Taking the reins of your home renovation gives you total control of every detail. It's a big project but, when done well, can be hugely satisfying. If you're embarking on a DIY reno, get acquainted with local building codes and file the proper paperwork before you even begin. Remember: Any home improvement that involves more than a fresh coat of paint may require a permit from your community’s building department. Building codes aren't just about having the right paperwork. The fact is, home construction that's not up to code can be dangerous, may not be covered by insurance, and puts you at risk to serious fines. If you want to make doubly sure your work isn’t a hazard to you and the rest of your house, hire a general inspector to perform an evaluation.