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Diary of a Mad Renovator: Up to Code

Written by Jaqui Lividini

One of the most challenging aspects of undergoing a renovation project is dealing with the restrictions and rigors of adhering to town code. For the uninitiated: every town has its own individual set of rules for how one can build or renovate an existing structure, so it’s very important to get familiar with the town code (and hopefully the town council) from the onset of any local project. 

For instance, with our home renovation the town code dictated that our bathrooms have exhaust systems, our staircases have railings, and our electrical box be situated above the high tide mark. These are just some of the rules set forth in the Branford town code, which we were required to follow whether they were desirable to the aesthetics and functionality of our project or not.

Luckily, the town of Branford has been exceptionally helpful and easy to deal with from day one. We’ve been fortunate to work closely with them and this relationship has saved us valuable time, money and energy. When FEMA changed the flood zones after Hurricane Sandy, the town called me personally to let me know that we should rethink certain aspects of our renovation, which led to the lifting of the house. Tony from the building department called to let us know that a subcontractor we had hired was doing substandard work on our house. And finally, town employee Janice Plaziak emailed me back on a Sunday to help out with a time sensitive question.  Talk about going above and beyond! After all that we’ve been through with the renovation, the easiest and the most pleasant part of this project has been dealing with the town of Branford. Thank you!

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