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Building vaults and domes in metro areas, and getting permits.  RSS feed

 
Simon Malik
Posts: 25
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
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Hello.

I live in the Greater Cincinnati Ohio Tri-State area, and (as some of my posts indicate) am planning and designing what will be a self-built house for my wife and I.
We are interested in doing vaulted or domed ceilings and roofs in some portions of the house, and a flat terrace style roof over the rest. I've read a good deal about Nubian style vaulting, and Mexican / Catalan style bóveda arch / dome ceilings.

Someone on Permies suggested ferrocement instead of terracotta tile/brick, and I'm reading up on it.

Does anyone have any advice on seeking local permits for vaults and dones? I understand that what building departments want differs from municipality to municipality, and most likely I'll need an engineer to sign off. Doing it in ferrocement instead of bricks will also

I also read in The Barefoot Architect about a technique of casting ferrocement based curved jack-arch panels for floors and ceilings. I've seen ceilings that look like they were done this way in Algeria, and India. is there anyone out there who has done these, and if so do you have any advice on making them, and the sort of weight limits they can handle ?

I'm wondering if a series of curved jack-arch panels could not only make a good roof, but one able to support a terrace with foot traffic, or a floor on another story.

Thanks in advance for the wisdom and insights people share here. I've learned so much not only from the few questions I've asked, but from the wealth of past answers in the forum.

 
William Bronson
Posts: 1491
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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  I am more of a cautionary tale than an example of how to deal with the authorities.
An off the top of my idea is to contact someone from The University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning,( commonly referred to as DAAP).

They might know something about getting alternative building methods permitted in Cincinnati.

For example the mushroom house:
poi_gallery_image-image-516a9cac-666c-45d8-8c6c-21ddd180d0b1.jpg
[Thumbnail for poi_gallery_image-image-516a9cac-666c-45d8-8c6c-21ddd180d0b1.jpg]
 
Simon Malik
Posts: 25
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
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Thank you so much William, I've driven by that house before ! It's somewhere near Hyde Park or Mt Lookout if I recall correctly.. It struck me as really imaginative.

Thank you for the advice to contact DAAP. I'll do that, we live not so far from Clifton anyway. I don't mean to pry, but you said that you were more of a cautionary tale.. is it difficult dealing with the building dept on alternative construction?
Thanks for the reply and advice!
 
Michelle Bisson
Posts: 222
Location: Quebec, Canada
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forest garden hugelkultur trees urban
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I believe that if you have an engineer you are working with, then most issues with the local building dept goes away as the engineer will know what will get pass.  That is their job.  The key is to find an engineer willing to work with alternative building styles.
 
William Bronson
Posts: 1491
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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Cautionary tale...
Well, I've had to cut my 9' tall fence down to 6', I am moving my chickens from the shed(w/ concrete foundation ) I built for them to a chickshaw,or ChookWagon,in order to comply with zoning regulations,and I have a hearing with the city on Monday because they cited me for the Bagster(dumpster) I was using to clean up my yard in response to a previous citation.

My neighbor is using the city as a weapon against me.
Two smell complaints,both times the inspector stood almost in the(deep bedding)coop,and smelled nothing.

So, not the harmonious relationship one would want to have with the regulators.
 
Simon Malik
Posts: 25
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
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Michelle Bisson wrote:I believe that if you have an engineer you are working with, then most issues with the local building dept goes away as the engineer will know what will get pass.  That is their job.  The key is to find an engineer willing to work with alternative building styles.


Hi Michelle,
Thanks. I'll take that advice and start looking around/asking around for engineers who know about, and are comfortable with, alternative building techniques and approaches. It will probably really help me to refine a lot of ideas in my head anyway. I'll need to eventually work with an engineer anyway, to get things like loads figured out and make sure that what we are desigining is actually safe and viable. Having a talk with one earlier rather than later would probably save my wife and I a good deal of headache later on..

Thanks again!
 
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