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Steven Baxter
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Has anyone read this book or recommend any books similar to it?

http://nobuildingcodes.com/
 
Steven Baxter
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Out of curiosity, boredom, and other things i bought the e book. I couldn't hold out. I'll let you know how it is!

 
Jake Van
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That looks like a good purchase! What's it say about TN? Also keep an eye on Mike Reynolds website for the map of what he calls "pockets of freedom" http://earthship.com/pockets-of-freedom
 
Len Ovens
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Even in a place where building codes are not (yet) in force... they could be coming soon. Make sure you document when you build. If there is any concrete that will show after the build is complete, put the date in it with your finger or a stick... I would say make it an "old" date, but sometimes those things come back and bite you...  Take pictures with the date on them etc. So that if the use of building codes comes in, you have proof of having built before then. Also keep a copy of any documentation that shows that you don't need building codes at the time of building... Make sure you get some. Make sure you keep track of any new laws requiring B.C. See if you can get a copy of when the B.C. come into effect. Having these things on hand might save you grief... and maybe your house too.
 
Brice Moss
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a quick dirty trick for dating documents that stands up better than dated pictures in court is to mail them to yourself and leave them sealed, you can then open them in front of witnesses or the court showing th postmark as proof of date (write what is in the envelope on the outside)
 
                            
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Location: Ava, Mo, USA, Earth
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Brice Moss wrote:
a quick dirty trick for dating documents that stands up better than dated pictures in court is to mail them to yourself and leave them sealed, you can then open them in front of witnesses or the court showing th postmark as proof of date (write what is in the envelope on the outside)


Contrary to rumors, this has never been upheld in court.  You can mail yourself an empty unsealed envelope.
 
Steven Baxter
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Well to give a quick overview, it is a pdf format. States said to have a statewide code or no statewide code. Some states have little or no info. But all the states do have at least 4 web sites that could help you find out more info.

I don't think this book will give you a solution or an "answer", author also points out many times that doing your own research is advised. It does give you some sort of direction of where to start looking and which codes to research.

Ill let you know about TN. In a later post.

I mostly looked at states I wanted to buy in, but I will get back to you on TN because their was a bit of info on that state.
 
                            
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In Cochise county, Arizona,  where my 40 acres is, there is a waiver you can use to opt out of inspection. You have to have at least 4 acres to use it, and you can't subdivide less than that.  I plan to build an earthbag home on my land and will use the waiver. I plan to retire there and am not concerned with the resale.
 
Steven Baxter
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So tennessee,

He mentions a opt-in statewide energy code (IBC 2006) I have no idea what that code stands for. But counties have control over whether or not they will adopt, by a 2/3rds vote. It became a law July 1 2010. I would look into see if a county has or not.

This article talks about it.
http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2009/dec/13/codes-part-new-statewide-energy-policy-jurisdictio/

Some counties do not have code, but until the matter above gets cleared out it is hard to tell who will enforce or not.

Other websites:

http://www.state.tn.us/commerce/sfm/index.shtml

http://www.city-data.com/forum/tennessee/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennessee

http://tn.gov/

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/united_states.html
 
Steven Baxter
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AZGuy wrote:
In Cochise county, Arizona,  where my 40 acres is, there is a waiver you can use to opt out of inspection. You have to have at least 4 acres to use it, and you can't subdivide less than that.  I plan to build an earthbag home on my land and will use the waiver. I plan to retire there and am not concerned with the resale.


Yes the book also mentions this. Also one of the states/ counties I have looked into, about buying land. Also Greenlee county in AZ, has little or no codes.

How is Cochise? Could you tell me a bit about it and your experience living their? Are permits for building costly?
 
Steven Baxter
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Rover wrote:
That looks like a good purchase! What's it say about TN? Also keep an eye on Mike Reynolds website for the map of what he calls "pockets of freedom" http://earthship.com/pockets-of-freedom


Thanks I checked out the link it had some very useful info. I need more maps and stuff like that
 
John Polk
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I have read that in most parts of Arkansas, once you get beyond city limits, there are no codes.  But, then again, if the city expands, you may later fall within the code requirements.  Usually, in such a case, existing buildings would be 'grandfathered in', but future improvements/repairs could still fall under code.  That may seriously effect resale possibilities.
 
                            
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oracle wrote:
Yes the book also mentions this. Also one of the states/ counties I have looked into, about buying land. Also Greenlee county in AZ, has little or no codes.

How is Cochise? Could you tell me a bit about it and your experience living their? Are permits for building costly?

I was amazed to find that water is available there. My well is about 110 feet deep with water only 59 feet down from the surface. Most places in AZ the water is 170 - 700 feet down. There are many orchards in the area growing pecans, apples and grapes.  I have not started building yet, but hope to begin in the fall. Here is a link to info on the county and the fee schedules are listed here:
http://www.cochise.az.gov/cochise_planning_zoning.aspx?id=334&ekmensel=c580fa7b_182_0_334_9
single family dwelling, owner-builder permit is $355 + Plan Review fee, or if you opt out of inspection and plan review as I will likely do, the cost is $105.
The area is hot and dry, about 13" of precipitation a year, and it's windy most of the time.  The wind gusts can be pretty intense, so that has to be taken into consideration when building or planting.  Tumbleweeds are a nuisance and the Mohave Rattler lives there, a particularly poisonous creature that gives me the willies.  Everything has its pros and cons. Living there is cheap, the weather is generally good, water is available, and the land is cheap, often less than $1000 per acre.
Hope that helps.

azguy
 
Len Ovens
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For those outside the USA... in particular Canada... There is a national building code that covers the whole country. There are places where one does not need a permit or types of building that do not need a permit. However, the BC still applies even to unpermited buildings. This means that while you can build without a permit, it is still possible to get sued for a not to code building if someone gets hurt. It is possible to get a permit for something outside of the BC if an engineer signs it off. It is possible to build some outside the box buildings too if one takes the time to read the parts of the BC that apply and quote them at each part of the plans that are non-standard. That is, one needs to know the BC better than the city/county engineering department.... and even the engineer we wish to sign things off for us. Canada has many places that have no grid and the national building code makes allowances and suggestions for this.

Having said that, there are places that are more open to new ways of doing things that are not covered by code and places who want a simple life.... read "have engineers who are about to retire or came last in their class and know they don't know anything".
 
Steven Baxter
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AZGuy wrote:
I was amazed to find that water is available there. My well is about 110 feet deep with water only 59 feet down from the surface. Most places in AZ the water is 170 - 700 feet down. There are many orchards in the area growing pecans, apples and grapes.  I have not started building yet, but hope to begin in the fall. Here is a link to info on the county and the fee schedules are listed here:
http://www.cochise.az.gov/cochise_planning_zoning.aspx?id=334&ekmensel=c580fa7b_182_0_334_9
single family dwelling, owner-builder permit is $355 + Plan Review fee, or if you opt out of inspection and plan review as I will likely do, the cost is $105.
The area is hot and dry, about 13" of precipitation a year, and it's windy most of the time.  The wind gusts can be pretty intense, so that has to be taken into consideration when building or planting.  Tumbleweeds are a nuisance and the Mohave Rattler lives there, a particularly poisonous creature that gives me the willies.   Everything has its pros and cons. Living there is cheap, the weather is generally good, water is available, and the land is cheap, often less than $1000 per acre.
Hope that helps.

azguy


Very useful info, thanks a lot. I am glad you mentioned the wind. How long does the wind usually stick around for and when? I would like a place where the wind would not get to crazy.

I'm also looking in Navajo, apache, pima, santa cruz, and yavapai counties. I like the mountain regions very much. Are you familiar or have you been to any of these counties?

Is opting out of the inspection just a way to save money?

I was also thinking of sand bag, cob, straw bale, adobe, or shipping container.
 
                            
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oracle wrote:
Very useful info, thanks a lot. I am glad you mentioned the wind. How long does the wind usually stick around for and when? I would like a place where the wind would not get to crazy.

I'm also looking in Navajo, apache, pima, santa cruz, and yavapai counties. I like the mountain regions very much. Are you familiar or have you been to any of these counties?

Is opting out of the inspection just a way to save money?

I was also thinking of sand bag, cob, straw bale, adobe, or shipping container.



It's pretty much windy there all the time, and I think that's pretty much how it is all over the state. I think it has a lot to do with how much the ground heats over the day from the sun. I know they get nasty winds in the north east and north west. I haven't heard about the south west part of the state though.  The normal wind helps with cooling, but the strong stuff means you need to build tough, especially your roof.  Gardens have to be set up with the winds in mind too. you either have to provide some protection or pick your crops accordingly.

I'm going the no permit/inspection route because I'm planning to build an alternative home (earth bag construction, earth bermed) which I plan to build myself, and live in til death. the location is on 40 acres far from any large town so I'm not concerned with resale, I just want a sustainable home that's cheap to live in as I see hard times coming.
 
Steven Baxter
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AZGuy wrote:
It's pretty much windy there all the time, and I think that's pretty much how it is all over the state. I think it has a lot to do with how much the ground heats over the day from the sun. I know they get nasty winds in the north east and north west. I haven't heard about the south west part of the state though.   The normal wind helps with cooling, but the strong stuff means you need to build tough, especially your roof.  Gardens have to be set up with the winds in mind too. you either have to provide some protection or pick your crops accordingly.

I'm going the no permit/inspection route because I'm planning to build an alternative home (earth bag construction, earth bermed) which I plan to build myself, and live in til death. the location is on 40 acres far from any large town so I'm not concerned with resale, I just want a sustainable home that's cheap to live in as I see hard times coming.


Thanks
 
Fred Winsol
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I got lucky to be in a remote area in California (btwn Yosemite + tahoe... yeah there is remote there )  and as i was getting ready to pull permits, my neighbors 'enlightened' me that building inspectors aren't welcomed.  So I took pictures, have dated receipts of material deliveries etc.  I ended up pulling a permit for a BARN which does not require inspection... 

One of the big issues with not having permits in some places are BACK TAXES... someday maybe the counties will enforce it and back value your buildings.. with interest and penalties.
 
Steven Baxter
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winsol3 wrote:
I got lucky to be in a remote area in California (btwn Yosemite + tahoe... yeah there is remote there )  and as i was getting ready to pull permits, my neighbors 'enlightened' me that building inspectors aren't welcomed.   So I took pictures, have dated receipts of material deliveries etc.  I ended up pulling a permit for a BARN which does not require inspection...   

One of the big issues with not having permits in some places are BACK TAXES... someday maybe the counties will enforce it and back value your buildings.. with interest and penalties.

Does that happen with back taxes, on permits not enforced, but later enforced? Has it ever happened to you? It seems like there is no way to predict something like that. It either happens or it doesn't, but good to keep in mind.
 
Fred Winsol
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It's never happened to me.  I heard about several people it did happen to.  You never know with counties and agencies.  On rare occasions (esp if it's a hazard to others) they might even ask you to tear it down.  gotta be careful.  Probably also good to find out what neighbors think about it, before they call the building officials.
 
John Polk
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An issue with semantics here:  they will not ask you to tear it down, they will tell you to tear it down.

Some areas (counties) are very militant, while some are quite lax.  A point to remember is that, just like for you and I, for a county, the cost of everything is going up, and as costs rise, they will need to find a source of revenue for the needed ca$h just to maintain the status quo.  If they can demand 'back taxes' on every structure that has been built in the previous 10 years, they will have satisfied that need.  Just about every state, county and, city in the country is feeling the squeeze NOW.  Every citizen wants/expects more & more from the government, but how many want to pay for "more"?  Please, do NOT expect your taxes to remain where they are, especially if you have made improvements.

Even a crappy chicken coop made from scrap materials can be considered "an improvement" for tax purposes, but how can they measure/evaluate (or even see) that you have doubled the productive value of your soil?  Food for thought.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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John, that's a good argument for using 'tiny houses' or some other form of 'temporary' portable shelter

Of course, when they get really desperate, I suppose they'll start taxing those, too.

Kathleen
 
Fred Winsol
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ur right John... sometimes they won't even tell you.  The NFS up here (national forest service) actually bulldozed a lady's cabin after they get tired of fighting her in court. 

In my years of dealing with building + gov officials - always, always keep in mind that their #1 goal is to push ALL liability away from their own agency to someone else, so it's safer to say 'no' and to deny a lot of variances.  I used to always find out the background of an official, buy them coffee+donuts and understand their motivation... worked for me.
 
                                          
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Although we have not read the book, we included some related information below in the context of places that do not require building permits.

Location: Fannin County Texas
County Seat: Bonham, TX
Code Requirements: Septic only if located outside of town limits. Each town is different, contact specific town for more information.
Average Rainfall: 40+ inches [note: we are having one of the driest years on record]
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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How much rain have you actually gotten there in the last year?  I ask because I know (from the permaculture books) that permaculture is practiced even in some extremely dry climates -- perhaps people who live in places prone to drought should plan their plantings as if they were always going to have a drought year (or years), and then they could be pleasantly surprised if they got more precipitation than expected?

Kathleen
 
                                          
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Our rainfall averages have been fluctuating between shortage to overage. For example this year we've had approx 15" which is around 15" less than average and in 2009 we had almost 50" of rain.

We're just beginning to learn about Permaculture so I'm not sure how resilient it is to such varied numbers but appreciate all of the knowledge on this forum we've discovered so far.

All the best.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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If you can select the right plants, permaculture should be much more resilient to your fluctuating precipitation, because perennials and trees, shrubs, etc., have much deeper root systems than annual vegetables and grains do.  They also have survival mechanisms for the bad years -- may not produce much those years, but will survive for the next year.  15" of rain in a year, properly managed, is more than enough for many species to thrive.  And 50" is not too much, again, if it's properly managed.  In your climate, I would much rather be depending on permaculture crops than on annuals.

Kathleen
 
Jim Shackleford
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AZGuy Hatfield wrote:
oracle wrote:
Very useful info, thanks a lot. I am glad you mentioned the wind. How long does the wind usually stick around for and when? I would like a place where the wind would not get to crazy.

I'm also looking in Navajo, apache, pima, santa cruz, and yavapai counties. I like the mountain regions very much. Are you familiar or have you been to any of these counties?

Is opting out of the inspection just a way to save money?

I was also thinking of sand bag, cob, straw bale, adobe, or shipping container.



It's pretty much windy there all the time, and I think that's pretty much how it is all over the state. I think it has a lot to do with how much the ground heats over the day from the sun. I know they get nasty winds in the north east and north west. I haven't heard about the south west part of the state though.  The normal wind helps with cooling, but the strong stuff means you need to build tough, especially your roof.  Gardens have to be set up with the winds in mind too. you either have to provide some protection or pick your crops accordingly.

I'm going the no permit/inspection route because I'm planning to build an alternative home (earth bag construction, earth bermed) which I plan to build myself, and live in til death. the location is on 40 acres far from any large town so I'm not concerned with resale, I just want a sustainable home that's cheap to live in as I see hard times coming.


Hope you are still around we have a similar mindset that led me to your post, I was hoping to hear how and if it went in Cochise or if anyone knew of other Builder/owner opt options, The territory was a bit further south than I wanted to be.

I bought No building codes and It is a relatively concise package, but it's still a bit vague and with the amount of research I had already done it didn't narrow anything down for me or bring anything new to the table that I hadn't found out on the internet.

 
Tinder Cartright
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Does anyone have information on Apache County in AZ? I have been looking at listings for 40-acre ranch lands and many of them say that since they are outside of the city limits there are no building restrictions or code requirements. I can't find anything on the Apache County website to confirm this.
 
Jim Shackleford
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I ended up settling in Oregon despite some of the worst land use requirements in the country because it wasn't much easier elsewhere, when I was still considering AZ I had found some anecdotal reports that Apache being a heavy reservation area that the native locals are a bit hostile to outsiders. Easiest way to find out is call the department with parcel number and ask what the land use situation is on it, they will probably ask what your plans are just say none until I know what I can do with it.
 
Tinder Cartright
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Did you happen to look at anything around Sprague River in Oregon?
 
Adam Berry
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I'm looking at a land description for a parcel in Conejos county Colorado. This county is known to have little to no building codes according to http://sustainablebuildingcodes.blogspot.com/

The land description reads:
Zoning Definition: R (Residential): Single-family dwelling and accessory structures allowed. Non-commercial farming allowed as long as within county water use policies.

Anyone think this is a lax as it gets? or does the mention of "single-family dwelling" possibly suggest they will have extra codes and have adopted more? The assessor's office is not open now but I'll call later. Any input from this community would be greatly appreciated.
 
Kelly Smith
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Adam Berry wrote:I'm looking at a land description for a parcel in Conejos county Colorado. This county is known to have little to no building codes according to http://sustainablebuildingcodes.blogspot.com/

The land description reads:
Zoning Definition: R (Residential): Single-family dwelling and accessory structures allowed. Non-commercial farming allowed as long as within county water use policies.

Anyone think this is a lax as it gets? or does the mention of "single-family dwelling" possibly suggest they will have extra codes and have adopted more? The assessor's office is not open now but I'll call later. Any input from this community would be greatly appreciated.

as i understand there are a few counties in that area (San Luis Valley) that do not have building codes.
there are varies versions of owner/builder homes throughout the valley, i dont think most have any problems building what they want.

i would verify that with the county, but most of the counties down that way are "pockets of freedom" as it relates to building codes.
 
John Polk
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Colorado is home to some of the strictest water rights laws anywhere in the country.
Please, carefully examine the state's and county's water laws before making any decisions.

Here is a good read on CO land use: Before you buy

Some generalizations that I have seen:
You may not drill a well if the land is serviced by a water company (public or private).
You may not capture rainwater unless you have a legal well.
You may not use well water outside of the house (with some limited garden usage).
Building permits are required (so that the tax man can assess your property).

Rules & regulations do change over time. Will you be 'grandfathered in' if they change?

 
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