The Building Code is a minimum Code. Certain things are not required by Code. You could have a $260,000 dwelling built to Code in Wisconsin that does not have a place to hook up your garden hose on the outside of the dwelling. Gutters and downspouts are not required by Code either. Many other things that some new home owners assume will be included by their builder never magically appear in or on the dwelling.
Most builders are guys and all guys have flunked Mind Reading 101 and the rest have dropped out of Thought Perception 102. Just ask their wives....
Code officials can't help you with them either. They just enforce a minimum Code.
Some items are found in Code but are not required in a dwelling. If you get an outside hose hydrant, what I call a hose "bib" on your dwelling there is Code that specifies how to install it and what type of backflow prevention is required for it. But Code does not say you have to have one on the dwelling to meet Code. Think of it like a 2nd bath room. Not required in a dwelling BUT if you get one it has to meet Code.
Gutters on the other hand are not required by Code and there is NO CODE dealing with the installation of gutters. Nothing saying what gauge the metal should be, the spacing of supports, the size of the downspouts, the slope so they drain efficiently, the framing the gutters are connected to, etc. You could get gutters that are randomly nailed into a 1x 4 fascia board and are nearly level and the Code official couldn't help you when they end up on the ground after the ice and snow of the first winter. (I've seen it happen... the owner had her X install them to save her money. I really question that women's logic because she still owes him $10,000 from their divorce settlement... penny wise and pound foolish?)
Some structural matters that are good practice are not required by Code. Good practice has roof plywood / OSB end joints that are staggered. A close check of what is required by code shows that is not required. I just came from a job where the all the ends of the plywood ended up in the same framing members. A check with the Code powers that are in our Capital confirmed that the builder met Code. The APA documents confirmed that. So much for good practice.....
I fully realize that the home owner is at a disadvantage when it comes to knowing what needs to be known. Once a contractor is hired, he becomes a monopolist as soon as the contract is signed. My next blogging bit will talk more about that. But for now ask a zillion questions UP FRONT before you sign anything or open you wallet and also touch base with your Inspector to see if (and its not his job) he will give you any things to look for, ask about, or specify.
How many zeros are in a zillion anyway? You can't ask enough questions, let the wife talk too.
Yes, there is in common law what is called an "implied warranty". An implied warranty says an item should be fit for the purpose it was intended. Don't expect an inspector to enforce an implied warranty. If the contractor doesn't have the integrity to correct the problem you may need to seek a remedy via the courts ... and a good lawyer. Small claims court in this State is only good for 5 grand.
Until next time....