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Attention: Ozarks or Missoula area strawbale homes or tiny home residents, please reply

 
Mindy Wolff
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I am looking to gather first hand information from persons living in actual strawbale or tiny home (not one wheels) in the Missoula, MT, area or Ozarks (AR, MO, KS). As I am interested in living in those areas, I find it best to get it "straight from the horses mouth," as they say. If you are not a resident of such a home, yet have valuable knowledge to share, or a good resource to point me to, please feel free to respond.

What I would like to know about:

Logistics- permits, codes, requirements, etc.

Cost

Building changes in hindsight

Recommend items or ideas

Foundations: both required and for best practices in cold, wet, and potentially difficult climates

And anything else you feel I should be thinking of or looking into.

One thing I definitely want is to utilize a rocket mass heater. Have any of you had issues with getting this to be approved?

I noticed that for Missoula they stated a residential building under 120sq ft of interior space did not need building permits. Any advise or issues on that matter?

Thank you for your time,
Mindy
 
                    
Posts: 238
Location: AR ~ozark mountain range~zone7a
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From Stone County, AR there really is no 'building code'...when your outside of city limits, if your inside city limits then there is building code enforcement thru the city planning & zoning office, I think it would be easier for you to just call them at 870-269-3686. Electrical installation even outside the city limit, minimally requires an licensed electrician to 'sign off' on your electric installation, before the Entergy 800-368-3749 will hook on to the house. Don't get 'city water' or rural water if you can help it, heavy chlorinated, and can become expensive if you get rural water service 'tap' out to your place, ya have to continue to pay for that tap even if you have the water meter pulled out, I think a 'perk test/septic tank' outside of the city limit, is required before they will hook up water service, if your in town, you have to pay to hook on to the sewer & continuous sewer cost thereafter. A water well can be drilled by a permit/ licensed driller, ya better figure 200 feet deep?..depends...and ask the driller how much he gets, last time I checked it was around $8/foot but you should find out first hand from the driller. So various 'improvements' to a property should be considered before you buy, as all these add up quick... electric, water, natural gas, roadways, telephone...you might want to find a place that at least has what utilities you need already 'available' nearby. Building a RMH in town, ask planning & zoning, out of town should be easy enough, don't know if insurance would cover it.

Real estate tax appraisal jumped 33% a few years ago, and this was statewide, and I expect them to jump it again within the next 5 years. But since your going rather small sq. footage, that could be a good thing, because the tax appraiser usually appraises based on sq. footage, & any other 'permanent' buildings, or cars & boats...call the county assessor at 870-269-3524, they also tax 'personal property', which is hooked to the school millage tax...lol...even if you don't go to school, nor have kids to send to school! (I could never figure that one out, I just pay it). Sales tax on everything (even used stuff), in town, it is around 10% now, which is wayyy too daRn much, I doubt it will ever go back down. There is also a state income tax.

There is also expense if your clearing a part of an 'unimproved' wooded lot, it isn't enough to just 'cut trees', but for a building site, minimally you need to get the stumps out and make a garden spot and a road...could get a little pricey, just to get started.

It isn't easy getting a job here, we have cutthroats that will drive a hundred miles per day to work part-time! sad but true. They don't call AR 'right to work for less' for nothing.

james beam
 
Gary Hughes
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I live in OK and since I live outside a small rural town there is no inspections and the only thing I needed was a $30 permit. I'm doing a straw bale house with an earthen floor. I've got my roof up with minimum 30" of overhang all the way around. I'm just now plastering the straw with clay dug from my trenches and I'm using "clean screenings" from the local rock quarry as the sand. So far not a single crack and I attribute that to the powdery stuff in the screenings. If screenings get wet and then dry they are hard so they must have some sort of bonding in them but they break apart, but with clay and straw added it becomes as hard as rock or stucco. I plan on sifting out the bigger particles for the last coat though since they are slightly bigger than normal sand. My straw bales are only insulation, and provide no structural support. I would highly recommend you orient to the south and use as much passive solar design as you can. Just realize it will take longer than you think, at least it is for me. It's a one man show here.

Biggest costs for far, trusses $3500 standing seam metal roof $5000, lumber...don't know for sure but maybe $1500-2000? straw $1000 labor of love, priceless.
 
Mindy Wolff
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I am a "less is more" kind of gal. If I can get away, legal wise, with solar power, rain catchments, water delivery even, and composting toilet, then I am game. I want to be as off grid as I can be. I don't watch TV now, so that's no big deal. I do love Internet, so there is a concern. Yet, a good local library or coffee shop with wifi suits me fine. I want to build a rocket stove mass heater. Utilizing that for cooking in winter, too. I was thinking a grill outside and an adobe oven would work too. Each of these things take time to create, which is fine by me. Living outside city limits would be best for me too, as part of my disability makes me sort of freak out with crowds. So that would be a no to black Friday shopping for me. Lol.

With these other details in mind, which I am sure would have been nice if I had posted them last night (super fail for Lupus Girl), What else would you guys suggest or like me to consider?

Thank you so much for being of help. Those phone numbers are a massive help! (Can't wait until my roommate gets home so I can borrow her phone. I don't own one, because I hate them. Lol. Face-palm)

Thank you again,

Mindy

james beam wrote:From Stone County, AR there really is no 'building code'...when your outside of city limits, if your inside city limits then there is building code enforcement thru the city planning & zoning office, I think it would be easier for you to just call them at 870-269-3686. Electrical installation even outside the city limit, minimally requires an licensed electrician to 'sign off' on your electric installation, before the Entergy 800-368-3749 will hook on to the house. Don't get 'city water' or rural water if you can help it, heavy chlorinated, and can become expensive if you get rural water service 'tap' out to your place, ya have to continue to pay for that tap even if you have the water meter pulled out, I think a 'perk test/septic tank' outside of the city limit, is required before they will hook up water service, if your in town, you have to pay to hook on to the sewer & continuous sewer cost thereafter. A water well can be drilled by a permit/ licensed driller, ya better figure 200 feet deep?..depends...and ask the driller how much he gets, last time I checked it was around $8/foot but you should find out first hand from the driller. So various 'improvements' to a property should be considered before you buy, as all these add up quick... electric, water, natural gas, roadways, telephone...you might want to find a place that at least has what utilities you need already 'available' nearby. Building a RMH in town, ask planning & zoning, out of town should be easy enough, don't know if insurance would...........

james beam
 
Mindy Wolff
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Gary Hughes wrote:I live in OK and since I live outside a small rural town there is no inspections and the only thing I needed was a $30 permit. I'm doing a straw bale house with an earthen floor. I've got my roof up with minimum 30" of overhang all the way around. I'm just now plastering the straw with clay dug from my trenches and I'm using "clean screenings" from the local rock quarry as the sand. So far not a single crack and I attribute that to the powdery stuff in the screenings. If screenings get wet and then dry they are hard so they must have some sort of bonding in them but they break apart, but with clay and straw added it becomes as hard as rock or stucco. I plan on sifting out the bigger particles for the last coat though since they are slightly bigger than normal sand. My straw bales are only insulation, and provide no structural support. I would highly recommend you orient to the south and use as much passive solar design as you can. Just realize it will take longer than you think, at least it is for me. It's a one man show here.

Biggest costs for far, trusses $3500 standing seam metal roof $5000, lumber...don't know for sure but maybe $1500-2000? straw $1000 labor of love, priceless.


Are you northern or southern OK? I have a big part of my family out that way whom are pushing me in their direction. Maybe I watched "Oklahoma" the musical too much, because I have this idea that it is all flat and has a combined count of 300 trees for the whole state. Would you mind sharing some pictures of your progress? PM me please. Also, it sounds like your home is fairly large, based on the lumber. Or is that just what lumber, staw, etc....prices are like out there? My uncle, mother, and perhaps a few other hands, would be able to help of I build there. Yet, I would like to get a better idea of the area. I will look forward to hearing from you. I am also going to check out the average rain fall and wind speed.

Thank you so much!

Sincerely,
Mindy
 
John Pollard
Posts: 125
Location: Ozarks
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Most counties in MO that aren't in or around a city have zero restrictions/codes.
 
Todd McDonald
Posts: 36
Location: Mid-Missouri
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Mindy,

I know some folks here in central Missouri, about 30 minutes from Columbia, that live in a straw bale house and have for many years. They could definitely tell you what the positives and negatives are and what they would change about the house. The house is off grid, passive solar, wood burning masonry heater, composting toilet, and earthen floors. If you are going to be in this area purple mooseage me and I'll see if I can set up a tour for you. I always like visiting them, its very inspiring.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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