What owners of older homes should know before beginning any new construction or renovation projects.

The pandemic brought unprecedented change to our local, state, and federal governments. Severe issues with supply and demand further complicated industries, especially in construction and contracting businesses as lumber prices soared to record levels. As the world slowly regains its composure and supply lines reopen, many homeowners are looking to remodel or rebuild their homes, especially as lumber prices begin to drop to pre-pandemic levels.

Referring to Local Ordinances

The world of contractors and construction is filled with rules meant to establish standards for building materials, site preparation, construction methods, and safety procedures. Many such rules are created on the level of the local city or county governance and are referred to as ordinances. Ordinances are a piece of legislative or a set of laws enacted by a municipal authority or government. Each municipalities ordinances reflect specific local concerns, particularly natural hazards that may regularly endanger private and public property, such as windstorms, earthquakes, floods, and fire. Since not all ordinances are established at the same time, many homes in a given area may only have to meet a smaller sub-set of ordinances. This is due to the fact that many homes were built before the ordinance was put in place. Local municipalities may not be able to enforce new ordinances on older homes. Instead, they apply these ordinances to new construction or require property owners to adhere to them if they plan to remodel or rebuild their home due to damage from natural disasters.

The Grand Father Clause

Many homeowners enjoy the benefit of "grand fathering." That refers to any exemption from having to comply with a new law. However, such exemptions disappear under certain circumstances such as significant remodeling or when a certain percentage of a building is damaged. Therefore, property owners who face the prospect of re-building their homes also face full compliance with current building laws. Without special endorsements, it's unlikely that their insurance policies will provide significant Ordinance or Law Coverage. These property owners could be responsible for thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands in uncovered costs.

What You Can Do

If you have an older home or live in an area that has special laws for rebuilding, it would be worth your time to consider adding protection against any extra costs caused by local ordinances. Familiarizing yourself with local laws and ordinances concerning your home will help you better plan for contingencies should the need arise to remodel or rebuild your home. Speak with your Williams Insurance experts to find out how you can best protect family and your home.

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