Irritating Rules and Regulations
Your architect is ready to begin your new home design, or so you think. However, before he or she even puts a pencil to a piece of paper for the first time, there are certain parameters that must be followed. These terms I am keying as “Irritating Rules and Regulations.” No matter how much of a pain they are, you unfortunately must abide by them to build your house. Some of these include:
Most land is labeled and distinguished for some purpose. Some land is marked as being for residential use while some is only for commercial or industrial use. The zoning may also restrict the number of units or buildings upon a specific piece of land. This term is probably less irritating than some of them, for you don’t want to live next to an industrial plant, do you?
Most municipalities have regulations on how tall you can build your new home. This is usually spelled out in the city or county building codes. If you own a flat lot, then this probably isn’t going to be a big deal. However, if your site is sloped, this may be a major headache. Personally, I find this irritating regulation one of the most challenging. Clients commonly come to me wanting a house with a nice vaulted great room space with a loft area above and a walk out basement below. This can be very challenging especially if the maximum height is 30-32 feet tall.
Also, every jurisdiction has a different way they measure height. Some measure from existing grade, some from finished grade, and some from somewhere in between. Some measure to the top of the ridge and some measure halfway up the sloped roof (You’ve got to be kidding me!) Anyway, just be sure that prior to getting too far with your design, your architect knows the exact method of measurement!
Building Envelope/Building Setbacks:
Almost every piece of land has a designated setback requirement or building envelope that your building has to remain within. This is to insure that you aren’t building right on top of your neighbor and usually has to do with fire protection as well as privacy. You are usually required to have every piece of your house (including overhangs) within the building envelope, but sometimes low decks and patios are allowed within setback areas. Check with your local jurisdiction to be sure.
Easements are imaginary lines that protect something. It may be existing utilities or even natural landforms or waterways. Also, municipalities may have easements along roadways and streets for traffic safety, etc. Typically, no buildings are allowed within these areas.
If your home is located in a neighborhood with an HOA, more than likely they have architectural design guidelines that you must follow. Some neighborhoods have barely any restrictions while some have quite the lengthy and costly process. Often the design guidelines are more restrictive than what the municipality requires. Design guidelines can regulate items such as the appearance of your house, color, landscaping requirements and much more. Be sure you know what you’re getting into before you begin the process.
These are just a few of the irritating rules and regulations. Unfortunately, there may be many more. The way to conquer these annoying rules is to research and know what you are getting into before you jump in head first!