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Florida building codes; cob house?

Aria Stroph

Joined: Dec 03, 2011
Posts: 6
I'm very interested in cob building and would like to build my own house eventually. I'm heavily considering purchasing land in Florida in the near future, but can't seem to find much precedence for cob houses in the southern US (BarefootBuilder has built a cob pottery studio in Pensacola, FL. I'm contacting Christina to find out more). I don't doubt that built right, cob can withstand Florida's climate. I assume the reason there are so few cob houses in the South is due to the difficulty of obtaining building permits.

I've been trying to research Florida building permit codes, but it's all very complicated. I've that many areas in the US allow buildings below a certain size to be exempt from needing a permit. Does anyone know if this is true of FL, or perhaps just specific areas of the state? Does anyone have any more information about cob buildings (permit-approved or not) in FL?
C Hopper

Joined: Jul 05, 2012
Posts: 24
Location: Southwest Florida, Zone 10a, Elevation 12ft, 52in precipitation, tropical wet and dry savanna type
Aria, any new info on building codes in FL?

It's C. Hopper but you can call me Chopper.
Kevin Morland

Joined: May 22, 2014
Posts: 14
I have just begun learning about this. So far it isn't easy or obvious. I've spoken to two counties and both have said that any structure, no matter the size, requires a building permit. And neither knew what a cob house or an Earthship is.

The two counties are Highlands and Hendry.

They follow the Florida Building Code, so there was little difference between the two counties. They both also require you to get a permit to live in an RV while building your house. (In both cases I specified that I wanted to buy land zoned as agriculture.) One of them explained that this is because people have just dumped their sewage from their mobile homes on the ground, creating an environmental issue.

I've sent an email to Highlands county asking about compost toilets, but I don't have my hopes up.

Anyone else learned more?

subject: Florida building codes; cob house?