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Old 05-17-2016, 05:07 PM   #1
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Default Yurt help?

While I have been reading here for awhile, this is my first post on the site-and I am very thankful for all of the good information posted by all of the members.

I am a disabled veteran just about at the end of the line as far as diagnosis and treatment goes, and it looks like I'm not really going to be able to get back into having a productive career of any kind-so I am strongly considering using my savings and any means of help I can get to find a decent strip of land in an area with a moderate climate (cool year round, not too cold in the winters) such as Oregon, Southern Washington, N.E. CA, etc., and putting up a yurt as a permanent home. I've been renting apartments all of my life, and can not afford to do so anymore on limited veterans benefits-not to mention needing to be away from all the people and their drama so that I can try to relax.

As part of my location limitations, I'll need to be fairly close to VA facilities to receive my regular dose of apathy, which means I will likely need to be erecting a yurt to local code (I doubt that I can manage all the extra chores associated with off-grid living, so I will need running water, sewer (or septic), and electric, with propane/woodstove for cooking and

heating

if feasible). Although I understand that this requirement might make finding a place where a yurt is acceptable very difficult. I'd love to be able to do without, but while I can still walk and move, I'm slow-and won't likely be getting any better.

I think ideas like strawbales are excellent, but I'm doubting that I would be able to get away with them if I need to meet code requirements? I'm thinking that being in a moderate climate, I could get away with a concrete slab foundation with necessary plumbing, and using a decent woodstove for heating-but that might cause

insulation

issues with an inspector? Then again, what do I know. I'm really hoping to be located somewhere where summers are under 80 degrees, and winters do not get too much snow.

I'm looking at yurts from

Pacific Yurts

,

Shelter Designs

,

Colorado Yurts

, etc., in the 24'-30' sizes; I am not thinking of any interior finishing if I can avoid it-It will be just me and the girl pugs, so I don't need "rooms," just functionality, peace, and a place to try to be as comfortable as I can.

I suppose that I'm just asking for any ideas that those with experience can offer...and any tips anyone might have for obtaining help with all of the details; I'll likely need to hire help for all aspects, which just might push this whole idea into the land of unfeasible. I do not think I would be able to manage revisions later, so I have to try to do things right the first time.

Thanks for all the great information already provided, I hope to see more!

~Sam

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Old 05-17-2016, 06:11 PM   #2
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Default Re: Yurt help?

Having to meet applicable codes in the area you choose means you need to have a set of plans to show the building dept. You can't just walk in the door and ask them to help you figure out what to do. If you don't have plans they will ask you to have them when you come back.

They will analyze your plan, and make sure it meets code requirements. It's gotta be on paper and easy to see and read, with dimensions. Engineering needs stamped. They will do 'NO' engineering for you whatsoever.


A basic set of plans will be structural, with section, water, sewer, septic, power. They'll need a basic map of the lot with dimensions and contour of the land. If you have well, info on that.

Not only do you need plans, you need to have your objective and how to proceed clear in your mind.

As for septic system, info on how close your neighbors well and septic is, and that the seperations of leach field and well meet distance requirements. If you are tapping into the existing water and sewage system, there will be many thousands of dollars in tap fees.

Yes it is hardball. That is what builders have to do to proceed.

Even if you were in a very rural area you'd still need to deal with this stuff. You'd have to be way off in the sticks and dang near invisible to not deal with this stuff. That's just the way it is now, and part of the reason building ANYTHING is so expensive.

Govt is a monkey wrench for those of limited means that are trying to get by with limited funds. 'Public safety' rules, regs, codes, inspectors, potential lawsuits etc. etc. etc. etc. costs LOTS money and requires layer upon layer of bureaucracy, all of which needs to be paid for. You are in for it, bud, lemme tell you. You need to have a firm idea of your expenses and how to proceed.

I built my own house. I did my own contracting. I had to deal with ALL this stuff myself. It is tedious at best dealing with gov't. and bureaucracy.

All that said, it IS possible. When you get done you will feel like you have achieved something, lemme tell yuh.

Good luck.
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Old 05-17-2016, 06:49 PM   #3
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Default Re: Yurt help?

In plans, I forgot foundation. This would be either a slab, with location of upply and drain clearly denoted.

If a deck, the framing plan including piers. You'll need to know the frost depth of your area.

I also didn't mention that on your site map, the location of your yurt needs to be marked on the plan.

If you have bought a lot, you need the official pin locations. I had to have a survey done and that was a few hundred bucks back in 1999. There are a few other details I probably have missed, but be assured they will let you know. lol

There is a lot of detail when power, water, sewer, and gas are involved. An unimproved yurt with no power, water, septic/sewer, gas is a whole lot easier on the front end in planning. Have fun.
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Old 05-17-2016, 09:48 PM   #4
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Default Re: Yurt help?

It sounds like you're pretty flexible in where you'd like to settle and I think this is to your advantage. If you're going to live in a yurt, you'll need to get by/through the local building department like Bob said.

However, there are counties that have minimal codes. I currently live in Latah County, Idaho where the county code specifically calls out yurts as temporary dwellings only, lumping them together with RVs and such with a 6 month stay limit. Just to the west is Whitman County, Wa where I've heard they are much more lenient. To the south and north a little, the counties are much more sparse and usually haven't adopted the International Building Code (which isn't terribly yurt friendly). I spoke with one fellow from near Kamiah, Idaho that claimed there basically was no building codes there...

I would suggest getting a regional map, marking all the VA hospitals, then investigating the weather and building codes of the nearby counties.

A note on weather: my grandfather always complained about visiting my family in Skagit Valley during the winters. Even though we got hardly any snow and temps were usually in the 20-40's F, the constant damp chilled to the bone. I didn't realize how bad it was until I moved to SE Washington, where the winter temps were 5-25 F with snow on the ground but I still felt warm. You probably already considered that, but just putting it out there in case.
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Old 05-18-2016, 06:07 AM   #5
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Default Re: Yurt help?

I have tagged

Pacific Yurts

on this thread because I believe they are going to be your best bet. I don't normally do that by the way. My reasoning is that they are located near the climate you want to be in, Cottage Grove Oregon. Should you locate in that area, this will eliminate one of the larger costs in buying a manufactured yurts: shipping.

Second, if anyone knows about permitting, it is yurt manufacturers in their area of business.

Third, it is easy for me to recommend one because I own one of theirs and they are top quality, no hassle yurts.

I would also say that you should keep in mind that yurts are not necessarily cheap. Depending on what you are looking at here, be prepared to spend up to $20,000-$30,000 for a 30' yurt kit, deck materials/construction and a contractor to erect the yurt. This is before any property, septic, wiring and

heating

costs.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
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Old 05-18-2016, 06:56 PM   #6
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Default Re: Yurt help?

Bob,
Wow, Thanks for all of that. While I am aware of some of the aspects, I've never had to deal with them myself. I have also been looking around trying to get some ballpark figures for some of the separate components, though much dealing with actual contractor labor is hard to estimate properly. I would love to be able to DIY, but if I could, then I could probably be working and not in this particular situation; or at least able to manage without all the utilities. And I am considering a slab foundation/floor, as it seems to be an overall simpler situation, as long as the other components are ready (black/grey water outputs, and water & electric input), though the actual composition will depend on my location and the temperature ranges, I suspect.

And yes, it is sad that bureaucracy trumps liberty in the land of the fee.
Please correct me if I am wrong: I am assuming that a contractor that I hire will be able to provide the site details for permitting requirements?

Hierony,
I am really only restricted by my own needs and preferences (and funds, of course) regarding locations, and if I hear of places that are easier to set up in, then I can definitely investigate further. Though the VA really doesn't do much for me now, I still need to be nearby to get what little help I do get. I have lived in various climates, and I'm tired of the heat...and with random hot flashes, being in cooler climates makes life much easier-though I have to stay away from heavy snowfall areas, as I can't manage all that shoveling.
I will look up some of those areas in Idaho too!

Jafo,
Thanks for tagging PY, I have been looking at their site and playing with the yurt builder plenty. And they do seem to cover my needs. I may have enough in savings to cover everything, but that leaves me with no leeway, so I will continue looking for creative ways to get things done right (the first time). I can manage in a smaller yurt, which is why some of the other manufacturers might work well too-24' might be a hair small, but 27' may be perfect. Speaking of localized info, if anyone has any details on their

insulation

needs for NW USA I would love to hear about it; I plan on buying the roof/wall insulation packages, but am unsure about what is generally needed for the floors.

Thanks everyone for all the good information. I'm looking for an appropriate lot now, and hope to be able to get things moving soon. 97 degrees in Sacramento today.
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Old 05-18-2016, 07:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: Yurt help?

If you are going to pour a slab, consider radiant heat then. That will save you space in the yurt depending on how you plan on heating.
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Old 05-18-2016, 10:32 PM   #8
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Default Re: Yurt help?

Sacramento is incredibly hot. My wife is from Stockton, just south of there. It might have already hit 90 in Stockton. I'm sure you are looking forward to a cooler less populated area that still has what you need within reasonable distance. I wish you the best.

As for contractors, here in Colorado you can build a house without being a licensed contractor. I am not one myself and I built our place. The guys that did my plumbing, electric and gas work aren't licensed either. As long as the work follows the plan, and passes inspection you are OK. If you intend to deviate from the submitted plan, they need a new amended plan of the changes. They will throw a stop on the work if they find you have deviated from the plan. That happened to me, and it was very irritating having to deal with these fools who aren't paying the bills.

Anyway, there you go. Good luck.
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Old 05-24-2016, 11:51 AM   #9
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Default Re: Yurt help?

Kilo, Feel free to call or email our sales representatives. There will be no sales pressure and they can provide you with the names of some contractors who have previous experience with our product. They can also give you information about floor insulation, preparing a concrete platform and much more. We would love the opportunity to work with you on the project.

Pacific Yurts
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:47 PM   #10
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Default Re: Yurt help?

PY, thanks, I will contact you soon. It seems that Oregon in general does not allow yurts to be used as a primary residence? I know there's ways of jumping through loopholes, but I just can't afford drama later, when I might be even worse off. All in all it's looking like an unrealistic idea for me, but I'm not done quite yet. It's too bad that bureaucracy and greed make things even more difficult. I'll keep looking land in WA, ID, and MT, but my budget and limitations make it extra difficult.
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