Avery Hanscel
Avery Hanscel

4 Min Read

Industry Insights

The Complexities of Municipal Building Code

Summary

Contractors and adjusters have been using outdated and manual systems to gather building codes for roofing projects since the dawn of time. Working with municipalities to gather this information is not an easy task. Maybe you are a roofer who "knows all the codes" and doesn't call the municipality often. Or maybe you are an adjuster who is calling cities and counties all the time. Did you know that jurisdiction lines change all the time so even if you think you know the codes you could be wrong? For example, a house that used to be governed by the city may now be governed by the county due to authority changes even though it still has the city name in the postal address. This one mistake could cost you thousands of dollars on a roofing estimate. Having accurate information at your fingertips is the key to making sure you are not only compliant but also creating accurate estimates that close claims quickly and easily. 

Whether you’re simply trying to find the correct building code for a project or trying to create your defensible roofing estimate, you’ll likely run into one of the many issues in working with municipalities. Incorrect, inaccurate, or outdated information can lead to thousands of dollars of loss. Here are some of the challenges you may run across and how you can better equip yourself to overcome them.

What are some of the complications you’ll likely encounter when working directly with a municipality?

  • Conflicting information across sources: As crazy as it may seem, the information that employees have and what is posted on websites are often misaligned This is often caused by miscommunication, oversight, or just that they are bogged down with work. These inconsistencies require you to research all available sources instead of trusting one source. It also makes it more challenging to provide evidence when creating an estimate. 

  • Getting in touch with the right person: Often, a municipality only has one or two workers who will consistently have the most up-to-date information. Reaching this person takes time and persistence, costing your business valuable time. 

  • Constantly changing laws and adaptations: Not only is it important to pay attention to ever-changing roofing codes but it’s also essential to understand whether or not a municipality has adopted the code. Sometimes, municipalities will amend parts of a building code. Other times, municipalities will adopt various code years. (More on this later).

 

How does jurisdiction play a role in this?

  • Finding the correct authority: Similarly to finding the right person, you’ll need to understand the jurisdiction of the residence, which isn’t as simple as using the postal address or zip code. All too often contractors and adjusters end up wasting hours of their time on each claim trying to find out which municipality has jurisdiction over each house. Or, they will assume that a property is governed by the city when it actually is governed by the county. This is a very common mistake that can have a huge impact on your bottom line. Did you know that sales tax, building code book adoption, and even code line items can vary from one street to the next costing you thousands of dollars on a claim? If you want to learn more about this, we’ve created a comprehensive guide to jurisdiction that you can read here.

  • Differing levels of authority: Cities and counties govern their communities with jurisdictional authority, and with that authority, administer and enforce building codes. When a municipality is recognized as an independent governing body, it can adopt laws and building codes that guide its future development. This means you need to confirm whether the city or county holds authority. 

  • Lack of accurate and readily-available building code information: Until OneClick Code, there was no way to get accurate building code information you need easily and with confidence. Naturally, this leads to two massive problems for both contractors and insurance companies: incorrect repair estimates and millions of hours spent trying validating the correct jurisdiction.

  • Differing adoption of building codes: Though the International Building Code (IBC) has been adopted by the majority of the municipalities in the US, the confusion lies in which version is adopted and when it is updated by each municipality. Additionally, they also use the different versions of the International Residential Code (IRC) and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for specific building types and systems. 

This leads us to the question: What can be done about all this so that I get the accurate building codes I need? How can you overcome these challenges?

  • Ask the right questions: Usually, the first answer to a building code-related question isn’t going to be enough. Be prepared to ask a few follow-up questions to get the information you need.

  • Be patient and persistent: Even if it takes a few days to get the correct information, take the time. It is far better to get the right codes first rather than to get it wrong and cost yourself or your business valuable time and money. As mentioned above, it can take a few calls, but it’s worth the time.

  • Reference each available source: Simply looking at a municipal website or calling the office may not be enough in itself. Make sure you’re cross-referencing all the information to find inconsistencies and ensure you have accurate information.

  • Automate the process: Using the OneClick Code app solves your problem of finding accurate building code information in the click of a button. Instead of spending days waiting for the right information, trying to get in touch with the right individuals, or figuring out the jurisdiction authority, you can simply use technology to automatically find what you’re looking for. In the OneClick app, you can type in a property address and get the jurisdiction, sales tax, line items to start your roofing estimate, and all the documentation you need to back it up. Use our third-party trusted data to make your life easier and put a little money in your pocket too. 

 

About OneClick Code

OneClick Code is a trusted data partner, dedicated to streamlining the code-sourcing process for all parties in the roofing industry while also increasing efficiency and transparency for all stakeholders in construction and restoration. They have the only platform to have blazed the trail for data automation of jurisdictional authority for building codes, permit fees, taxes, and manufacturer specifications required for any address nationwide. OneClick Code has been serving customers in the contracting, insurance, and claim adjusting fields by providing instant access to trusted roofing codes, in the click of a button. Offering unique reports that can be easily shared between all stakeholders in the roofing claims industry, OneClick is adding value to all parties and empowering customers to save time and money on every claim. Welcome to restoration intelligence, automated. To learn more, visit our website www.oneclickcode.com.

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