Thinking about land - building codes?

Started by tinybackyardhouse, September 24, 2011, 12:03:02 AM

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Hey all

Thinking about a piece of remote land
I've always lived in the city so I don't know how things work out in the country in terms of "rules". Of course, I'd ideally like to find a place where I have freedom to build how I choose. Is this feasible? I'm sure it varies from place to place but in general, are unincorporated areas of the county the least strict? Any advice would be appreciated

Building permits are insane here, you shell out thousands for an architect then thousands more straight into city pockets


Depends. Varies from place to place. Some rural and desirable areas may have zoning and building regulations at least as bad as the real big cities. In some rural areas it may be a case of the rules just not being enforced with much regularity.

Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


What part of the country are you from? 
I can tell you that here in New England most areas have very strict building codes.  However the town that my camp is being built in has no restrictions at all.  Matter of fact there is no inspection prior, during or after construction other than that needed for tax purposes of course! [yuk]

So as Don has stated it really depends on where you're building.  If you're thinking of building something with questionable features than I would think that you would want to know beforehand what the restrictions are.  For instance in my case with the 20x30 1.5 story plans,the stairs may be an issue in some jurisdictions.  I'm glad my town has none so I can save some space by going with a little steeper than normal loft stair.


Thanks for the replies

I'm just wondering where to start I guess. I currently am in the San Francisco Bay Area. I want to specifically choose an area that does not force you to follow their rules (ie septic only/no compost toilet, minimum square footage, etc etc). I of course do want to build to code, I just don't want to deal with the expense, hassle and rules of the permit process.
I know for instance in Sonoma County where I used to live, there are unincorporated areas that are not as strict in certain regards


If your heart is set on building in California, avoiding the hassle of building oversight is going to be a problem.  The state has stepped in and now dictates a lot of building requirements.  Very few local jurisdictions now look the other way and with the current economic situation they look very hard at every opportunity to gain revenue.  If you plan to avoid permits, your site better be very remote and even at that there are no guarantees.  Neighbors with a burr under their saddle, either because of their own permit experience or just an axe to grind, will be more than happy to turn you in!  Best approach is to plan on permits and associated costs or move out of California with your project.