M Padgett Engineering & Construction
Thinking about a new building project, renovation, or repair?  Below are notes about engineering and building topics with links to other websites that you may find useful when researching a project and trying to navigate the red tape. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or if you can recommend something to add to this page.

Legal Disclaimer:  While we think this information is correct (or we wouldn't list it here), we do not guararantee this information nor do we endorse these other websites nor do we make any claim to their accuracy or content. (Remember, you can't believe every single thing you read on the internet!)

  • Building Codes & Standards
    • ​States adopt national and international building codes that regulate how structures are built.  This is largely for saftey, health, welfare, and standardization.  These are enforced at the city and county level.  Individual municipalities may also adopt codes above and beyond what is regulated at the state level. These are the main two code groups.
      • The International Code Council issues many different codes mostly relating to building, and mechanical systems.  The two most often used are the:
        • International Building Code, generally covers commercial structures
        • International Residential Code, generally covers residential structures
        • A full list of their codes is available here .
      • The National Fire Protection Association  issues many different codes too, though these mostly relate to fire and electrical.
        • A full list of their codes is available here
    • Other agencies such as DHEC, FEMA, and federal legislature like the Americans with Disibilities Act (ADA) have requirements that have to be taken in to consideration when building.  
    • South Carolina, like all states, does its own modifications to the various building codes it adopts too. A full list of the current building codes, modifications of those codes, wind and seismic maps, and other useful code information is listed here
    • Certain municipalities adopt or modify certain building codes beyond what the state adopts such as additional height limitations or fire-safety requirements.
    • Numerous other codes, standards, and associations are referenced in these building codes as well.  ASTM and UL standards are a common example.  

  • Planning & Zoning
    • In addition to building codes, individual municipalities will have their own planning and zoning ordinances that determine aspects of what type of structure can be built, where, height, finishes, and numerous other items.  This is usually part of the municipality building department. If it isn't, they can direct you to the proper department.
    • Many municipalities post their codes and ordinances online through MuniCode. Most of South Carolina's larger cities, towns, and counties codes can be found hereNote, if there, it's usually best to go by what is listed on the municpality's website because it's more likely to be the latest edition.  

  • Licensing
    • Engineers are required to be licensed by the state they operate in. In South Carolina, this is done by the LLR Board of Engineers and Surveyors Other states have similar boards.
    • Architects in South Carolina are licensed by the LLR Board of Architectural Examiners. Again, other states have similar boards.
    • Contractors are required to be licensed by the state they operate in. In  South Carolina there are:
      • Residential Licenses. Residental contractors can only work on residential properties. There are full residential licenses which would allow a contractor to build a whole house and specialty licenses which only allow contractors to perform certain trades such as plumbing, carpentry, or HVAC.  Full residential licenses holders are not limited by the cost of the project.  Specialty licenses are generally limited to projects less than $5000 unless they are working directly for a fully licensed contractor. 
      • Commercial Licenses .  Generally, commercially licensed contractors can do commercial and residential work.  Commercial licenses are broken down by specialty trades and are limited in the cost of the project by their group rating.