Documenting code compliance when there's no local permitting authority


Well-known member
Aug 26, 2023
I found an interesting discussion on Reddit. When a tree fell on the house of a Vermont resident, he went to the insurance company for the coverage. The insurance company asked for proof of local or state permits to authorize the repairs. Now, there is a twist. Vermont does not have any kind of permitting or building codes for private, non-commercial residences. Thus, the homeowner wants the repairs done with the existing regulations, where as the insurance company does not want to cover the costs without proof of enforcement.

This situation is kind of tricky for those living in the areas where there aren't any local permitting regulations. Situation like this will certainly create issues when you want to make claims. For further information, you can read the original post here.
Vermont, United States
It's ideal the contractor follows the International Residential Code (IRC) or the International Building Code (IBC) standards. Especially so if local enforcement is absent like in this case. Doing so will demonstrate that the person is at least committed to the quality and the safety in said construction.

The homeowner should also review their insurance policy for important details, especially relating to any of the building code upgrades. You should find this under "Ordinance or Law" coverage. You may find more funds for code-compliant repairs, even with there being an absence of local code enforcement.

And one other thing the homeowner could do, is obtain a written statement, or affidavit from someone like the state fire marshal, or any relevant authority. Make sure it confirms the lack of local code enforcement. Having this document can further support your claim and in turn help push the insurance company to finally approve the needed repairs.
I think the Reddit poster may have been confused. Vermont definitely has building codes (see: Reading further into the thread it seems like the issue is probably more related to local enforcement of whatever codes actually apply in the OP's area (like you pointed out, @Jake).

One person who responded mentioned that they also lack building code enforcement where they live. That person made clear, though, that just because a jurisdiction lacks a permitting authority, doesn't mean there are no building codes. It seems like the OP is probably subject to unenforced building codes of some kind but just isn't aware of it and doesn't know how to navigate the situation.