Getting Code Approval for Straw Bale Homes

I receive a ton of questions about building codes and whether or not a certain state covers straw bale construction in their building code. Here’s what I recommend you do to find out whether or not your State has a building code for alternative construction and what to do if they do not.

1. Buy the code book for your State. You will need the code book no matter what structure you build, so you may as well buy it now. Use the following site to research what code book is required in your area. http://www.reedfirstsource.com/codes/index.asp

2. Once you have the code book (make sure you get any local or state addendum to the code book when you order it), check for an alternative building section.

3. If there is nothing for alternative homes or straw bale in particular, then call your building department and let them know you plan to build an alternative home and that you intend to use approved building codes from another state or an engineer for the design.

4. You may need an engineer, but you may be able to simply use a state recognized code like the one in Oregon. Of course the code in Oregon is different than the details I show in my DVDs because it is outdated; however, you can use it as a base and then move forward from there.

I have added the Oregon code to the links section of my website http://www.strawbale.com/links.html. Just scroll down and you’ll see it. If you need an engineer I recommend that you check the Resource and Referral section of my site: http://www.strawbale.com/resources.html for the people I work with.

2 Responses to Getting Code Approval for Straw Bale Homes

  1. Larry L Steber Sun, March 1, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

    Hello Andrew, I’m just the road from you in Klamath Co. I have 4 acres up on Bly Mtn. Pass that I’d like to build a small strawbale house on.How can I get a code book? Klamath Co. is very republican and not too friendly to off gridders because that can’t make any money off us. Any help with contacts over here you know of? I am in Mesa Az. for the winter. Will be on my property the first of May. Don’t think I can build till the summer of 2016 or 17. Thanks, Larry

  2. Andrew Morrison
    Andrew Morrison Tue, April 7, 2015 at 7:55 pm #

    Hi Larry. I don’t know any builders over there. That said, you can contact Nabil Taha at Precision Structural Engineering, Inc in Klamath Falls as he may have some contacts. He has engineered a lot of straw bale homes for me and others over the years. Tell him I sent you. In terms of the code book, it is simply an addendum to the IRC. If you buy the IRC for Oregon, it will have that in it.

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