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Building a cob home in washington, but what county would code be less hindrous?  RSS feed

Jeb Gipson
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Subject says it all.
allen lumley
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Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Jep G. : I THINK that you will find that The code laws are the national standards, it is mostly at the state level that the Qualifications for a Code Enforcement Officer
is laid down, In most rural Counties this is an appointed part time job that (s)he may be trying to grow into a more full time job !!

Most Code Enforcement Officers C.E.O.s have some contracting /construction background, and at least have tried to read through the book since being appointed by local
Town level officials, here the idea is to try to rein in certain poor practices without people suing their Town Council because of the way that the C.E.O. is interpreting their
job !

Sadly, many C.E.O.s have a dozen or so areas that they loosely understand but closely check to make sure that the general Contractor is following closely, This is a poor
way for a C.E.O. to do his job, it poorly serves the Standards , the builders, property owners, or the local government !

For every code in the book there is a section of the book that deals with Reasonable/Safe Alternative Practices that legally can be allowed, but they are very poorly
understood by the C.E.O.s. Standard practice 'in the field 's to Require that an Architect ''sign off ' on these Alternative Practices, this removes the potential liability off of
the C.E.O. and the local governing body !

All this can be boiled down to a simple phrase "" Its a crap shoot '''' Sometimes just asking the locals will get you a lot of useful information - However if a local contractor
is 'wise to' the areas a specific C.E.O. checks- its food out of his kids mouths to tell everyone exactly how to not 'need' that contractor !

The only advice I can give and it is DAMNED hard to follow, get a feel for local practices before you buy the land, after is to late. You have just picked the C.E.O. that you
will have to work with ! ( I hope you were not looking for a list of names ! ) For the Good of the Crafts ! Big AL
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Jeb,

Code can be a real are many C.E.O., however, in many (most?) cases it is a matter of "language," and approach modality to the project that becomes the issue. Use the correct "language," have your design P.E. approved and often there is little issue with code...


Jack Edmondson
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Location: Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
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I would strongly encourage checking out Gray's Harbor county if building cob in WA. They do follow, for the most part, ICC 2012 code. However, they like many local municipalities, modify somewhat. Under exemptions 105.2 it allows one to build up to 800 sq ft for an 'accessory building' as opposed to the standard of 120 sq. ft. That means that one could permit a small traditional structure say 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom cabin; yet have 800 sq ft of living space, provided you detached it by a 10 ft set back.

I think a 'bunk house' with traditional build including permit; along with a large cob building would be a great way to stay legal and still have all the benefits of cob construction.

The details are here: 4th faq down on the list, brings up Residential exemptions:

direct link to .pdf:
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