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Tiny House: Electricity and Plumbing ....  RSS feed

 
                
Posts: 10
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I'm still researching Tiny Houses ....

Question #1: If I want to connect electricity in a Tiny House to the city, what is the range of cost for the connection?

Question #2: What is the largest Tiny House you can have and still not have to connect to city sewer/septic?
 
                                
Posts: 98
Location: Eastern Colorado, USA
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1. Ask your electric utility.

2. Ask your local building department.
 
Derek Brewer
Posts: 113
Location: Hatfield, PA
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For 1 you need a licensed electrician. Most power companies won't let you do it yourself. Costs vary based on the area.

For 2, again, totally depends on your locale.

For both: Note that there are specific minimum size requirements for a certificate of occupancy or a primary dwelling. This will most likely be your biggest hurdle.

I would suggest running DC throughout the house and power yourself via solar if you've got the right angles. As for water, you may want to be on city water depending on how polluted your water-table is. I'd say a trip to your city planner's office is in order. Good luck.
 
ronie dee
Posts: 620
Location: NW MO
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I suggest that you make a friend or friends at city hall. Being friendly and eager to learn from the inspectors vast knowledge flatters the guy. If possible borrow or buy a city firefighter's T-shirt that has the city firefighter logo on it.. Be a productive member of society.. All that BS aside - people at the city have a job to do.. There job is to follow as many codes and impress as many supervisors as they can - while not allowing something unsafe to be built on their watch.

YOU want a structure that is not common to them so it is easier for them to say no than to try to figure out how to pass your weird ideas, plans and 'kooky' dreams. (Kooky to them not to us.) If you present a plan that they can pass they will unless you brought attitude -then they can find loopholes galore that will allow them to reject. Sorry butt go up there with your best attitude then kiss ass and brown nose your way into their hearts until they are with you on this not against you. There is a city inspector that still asks about how I'm doing to this day. (I just found out about this from my plumber neighbor.)

Anyway my first suggestion to anyone is to buy land that has no zoning nor any restrictions. That being hard or impractical for some situations, then try to figure out what building would be easiest to get by the inspection... Like a small barn or storage shed - build this first and hook electricity up to it. Then wait a few months and apply for a remodel permit and remodel the shed into have a loft or living area.

In my case I could not do any of the utilities myself if it was considered a new build...but if they considered it a remodel - then there were many things I could do myself... If you are aware of your cities codes you can figure out all kindza ways around doing everything yourself.

Next time go with NO ZONING and NO RESTRICTIONS.   You're on your own there and building safe is your responsibility - but you don't need inspectors nor permits.
 
Fred Winsol
Posts: 155
Location: Sierras
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Great suggestions and super advice ronie.  i would add that after you pull a permit for tiny barn (no inspections needed), you put up PV solar panels, batch solar hot water system, and use composting toilet (sawdust bucket?). 

I would also add that besides your local inspectors, you need to take the same approach with your neighbors - who can be bigger pains in the butt sometimes than county/city folk.

People love to teach 'newbies' all their hard-won knowledge, so become a permanent student.

Good Luck!
 
Derek Brewer
Posts: 113
Location: Hatfield, PA
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From http://www.thetinylife.com/how-to-get-started-a-practical-guide-part-6/

The legality of Tiny Houses is really the skeleton in the closet of Tiny Houses; in most instances, it isn’t legal, there is no other way of putting it.  That said there are individuals who have successfully navigated the red tape or achieved an understanding with the code enforcement people where they just leave each other alone.

But what about putting it on a trailer?  But what about minimum square footage requirements?  These are two commonly cited “loop holes” from various people in the Tiny House world, but it really isn’t the magical solution make it seem like.  Why?  Simply put it often comes down to the fact that you are making these houses your primary residents.  That term is key, primary residence.  When that comes into play, it is a whole different ball game.  So yes you can build something under X amount of square feet in your county, but most places have minimum codes defining what a habitable structure is.  This often includes heat, cooling, running water, and a minimum square foot requirement often 300 square feet or larger.  In some counties in NC who want to boost tax revenue, I have seen the minimum set as high as 3,000 square feet!
 
Kevin O'Kane
Posts: 4
Location: Sydney
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Reading thru the comments, I find The Dirt Surgeon’s comment hilarious but true. Kidding aside, you should try to get an electrician, a reputable one, who can give you some estimates. This is what a mate has done when he wanted to know the cost of gas plumbing. He asked a reputable gas plumber to inspect the place and provide him quotes. Regarding the size of the tiny house, you might need to check at your local city hall for the zoning specs.
 
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