zoning vs building code :: what is the difference?

If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between zoning and building code, especially if you’re looking at a new site for a project, Lee Calisti has an amazing post over at his blog think|architect. It applies to Canada just as much as the United States.

think | architect

zoning code

Please pardon the break from my esoteric soap box to address something important that comes up often in my practice. I have slipped in a few sarcastic statements if you’d like to count them – consider it a game.

Frequently I have property owners (or soon to be property owners) contact me interested in developing property or renovating an existing building where the early discussion revolves around what will the code permit. It is common for them to mention a discussion they had with local municipal officials where something goes wrong (often horribly – no offense intended to government officials). They state something that demonstrates a misunderstanding of the difference between a local zoning ordinance and a building code. I tried to say that politely.

When I get involved and start to do research, I find that people often misunderstand the difference and it is not uncommon that decisions are…

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