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Alternative licensed professionals  RSS feed

 
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I recently purchased a house in Greenwood Lake NY and really love it. It is an older house and needs work. I am not particularly handy but I am doing what I could.

I am truly fascinated by alternative building ideas like rocket mass heaters, greywater, compost toilets etc. but not at all skilled enough to build them on my own.

Any professional I can find around here gives me a strange look when I mention any of these things. My question is, is there any source or database out there of licensed professionals who are able and wiling to do this kind of work?

Thanks
 
pollinator
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Location: Southern Arizona. Zone 8b
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I doubt you'll find any such database, at least I've never heard of one.

However, a couple suggestions that might help:
People that are into alternative construction methods generally get known by word-of-mouth.  Try looking for local organizations, clubs, meet-up groups, etc. and ask those folks who they'd recommend.
If you can't find a local group, try starting one.
Failing that, try looking up general handyman types.  They tend to have a more varied skill set and are often open to new ideas.
 
Chad Pilieri
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Thanks for the response.

It is amazing that books on the subject like Art Ludwig are amazingly popular on Amazon yet don't follow through to society. If I set up rain barrels and grey water, my neighbors would have a stroke.

I bet there is a huge market for it, someone needs to start the ball rolling. I will look into what I could do.
 
Peter VanDerWal
pollinator
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Chad Pilieri wrote:Thanks for the response.

It is amazing that books on the subject like Art Ludwig are amazingly popular on Amazon yet don't follow through to society.



The books are targeted mostly at people that DIY, and DIY folks don't tend to hire professionals for what they can do themselves. 
Plus for every person that buys a book and follows through there probably 2-3 dreamers that buy the book book but never get around to building anything (just guessing).

Well that an the fact that even if you sell 10,000 books, that's only 0.0026% of the US population.
 
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Location: Abkhazia
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Maybe "alternative" and "licensed" are not two things that go together well?
(In my opinion getting licensed requires to think within the predefined borders.)
 
Peter VanDerWal
pollinator
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That is a good point, although perhaps not entirely true.

Getting licensed often requires either passing a test, or completing an internship, etc.  Licensed professionals are also required to follow the rules (code, etc.).  Well technically everyone is required to follow the rules, but if you get caught violating the rules, they can't revoke your license if you don't have one.

On the other hand, some areas are more 'progressive', shall we say, about allowing 'alternative' practices.

Arizona, for example, has some of the best rules for grey water.  Basically as long as you don't produce more than 400 gallons a day, and follow some simple (and generally good) rules, you don't need to file for a permit or get any inspections, etc.
In Arizona, all new housing is now required to have grey water stub outs.  They don't have to have a full grey water system, so they can (and often do) connect the grey water lines back into the sewer lines, but this has to be done OUTSIDE the house where they are accessible after construction is completed.  This makes it much easier to install a grey water system in the future if desired.  I really wish my house had been built after these rules went into effect, tunneling under the pad to access the drain pipes is a royal pain.

Rain water tanks up to 5,000 capacity that sit on grade, no permit required, etc.

In the county I live in alternative housing is fairly common (cave homes, geodesic domes, straw bale houses, etc.) and if you have at least 4 acres you are allowed to build almost anything you want WITHOUT having any inspections.  You still have to file for a permit and get your plans reviewed, but you don't have to have anything inspected.

Homeowners here in Arizona are allowed to DIY anything in their home, including electrical and plumbing work, although they are required to follow the code.  Major projects require a permit and inspections (unless you foll under the 4+ acre exemption)

For any work on your home that you do yourself, and that is valued less than $1,000, you don't even have to file for a permit or get it inspected; although you are still required to follow the appropriate code.  I frequently take advantage of that loophole by breaking major projects down into smaller, discrete, projects.

 
Sebastian Köln
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It is definitely an overstatement.

One certification that came to my mind is the PDC.
 
pollinator
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I know here in California, there is a California Straw Building Association and it lists some architects and contractors available for hire. I would suspect some other states have similar things. If you could find even one natural builder in your area, he/she could likely point you in the direction of others. It is a relatively small little niche market.
 
Peter VanDerWal
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Sebastian Köln wrote:It is definitely an overstatement.

One certification that came to my mind is the PDC.



Licensing and Certification are two different things.  Anyone that wants to can issue certificates for anything they want to.  Certification is only as meaningful as the organization behind it.

Licensing is (normally) done through some form of government.  Federal, state, city, whatever.
 
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