“No Building Codes”? What? Are You Crazy?

15 Apr

Happy Income Tax Day!

Bah Humbug! I could go on for hours about Taxes, and Politicians, and the “State of the State,” and “false promises made by false prophets…”

But I ain’t gonna do it. No sirree!

So, let’s forget all this “Tax Foolishness” for a second, huh?

Instead, let’s think about “Renaissance Ronin” goals:

Because, in the end, it’s all about ME, right?


It’s about US, trying to house our families, without bearing any additional burdens.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again;

It’s not the building of an ISBU house that is “The Challenge.”

It’s the Planning and Zoning Nazi’s… the “Building Inspectors.”

You’re thinking “out of the box” by USING one (or maybe two…) to build a home.

You’re trying to do something different. You’re breaking all the rules. You’re a (gasp!) “free thinker!” ARGH! You monster, you! πŸ˜‰

Here at RenaissanceRonin, we advocate doing what’s best for your family, and not necessarily for the “administration.”

Wha? Are we Communists? Subversives? Non-Conformists?

Um… maybe.Β  Probably not. πŸ˜‰

Actually, we’re just “Moms and Dads” who want their kids to grow up safe and sound, cradled in homes that were crafted to care for them. Home’s that we can actually afford to live in. Homes that will stand up the test of time, and not necessarily just on some builders spreadsheet.

Listen, if I “preach” anything… It’s about being “self-responsible” and “self-reliant”.

So, the most daunting task isn’t “doing…”

It’s “placement.”

Real estate is all about “Location, location, location…”

And… so is building an ISBU (Intermodal Steel Building Unit) Shipping Container home.

Whether you’re building a home entirely out of ISBUs, or simply incorporating those steel boxes into another building plan, say by combining them with earthbags, straw bales, or traditional framing practices…

The building inspector isn’t going to like it.


Because you’re doing something that they don’t “understand.”

In America, we’ve been building houses the same way for about 100 years. Sure, the materials have changed a little bit (some would argue whether that’s better or worse) but in the end, that house down the street is pretty much just like the one Grandpa built…

And it’s time to change that.

I’m not going to go off on a rant about “affordability”, or “sustainability” or “environmental consciousness” or “energy efficiency”, or “hugging trees,” or anything else… um… wait… I just did… sorta! πŸ˜‰

I’m gonna simply says this:

In order to achieve “ISBU Success,” You have to figure out where to put that “ISBU House” in the first place.

That means you need a tool.

Terry Herb, over at “Containerist.com” decided that enough was enough, and he built you that tool.

Now, I pointed out to Terry that the term “Containerist” has been around for decades, and then we gotΒ  off on an off-topic chat about “ancient history”… and wild bears, and big trees, and other stuff… but his book is ANYTHING but history!

No Building Codes is a tool that every ISBU or alternative home builder should have in their tool box.

No Building Codes is an actual compilation of how and where you can build, by researching the building codes (or lack thereof) in your area, to find that perfect place to drop those boxes, so they can be crafted into a “remarkable repurposed respite…”

Terry wrote his book, No Building Codes, to help the average owner-builder find the last remaining places in the United States where there are inconsequential to no buildingΒ  codes.

In ANY kind of “alternative construction”, be it ISBUs, rammed earth, strawbale, or even earthbags…Β Β  there wasn’t a resource book of any sort available on the subject of where to find states with no building codes. None!

So, Terry wrote it! I suspect he’s “a glutton for punishment”, but to hear Terry tell it…

“It was a daunting task because I had to cover each and every state in the U.S. I had to gather sources together to determine which codes were current, outdated, or even if a code existed.”

He worked, he toiled, he sweated out each page… and now, you can reap the benefits of all his hard work, without losing a moments sleep, or “Googling” yourself to death.

And he’s decided that he’s going to release in in E-Book form, so that you can get your hands on it, “fast-fast-fast!”

Buy Now

CLICK The Book!!

He’s offering “No Building Codes” to the public for the low price of $19.95, in PDF format (so that even your Mac will like it… ;))

Now, Terry has offered RenaissanceRonin a commission on each book sold thru our site, so if you follow my link to buy the book, then RR will get a small part of that book sale.

This is great, because it’ll help us actually pay for RR’s operation and upkeep, costs that we are really struggling to afford, now!

So help yourself and help us…

… at the same time! What could be better than that?

HOW… you ask?

By clicking on the book! πŸ™‚

If you decide to buy it later, like after you get your income tax refund… there’s going to be a widget on my sidebar that will allow you to click in and go get it, and make sure that RR gets the credit for the sale.


What are you waiting for?

Buy NowClick on the freakin’ book!

Go get it!

Stay tuned!


13 Responses to ““No Building Codes”? What? Are You Crazy?”

  1. Madrigorne April 15, 2010 at 8:24 am #

    …. if Pook gets hired today I am SO buying this.
    Hey do you have any ideas how much it would cost to dig a 20x10x8 foundation?

    • renaissanceronin April 15, 2010 at 4:55 pm #


      You’re talking 20′ x 10′ x 8′ deep?

      Are you lining it with concrete, masonry (cinder blocks) or what?

      What’s the soil like? Are you using heavy equipment, or a human powered plow (a shovel)?

      Um… if you’re going to dig that hole with shovels, you’re gonna be t-i-r-e-d when you’re done! πŸ™‚

      Gimme more details.

      As for this book, it’s a book that could help everyone considering the building of an alternative home, not just an ISBU one.

      I think that you’ll like it.

      Waiting for details on your hole…


      • Madrigorne April 16, 2010 at 5:59 am #

        I was going to have someone dig it out with a backhoe, and probably a poured concrete foundation, have it done professionally because that heavy work will completely kill me dead. Up here in the cold country we get Tornadoes that eat your house, your garage, and anything above ground, and then fill your yard with debris from the surrounding area – or sweep it all completely away and leave with empty desolate destruction…so I need a cellar… And I need it to have a heavy external vapor barrier. Our bedrock is Granite – which is chock full-o-Radon, a slightly radioactive gas that will give you cancer if from long term exposure.
        Soil around here is sandy, and north is sandier still and rocky, there are massive loess deposits left from when the glaciers receded…so I would say topsoil, sand gravel… or topsoil/sand/gravel – bedrock.
        I am considering putting the bathroom, furnace/water heater/ and well down there – as well as the deepcycle batteries and ye olde root cellar.
        Basement with Facilities, 20′ high cube above with kitchen and convertible living area (pull out couch?), and possibly a future stacked cube above with bedroom and storage. Solar panels on the roof and a vertical access wind turbine, possibly a repurposed Silo on one side to add a staircase and a tower to my corten castle, put a water tank near the top to give awesome water pressure…
        I am thinking a moat and drawbridge might be a little over the top…

  2. Mario April 16, 2010 at 6:18 pm #

    Hey, I’m anxiously awaiting the releases of YOUR book!! Any idea on the date?


    • renaissanceronin April 16, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

      Hi Mario,

      We are truly working on it as fast as we can. I am sooo anxious to get it finished! It’s overdue now. I’m hoping that we’ll be ready for release in Late May, or early June, providing my wife’s health holds up…It WILL be presold, at a pretty good discount, in a few weeks.

  3. renaissanceronin April 16, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    Hi Madrigorne,


    Okay… You’ve got about 1 good workday with a backhoe (provided you don’t hit bedrock). You’re going to have to probe like crazy, to insure that you don’t strike granite… Ugh!

    Then at least a day’s labor building your concrete forms, after you shore up the hole to keep your hole from falling in while you build your forms for your concrete.

    You’re talking about (4) guys, probably, two to three days labor.

    At LEAST 6″ concrete walls, with rebar, right?

    Moisture barrier on the outside, then insulation, and then your radon barrier fabric? And then, the earth? Is that the plan?

    For those of you who don’t know:

    RADON is a silent killer.

    It’s a radioactive gas that is odorless, colorless, and indifferent about who it kills. Radon causes cancer, a disease that MY family knows a lot about.

    Visit http://www.epa.gov/radon/zonemap.html to see how bad the radon is, where you live, if you don’t believe me.

    While in much of America, Radon Mitigation is achieved by simply putting Visqueen (thin polyethylene sheeting) under slabs, these people are kidding themselves.

    You need an engineered film that is designed to do the job. Something like VaporBlock20 Plus will work. It’s a retardant film, that works on Radon and Methane, and it’s a very effective water vapor and VOC retarder as well.

    It costs a little bit more, but does several jobs, so why wouldn’t you use it? Your health is at stake.

    1 in 4 of us will be diagnosed with some form of Cancer in our lifetime. Why take your chances, by saving a few pennies?


    If a shipping container is 8′ wide, and you’re digging a 10 foot wide hole, what’s the other two feet for? OR…

    Are you talking about a ten foot ceiling in your “basement”?

    There IS an easier way…

    Why not just stack TWO 20 ISBU’s and then earth berm the lower one?

    And before a single one of you asks… NO, NO BURYING THE BOTTOM ISBU! πŸ™‚

    It’s not designed for that. But “berming”… that we can accomplish, cheaper than digging the mother of all holes thru gravel, and soil and granite bedrock… WAYYYYY cheaper.

    You’d still get good protection (monstrous amounts of “dirt buffer on three sides”), you’d save tons (literally) of digging, a bunch of labor money, it’d be a “safer build”, and it’d be about three times faster.

    And… Build a covered deck in (3) sections, say 8′ and 8′ and 4′ (over your door) that was designed to fold down in an emergency (like a heavy weather event) and you’d have a cool lower unit, with glass doors. Bright and airy! And during storms, it’d button right up, like a bank vault!

    When the weather permits, you’ll have a cool 9′ walk-out deck on that second floor.

    Here’s how to do it:

    Just pour your footings and slab for the first box at grade, and then tie concrete (cinder blocks, maybe?) walls into the sides of it (use lots of rebar), to enclose three of the four sides.

    Now, berm away! Start about 1 feet out, and work toward the house! And hey…

    Just go up about 8 feet, and you could put some cool strip windows in on the top of that lower box, to help with cross-ventilation and allow some additional light into the rooms!

    And, you could do it all gradually over time. Sure, you’d be tired as all get out, but you’d still have money in your pockets when you were thru.

    It’s the “honey-do” that keeps on giving. Sure, Pook will want to divorce you about 23 weekends in a row, but when he’s done, you’ll worship him! πŸ˜‰

    Or else. πŸ™‚

    In fact, as soon as I post this,I’m going to delete this from my personal doc file. If my wife sees it, she’ll make ME do it…

    • Madrigorne April 19, 2010 at 6:27 am #

      Berm ya say… I was already planning on an outside basement door for getting washers and whatnot into the basement without having to phase it through the floor or lower it down before installing the spiral staircase.
      Pook doesn’t do my projects, he’s all thumbs and arguments. He does encourage me though\will make sandwiches for me\bring the Tylenol when I have gone overboard\make me quit and gotobed when it gets too late…
      Have them pour the pad and footings with rebar poking up on the edges and then gradually build up an 8ft cinderblock/rebar wall on 3 sides round the edge of an ISBU.
      Use a front end loader (save my back) on a pile of gravel/sand/soil/sod ~build up a hill round the outside, 2 foot upper edge for glass block windows (chunky) and a couple regular windows (not so chunky). I probably won’t put a glass door – will probably either install a steel door or leave the ISBU door (solid/sturdy/preexisting).
      I will have to get the ISBU’s one by one (that’s okay) so my BOB will be an underground bunker for a while (also okay). The tornado-zombiepocalypse will find me well fortified and insulated… wait… can zombies dig?

      • renaissanceronin April 19, 2010 at 1:20 pm #

        Um… don’t zombies dig themselves up out of their graves? Yikes!

        Build that upper deck to collapse and seal yourself in, to keep the zombies (and those pesky salesmen) out! πŸ™‚

        And, I don’t wanna be the one to point it out, but I think that Pook outsmarted you… πŸ™‚

        You’ll be in “No Zombies Allowed” soon!

        Watch your email, I’m sending you some floorplans that you can use as a (“laughing”) starting point…


        • Madrigorne April 20, 2010 at 9:59 am #

          …Steel Door it is! No brain eating zombies digging into my room, no tornadoes either!

          Yeah he probably has, he mentioned as much regarding when his parents expected him to mow with their electric mower and him running over the cord a bunch of times…

          I will keep my eye on my mail. Thx for your help Ronin. How are things with you and your family?

          • renaissanceronin April 20, 2010 at 10:06 am #

            Um… Where’s your “real” (South) light gonna come from, with all that steel around you?

            While I love steel doors, you really need something in that front face to open things up, or it’s gonna feel like you’re living in a coffin.

            And that coffin effect is sure to attract zombies… πŸ™‚

            I still like the idea of good glass openings, and a covered deck, that allows it to be folded down during “Zombie Alerts.” πŸ˜‰

            But it’s probably just cuz’ I wanna see ’em coming, before I blast ’em… πŸ˜‰

            Char’s trying to hold her own, not getting better, not getting horribly worse. That’s that hard part of Stage Three. It doesn’t creep in… it bites.

            It’s the “zombie” that we live with.

            The highlight of each day is our two year old, Joshua, as we watch him blossom and learn new things. It’s amazing to behold…

            • Madrigorne April 21, 2010 at 11:42 am #

              Give em both a Hug from Auntie Madrigorne. Ask them to give you one too.

  4. mark h/ May 2, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

    i do not have a paypal account and have no intention of getting one..
    is there any place/way i can send you a money order for the building code Ebook or purchase is with a credit card directly..?


    • renaissanceronin May 2, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

      Hi Mark,

      You don’t really NEED a Paypal account to purchase anything thru paypal. Just your credit card and information are enough. Paypal will do all the rest.

      But there are some people who aren’t comfortable putting their info out there, I completely understand that. So…

      What I can do is to send your information (your name and email addy) to Terry (the author of this great book!), and have him do the transaction, personally.

      That way, I’ll still get credit for the sale, and that little commission will help keep this blog alive!

      If that works for you, send me a private message with your information (just the name and email contact info) and I’ll forward it on.

      Thanks for asking! You won’t regret buying the book, I assure you.


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