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Working with Building Officials — 4 Comments

  1. What method have you found to be helpful in approaching officials? It seems that there’s very much a risk to this; if you “go official” and they approve, you have some benefits, but if they say no, then you’re kind of screwed, because they’ll know of your plan, can anticipate that you’ll be ignoring codes, and drop the hammer on you later.

    Or am I overestimating the initiative and malice of build code officials?

    • Well first of all, I don’t see them acting in malice, but rather the whole system running amuck to a degree. This seems to be the nature of giant bureaucracies.

      One good method is to learn as much as possible about the local code situation from builders and websites. Many counties are now posting their requirements on the Net, and many builders will happily answer a couple of questions. Doing some research in advance will help you know what questions to ask.

      Edited to add: Yes, there is a risk. Do this before buying land! Know what you’re getting into. Talk to those who have already built with alternative materials. Knowledge is power. Learn as much as you can.

  2. We have to smile from here, O. because,
    actually, what it comes down to is this:

    Happy is as happy does to RELIEVE said
    jurisdiction code officials from said liabilities.

  3. The tables are turning. Just a few months ago it was virtually impossible to get an engineer or architect to approve earthbag plans (other than 1-2 stock plans from Cal-earth). That’s all changed now with Precision Structural Engineering, Inc. entering the earthbag movement. That means my hard-nosed “move to remote rural areas” message has to be dampened a bit. Most don’t want to live in remote areas and now they don’t have to.

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