that is hard to move around the house.

LCD Skylights – This is a great feature. You can have skylights installed with LCD glass. It works with a remote control. If you don’t want light coming through, just click your remote control and the glass blacks out with LCD technology. Pretty cool.

Whole house music. Speakers in every room and controllable in each room. Let the entire house be filled with the voice of Frank , Dean and Sammy with a touch of a button.

Talk with your builder and see what can be done.

Super Tips for Your Deck

Super Tips for Your Deck

Decks are used by different families for different purposes. Some are used for entertainment. Some are used for play. Some decks are used for relaxation. Yet other decks are used for grilling food. Each family has a different use in mind when they decide to build a deck. No matter what your intentions are, there are some excellent deck tips to keep in mind during the construction process.

Decks and Trees

It is a huge dilemma: wanting a deck right where a tree is growing. This may mean you have a tree right outside your back door. Don’t fret if this is the case. Trees make excellent shade for your deck. If you want to save your tree and build a deck, simply build the deck around the tree. It look absolutely beautiful and provides nice shade during the summer months.

The Finish on a Deck

Some people debate whether or not they should paint or stain their deck. I am here to advocate for staining. It looks natural and fresh, while enhancing the wood’s inherent beauty. Also, staining a deck requires much less upkeep than paint. Paint chips and fades. Also, when you paint a deck you must prime it and do a little more work than with stain.

Privacy Deck

Many homes across the world have close neighbors. This leaves little room for outdoor privacy. However, if you build a deck, you can build yourself some outdoor privacy. Do this by simply placing lattice work or a trellis along the side where you would like privacy. Then, plant a flowering vine below. When the vine begins to grow and bloom, your outdoor paradise will be shaded from other viewers.

Cleaning Mildew from the Deck

Mildew on a wooden deck is unsightly. However, it is simple to clean. Use 1 cup of trisodium phosphate with 1 gallon of liquid bleach and 1 gallon of water. Mix the solution together and spray your deck with a hose. Next, use a scrubber brush on the worst hit areas. Rinse the solution off of your deck after 10 minutes.

There are so many people in this world who have decks. Some people enjoy them every day, while others enjoy them only on special occasions. Whether your deck will be used constantly or merely on special occasions, you want the best deck for your money. These simple deck tips will help you in your deck construction and maintenance.

Building a Deck

Tips for Planning and Building a Deck

One of the most obvious and visually impressive additions we can make to our homes is an outdoor deck. Decks can also serve a variety of practical functions for us. They can ease the transition between our houses and gardens, soften grade changes if our houses lie on slopes, and divide our yards into smaller plots that can then be given their own unique styles and treatments.

When sketching out our initial concepts for a deck, we’ll want to consider its main function. Will we be entertaining large numbers of people on a regular basis? If so, a series of small decks connected by wide steps (which can double as seats in party situations) might suit our purposes. If we simply want a place where we can step out with our spouse in the evening, a single deck connected to the house might be more appropriate. We also want to consider our privacy – i.e., whether our proposed location(s) would put us in open view of our neighbors.

Wood is generally the most reliable material to use because of its overall sturdiness. Some of the best varieties include Southern pine, Hem-fir, and naturally rot resistant redwood and cedar. For the ecologically conscious, plastic composite decking, which is made from recycled plastics mixed with materials like sawdust to give it a wood-like appearance, can serve as a viable alternative. Either way, we will still want to use wood for the posts and joists.

Treated wood can last for decades longer than untreated varieties. However, because of the chemicals that are used in it as preservatives, we should take caution when handling it and use gloves, a dust mask, and goggles. We should also throw away treated wood debris and never burn it.

For fasteners, screws provide a more tenacious hold than nails, and stainless steel won’t leave rust marks on the wood like galvanized steel is apt to. Both are worth the added expense. Regardless of the width of the decking, two fasteners should be used at each joist.

It is required that we build a railing for our deck if it sits more than 30 inches above the ground. Railings need to be between 36 and 42 inches high. If we have small children, we might consider using steel for this detail, as it will be much stronger. Steel (as opposed to wood) can also be bent and shaped, allowing us to be more creative with our railing designs.

If we doubt our skills, or foresee the task taking up more than a couple of weekends, we might consider hiring a professional. But the actual construction of a simple deck (with boards running parallel to each other and the house) lies within the abilities of the average layman. To make our deck feel more like an integral part of our home, we can repeat architectural elements of the house in its design, or use built-in planter boxes or a gazebo to soften the transition between the two. Our goal will be to create a deck that is a natural extension of our house, one that serves as a bridge between the indoor and out.

Dormer Window

Making Space in Your Room with a Dormer Window

Dormer windows have an appeal to many homeowners because of the ability to inject unfiltered light into any room! Once a room has been lit it appears more spacious and open to the residents. Dormer windows are distinguishable by the addition of the window into the roof of a room increasing the size, space and light that is shed into the room.

The classic windows can be identified by the set into the wall look of the window. They increase the size of the room by allowing more space and additional headroom. Not only are they an architectural element but a dormer is a great way to add character to a room by incorporating it into a built in desk, shelf or window bench or seat. Dormers are most popular on the third floor of a home and are a great way to turn the attic into a functional and stylish living space.

Dormer windows are available at all window supply stores and should be installed by a professional. The installation of the windows is often more extensive than other types of traditional windows.

There are five types of dormer windows; the gable fronted dormer which appears at the front of the house and creates a point – one of the most popular dormers to add character to a house, the second, is a hipped dormer where the roof slips back to accommodate the dormer, and the third, in where the roof of the dormer is not pointed but flat. The fourth type of dormer is a shed dormer and is used in gable roofed homes at a shallower angle than the main roof. The fifth and the last type of dormer is a wall dormer which is used strictly to break up the differences in a wall of a building.

The cost of dormer windows varies but is comparable to traditional windows. Of course, it is important to take into account the extra costs that will come with the construction and installation of a dormer window. In many instances portions of the roof will have to be removed, which will leave the home exposed to the elements. This is why, when installing a dormer it should be completed as a summer project.

Many homes will look great with dormer windows and they are a favourite for those renovating a home. Many homes will encompass the use of Dormer windows to add character to the outside of the home – therefore the window is used solely for aesthetic purposes.