Author Topic: States With Least Restrictions on Owner-Builders?  (Read 4428 times)

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ebass

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States With Least Restrictions on Owner-Builders?
« on: April 27, 2005, 06:32:40 AM »
 Hi Everyone:

 With all the discussions about frustrating restrictions on owner-builders in various states, I'm tempted to ask for really knowledgeable people to respond, and let the rest of us know what the 10 or 12 least restrictive states are....... any takers on this question? ......

Thanks

ebass

jraabe

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Re: States With Least Restrictions on Owner-Builde
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2005, 07:00:12 AM »
It might be difficult to categorize this by state alone as code enforcement levels (as opposed to laws on the books of the state house) vary considerably.

California and Florida are a couple of the most restrictive states, in general... However, plenty of people in both states have emailed me they had had no problems either getting permits or not needing them.

Still this would be a good thread to share information about where posters are finding building departments that are easy to work with. (We should probably mention the county and/or city to be more specific.)

Amanda_931

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Re: States With Least Restrictions on Owner-Builde
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2005, 07:17:56 AM »
Urban counties, inside city limits in general tend to have code enforcement and zoning restrictions--e.g., no damned trailer trash, not even until you get your house built.  

Rural Tennessee is more apt not to care a lot.  Nashville (and presumably the surrounding counties) can get right sticky, although if you've been dealing with California codes you might not think so.  One of the stupidest alleged contractors I ever worked for ended up a building inspector in Nashville.

Out here in the country we must have a septic tank if we want grid electricity.  and there is an electrical inspection.  So far, that's it.

spinnm

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Re: States With Least Restrictions on Owner-Builde
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2005, 07:18:13 AM »
Wonder where one could find that info w/o reasearching each state?  Maybe one of the huge alternative places ie MEN?

I'll guess that it's the Western states....exclusive of the three on the left coast. You haven't lived til you've passed a Montana state trooper on the freeway doing 90mph  ;D  That's where all the black helicopter guys go.  But, the code only reverts to the state one if a town or county doesn't have one of their own.  So, maybe any place rural enuf to not involve a municipality.

In my situation, the town has their own additions/restrictions and inspectors.  The county doesn't.  If one is outside the city limits, code defaults to the milder, generic state one.

Most places are either IRC or UBC, so that's the same.  But there are places in ranching and farming country that allow the owner to build anything they want on their own property.  Most of the ones I know about require that to be some # of acres.  That's to accommodate the ranchers who want to build a farm building and don't need no steenking inspectors.

So, if the code is basically the same, the questions become.....what happens if I want to build something not covered by the code (experimental) ?  Can I do my own plumbing?  Electrical?

Usually people are tied to a state or two by circumstances.  Interesting question.

ebass

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Re: States With Least Restrictions on Owner-Builde
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2005, 07:20:11 AM »
Well, John

 Feel free to use and modify this question for common benefit........I doubt there will be immediate land rushes to these states..... If there are.... please, just save a few acres somewhere for me?.....    ;)

Thanks,

ebass
« Last Edit: April 27, 2005, 11:01:21 AM by ebass »

Freeholdfarm

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Re: States With Least Restrictions on Owner-Builde
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2005, 02:12:47 PM »
I've asked this question on a couple of homesteading forums over the years.  

Here in Oregon, Klamath County, there are codes, and they do inspect.  But they seem to be pretty laid back in some ways.  You aren't allowed to move onto your land until the septic is in, and the electricity (which can be solar), and you have a building permit.  But, all you have to do to keep the building permit active indefinitely is pound a few nails and have an inspector out once every six months.  The guy at the building department told us that the longest they'd had a guy living on his place in 'temporary' housing while 'working' on his permanent house was 27 years!

They are also amenable to composting toilets, solar systems, and even strawbale and earth construction, if you get an engineer to approve your plans (I know a couple of engineers, LOL!).  

If there's already a house on the property (as in, you are building on the back of your parent's place, or a friend's place), you can build up to 200 square feet, no more than ten feet tall, and at least six feet from any other structure, with no permit at all.  That's big enough for one person to live in.  Build another one for a workshop, if you need one.

It's not quite as good as just being left alone to do your own thing, but better than some places, for sure.

Other places I've been told are pretty good include parts of Missouri, Oklahoma, northern Maine, Wyoming . . . if you post this question on the Homesteading Today forum (or search the archives), you should get a lot of good information.

Kathleen, just outside of Klamath Falls

ebass

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Re: States With Least Restrictions on Owner-Builde
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2005, 02:23:07 PM »
Freeholdfarm:

 Kathleen, thank you so much for the information.........   :)

ebass

Shawna

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Re: States With Least Restrictions on Owner-Builde
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2005, 07:28:28 AM »
We have 7 acres in Tennessee, so far the only thing we have found that we need a permit for is the septic.

But first we need a bridge....... :o

We were told we didn't even need a building permit.


Jimmy_Cason

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Re: States With Least Restrictions on Owner-Builde
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2005, 11:00:34 AM »
Here in rural Texas we have no  building permits or inspections.
I was told by the local official in the Upshur County that I must build to the International code for the safety of myself and others.  

I was worried about the 35-50 mph winds we have in May during the Spring storms.. This helped

http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/company/wind/bldcode/wstoc.html

Mo

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Re: States With Least Restrictions on Owner-Builde
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2005, 03:08:07 PM »
I am building in West Virginia, each county has different codes. I am in Barbour county and have not experience building anything, though I seem to be doing quite well. I spoke with the county planning board before I ever started and they will not inspect unless I put in indoor plumbing and as she stated "and that is only if it's indoor."
I have a friend who is a contractor who has came out to look over things on a regular basis, this is for personal well-being only.
However Allegheny Power does require the wiring inspected before I can close up the walls and I had to bring in 200amp service since I am not off the grid.
Here in North Carolina I had to have the county inspector in after repointing the chimney then again when the bath was remodeled.
The difference amazes me.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2005, 03:10:14 PM by Mo »

ebass

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Re: States With Least Restrictions on Owner-Builde
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2005, 03:19:28 PM »
Thank you all for the information, Shawna, Jimmy Cason and Mo.......

n74tg

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Re: States With Least Restrictions on Owner-Builde
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2007, 07:34:26 AM »
I am building outside city limits of Hot Springs, AR.  Only inspection I will have to pass is water and sewer inspection because I am tying onto city water.  Other than that, no permits, no inspectors, etc.  

Here is one thing to think about though -- and it may be really important -- you build your house, you get it insured, later a fire or storm takes it away from you, the insurance company investigates your claim and finds a way to disallow the claim because they discovered some way you didn't comply with building (or electrical, or plumbing, or...) code when it was built in the first place.   Granted, it's a hypothetical situation, and it may not ever happen in a million years, but...

So, I guess what I'm saying is, even if it won't be inspected, still build it to code.

Does anybody have any experience or stories with this situation?

benevolance

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Re: States With Least Restrictions on Owner-Builde
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2007, 08:02:19 AM »
some of the code is needed...Fire protection.....Some is redundant...It all depends on what you know about building and what you want.

Ladders to a loft above are a code violation just about everywhere...But if that is what you want I say go for it....

I would follow code to the tee for electrical and fire prevention though...As far as thickness of lumber and building for winds or snow load...I always build heavy duty...Always safe to be on the safe side...

if you put a lot of thought into the project and ask questions you will be spot on usually....I always worry about drainage...So Cross sections of property with elevations and soil samples is something I always look at....

My dad build on a side hill 35 years ago and it was all shale...the house floods in the winter...I would always dig deeper than necessary and install french drains...Build up the ground for extra drainage and then pour the foundation

Like I said...A little extra planning and time at the start goes a long ways

southernsis

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Re: States With Least Restrictions on Owner-Builde
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2007, 01:25:07 PM »
Here in Arkansas, away from large towns, they do not inspect, no permits, no restrictions. You build what you want, when you want. It is very different here. I have people that buy through me and the first thing they ask about is restrictions and building permits. When I tell them there are none, they think I am not telling them the truth, so I take them to the county and they find out there are none. This is the first place I have ever lived that you didn't need permits and inspections.

Gladey

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Re: States With Least Restrictions on Owner-Builde
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2007, 05:17:47 PM »
I'm also in WV. Here in Taylor County, there are essentially no codes. We went to the health department to ask about septic permits and were told we could install our own after reading the "book" (really a pamphlet), and taking a test. The pamphlet states that outhouses must be 100 ft from a well and 25 ft from a road. And here I'd been assuming they were illegal! Great for owner-builders, a little dicey for home buyers.

Erin

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Re: States With Least Restrictions on Owner-Builde
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2007, 07:25:16 PM »
Quote
Here in Arkansas, away from large towns, they do not inspect, no permits, no restrictions. You build what you want, when you want.

The same is true of Nebraska, Kansas, South and North Dakotas...  (Those are the only states I'm familiar enough with on this particular subject)  once you're beyond the handful of "big cities", no one cares.  

phalynx

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Re: States With Least Restrictions on Owner-Builde
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2007, 07:25:24 PM »
Texas has a law that prevents counties from having any building codes or permits except for waste water.  A city may have codes and permits.  The state reccommends international building codes.