Things to Know When Building

Chimney - All chimneys must be built to the latest edition of NFPA 211 Standards for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents, and Solid Fuel Burning Appliances.

Department of Environmental Protection - DEP permits are required for any soil disturbance within 100 ft of any water body or wetland.

Egress Windows - The sill height shall not be more than 44" from finished floor level. Net clear opening of the bottom sash shall be no less than 5.7 sq ft with a minimum width of 20" and minimum height of 24". Removable or "tilt-out" sash are not exempt if the lower sash does not meet the area requirement above.

Fire Separation - Typically, a garage and its residence have to be separated by 5/8" Type X drywall with all joints fire taped. Any doors between the two have to be rated at 20 minutes and have self-closing hardware. In some cases, a full 1 hour separation is required. 

Flood Elevations - Any construction or reconstruction around lakes, rivers, or streams may require a "Flood Elevation Survey".

Garage Floor - When connected to a habital space, the garage floor shall be 4" lower than the entrance to the space to minimize the danger from explosive vapors. Self closing hardware is required on any garage door that leads to a habital space.

Notches & Holes in Framing - Notch depth in the top or bottom of the joist, rafters and beams shall not exceed one-sixth the depth of the members and shall not be located in the middle one-third of the span. Notch depth at the ends of the member shall not exceed one-fourth the depth of the member. The tension side of beams, joists and rafters of 4" or greater nominal thickness shall not be notched, except at ends of members. Holes bored or cut into joists for piping or cables shall not be closer than 2" to the top or bottom of the joist or to any other hole or notch in the joist. The diameter of the hole shall not exceed one-third the depth of the joist. In studs of bearing walls or partitions, notches or bored holes made to receive piping, electrical conduit, air conditioning or heating ductwork or for other fabricating purposes shall not be cut or bored more than one-third the depth of the stud. NOTE: This standard does not pertain to engineered products. Consult manufacturer's specifications for hole size and placement.

Railings - Railings having minimum and maximum heights of 34 and 38 inches respectively, measured vertically from the nosing of the treads, are required on at least one side of stairways. They will be continuous the full length of the stairs from a point directly over the top riser to a point directly over the lowest riser. Ends shall be returned to the wall or newel post.

Guards - Guards must be at least 36" in height and the balusters shall be placed so that no space is larger than 4". Guards are required for any deck that is more than 30" above ground. Guards shall be a minimum of 42" for commercial use.

Setbacks - It is the responsibility of the homeowner to check setback requirements for the zone that the property is in. The front setback is measured from the property line, NOT the edge of the road. A survey may be required to establish where the lot lines are located if it is going to be close.

Sewer and Water Pipes - Building sewer or drainage piping shall not be run or laid in the same trench with water pipes or any underground water pipes unless both of the following requirements are met:

  • The bottom of the water piping at all points shall be at least twelve (12) inches above the top of the sewer piping.
  • The water piping shall rest on a solid shelf at one side of the common trench.

Signs - All signage must be placed on premises. Please check the sign ordinance prior to placing any signs.

Site Stablization - Erosion control measures must be in place to prevent erosion of soil or sediment beyond the project site or into a protected natural resource. These measures must be in place before any solil disturbance begins and remain in place until the site is permanently stabilized. (Stormwater Management & Erosion Control legislation effective July 1, 1997). No foundation inspection will take place until the site is stabilized.

Smoke Detectors - Shall be "hard wired" with a battery backup system and located within 10' of any sleeping area, inside each sleeping area, and on each floor level including basements (in each space/room within the basement).

Stairways - Minimum clear width shall be 36 inches wide measured above the railings. Treads and risers shall be as follows:

  • Residential maximum riser: 7-3/4 inch maximum riser, 10 inch minimum tread as measured on the stair point with a nosing/overhang of not less than 3/4" but not greater than 1 1/4".
  • Commerical maximum riser: 7 inch maximum riser, 11 inch minimum tread

Winders - Shall not be permitted in required exit stairways except in Use Group R-3 and stairways serving a single dwelling unit and in ornamental stairways not required as an element of an exit. Such winders shall have a tread depth of not less than 10 inches at a point not more than 12 inches from the side where the tread is narrower and the minimum tread depth shall not be less than 6 inches.

Vents - Shall be installed in crawl spaces, attics and on dryers. Bathroom ceiling vents, when used, shall be vented to outside air, not into the soffit vents.

The information provided above is for reference purposes only and does not represent the complete code(s) in effect. Please call or visit the Code Office for further information.