U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Tennessee
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 09-14-2016, 08:21 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
23 posts, read 35,931 times
Reputation: 18

Advertisements

Hello. My fiance and I want to purchase a prefab shed that is about 14 x 24 ft and convert it into our full time home. We would get the plumbing and electricity done by a professional and be on the grid (city water, normal toilet etc). We want to purchase a small plot of land roughly an acre, but we're fine with less if the location is nice. It would be sitting on blocks as well or if we need to put it on a proper foundation that's fine as well. We're also self employed so we won't be needing to look for jobs. We want to make sure everything is done legally. Does anyone know of any good areas in Tennessee where we could do this or have any suggestions / advice? We 100% want to do this!

Here's a video link from YouTube of a couple who did the same thing if you want to get an idea! https://youtu.be/Y-uKj_QrJyc
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 09-14-2016, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Seattle
6,486 posts, read 13,779,346 times
Reputation: 2764
City water, hmm. I'd find the city I want to live in, and make my dwelling fit around that. Where you live is a huge decision, bigger to me than 'how you live.'

Anywhere you'll get access to city water/sewer utilities is most likely going to come with an adopted building code. So, it's probably a good idea to speak with a building inspector and a planning/permit person early in the process (before you buy the shed or make plans for construction).
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-16-2016, 07:47 AM
 
Location: Chattanooga, TN
2,773 posts, read 3,676,401 times
Reputation: 4236
I think by "city water" he simply meant "not from a private well". I grew up in a totally rural part of Mississippi on "city water" that was from a rural community organization. Just a large commercial-grade well, a holding tank, a pump, and very basic filtration.

Also, there is a huge difference between building codes and building restrictions. Building Codes exist for the safety of occupants, safety of first responders who are trying to rescue your libertarian butt after your shoddy wiring blows up, and to protect innocents living in the home (children, pets, etc.). Also to protect the investment of whoever you use to provide insurance; or to protect the collateral of whoever loans you money if you plan on getting a mortgage.

Building Restrictions are to protect the investment of your neighbors, and can exist in the form of zoning laws, subdivision covenants, or other local restriction. Zoning laws are there, for example, so no one can build a manure processing facility in a residential area. Covenants or other restriction are to protect individual homeowners. Say someone sinks their retirement savings into a dream home, just to have someone move a trailer home next door complete with a half dozen cars up on blocks and trash in the front yard. These can be ridiculously restrictive (specific wood for decks, limited paint colors, maximum grass heights, no cars parked visible from the street, etc.), but if you don't like them simply don't move into that subdivision

There are countless areas with access to piped and purified water from some government or organization that will have no to minimal building restrictions. You will, however, have to meet various building codes anywhere. TN has adopted a state-wide building code, but I don't know what is enforced. I believe the fire code is enforced at the state level, but other provisions may be local. Before you make your final decision, contact the local government to discuss.

It looks like the OP is planning on doing everything right.

Last edited by jwkilgore; 09-16-2016 at 08:01 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-16-2016, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Cumberland Co., TN
20,014 posts, read 20,504,984 times
Reputation: 20369
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlehouser View Post
Hello. My fiance and I want to purchase a prefab shed that is about 14 x 24 ft and convert it into our full time home. We would get the plumbing and electricity done by a professional and be on the grid (city water, normal toilet etc). We want to purchase a small plot of land roughly an acre, but we're fine with less if the location is nice. It would be sitting on blocks as well or if we need to put it on a proper foundation that's fine as well. We're also self employed so we won't be needing to look for jobs. We want to make sure everything is done legally. Does anyone know of any good areas in Tennessee where we could do this or have any suggestions / advice? We 100% want to do this!

Here's a video link from YouTube of a couple who did the same thing if you want to get an idea! https://youtu.be/Y-uKj_QrJyc
Probably anywhere outside a city limit not in an HOA that has utilities.
I think, law may have changed, that utilities to a barn or "shed" does not require inspection.
I have know people who have converted sheds to live in but water and utilities were already installed on the property. They just ran lines from the main to the shed without any permits or inspections.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-16-2016, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Chattanooga, TN
2,773 posts, read 3,676,401 times
Reputation: 4236
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2mares View Post
Probably anywhere outside a city limit not in an HOA that has utilities.
I think, law may have changed, that utilities to a barn or "shed" does not require inspection.
I have know people who have converted sheds to live in but water and utilities were already installed on the property. They just ran lines from the main to the shed without any permits or inspections.
But this won't be a "barn or shed". The OP is talking about running power and water to a residence. People will sleep there. The fact it is being constructed inside a structural shell that most people would use as a shed is irrelevant.

If I'm reading it correctly, the people you know broke the law. They ran water and power to a residence but skirted inspections by claiming it was a shed. If they ran the power and electricity to the shed first (no inspections) that's fine, but then when they converted it the law requires inspections before occupancy.

If they have insurance, the insurance company is being swindled because they are guaranteeing payment on a residential electrical and plumbing systems that were never inspected and could be sub-par. If they have a mortgage, then the mortgage company is being swindled because the "residence" used as collateral for the loan isn't transferable and isn't worth anything.



Luckily, the OP is going the right way. That said, I thought of one more thing. I'm a structural engineer. Structures used as "unoccupied agricultural outbuildings" (i.e., a barn or shed) have much lower wind, snow, and seismic load requirements than structures designed for occupancy. The shed manufacturer will have sized the wall studs, roof joists, connections, and lateral bracing for these reduced loads. So you will need to ask the shed manufacturer what design loads were used to size the structural components and whether it is suitable for use as an occupied structure. This shouldn't be a deal breaker; it's possible the roof will have to be reinforced, but most likely you'll just have to add a few supplemental braces.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-16-2016, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Cumberland Co., TN
20,014 posts, read 20,504,984 times
Reputation: 20369
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwkilgore View Post
But this won't be a "barn or shed". The OP is talking about running power and water to a residence. People will sleep there. The fact it is being constructed inside a structural shell that most people would use as a shed is irrelevant.

If I'm reading it correctly, the people you know broke the law. They ran water and power to a residence but skirted inspections by claiming it was a shed. If they ran the power and electricity to the shed first (no inspections) that's fine, but then when they converted it the law requires inspections before occupancy.

If they have insurance, the insurance company is being swindled because they are guaranteeing payment on a residential electrical and plumbing systems that were never inspected and could be sub-par. If they have a mortgage, then the mortgage company is being swindled because the "residence" used as collateral for the loan isn't transferable and isn't worth anything.



Luckily, the OP is going the right way. That said, I thought of one more thing. I'm a structural engineer. Structures used as "unoccupied agricultural outbuildings" (i.e., a barn or shed) have much lower wind, snow, and seismic load requirements than structures designed for occupancy. The shed manufacturer will have sized the wall studs, roof joists, connections, and lateral bracing for these reduced loads. So you will need to ask the shed manufacturer what design loads were used to size the structural components and whether it is suitable for use as an occupied structure. This shouldn't be a deal breaker; it's possible the roof will have to be reinforced, but most likely you'll just have to add a few supplemental braces.
Yeah, well thats the way things get done sometimes in rural TN. People have utilities in a barn then convert the barn to a "house".

I ran electric to a shed and converted it for use as a bedroom. No plumbing tho but I have a well and could run it to the shed if I wanted.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-16-2016, 12:46 PM
 
Location: Chattanooga, TN
2,773 posts, read 3,676,401 times
Reputation: 4236
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2mares View Post
Yeah, well thats the way things get done sometimes in rural TN. People have utilities in a barn then convert the barn to a "house".

I ran electric to a shed and converted it for use as a bedroom. No plumbing tho but I have a well and could run it to the shed if I wanted.
If you have homeowners insurance on an occupied "bedroom" without an occupancy permit, and the insurance company believes you have said permit, then you are technically committing insurance fraud if you file a claim. Personally I don't care; just stating a fact.

As long as you don't have kids, insurance, or a mortgage; you don't expect first-responders to risk their lives trying to save you when it's burning down; and you live away from other houses that could be damaged; then no one cares even if you live in a tar-paper shack with open wiring and sleep on a pallet sitting on a decade supply of fuel oil and ammunition.


Off topic, but is this uninspected bedroom by chance a mother-in-law suite?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-16-2016, 09:54 PM
 
868 posts, read 1,512,244 times
Reputation: 1147
It would likely be cheaper in the long run to find a tiny house that was designed and constructed for human occupancy instead of buying a shed and then converting it to meet code requirements. Of course, if you aren't going to have it meet code requirements then it would probably be cheaper to get a shed.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-17-2016, 07:38 PM
 
16,062 posts, read 9,228,838 times
Reputation: 7148
Quote:
Originally Posted by jabogitlu View Post
City water, hmm. I'd find the city I want to live in, and make my dwelling fit around that. Where you live is a huge decision, bigger to me than 'how you live.'

Anywhere you'll get access to city water/sewer utilities is most likely going to come with an adopted building code. So, it's probably a good idea to speak with a building inspector and a planning/permit person early in the process (before you buy the shed or make plans for construction).
Look for a piece of property with an existing but junk trailer and use the utilities, lines etc in place.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-18-2016, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
23 posts, read 35,931 times
Reputation: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by expatCA View Post
Look for a piece of property with an existing but junk trailer and use the utilities, lines etc in place.
That's a great idea and what we're trying to find actually!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Tennessee
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top