Lessons Learned: Check Your City’s Codes And Regulations Before DIY-ing

Applying a coat of fresh paint, refinishing hardwood floors, installing built-in shelves–these sorts of DIY projects can be completed within the privacy of your own home. But what happens when a project moves outside, whether to your home’s exterior or your surrounding property?
Take a cue from a Los Angeles resident who is learning the hard way about city codes and regulations. Barbara Black enlisted the help of a local high school art class to cover what she called an unsightly fence.
So they did, using spray paint and other materials to create a street art mural. Once it was finished, however, neighbors began to complain, and the city stepped in.

Because the artists signed their work, there’s enough wording on the mural to classify it as a sign, according to city regulations. And therefore, a whole new set of codes opened up. The result? Black has to paint over the mural.
Lesson learned? Be sure to research your city’s codes and regulations if you’re planning an outdoor project, especially one with a high degree of visibility. You may find yourself in the midst of some archaic ordinances, but it’s better to be safe than sorry–or have to tear down a pricey, time-consuming project because of a city dispute.
Have you run into code issues with any of your DIY projects? Please share your stories with us in the comments!

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