Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How Much Regulation is Too Much?

We're in the middle of a 5 year building plan at Humblebee Farm. Greenhouses, root cellars, mobile home renovations and eventually a cottage are all in the plans. And we live in a county that while it's getting stricter, is still pretty relaxed about things like strawbale housing and cordwood. Yes, both are approved in Annapolis County, NS. But despite the relaxed atmosphere and helpfulness of the people in the planning office, they still have basic things to abide by like the electrical code and Canada Building Code. But what if you want to do something different?
People find ways around the regulations by building summer cottages/cabins and living there year round. Or by building a 'garage' with a suite above and living there. For us it's a fine line between being honest and building what we want to build. My root cellar is a good example. I'm sure there aren't regulations yet about it, but what if I called it an underground house? Or my emergency shelter? Would structural requirements then have to meet current codes? I understand that codes are there to keep people safe but some of them are archaic and unreasonable. What's the recourse then?

Many other countries have rules about building your own home and let you do what you like as long as you're not building for others. I guess they figure you'll do a good job on your own house. And that's true. So many people these days cannot afford a conventional mortgage or the standard 3 bedroom house their folks grew up in. Houses no longer cost the equivalent of a years wages, they cost 5-10 years wages. And in the meantime people have to eat and feed themselves. I'm not saying that everyone should just be let loose in the woods with an axe and told to build themselves a cabin but if they have the know how and help to do a good job then I believe there has to be some way of letting a person build their own home on their own land if they want to.

You've probably seen internet pics of Charlie and Megan's house before because it's beautiful. And now that it's finished the local planners want it torn down. It sits on private property and the neighbours do not mind (it's his parents). So if you read the article I'm linking to and feel moved, please sigh the petition. All the pics on this blog today are from Charlie and Megan's home. Sorry the video format won't work very well with the blog template :(

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