states with no building codes ...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by sgl42, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. sgl42

    sgl42 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,905
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    seems to be a common question, and just stumbled across the following info:

    following the links, looks like the ebook costs $20. haven't read the book, but the summary info above should give you a running start at which states to begin thinking about, if that is something you're interested in.

    --sgl
     
  2. Minelson

    Minelson Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    24,108
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    South Dakota
    Yes...When we moved here I asked about codes and they looked at my like "huh?" One more reason why we like it here :)
     

  3. SpaceCadet12364

    SpaceCadet12364 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,372
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2003
    Location:
    south central KY 75 miles SSE of Louisville
    I believe they have building codes within the city limits here, but out in the county area, I'm pretty sure just about anything goes.
     
  4. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,093
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    One thing that is pushing adoption of zoning and building codes even in very rural counties is that obnoxious buisnesses like giant corporate confinement hog lots and like try to take advantage of lax regulations and move into such an area creating all sorts of environmental messes. This forces local officials to adopt zoning in order to regulate these buisinesses.
     
  5. RonM

    RonM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,104
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2008
    I think W Va is pretty liberal in building codes
     
  6. TnAndy

    TnAndy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,402
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    Location:
    EastTN: Former State of Franklin
    "Special cases are Tennessee, which is now in transition from having no codes to having mandatory control"

    Hmmm.....seems to be a glaring inaccuracy.....and I keep a pretty close eye on such things.

    Cities and towns in TN have codes, and have for as long as I've been here. (30 years)

    Most of the counties have adopted zoning or the FEDS won't sell flood insurance.....so, for example, in our county, you have to get a zoning permit, which simply states that if you decide to build in a known flood zone, you agree to put the first floor above a certain year ( I believe it's the 20 year flood ) stage.....but they don't actually come out and check.

    There has ALWAYS been electrical permitting, done by State inspector in the county ( State Dept of Insurance...my guess is the insurance companies demanded it years ago ) but you can buy your own permit and do your own wiring....inspections apply.

    There has always been permitting for septic systems.....done by the State Dept of Health.....though this is kinda lax.....I've put several systems in and just "done it", including two at my current home. That may vary by area.

    But as to a general building code, in the counties, there is none ( with the exception of a couple counties like Shelby....Memphis...that have gone 'metro'.....the whole county IS Memphis )
     
  7. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,734
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Bartow County, GA
    House not built to UBC? What about getting a loan? What about resale?

    Here's the difference in a nut shell between zoning and building codes:

    http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/contentdisplay.aspx?id=718

    I wouldn't want many, if any, zoning codes, but I sure would want my house built to Uniform Building Codes especially if there was a chance I'd have to sell sometime.
     
  8. palani

    palani Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,322
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2005
    You might want to consider not engaging your shelter in commerce. You might find that the wording used makes certain things exempt by their nature.
     
  9. Macybaby

    Macybaby I love South Dakota Supporter

    Messages:
    5,317
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Location:
    South Dakota
    I think a person is wrong not to try to follow UBC as much as possible. I say "as much as possible" because I live in a 130 year old house and there are a few things where the only way to bring the house fully to code would have been to tear it down and start over.

    What I love most about South Dakota is that I can do pretty much what I want without going through a long process to get permission to do so. There are some rules and regulations (most set at the county level) but they are easy to follow and unless you want to do something way out of the ordinary, it won't be a problem.

    But I often hear of people in other states that need to pull multiple permits to do an indoor remodel project that does not change anything on the exterior, and it can take them months to get it all taken care of, and then there are tons of inspections but the inspector can't be held liable if they miss something.

    I also believe the permits and all they entail make since in higher density population areas. I'm sure the City of Sioux Falls has tons of regulations a resident must follow.

    Cathy
     
  10. CamM

    CamM Gefion's Plow

    Messages:
    325
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland: In the middle of everywhere.
    I agree with the usefulness of building codes. Their purpose is to protect the occupants and give the builders something to hold themselves to. Modern zoning in most places, however, is very poor with the isolation of public and business buildings from residential, although it does serve a few purposes.
     
  11. sgl42

    sgl42 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,905
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    as i read it, it was saying that TN had no STATE-level building codes, but that that was changing, and there was soon to be STATE-level codes. as the post stated, even in the states with no state level codes often had codes from smaller jurisdictions (ie, counties and cities).

    re: comments about codes being useful
    from the original blog entry i linked to:
    also note that the original blog is about earthbag building. this is a technology that isn't part of the mainstream, so that it won't meet code in many places without some sort of waiver, or signoff from an architect. and that's one problem with codes, in that it's very expensive and time consuming, if not impossible, to try anything innovative, or out of the mainstream.

    eg, code requires you to have a openable window in your bedrooms, in order to escape from a fire. but if you build an underground house, and build it out of concrete which doesn't burn, does it make sense to have to follow that rule?

    so, were i to be building myself in the absence of code requirements, i'd certainly look at the codes, try to understand their purpose, and do what is safe and makes sense. but if something doesn't make sense for the technology i'm using, i would simply not follow it, and would not have to abandon everything because of bureaucrats without brains following a bunch of rules they don't understand.

    from my perspective, i've heard of too many instances where the codes seem to be written to help the building industry, not the homeowners. and too many instances where the codes are used to extract permit fees, rather than protect homeowners from builders taking shortcuts. i'd prefer to decide for myself. that's why i visit a homesteading forum to begin with.

    --sgl
     
  12. RiverPines

    RiverPines Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,417
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    State codes I dont think are that much to worry about.
    Its the county and township thats the worry!

    Wisconsin as a state isnt bad but some counties and townships can be terrible with over regulation.

    The last township I lived in didnt even allow a small picket fence with out paid for permits and permission from the people of the town. If during your meeting at town hall, the people voted against your little white picket fence, you were out of luck.
    The worse part is township includes the rural people. So it didnt matter if you lived out of town, as I did. You still had to follow the townships codes and ordinances. Even farms had to pay for applying and permits to put up field fencing!
    I hated that township and that was one of the reasons why we moved out of the area.

    So even if the state seems lax.....watch those counties and township ordinances and codes.
     
  13. SirDude

    SirDude It's Me, who are you?

    Messages:
    326
    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    Staying with friends in Manassas, VA
    I'm glad you posted this, I'm just about to start doing some research on this for the different areas on my wish list.

    As a tradesmen, I'm not against building codes so much, it's all the red tape, the cost, and then the big-brother effect afterwards. Then some things, like non-structure remodeling is a joke. Last year I moved an interior door opening on a customer's master bedroom, and with all the permit, architecture, and inspection head-aches it made the job way more costly for the home owner.

    Then there's times when I think there should be something in place. When my in-laws where buying their house in Mena, AR there was this running joke about "the house(s) Skip built" because this local guy would build one house pretty nice, then the next house if he wanted to save money he would use particle-board for exterior uses, etc. The houses looked and felt find for the first year or so, but it doesn't take long for that stuff to fall apart as some of his houses were doing when the in-laws were in the market.

    Then there's the cases where someone comes out with a new product and the first people to use it have to jump through hoops and pay through the nose for the right to use those products. Well that maybe all find and dandy for Mr and Mrs Bigbucks, but if the person using it is doing so to save building costs or utility costs, then it doesn't make sense to pay that extra money if it out-weighs the savings. This is right in-line with the premium that "green" companies charge for their products or services. If you make something that going to save money, then why bang the customer in the front-end???

    SirDude
     
  14. Shadow

    Shadow Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    762
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    The ist post said Alabama had little or no codes. True a few years ago. Your book is a little out of date. All plumbing has to be done by a licensed plumber that is state code, septic tank work even a repair has to have a permit and inspection by the county. building codes are either here or coming on all aspects of building. I personally don't like it but the stupid things people are doing that are really dangerous is forcing them on us that do it right. We always over complied with the national building codes and never had a problem selling anything we built even with all kinds of inspections done. If I was buying and upon talking with the sellers or during inspection they had side stepped correct building procedures I would walk away. The codes are there to protect people. most home owners really need them. People who are looking for a place with no codes are not planning to build something I would let my cat stay in. And I don't even have a cat. David[/I]
     
  15. Nevada

    Nevada Voice of Reason Supporter

    Messages:
    39,596
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV
    In Nevada it's by county. Some have them and some don't.
     
  16. TnAndy

    TnAndy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,402
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    Location:
    EastTN: Former State of Franklin
    THAT was my point......there is NO talk of a State level building codes, hence, that statement is inaccurate.
     
  17. geo in mi

    geo in mi Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,901
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2008
    Don't know where Terry Herb gets his information about Michigan, but it wasn't from this website: http://www.reedconstructiondata.com/building-codes/michigan/

    Michigan has lots of zoning ordinances and building codes. Well, septic, construction, mechanicals, plumbing, electrical, rehab, fire, and so forth. Most start at the Township level where you must apply for a building permit, or ask for a copy--or references to the codes involved.

    Obviously, not much building going on right now in Michigan, nor is anyone thinking of moving TO Michigan, but, even so, one shouldn't be misled by thinking they will get a free hand to build anything, anywhere, they please here.

    geo
     
  18. ronbre

    ronbre Brenda Groth Supporter

    Messages:
    7,817
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Location:
    Michigan
    here in Michigan it depends on what you are building..a house or garage or barn you'll have to get an inspection and there are codes when you have an inspection..if it is smaller or just something simple like a fence or shed..nope..none
     
  19. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

    Messages:
    14,609
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    Dysfunction Junction
    Yeah. It's been a few years, so my recollection's a bit hazy, but it seems when DH#2 and I built, where the county hadn't established a code, the state code applied.
     
  20. salmonslayer

    salmonslayer Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,069
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Location:
    Missouri Ozarks
    I live in one of the poorest counties in Missouri (the county unincorporated about 10 years ago and the entire county is zoned agriculture) and there are literally no codes or enforcement beyond some EPA mandates.

    Its good from the standpoint of no permit hassles or expenses but we are having to correct a multitude of sins as we remodel our old farmhouse. We found thinwalled pipe for our main waste line, no junction boxes for any of the electrical system, floor joists cut for various reasons over the years and inadequate headers over one of the garage doors. We knew that going into it and we got it for a great price but we have spent a lot of time and money correcting things as we remodel.

    On balance I would rather be unregulated and it forces you to become much more involved in what you are doing to your place, even if you contract it out. But, even with all of the work we are doing, we would never pass a modern building inspection. Financing can also be an issue, we originally looked to take out a mortgage from our bank (USAA) but they wouldnt touch anything not zoned single family residential so we just bought it outright. What I have learned from the locals though is that local banks will finance based on "as is" specifications at a little higher interest rate than what is prevailing.

    We contracted out the major electrical (weather head, new tri-plex, new service panels, some of the interior wiring) and specified that it had to comply with code prevailing in the nearest large community which follows national standards. Some of what we found was extremely dangerous and I am amazed this place didnt burn down before but we are pleased with the results and we like the uniqueness of all the houses here.

    Just be aware of what your getting into and remember that though housing is extremely inexpensive in these areas, you have to have money put aside for the repairs you will need to make. The end product is very satisfying.