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[Cob] Class K in California

otherfish otherfish at
Tue Nov 25 11:16:05 CST 2003


Class K is a building code.  It exists in Mendocino, Sonoma & Humboldt
counties in California and is essentially a special case "owner / builder"
code which allows a lessening of the normal UBC ( soon to be IBC ) building
cobe.  It allows, among other things, the use of recycled building materials
and a lessening of energy conservation requirements if wood heat is used.

The Class K position on cob is( so far as I know) that cob is allowed if the
plans are signed by either an architect or engineer.  I was able to assist
Katie Jean in getting a building permit for her cob house near Willits under
the Class K code.
Class K came to be in California in the 1980's via legislation by the
California State Assembly,  This was the result of political action by a
group of rural homeowners in Mendocino County who were red tagged in mass in
a series of enforcement "raids" driven by the rather foolish guy who was
then the head of the building department.  But that's another story.

Normally Class K is only applicable for land parcels of a specified acherage
minimum sizes and certain zoning classifications.  This varies with each
county & I believe there are appeal processes for these limits.

Class K is not a zoning classification.

john fordice  

  on 11/25/03 7:33 AM, Amanda Peck at ap615 at wrote:

> I don't know what Class K is.
> But how a piece of land is zoned is pretty important.  My house in Nashville
> was in an Industrial zone area, which meant that after it burned the lot was
> pretty worthless, unless I gathered together with all of my neighbors and
> together we sold to someone wanting to put up a smallish factory.  I MIGHT
> have been able to rebuild back within the old foundation's footprint.  No
> particular desire to, mind you.
> Notice that "MIGHT" up there.  I would have had to go before the zoning
> board and ask for a variance there.   If the land you want to buy is not
> already zoned "class K" then you would get to do the same thing, with or
> without the support of your neighbors, who, if it is like Nashville, would
> be notified that you were petitioning for a variance.  If you are trying to
> stay under the radar, not something your really want to do.  Buying land
> already zoned that way--but be sure that it is not under some weird thing
> that only applies to the person who originally applied for the class K
> designation--would keep you less visible.
> ...............
> Scott wrote:
> I was reading up on Mendocino County's building codes on their website
> (  I
> stumbled upon this passage...I was wondering if anyone knew about Class K?
> It appears to vaguely allow for natural building, but I'm not sure if I'm
> interpreting it correctly.  If it is, what does it mean that the property
> has to be zoned for Class K?
> The passage:
> What is Class K?
> Class K is a relaxed construction standard available to owner-built rural
> dwellings and appurtenant structures intended ".to allow and facilitate the
> use of alternatives to the specifications prescribed by the Uniform
> technical codes to the extent that a reasonable degree of health and safety
> is provided." To qualify, the property must be zoned for a one acre minimum
> Class K or Uniform Building Code structure.
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