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[Cob] We need a structural engineer!Sarah Booth auntsariah at hotmail.com
Thu Nov 2 18:36:36 PST 2006
Hello cob enthusiasts. We are in desperate need of a structural engineer who is interested in cob construction, certified in Oregon and would be willing to help us test our cob structure for structural soundness and convince the city of Corvallis that we don't have to remove the structure. The background... My husband and I have spent the last year, investing much time and labor, heart and emotion building a small cob structure (around 200 sq. ft, interior space) here in Corvallis, Oregon. About a month ago a the city received an anonymous complaint from a neighbor about our structure. An inspector came to our site, checked out the building with much interest and curiosity, then proceeded to measure the size of the structure from the outside of the walls, which put it fairly well over the 200 sq. foot maximum size for a structure without a building permit. This inspector told us we had a year to either apply for a permit or remove the structure. We expressed our concerns with his measuring the structure from the outside of the walls rather than the inside, when we knew there was language in the code books stating that the measurements are to be taken from the inside. To make a long story shorter, after a review with the city plans examiner, the city told us that it doesn't matter how large or small the structure is, there is a clause within the code that states that even if the building is small enough not to require a permit, it still must be built "to code standards". Seeing as there is no code for cob in Oregon, this is an obvious problem. Through the section of code referred to as Alternative Methods and Materials, it is possible for us to obtain a permit as long as the structure can be approved and stamped by a certified structural engineer as being "to code standards" in other words, structurally sound and safe. An additional and most unfortunate part of our story is that the city has decided that instead of having a year in which to apply for a permit or remove the structure, we are allowed about one week. We hope to apply for the permit as best we can, knowing that we don't have all the information we need and that they will return it to us in order to get more information and an engineer's stamp of approval buying us some more time. Another service we are seeking is an attorney interested in such a case. We feel the inspections manager has intentionally given us this one week date knowing that we will not be able to comply in the allotted time. We feel we are being treated extremely unfairly in a case where we were prepared to do our best to cooperate with the city, hoping it could be a learning experience for all involved, promoting the knowledge of alternative building methods... Everything was going politely and reasonably between us and the employees of the planning department until one phone call to one guy who decided he didn't want to deal with us, so he's doing his best to make it impossible for us to comply with the cities requirements. Thanks for taking the time to read this, sorry for being a bit long winded and thanks in advance for your support. Sincerely, Sarah Booth _________________________________________________________________ Stay in touch with old friends and meet new ones with Windows Live Spaces http://clk.atdmt.com/MSN/go/msnnkwsp0070000001msn/direct/01/?href=http://spaces.live.com/spacesapi.aspx?wx_action=create&wx_url=/friends.aspx&mkt=en-us
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