Consumer Confidential: handling code violations

You want to be certain all the work that's being done in a home improvement project is up to code. If you don't, you may have to expand that project budget.

As a homeowner, there may come a time when you receive a notice from a code enforcement inspector that some aspect of your home does not meet building codes.

Amarillo building official Scott McDonald says, "Codes protect. And our job here at the City of Amarillo and all of the inspectors is truly looking out for our citizens and those people who live, work, and visit Amarillo."

Typically, when a code violation is identified, homeowners are required to bring the issue up to code or remove the offending source entirely within a certain period of time. Don't comply -- and you could face significant financial penalties, and even legal trouble.

But McDonald would rather solve issues before they get to that point. "If we can sit down with folks in the beginning, visit with them, talk about what they're doing, help them through that -- that's what our goal is."

Some homeowners' insurance policies won't cover damage to an area that isn't up to code. McDonald suggests you talk with your insurance agent and talk about "code upgrade insurance coverage" before things get to that stage.