National Straw Bale Building Code is a Go — 6 Comments

  1. I found this very interesting. Just called and asked Merced County (CA) if they had or were adopting this. I was told that IF it is adopted, it will be done by the state at the end of 2015, and not implemented until 2017, since currently they are using IRC codes from 2012. It will be great in the future, but I only have about 18 months left to start building or face paying $6/sq foot school tax for new home. No time to delay until 2017. Are these codes always so far behind in adoption? Or am I just lucky for being in California?

    • Don’t worry too much. You can still get strawbale houses accepted by code most anywhere. The new code just streamlines the process. Strawbale is so common now that it’s practically mainstream. The main key is to find an architect or engineer who does strawbale houses. It’s a specialized niche.

  2. Thankfully, we’ve never had to worry ourselves about local building codes, but there are many, many more folks who regularly struggle with codes when attempting to build a natural home in their area. And so the following news is very welcome, not just for those folks, but for a potential ecological/cultural tidal shift, as well. Earlier in October, an appendix on straw bale building was approved for inclusion in the 2015 International Residential Code for one and two-family dwellings. The IRC is basically the foundation for building codes all across the US. Wow!

  3. Correction:

    I said that strawbale builders will have an easier path “through” the red tape.

    That is an error.

    A more accurate statement would be, “Strawbale builders now have an easier path to get completely buried in the red tape and excessive expense of building in code areas.”

  4. I guess this is good news.

    It’s nice that those that want to build strawbale houses in code areas will have an easier path through the red tape.

    Sadly, this comes with consequences too.

    Those people now have to put up with the cost inflation and over-runs associated with building anything, natural or not, in a code area.

    Build the same strawbale house in a code area vs an area with few or no codes and the difference in cost will probably differ by at least a factor of 10.

    So… congratulations. You get to build a strawbale house in a code area and get to pay at least 10 times as much to build it too. Is this a reason to party?

    • But some people want to live in areas with codes. They don’t want to live way out in remote areas. They would have built the strawbale house either way. Now there will be fewer hassles hopefully. That assumes the jurisdiction you’re building in accepts the new provision. They don’t have to accept it.

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