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Re: GSBN:Fwd: SB codes on the books: It's been ten years



Hi all,

Happy New Year!

Just a quick note to please disregard the ancient contact info for DCAT at the end of the article Mark posted from EBN ten years ago...
current contact info is:

DCAT (Development Center for Appropriate Technology)
P.O. Box 27513
Tucson, AZ 85726-7513
www.dcat.net
520-624-6628 phone
520-798-3701 fax

Thanks!

David Eisenberg

-----Original Message-----
From: billc_lists@...
To: GSBN@...
Sent: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 12:06:03 -0600
Subject: GSBN:Fwd: SB codes on the books: It's been ten years

  Forwarding for Mark, whose laptop died.Ê
Ê
>Ê
>From: Mark Piepkorn mark@...Ê
>Subject: SB codes on the books: It's been ten yearsÊ
>Ê
>All,Ê
>Ê
> I've been asked to put together a short update forÊ
>Environmental Building News - a few hundred words at most - as aÊ
>ten-year retrospect piece on SB and the codes in North America. (TheÊ
>January '96 piece is inserted below for your reference.)Ê
>Ê
> I'd like permission to quote your responses as from anÊ
>interview. EBN quotes tend to be one-liners, so don't worry beingÊ
>coherent; chances are good that I may not get to use any of itÊ
>anyway.Ê
>Ê
> A bunch of questions in a big wad, not all of which I expectÊ
>answers to - and completely independent musings are absolutelyÊ
>welcome and encouraged: Any thoughts in hindsight about SB codes aÊ
>decade on? Is it generally easier than it used to be to get buildingÊ
>permits? Do most SB houses seem to be permitted, under the radar, orÊ
>in unenforced areas? Is there even a need for specific SB codes? -Ê
>there doesn't seem to have been any adopted anywhere in over fiveÊ
>years. Would more SB codes actually be a bad thing at this point?Ê
>Care to hazard a wild guess about how many SB houses there actuallyÊ
>are in North America? (The SB Registry has just over 1100 listings,Ê
>some minor fraction of what's really out there; how to quantify? IÊ
>remember the CASBA folks going ape some years ago trying to come upÊ
>with a reasonably accurate number just for northern CA, and prettyÊ
>much failing.) What percentage would you guesstimate are owner-builtÊ
>vs contractor-built these days?, owner-as-contractor?Ê
>Ê
>These are the codes and code-related mandates that come to mind - amÊ
>I missing any?Ê
> California (state mandate for local jurisdictions to allow SB;Ê
>guidelines issued)Ê
> Nevada (state mandate for local jurisdictions to allow SB)Ê
> New Mexico (state code)Ê
> Tucson/Pima AZÊ
> Austin TXÊ
> Boulder COÊ
> Cortez COÊ
>Ê
>Ê
> Things I'm sure I won't talk about in the piece, but thatÊ
>I've been thinking about: Is SB in North America getting too big forÊ
>its britches?, is the charm and joy still there?, is it becomingÊ
>high-tech, high-price, high-concept... falling into some of the veryÊ
>problems most of its early proponents sought to short-circuit? - anÊ
>option that's truly affordable, eminently owner-buildable,Ê
>personally empowering, a deeply deeply ecological representative ofÊ
>an environmentally championing lifestyle steeped in socialÊ
>justice... and - most particularly - transformative. Is SB stillÊ
>transformative and magical?Ê
>Ê
>Ê
>- - - - -Ê
>Ê
>Straw Bale Construction Gains Legitimacy of CodesÊ
>What's Happening - Environmental Building News January/February 1996Ê
>Ê
>The distinction of being the first government body to officiallyÊ
>adopt a straw-bale construction code goes to the Napa CountyÊ
>(California) Board of Supervisors. The Board adopted the voluntaryÊ
>guidelines in California's new law, based on Assembly Bill 1314. TheÊ
>guidelines still require an engineer's stamp on all plans, however,Ê
>as does every building type in California except wood-frameÊ
>construction of two stories or less.Ê
>Ê
>More specific and comprehensive code language has been adopted as aÊ
>local amendment to the 1994 Uniform Building Code (UBC) by the CityÊ
>of Tucson and Pima County, New Mexico. This is a prescriptive codeÊ
>for both load-bearing and non-load-bearing straw-bale construction.Ê
>(For more on these prescriptive standards, see EBN Vol. 4, No. 3,Ê
>page 14.) County and City officials are continuing to work withÊ
>local straw-bale builders to create a performance-based code asÊ
>well, which would allow more flexibility in construction methodsÊ
>than the new prescriptive code.Ê
>Ê
>California's Assembly Bill 1314 was based on the language nowÊ
>adopted in Pima County, but due to last-minute adjustments to theÊ
>Pima codes, the California guidelines are slightly less restrictive.Ê
>The differences concern allowable loads on a bale wall and theÊ
>length of unbuttressed bale walls, according to straw-bale expertÊ
>David Eisenberg, who has been instrumental in writing the amendment.Ê
>Ê
>Prior to the adoption of these codes, legally condoned straw-baleÊ
>structures were typically approved under special code provisionsÊ
>allowing for "alternative materials and methods." Working underÊ
>these provisions requires builders to prove the adequacy of theÊ
>method to an official's satisfaction for each structure. The newÊ
>codes allow building permits to be issued without any such specialÊ
>efforts.Ê
>Ê
>In a related measure, Nevada's Assembly Bill 171 was signed intoÊ
>law, requiring each local government to "amend its building codes toÊ
>permit the use of straw or other materials and technologies whichÊ
>conserve scarce natural resources.in the construction of a structureÊ
>and the use of solar energy for the heating of a structure, to theÊ
>extent the local climate allows, as intended by: [the applicableÊ
>codes]."Ê
>Ê
>For more information:Ê
>Ê
>David EisenbergÊ
>Development Center for Appropriate TechnologyÊ
>P.O. Box 41144Ê
>Tucson, AZ 85717Ê
>520/624-6628Ê
>strawnet@aol.comÊ
>Ê
>Out on Bale, (un)Ltd.Ê
>1037 East Linden StreetÊ
>Tucson, AZ 85719Ê
>602/624-1673Ê
Ê
--Ê
Bill ChristensenÊ
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GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and representatives of regional straw construction organizations. The costs of operating this list are underwritten by The Last Straw Journal in exchange for use of the GSBN as an advisory board and technical editing arm.

For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN list, send email to GSBN@...HELP in the SUBJECT line.
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