BIG NEWS !!
BUILDING CODES for STRAWBALE , LIGHT CLAY, ROCKET STOVES & TINY HOUSES
Jump to Rocket Stoves. Jump to Tiny Houses
STRAWBALE is now in the MICHIGAN RESIDENTIAL CODE 2015 (MRC2015) !
Michigan Strawbale Code MRC2015-1 MI Appendix S was adopted directly, word-for-word, from the International Residential Code (IRC) and can be viewed at the national FREE IRC public access code site. Michigan Strawbale Code is up for revision in 2018…so make sure you are looking at the latest MI code. Note that Also see the Light Straw-Clay code adopted by Michigan from the IRC Code. Buy a copy of the full Michigan code.here
Below are the page number references if you are looking at the Michigan Residential Code (MRC) as well as the free links to the Strawbale and Light Straw-Clay construction techniques from the IRC that were adopted by Michigan, word-for-word.
Strawbale Construction (MRC App S, pp 839-849) precede about a dozen index pages at the end.
IRC Straw bale code
Building Science Corp article on straw bale wall systems. Lots of technical stuff. If you’re not familiar with these folks, they’re driving a lot of the foam-heavy ‘deep energy retrofit’ stuff, so it’s cool that they spent some time doing some analysis of something else.
Light Straw-Clay Construction (MRC App R, pp 835-837)
Sam Newman said: “This makes me feel pretty positive about the possibility of repeatable and permitted energy retrofits using no foam or plastic, but instead packing straw-clay into the stud bays of an uninsulated house from the outside and then plastering over it.”
MICHIGAN CODE has an “ALTERNATIVE MATERIALS” section. If your jurisdiction doesn’t accept the Michigan Residential Code, you can evoke this section which has been in effect for a number of years.
R 408.30501 Title. Rule 501. Section R101.1 of the code is amended to read as follows: R101.1. These provisions shall be known and cited as the Michigan residential code for 1-and 2-family dwellings and will be referred to as “the code.”
R104.11. Alternative materials, design, and methods of construction and equipment. The provisions of the code are not intended to prevent the installation of any material or to prohibit any design or method of construction not specifically prescribed by the code, if the alternative 17 has been approved. An alternative material, design, or method of construction shall be approved where the building official finds that the proposed design is satisfactory and complies with the intent of the provisions of the code, and that the material, method, or work offered is, for the purpose intended, at least the equivalent of that prescribed in the code. Compliance with the specific performance-based provisions of the Michigan building, R 408.30401 to R 408.30547, electrical, R 408.30801 to R 408.30880, mechanical, R 408.30901 to R 408.30998, and plumbing, R 408.30701 to R 408.30796, codes instead of specific requirements of the code shall also be permitted as alternate.
Sigi Koko – on working with code
regarding building permits, it is 100% possible to demonstrate code compliance for natural buildings anywhere in the USA provided that you use insulating materials where needed.
The single biggest error I see is the use of mass materials (such as cob) to build in cold climates. Since mass is non-insulating, it’s impossible to demonstrate code-compliance for required insulation values, and thus no permit would be issued. Often this error is taken to mean that natural buildings in general are not code compliant. But really it’s just a matter of choosing the proper materials for your walls.
I work in a region that requires insulation to meet the model energy code, so I use plastered strawbale walls (and sometimes light clay walls) on the exterior, plus strategically placed mass (cob and sometimes rammedearth) on interior walls. In 20 years and over 3 dozen buildings, I’ve never had any issues or delays with permitting using this methodology.
I hope this helps you in your quest for a natural home!
All the best, Sigi
be the change you wish to see… Sigi Koko, principal TO EARTH DESIGN
– natural building design & hands-on workshops www.buildnaturally.com
LINKS to GREEN BUILDING CODE
compiled for the Tribal Nations.by the Environmental Protection Agency. Outstanding links. (Feb 2017 this link to the EPA was not able to connect).
TINY HOUSES are now in the INTERNATIONAL BUILDING CODE 2018 !
* Tiny House Code approved by the IBC – International Building Code The International Code Council (ICC) reported that public comment RB168-16, the tiny house appendix, passed their final round of voting, receiving the required 2/3 majority vote. As a result, a tiny house specific appendix will be part of the 2018 International Residential Code (IRC), allowing people to receive a Certificate of Occupancy (COO) for their tiny house when built to meet the provisions of the adopted code appendix. A lack of recognition of tiny houses in the IRC had been a major hindrance to the creation of legal tiny houses in communities across the United States. – See more
OTHER ARTICLES & resorces of interest if you are wanting to build with straw:
We Have a National Straw Bale Building Code! – strawbale.com
Oct 28, 2013 – The IRC is the basis for the Residential Building Code in virtually every … easier with theacceptance of straw bale construction into the IRC.
Codes for Alternative Building – Green Home Building
To date, Jeff has consulted on well over 400 straw bale and natural building projects … I know of onecode-approved papercrete building that was accepted …
Q & A Building a Straw Bale Cabin. See bottom of page for emails.
RESOURCES gathered by DEANNE
Great Lakes NATURAL BUILDING Regional Network . Be part of this network, or suggest additions!
Natural Building Resources Links to the following:
- Great Lakes Natural Building Network
- Natural Building Websites
- Indigenous Building & Refuge Shelter.
- Homes & Communities
- Natural Building Material & Techniques.
- Building Codes and Design
- Natural Building Books
- Hands-on Experiences, Natural Building Centers & Companies
- How-to Construction Information Online
Natural Building Strategies and materials .
Q & A Building a Straw Bale Cabin.
Q. I want to build a straw bale cabin next summer.
I want to find out more about the details so i can do that.
What does Washtenaw county allow for straw bale construction. Thanks, R.
A. Here is the part of the Michigan code that allows for strawbale as an “alternative material” code info here.
Wayne Appleyard of Sun Structures architecture in Ann Arbor gave me this reference, and designs sb buildings in the area, as does Mark Campbell of St. Joseph Builders.
People are able to get permits for sb in michigan without problems as far as I know ! Whether it is a dwelling or not is a separate issue with criteria that must be met, such as size and zoning, etc. Jo Trumpey U of M professor has a big sb home in the area.
There will be some strawbale related courses offered by strawbale studio in collaboration with MI Folk School. You might want to get in on one of them. There is also a 1 month Internship here jan 4 – feb 4, 2015. fyi . see strawbalestudio.org
website for details.
As Deanne and Tammy said, there’s no reason you can’t do this. If you look in distressed areas you can often get a house that needs some work but is liveable for well within your budget. Here in northeast Ohio we have codes and cold but we also have areas with houses within your budget. Rehabbing with natural materials would be quicker and less complicated than building from scratch, with less bureaucracy, but there are many counties in Indiana and Tennessee and Alabama and Georgia for instance where code enforcement is lax and land prices are low so you could build something there. Portland is very expensive, as are most places in California and New Mexico and Washington. Urban and suburban areas that have plenty of jobs will be more strict with codes and higher priced. We can talk about this more if you wanted to share more about your plans, resources and dreams.
–Uncle Mud (aka Chris McClellan)