Warm weather has finally arrived, and, even though outdoor activities are calling, spring is the time of year we recognize building safety (although it's important to think about these issues year-round). Here are several things you can do to ensure your home is safe. Sully District Supervisor Kathy L. Smith, who also chairs the Board of Supervisors' Land Use Planning Committee, shares information about the importance of building safety.
1. Hire a Licensed Contractor
Always hire a licensed contractor to do the more complicated projects around your home. Using professionals ensures quality, safety and responsibility (including getting the permit)! Learn more about hiring contractors on the Land Development Services webpage.
2. Ensure Work Is Permitted and Inspected
Confirm that all work completed on your home is properly permitted and inspected. Learn what projects require a permit – and which do not – online. Checking that buildings are built to code by use of permits and inspections is how Fairfax County ensures that things like plumbing, new electrical work and gas appliances are safe for use.
3. Keep Up Regular Maintenance
Remember, all buildings need regular maintenance and inspections to keep residents safe.
- Change batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms every six months (unless you have a 10-year smoke alarm) – and test them monthly.
- Check HVAC units every six months (once for air conditioners and once for furnaces).
- Inspect gas appliances, chimneys, fireplaces and vents each year.
- Examine the roof for damage from weather and other factors.
- Check the electrical system every 10 years for newer homes and every five years for older homes.
- If you have a deck, review our building official's deck safety tips.
4. Open House May 22
Attend the Building Safety Month Open House at the Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library May 22, 2-4 p.m. Fairfax County staff, including building inspectors, plan reviewers and permit technicians, will demonstrate online tools and applications, answer questions and provide information and direction. Staff will offer tips and guidance for popular home improvement projects including decks, plumbing fixtures, gas appliances and finished basements.