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Building codes and Northern Idaho

Posts: 133
Location: Rocky Mountains, USA
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Hello all.  Suburbia is encroaching on our current location and we're looking into alternatives.

On the short list, Northern Idaho, outlying Coeur d' alene area, keeps coming up.  (You can tell it's getting serious when I can actually spell Coeur d' alene. LOL!)

One thing I want to know about is building codes.  Here it's like, even if you build a dog house you'd better have it inspected three times and signed off or they'll totally nail your rearend to the wall.

(This is super bad news when you're looking to experiment with tiny houses, earthship, etc!!!)

Now, I've heard rumor that ID is more "chill", but on the other hand, the county website does say that they want full-on International Building Code compliance.

So, for anybody in-the-know, which is it?  Is this like, "here's the 'rule', so don't blame us if the house falls down", or am I going to run into the same problem/limitations I have here?
Posts: 489
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What I would do is go down to the county you want to buy in and ask to see their building codes. Their response will give you an idea of how the county handles new buildings.

Then find out how many building inspectors there are for the county if the county has specific codes of their own. If they have a whole team of building inspectors in spiffy new trucks as opposed to one building inspector in a ratty county vehicle, you'll also learn something.
Posts: 3896
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi K;
I don't live in Idaho ,but nearby in western Montana. I know north Idaho well.
I can tell you that the coeur d' alene area is going to be expensive.
I suggest Bonner or Boundary county as possibly more affordable locations to look into.
They are also less likely to have strict rules.
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Posts: 2169
Location: southern Illinois.
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You will need to check county by county.  It is possible townships might have codes.   Like you, I suspect you won't have many concerns in northern Idaho
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There are three counties in Idaho with no building codes, (Idaho Bonner, and Boundary) but......
When they say building codes that means on the structure (and only the structure), and the variability of those structures is horrific,
In Idaho county a straw bale building collapsed after heavy rains, on its occupants a few years ago and sagging roof lines and crumbling foundations are far from uncommon.
However, the State requires Electrical, Plumbing, and HVAC, inspections statewide, no matter what they try to tell you, failure to procure those inspections leaves you open to varying penalties depending on the jurisdiction, ranging from: having the title clouded with a notice that the building has no certificate of occupancy, and is therefore not suitable for human habitation, to having the power removed if the installation is deemed hazardous.

There is no limit to the Inspectors right to inspect if hazardous conditions are reported.
While access may be denied, it can result in de-facto disconnection from Utilities. Freestanding (independent sources of power such as Solar, Generators, Waterpower) are under the same standards as any other installation.
Criminal liability is in reserve if proof is available that the property owner / contractor  deliberately short circuited the inspection / permit process with knowledge of the required standards.

In addition Lending agencies and Insurance agencies have free access to the States database, and lending rates and insurance premiums (and payouts) can reflect compliance with Idaho adopted code.

Furthermore even the most backward counties have permits and perk test requirements on septics ...and outhouses. Free standing outhouses are generally tolerated but a dug pit has standards applied.

Idaho Codes for permits and fee schedule are detailed at:   https://dbs.idaho.gov/rules/current.html
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