Building Construction Law Requirements in the USA

The main sources of law that govern and regulate contracts for the design or construction of building works are the three branches of the US government: judicial, legislative, and executive. Each branch gives its contributions to the body of laws that govern the design and construction contracts.



Before building any structure, one needs to familiarize yourself with all the construction-related laws to be followed before construction.

This article explains the important law requirements before constructing any building structure in the US. 


1. Site Approval

It is not enough to own the land to construct any building of your will. Once have to find all the property records of the site you own along with its APN number (Assessor's Parcel Number). The APN number of the property gives the information on whether the site is an approved lot for building construction. 

The details of the site can be obtained online, or they mainly help with the county courthouse, the county recorder's office, city hall, county department like tax assessor's office.


2. Zoning Laws

After finding whether the land area available for the project is allowed for construction, the next step is to determine what type of building can be constructed on that land. Zoning information is available to the public through the local zoning office, city hall, or other local planning boards. Permission, based on zoning laws is necessary to proceed with building construction.

3. Ordinances and Covenants

In addition to the zoning laws, there are local ordinances and covenants associated with each local state, city, or county. So, we need to check the indented building that is permitted by zoning laws, is also permitted by local ordinances and covenant laws. 
For example, the height limit permitted by zoning laws can be restricted by local laws. So, it is necessary to obtain written approval from the planning commission or commissioner in your municipality to ensure you’re good to go. The best place to find this information is typically your town’s city hall or mayor’s office, department of housing, or other local government offices.

4. Building Codes and Laws

The above laws determine the authorized use of land while building laws are to deal with the proper construction of the physical structure of the building and its details.
The building codes used in the U.S. are:
  • International Building Code (IBC)
  • International Plumbing Code and National Electric Code
  • Local building codes if any
It is the project’s engineer, builder, or contractor's responsibility to make sure all aspects of the building element and structure meet code.

5. Building Permits and Plans

Based on the building codes, laws, and the local building rules and regulations, a detailed plan and report including the site plan, building plan, floor plan, structural detailing, and other essential documents including specifications are prepared and submitted for approval to the local code office.

Based on the work whether it is new construction, renovation, only plumbing works, etc to be performed by a contractor, the permit is a must. Always check with the local code office to avoid any permit-based fines issues and fines. A good, smart builder, architect, designer, or contractor will never skip these important steps.


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