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Unread 01-09-2008, 04:34 PM
 
20 posts, read 51,813 times
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Default building codes

How strict are building codes and inspectors in rural Hancock county? Are building permits hard to get? Looking to build outside of Ellsworth. Thanks
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Unread 01-09-2008, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Maine's garden spot
2,305 posts, read 2,579,599 times
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Unless you live in a larger town, there may not be many codes. Always check with your towns planning board and or town office for details. If they don't know, they should be able to tell you who does.
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Unread 01-09-2008, 06:18 PM
 
Location: not the part of Maine I want to be
11,689 posts, read 1,689,951 times
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Codes will be stricter near the water. You can get info online from the DEP. I spoke with them on the phone and they were very nice and helpful.
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Unread 01-09-2008, 10:50 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
21,003 posts, read 24,889,263 times
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Pardon me for a moment for opening this up a bit from simply one county.

Our nation has a set of national building codes. Then each state may add onto that, each county and each town.

We have lived in areas where the county government was big. It is not big here. You will never see building inspectors or planning commissioners from the counties of Maine.

Maine is mostly Unorganized Townships [UT] which are overseen by the state [LURC].

The rest of Maine is within organized [and higher taxed] townships [OT]. Each of those OT have their own code enforcement officers [building inspectors] who attempt to interpret the codes that apply to each property.

It does sound to me as if the knowledge level and experience of one inspector to another varies a great deal from one OT to another in Maine.

When you are looking at a property, consider. What is done in another near by township, may or may not influence what is done in that township. It is entirely up to the local authorities of a given township to determine what they will allow. With the noted exemptions of a few state rules.

Also keep in mind that recently the budget of LURC was slashed, so they are now down to one office in Augusta, and they are very reluctant to leave their office. So they rule as best they can from their cubicles in Augusta, site visits are not in the plan.
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Unread 01-10-2008, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Waldo County
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True enough. Some towns "share" code enforcement officers with other towns. A good example of that is the sharing arrangement that Bar Harbor, Trenton and a few other towns use here in this part of the state. The advantage is that the code enforcement officer is a full time position, which will make the quality and consistancy meet a much higher standard.

Some towns have no code enforcement officer at all. When I built my house in 1995, there was no building inspector or code enforcement officer that covered this town at all. The only inspection that I had was a laid back visit by the plumbing inspector who came in, walked around, and pointed to one of the PVC fittings that I had used.

He said: "Those fittings are not supposed to be on their backs." I had NO idea what he meant by that.

Then he said, "but water will flow through them fine that way anyway. Looks like a pretty good plumbing job to me!" And got in his car and left.

My house is still standing, too.
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Unread 01-10-2008, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Northern Maine
5,779 posts, read 7,002,182 times
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I do all my own building, plumbing and wiring. I have a licensed electrician check my wiring before I button it up. No inspector is going to come by and check it.

That said, all my work would meet the code except who did it. The codes are good references and guides tpo follow. They apply to conventional homes. They don't apply to many fine homes in Maine such as pole buildings, some post and beam buildings and some earth bermed homes.

There are some considerations in Maine homes that may not be covered by codes. I know of homes that have two separate electrical systems. They are not interconnected in any way. One is for the generator when used.

Another is to have your entire plumbing system able to be gravity drained. That means your pipes must slope just a little. If you go south for the winter, just turn off your water heater and well pump, open all the faucets and open the one drain. Do the opposite when you get home and you are good to go.
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Unread 01-10-2008, 08:35 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
12,162 posts, read 19,665,661 times
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Actually the electrical code does meet all buildings that are built. There are many sections and every type building is covered somewhere, if not named directly then it has to meet the general code requirements (No matter how flipping foolish it is at times to do so). As for who is actually doing your work, that is fine according to all codes, homeowners can do all the work 100% in their own homes as long as it is checked by a licensed individual after the work is done. That is easy to do and actually for most homes there is very little that is not common sense. Some places have a hairy conniption and are so stringent that it is firmly in the "Stupidity camp", but it is still legal.
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Unread 01-10-2008, 09:17 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
21,003 posts, read 24,889,263 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Maine Land Man View Post
I do all my own building, plumbing and wiring. I have a licensed electrician check my wiring before I button it up. No inspector is going to come by and check it.

That said, all my work would meet the code except who did it. The codes are good references and guides to follow. They apply to conventional homes. They don't apply to many fine homes in Maine such as pole buildings, some post and beam buildings and some earth bermed homes.

There are some considerations in Maine homes that may not be covered by codes. I know of homes that have two separate electrical systems. They are not interconnected in any way. One is for the generator when used.

Another is to have your entire plumbing system able to be gravity drained. That means your pipes must slope just a little. If you go south for the winter, just turn off your water heater and well pump, open all the faucets and open the one drain. Do the opposite when you get home and you are good to go.
Good points!

We have knocked around the idea of some french drains to help dry-out some of my forest and building a 1kilowatt turbine on each french drain. I have done the math and seasonally it would support a turbine in three locations on my land. However bringing small wattage power into your house and incorporating it is a major pain.

The same can be said for windmills. I have been working out methods of how to do that on paper.

I have met folks in the area who live completely off-grid. While we are on the grid, we would like to step at least partly off-grid, and see if we can adjust ourselves to only using Bangor-hydro for small occasional heavy wattage tasks.



We now have a 55-gallon holding tank up in the mezzanine inside our home, as a backup source of flushing water for when the power goes out. And four drums with faucets in our basement to serve as potable water for us and our livestock.

Back when we lived in Scotland, their plumbing codes required a 200 gallon water tank in the attic of each home. So when outdoor pipes freeze you still have water in your home. Ours was an open top oval galvanized tank that looked very much like a horse trough. Many of the homes there were built before indoor plumbing, they later ran a lot of pipes on the outside of the walls, and you need sunlight to thaw them each morning.

In this house I started to use our holding tank to gravity feed our domestic water, but we discovered that since we left Scotland and have readjusted to the American standard of living, DW now expects 30psi as every faucet and shower head. You can not get 30psi from a 12 foot high tank. So for now our holding tank only goes to a single faucet [near the toilet].

I do love Maine!

Having fought endless battles with building inspectors in other states, this is great
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Unread 01-10-2008, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
21,003 posts, read 24,889,263 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bydand View Post
.... As for who is actually doing your work, that is fine according to all codes, homeowners can do all the work 100% in their own homes as long as it is checked by a licensed individual after the work is done. ...
With all due respect, the above statement is not in compliance with my past experiences.

I have owned homes stateside in California, Connecticut and Washington; and I have had to get work done in each of those homes. In both California and Connecticut, you need an electrician [Washington was easier to work with].

In these two states, you may be able to add a circuit when nobody is looking. But if you are doing anything that requires a building permit [which is anything larger than 10 foot by 10 foot, or anything that extends outside of your building] than a licensed contractor must sign his name to the permit. And if that contractor does not have the license endorsements to do electrical and plumbing than you must have a licensed electrician and a licensed plumber.

These are rarely the same individual. A raised deck with outlets, lighting and a garden faucet will require three different men each with his own license in his own area of expertise.

One licensed guy does the framing [and signs his name to the paperwork to prove that he did the framing, and he gets the building inspectors to counter-sign that part of the paperwork to prove that they have inspected his framing];

then the licensed electrician does the wiring [and signs his name to the paperwork to prove that he did the wiring, and he gets the building inspectors to counter-sign that part of the paperwork to prove that they have inspected his electrical work];

then the licensed plumber does his part [and signs his name to the paperwork to prove that he did the plumbing, and he gets the building inspectors to counter-sign that part of the paperwork to prove that they have inspected the plumbing];

then a final building inspector is needed to do the 'finishing' inspection.

And these are rarely the same building inspectors.

I have a buddy Ricky H. [that served on my first sub with me] he works for the city of Dearborn Mich as a ditch inspector. He drives a radio-dispatched little pickup, he goes out to a construction site, and before you can put anything into the ground, he measures the hole, and signs off that portion of the paperwork. He has a 'T' shaped measuring stick that he lowers into each ditch to measure it's width and depth before you can lay any pipe or wire into the ground.

That is how anal many states are with their building inspectors and codes.

Have I mentioned before? How much I love Maine?

I do love Maine!

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Unread 01-10-2008, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Virginia (soon Ellsworth)
653 posts, read 1,148,803 times
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thanks NMLM, what about the presure tank for well pump, it kind of messy to drian, can it be left as is after the water heater and well pump is turn off and all faucets are open to drain.

Quote:
Another is to have your entire plumbing system able to be gravity drained. That means your pipes must slope just a little. If you go south for the winter, just turn off your water heater and well pump, open all the faucets and open the one drain. Do the opposite when you get home and you are good to go.
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