Opt-out Clause for Building Code Exemption

Message from reader: I want to add a discovery I made in the state laws of VT. This is for the Residential Building Energy Standards – “The following residential construction shall not be subject to the requirements of this subchapter: … (D) The owner discloses in writing to a prospective buyer, before entering into a binding purchase and sales agreement, with respect to the nature and extent of any noncompliance with RBES. …” This exemption also requires the owner to be the builder plus occupier of the residence. This can be read here: https://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/30/002/00051

This is a sensical and fair “opt out clause” for laws that restrict a person on their own property, especially when they may be living in a way that does no harm to anyone. As other people whom I have read have stated (Joel Salatin being the first who comes to mind), these building code laws and related should have opt out clauses in many cases.

Note, the RBES is separate and additional to the state’s “Fire & Building Safety Code”, which states: “Note that most owner-occupied single family residences are exempt from the definition of public buildings and are thus not included in the scope of this code; see definition of “public buildings” for exceptions).” This can be read here: http://firesafety.vermont.gov/sites/firesafety/files/files/rules/dfs_rules_firecode2015_current.pdf

I’ll add in that agricultural buildings are often not “public buildings” and the state laws state that agricultural buildings and uses are exempt from town zoning by-laws. The state law requiring a specific water supply and septic system is, however, repressive.

Thanks to readers who post great content like this. I’m sure it helps lots of readers. This comment was posted on our popular page Counties With Few or No Building Codes.

2 thoughts on “Opt-out Clause for Building Code Exemption”

  1. I’m new to this…My family left me a small part/parcel of land in a family owned compound in Cabo Rojo, Boqueron, Puerto Rico..There’s enough area to build both a cob and/or straw bale house on the property…Due to last years hurricane Maria, I wonder what codes I have to worry about now, old or new as the island recovers from disaster…Much of the raw materials should be easily available or at minimal cost on site or nearby..Myself and other family kin are waiting for our lawyer in PR to survey and map out the areas to be divided by us…It would be a labor of love for me…As soon as I can proceed, I will be crating and shipping vital power and other tools I own now to start…I live in NYC, but expect to spend a lot of time there…My grown children will have complete access at will,…Boqueron Beach is just a few minutes away…Any helpful thoughts on this would be much appreciated…Thank You JM…!!!

    • Choose materials like earthbags that can withstand heavy wind and rain so future storms don’t wipe out all your hard work. Research Disaster Resistant buildings, roof overhangs, storm shutters, flood height, ventilation in the tropics, passive cooling, etc.


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