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Karl Newman, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Director     
NW Insurance Council 
Phone: (206) 624-3330
Fax: (206) 624-1975
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Home & Business Improvement:
following building codes saves lives
and protects your investment

SEATTLE - During the summer months many homeowners and business owners rush to complete "do-it-yourself" home or office improvement projects including remodels and additions. The time pressure created by a short season of good weather can present a temptation to cut corners and go with a "good enough" approach to building codes.

NW Insurance Council encourages homeowners and business owners to protect their homes, families and business by following all local and state building codes while working on improvement projects.

"Building codes save lives," said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. "While it may sometimes seem like a hassle, getting the right permits, following building codes and updating your insurance coverage helps protect you, your family and your investment in your property."

Cutting corners or allowing un-permitted work puts your family, workers and neighbors at risk and can lead to fires, water damage and unecessary Homeowners Insurance and Business Insurance claims.

If you're looking to sell your home or commercial property, faulty work can reduce its value as potential buyers may find the work unacceptable. Worse yet, if you experience a loss as a result of an improvement project that didn't meet current building codes, it could result in nonrenewal of your insurance policy or a higher insurance premium.

The National Science Foundation conducted a study on the 2003 Turkey earthquake that killed 168 people. The study concluded that many of those deaths could have been prevented had builders followed Turkey's existing building codes.

By comparison, in December 2007 a powerful windstorm ripped through Western Washington and Oregon, causing more than 32,000 claims and $165 million in property damage to homes and small businesses. The December 2006 Hanukkah-Eve windstorm was even more severe with 57,500 claims and $220 million in damage in Washington and Oregon. Structural experts say the damage would have been much greater if homes and businesses weren't built in compliance with modern building codes.

If you're thinking of starting a home or office improvement project, NW Insurance Council offers the following key facts about why it's important to follow building codes:

  • Building codes ensure that homes and commercial buildings are constructed to protect lives, reduce injuries and minimize property damage.
  • Obtaining a building permit ensures that a certified inspector can examine your project to verify that it is safe and up to code.
  • Building codes can help alleviate costly repairs down the road as the result of faulty work.
  • Building codes protect your investment because they ensure that electrical, plumbing and structural work is done safely and inspected by a professional.
  • Your improvements also should be included in your insurance coverage so you will be protected in the event of a fire or other covered loss. Contact your company or agent to be sure you have the right coverage for your home or business property.

For more information about Homeowners and Business Insurance, visit or call (800) 664-4942.

NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.