Owner-builders must be accompanied by a general contractor and an engineer beyond this point.
The other day I was looking over the website of an acquaintance who sells property in the Ozark range. Find his site HERE.
In a weekly newsletter Neil mentioned a small house a landowner had built and outfitted as they saw fit.
I emailed Neil and asked him what she had to do to get it through the building department.
His reply stunned me: "there’s no building department."
No building department? I thought about it for a minute because it was a kind of freedom I literally dream of these days.
Photo courtesy Ozarkland.com
No building department, no great bureaucracy of regulations and ordinances, just land and materials and sweat. Every family could have a home in a place like that.
Neil cautioned that you couldn’t stick in just any septic system, but most conventional means of disposing of human waste would be possible without a great deal of butt kissing.
I recently tried to attack the bulwark of laws protecting those who get fat from the Uniform Building Code; I was told it was "practically impossible." The state, I was told, forces the counties to accept pretty much the same codes.
I realize that’s only partly true; the Sierra County Board of Supervisors could, if they wanted to, ease some of the burden placed on landowners and builders by county codes. In the end, though, the meaningful changes I wanted to see simply can’t be made at the county level.
No building department. Aren’t I afraid someone will build something that falls down and kills everyone? Hell no. Not at all. Large buildings, sure, commercial developers, yeah, they need oversight. But well meaning control freaks have gutted the ability of the average person to build their own home in California. That is certainly not as good as No Building Department. Maybe it’s time we acknowledge that Sierra County’s only problem is it’s in California.