Allowable Size to Meet Building Codes — 3 Comments

  1. We have moved off the grid on 5 acres. Our plan is to build small structures, each to act as it’s own room (bedroom, bathroom, etc…), to get around building codes. HOWEVER, we had a septic tank installed and have our RV permitted as a residence. This way, we can always say we are living in the RV, if the question were to ever come up.

    Spending the money on a septic tank can save you a LOT of headaches in the future.

  2. Many areas really don’t enforce regulations on portable sheds. If one looks thru the classifieds or Craigslist you will often find prebuilt portable sheds of many sizes and styles. They are offered even in areas where sheds over a certain sq footage should require a permit. Obviously they are selling and placing sheds without permits. I have spoken with a couple of people who build sheds and it seems their businesses have picked up. They both told me part of the jump in sales was that people were buying them as a house replacement. Of course the owners have to install insulation and finish the interior. Of course this is all dependent on location. On a small residential lot one would most likely run into problems. But a large parcel out in the country, one wouldn’t.even be noticed. Another aspect is what the shed looks like. If it resembles an old shanty or coop, authorities most likely will look at it as an eyesore, especially if it is new to the area. If it was a prebuilt unit out of T111 and looks at least semi professionally built, they may not give it a passing glance. Also paint it and keep it looking presentable.

    As for utilities, most likely one would need solar, propane and a composting toilet. A greywater system would also be necessary. So long as a person is respectful of their neighbors and receive no complaints you possibly could live in a shed for years.

    Another low cost situation is the use of tensioned fabric ag buildings. These can be purchased inexpensively and set up in a short time. Because they are supposedly temporary and have little structural weight, permits are often not necessary. If a large enough one was obtained, a shed or small building could be set up within the structure. Out of sight of prying eyes, this solution would not only provide housing, but an ample supply of covered storage. in rural areas it is not uncommon for tensioned fabric buildings to have electrical and propane service. Both are needed for many farm related activities.

    • That’s right. You can get away with a lot of things if you’re in a rural area. That’s why we repeatedly suggest moving away from cities and going to areas in the country with few or no codes.

      I think I mentioned it on the blog post about Few or No Building Codes, but it really helps to have other structures on the land to act as ‘cover’ so your little shed or whatever doesn’t stand out. If there’s an old farm house, old trailer, etc. — even if they’re not livable — would make your shed less conspicuous, especially if it’s out back and out of sight. Most farmers have lots of outbuildings and so most people would never notice your shed or think somebody is living inside.

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