Cracking the Code: A guide to building codes and zoning for tiny houses

This guide to building codes & zoning for tiny houses is designed to help you logically navigate all the red tape wh

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Cracking the Code: A guide to building codes and zoning for tiny houses

Table of contents :
building inspection check list.pdf......Page 31
Cracking The Code.pdf......Page 1
Dealing with Codes and Inspectors.pdf......Page 77
Blogroll......Page 0
Home Building Process.pdf......Page 97
RESOURCE COVER.pdf......Page 29

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CRACKING THE CODE A GUIDE TO BUILDING CODES & ZONING FOR TINY HOUSES

Ryan Mitchell © Ryan Mitchell 2012 – TheTinyLife.com

TheTinyLife.com

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CRACKING THE CODE A GUIDE TO BUILDING CODES AND ZONING FOR TINY HOUSES

Welcome to TheTinyLife.com’s guide to legal issues surrounding Tiny Houses and their construction. This guide is designed to help you logically navigate all the red tape when it comes to housing. I have designed this manual to help you quickly familiarize yourself with some of the key bureaucratic road blocks, suggest two possible pathways to building your home from the legal perspective, and several strategies to make it a success. But first understand that the advice given in this document is not comprehensive or complete. You must consult with the proper experts in these matters before you make any decision. You must take responsibility for your decisions. I am not responsible for the outcomes of your actions or inactions. It is important to realize that all municipalities are different; I will present some of the common legal issues but not all of them.

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– INTRODUCTION – The legality of Tiny Houses is really the skeleton in the Tiny House closet; in most instances, building and living in tiny houses isn’t legal—there is no other way of putting it. That said, some individuals have successfully navigated the red tape to make living in their Tiny House legal. Others have reached an understanding with the code enforcement people wherein both parties mutually agree to leave one another alone. People in the Tiny House world commonly cite two “loopholes” to existing laws which allow them to live legally in their Tiny Houses: 1. Building your Tiny House on a trailer. 2. Not needing a permit because of minimum square footage requirements. However, these escape clauses aren’t always magical solutions. To say these aren’t loopholes would also be an oversimplification. Here is the distinction: With these two approaches you can build your Tiny House legally. In most municipalities, structures under a certain square footage don’t need to be permitted. It is also the case (from a DMV perspective) many states that if a trailer is certified as road safe, you are good to go. You may simply build on top of the trailer bed. With trailers, you must also consider the municipality’s rules concerning the parking of vehicles or trailers on your property. Many municipalities’ zoning regulations state that you can have one a vehicle or trailer on your property as long as it is behind a house or not visible from the road and worth at least $100 in market value. So why doesn’t this work? The crux of it is that you might be able to construct a Tiny House while abiding with the above regulations, but it would still be illegal to live in your house. If you build your Tiny House and use it for storage or let it sit empty, it is legal, but you may not reside in the home, even if you call it a guest house or a camper/RV. These approaches will not fly with your municipality’s authorities. This leads us to our next section. You need to understand two main concepts: primary residence and habitable dwelling.

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– THE SPIRIT OF THE CODES – I want to take a moment to emphasize that the bulk of housing codes are designed for your safety, but not all. It can be difficult to understand the purpose or reason behind some of these, but you should not just dismiss them as unnecessary red tape. A lot of these rules are legislated after deaths with the intention of preventing future accidents. Tiny House people often find it frustrating when they run into minimum square footage requirements. I have been there myself. I do want to make sure you understand why these codes came to exist. In the early years of the United States, housing was poorly regulated. There weren’t many rules and those that existed couldn’t be properly enforced. So why do we need these rules and regulations anyway? In the 1830s, the population of the United States exploded. This population growth was fueled by the economic impact of the construction of the Erie Canal, completed in 1825, which connected the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, and the Mississippi River. As a result, tradesmen could transport many of the nation’s goods with the aid of coal operated paddle boats. The resulting population explosion and economic prosperity meant the nation needed more housing for all the new workers. Consequently, slums were born. Pictured below is a photo from Jacob Riis’ series “How the Other Half Lives.” Riis’ photo project helped spark 19th century housing reform. Realize that existing housing regulations have prevented hundreds of millions of people from living in squalor today. To remove them could open the door for slum lords who only care about making a buck at the expense of people’s health and wellbeing and eliminate a legal process that punishes those who currently take advantage of the needy.

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– PRIMARY RESIDENCE – As previously mentioned, you will typically run into an issue when you start living in a space. Your inhabitation opens up the flood gates on building codes. A residence or dwelling is often defined as something similar to this: Dwelling shall mean any building which is wholly or partly used or intended to be used for living or sleeping by human occupants; provided that temporary housing as hereinafter defined shall not be regarded as a dwelling. The next logical line of inquiry is how authorities typically determine if you are living in a space. First, understand that it is completely at an inspector’s discretion to decide if you are living in a space. The formal definition of an occupant is this: Occupant shall mean any person over one year of age, living, sleeping, cooking or eating in, or having actual possession of a dwelling unit or rooming unit. Are you wondering why a Tiny House that can contain all of the mentioned activities, including sleeping, eating, cooking, and holding possessions, might not be allowed? The legal definition of a habitable room or dwelling helps explain this prohibition.

– HABITABLE DWELLING – Each municipality has different definitions of what constitutes a habitable structure. Municipalities often have similar definitions, but may tweak the minimum square footage. Legislators do this primarily to force people to build houses above a certain size, which guarantees that the house generates a certain amount of tax revenue. If they raise the minimum square footage, they raise tax revenue. When it comes to habitable dwellings, we need to consider two things: the requirements of the whole dwelling and the requirements of rooms within that dwelling. Room requirements get Tiny House folks in a bind, because each room needs to be a separate space with its own minimum square footage. In some cases the minimum room square footage is larger than an entire Tiny House, but the code dictates that the room must be part of a larger unit. Thus, you have minimum room square footage which must connect to other rooms that have to be bigger than Tiny Houses. Altogether, these guidelines mean your home must have at least 300-500 square feet, again, depending on your municipality. Here is the definition of a habitable room: © Ryan Mitchell 2012 – TheTinyLife.com

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Habitable room shall mean a room or enclosed floor space used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking or eating purposes, excluding bathrooms, water closet compartments, laundries, heater rooms, foyers, or communicating corridors, closets and storage spaces. The definition of a habitable dwelling is a bit more complex. What follows is a fairly representative example of what most (but not all) municipalities’ habitable dwelling regulations look like. It’s a bit lengthy, but important to understand. This excerpt provides a few highlights of all the codes.

Minimum Floor Area for Sleeping Purposes Every dwelling unit shall contain at least one hundred and fifty (150) square feet of habitable floor area for the first occupant, at least one hundred (100) square feet of additional habitable area for each of the next three occupants, and at least seventy-five (75) square feet of additional habitable floor area for each additional occupant. Every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one (1) occupant shall contain at least seventy (70) square feet of floor area, and every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one (1) occupant shall contain at least fifty (50) square feet of floor area for each occupant twelve (12) years of age and over and at least thirty-five (35) square feet of floor area for each occupant under twelve (12) years of age.

(a) Plumbing System. (1) Each dwelling unit shall be connected to a potable water supply and to the public sewer or other approved sewage disposal system. (2) Each dwelling unit shall contain not less than a kitchen sink, lavatory, tub or shower, water closet, and adequate supply of both cold and hot water. All water shall be supplied through an approved pipe distribution system connected to an approved potable water supply. (3) All plumbing fixtures shall be maintained in a state of good repair and in good working order.

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(4) All required plumbing fixtures shall be located within the dwelling unit and be accessible to the occupants of same. The water closet and tub or shower shall be located in a room or rooms affording privacy to the user. (b) Heating System. Every dwelling and dwelling unit shall have either (1) or (2) (1) Central and electric heating systems. Every central or electric heating system shall be of sufficient capacity so as to heat all habitable rooms, bathrooms and water closet compartments in every dwelling unit to which it is connected with a minimum temperature of sixty-eight (68) degrees (2) Fahrenheit measured at a point three feet (3') above the floor and two feet (2') from exterior walls during ordinary winter conditions (2) Other Heating facilities. Where a central or electric heating system is not provided, each dwelling and dwelling unit shall be provided with sufficient fireplaces, chimneys, flues or gas vents whereby heating appliances may be connected so as to heat all habitable rooms with a minimum temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit measured three feet (3') above the floor and two feet (2') from exterior walls during ordinary winter conditions. (c) Electrical System. (1) Every dwelling and dwelling unit shall be wired for electric lights and convenience receptacles. Every habitable room shall contain at least two floor or wall-type electric convenience receptacles, connected in such manner as determined by the National Electric Code. There shall be installed in every bathroom, water closet room, laundry room and furnace room at least one supplied ceiling, or wall-type electric light fixture. In the event wall or ceiling light fixtures are not provided in any habitable room, then each such habitable room shall contain at least three floor or walltype electric convenience receptacles (2) Every public hall and stairway in every multiple dwelling shall be adequately lighted by electric lights at all times when natural daylight is not sufficient.

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(3) All fixtures, receptacles, equipment and wiring shall be maintained in a state of good repair, safe, capable of being used, without hazard to property or person. As you can see, there are several aspects of a Tiny House—by it’s nature—that cannot meet these qualifications. The biggest of Tiny Houses in respect to habitable structures is the bathroom. Often, Tiny Houses utilize composting or other alternatives, which would not meet this code. Failure to meet the minimum requirements for a habitable structure results in the structure being condemned.

–CODE ENFORCEMENT– In order to understand housing codes, you must also understand how authorities enforce them. The enforcement process is divided into a few phases: discovery, inspection, notice, ruling, complying, and punishment. These phases are a chain of events, meaning that they occur in a specific order. Each one must precede the next. Why is this important? It means that if we can stop the first step—discovery —we can avoid the entire chain. This is to our advantage because many municipalities operate on a “complaint-based system,” meaning that the inspector doesn’t leave their office, unless they receive a complaint. Let’s consider how law enforcement might discover an out of compliance dwelling. The most common sources for code enforcement notification are people who live near you. A good relationship goes a long way toward preventing you from being reported. Many people who have neighbors care about a few things when it comes to their neighbors: “Are they nice? Do I like them?” This is something that is in your control. Second, they ask”Does the neighbor’s property add or detract value from my property?” Relationships can fall apart quickly when money is involved so it’s important to consider this. You might even want to have a discussion with your neighbors about key aspects of what you are doing on your land and how it affects their home’s value. The really nice things about Tiny Houses are that they look nice and they can move—that helps a lot. It is often a good idea to screen your house from sight of the road so that code enforcement people driving by don’t see your house. When you do screen, I’d suggest doing some nice landscaping—maybe even edible landscaping--but discuss this with your © Ryan Mitchell 2012 – TheTinyLife.com

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neighbors. Approach the conversation by explaining how you can hide your house and also elevate their property value. This sounds like a lot of work, but is important in developing and maintaining a good relationship with your neighbor. The final aspect of being a good neighbor is how you conduct yourself. Do you have trash lying around? Are there cars on blocks? Do you mow your lawn often enough? Do things look presentable without any other annoyances present? When your neighbors go out of town, offer to get their mail while they are gone. This also means you get more time to chat and show your home to them when they come by to pick up their mail. Another way code enforcement might learn of your house is through tax assessments. Each city does things differently. Some have representatives come out in person; some assess taxes just using records and aerial photos. Give your local office a call saying you are new in town and want to understand the tax assessment process. You don’t have to get too elaborate in your story, just pick and choose your words carefully and consider what phone you are using to call. Is there an address associated with that number that could cause the office worker on the phone to radio an inspector requesting a drive by inspection? Remember that an inspector or tax assessor is legally allowed to come on your property without notice or legal documents. You can always refuse them entrance to your home, but not your property. If you never formally have anything on the record about improving the land, there will be nothing for them to feel the need to see or inspect. Unimproved land is generally left alone after utilities are installed and the property lines surveyed. Some of us might respond, “Well, how can they stop me?” Municipalities commonly discourage violations of codes through fines, destruction or removal, and prevention of access to municipal services like water, sewer, electricity, and trash. Does that mean you can’t live in a Tiny House? The answer: You can live in a Tiny House. I am going to give you direct instruction about how you can do so. First, a lovely disclaimer: it’s up to you to do your research, because each municipality is different and you take responsibility for this endeavor yourself. Living In Your Tiny House The first and easiest way to legally inhabit your Tiny House is to appeal to your local code enforcement. They are often nice people who just get crabby when people don’t take the time to understand the law and work within its parameters. I recommend you do some research, spend a few hours looking around your city’s building codes, laws, etc.

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If you are really serious, go ahead and get a copy of the code book for your city. Cities often sell these books for about $35. Next, check out the website municode.com. This site posts many, but not all, cities’ actual codes. As you delve into building codes you will quickly realize that they are a nightmare to learn. Once you have done your research, I suggest contacting a contractor who you can use as a subject matter expert. You may need to pay them but they can help you streamline the process. This isn’t required, but it is suggested. Talking with them will let you figure out exactly how you are going to present your situation to the code enforcement officer. I would further suggest that you have this expert be your liaison to the inspectors because contractors are comfortable and familiar with this role. They will speak the code inspector’s language, might have pre-existing relationships with the inspectors, and understand how the system works. Finally, contact your local code enforcement office and share what you’d like to do. State that you are looking for a way to achieve your goal while meeting all building code requirements. You will often have to get a special exception or variance (a term with different names in different places) which includes plans, submittal of documents and applications, perhaps even lawyer fees. After a lengthy process you will get an approval or a denial, so be prepared for either outcome. Keeping a positive attitude will go miles here. What about less than “above board” ways? I see this as a civil disobedience issue. First of all breaking the law is, well, illegal so be prepared to deal with the consequences. You are responsible, not me. Remember that some codes are designed to keep people safe. That is important to remember. For example, the two point of egress code is a safety thing, while the law that states that your lawn can’t be taller than 18 inches isn’t. If you don’t abide by the codes, look at its intention or research it. If there is a safety concern, think creatively about how you could address it in another way. So far I have identified a few areas in which Tiny Houses fall short of code: • Minimum habitable structure requirements. o Square footage o Multiple rooms o Separate bedroom with closet o Sewer system connections • Required Ceiling insulation R-Values. • Second point of egress.

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–RISK MANAGEMENT– The next big thing to remember about not doing things on “the up and up” is, frankly, not to get caught. Let’s consider ways your transgressions might be brought to the attention of code enforcement. • Your annoying neighbor could report you. • A code enforcement agent could see your house from the road as he or she drives by. • Tax assessors could report the house. • Aerial, drone, or satellite tax assessment photos might peak some interest.

Don’t make this easy for them. Consider all the ways you could be reported and take active steps to mitigate those risks. This is the essence of risk management. Depending on where you live and the present community it is very likely that people could learn about your home and not care about its code violations. They may even embrace your Tiny House. Ultimately, it is best to keep a low profile. I, personally, am at odds with my own advice because I want to use my house as a statement for advocacy. It is up to you and depends on your personal comfort level. Another thing to consider is locations where you can move your Tiny House temporarily if code enforcement does start asking questions. Campgrounds often allow you to stay for up to 2-3 weeks at a time. So taking time to do some research ahead of time to have a solid plan B can help reduce being discovered. Having a house on the property In my mind, the best approach is to be on a property where a normal house is already built. This allows you to connect all your utilities to the regular sized house without raising any eyebrows. It also makes flush toilets really simple because you can use the ones in the main house if you insist on a flush toilet. The other advantage to having a regular house on the property is that it gives you a viable place to report as your primary residence if inspectors come knocking. Code Enforcement Vernacular One thing I have learned while dealing with inspectors is that you can do a lot if you know how to use their language and know what to say and what not to say. For example, if you were to

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say to an inspector, “This is my tiny house,” they are going to start asking questions. If, instead, you were to say, “This is just an enclosed trailer parked here that meets all the road safety qualifications,” they are less likely to dig deeper.

–UTILITY CONNECTIONS– The next big thing to tackle is how you are going to get water, sewer and electricity to the property. Depending where you are and what you want to do, this can be difficult. Since you don’t have a certificate of occupancy, you have to do research and get creative. This is where a contractor will be useful, because they will be able to educate you on the options and give you the right terms to use when applying for these. The best approach I have found is to establish utilities before you even start building your Tiny House. You will most likely need an electrician and plumber. Have them come out and tell them the whole project. It is a good idea to have them bill you separately for the electrical hook-up to the grid and for the wiring and plumbing of your house. This way, on paper, it doesn’t look like there was a house associated with the hook-up. I suggest that people who are on an empty lot state that they want to put a small garden on the lot, so they’d like to have water and an electrical outlet for tools or a radio. I have never run into any issues with putting these things on an empty lot. According to the electrician I use, it’s not that uncommon to do.

Electricity I highly recommend that you hire an electrician to handle the connection to the grid and from the grid to your panel. At that point, most people can do most of the work themselves. You can also have the electrician show you how to do the first few steps and then come in to check your work when you have done the rest. This will save money and educate you, but still keep things safe. When it comes to getting power to the site, I suggest asking the electrician for advice on the best approach to get a hook-up done. Often, electricians will suggest something like a

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contractor’s pole, an RV hook-up, or something similar. I like the RV option because the hardware is ubiquitous, it is easily relatable, and you can roll into a campground and hook up in a pinch. Water Again, I recommend that you hire someone to set up your water. You are purchasing their knowledge of how the system works and their ability to navigate it on your behalf. To mitigate costs, ask them to quote you two estimates: One contract in which you dig the trench and one in which they do it. Water is often tied into a contractor’s pole or a RV hook-up station. Sometimes just a simple spigot (I suggest a freeze proof water hydrant that is supported by a post) is a very simple but effective option. When considering water for your tiny house there are several things to consider: your local water quality (hard, soft, salinity, etc.), the pressure of the water source, how to prevent the water line from freezing above and below ground, and the pressure requirements of the appliances in your tiny house. Sewage Sewage is by far the most complicated utility to tackle. If I could give you one piece of advice, it’s this: go with a composting/incinerating toilet or use the bathroom of a house on the property. There are commercially available composting and incinerating toilets, but I have heard from numerous owners that they are very expensive and don’t work very well. I recommend using a standard composting toilet with a urine diverter. The single best guide for composting toilets is The Humanure Book by Joseph Jenkins. The book is commercially available. If you want a flush toilet in your Tiny House, there is a good chance you will need to invite your city’s code enforcement into the house. There isn’t any way around this, unfortunately, because the city is required to connect the city sewage lines to your house. Some people connect their RV sewage into their sewer clean out plug; not all

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houses have this plug.  To do this, remove the plug and then attach with the correct adapter like you would a RV dump station. If you go this route, I highly suggested that you work with a professional plumber and install a back flow preventer for your Tiny House and for the house to which you are tying in.  If you use a leech field, you will find it difficult to do without an inspection because most contractors will not be willing to take the job without it. Some people have simply used a RV setup and piped the leech field to the service access manhole of the septic tank. The issue that you can run into with this option is that the connection has to be air tight because septic systems operate on anaerobic bacterial digestion-- bacteria that can only live in airless environments. The major down side to leech fields is that they are very expensive. At the low end, you should expect to pay $15,000.

– CLOSING – By their nature, Tiny Houses fly in the face of the current approach to housing. The idea of thousands of citizens picking up hammers to build their own home scares public officials. A house that skirts around the profit schemes of big businesses and municipal taxes is naturally going to encounter a lot of resistance because there is so much money at stake. In part, the concern of housing regulation authorities is valid. It can be dangerous for non-professionals to build homes. However, it also can usher in a new generation of well-informed citizens. We need to find a way to balance the safety concerns of public officials with the DIY attitude of Tiny House folks. Understanding how the system works and hiring advocates to help you navigate the process will get you quite far, but it might take more. One day we will be able to develop example codes that can be widely adopted by municipalities, but for now these are limited in availability. We are starting to see some options open up in places like Portland and Seattle, but they are typically more progressive in matters such as these. Until then, I hope this guide gave you a starting point and a way to start thinking about these issues and how you might approach them. Remember to keep a positive attitude, do your homework and enjoy the journey. It is often more important than the destination.

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When it comes to tiny houses, we really have to get creative. This shouldn’t be a problem because, at this point, we’ve gone so far outside of the box that we can’t see it any more. When I first wrote Cracking The Code, I did a ton of research on the subject and presented what I felt was the best solution for most people. Luckily, for me, I’ve been able to talk to hundreds of tiny house dwellers and I gained feedback from comments left on my blog at TheTinyLife.com. I’ve also had the privilege of interviewing and discussing these issues with, pretty much, every tiny house builder out there. (Those who are actually doing things in their own communities.) So between the research, personal experience, interviews, and stories I’ve gathered, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone with the same depth of knowledge I possess. There have been many who said I over-complicated things. They said all I had to do was one particular thing and all would be alright. While I recognize that it may have worked for those critics, in many cases, I feel as though they didn’t understand the nuances of the solution. In their misunderstanding, I feared that it would get shut down quickly if their city actually took a look at it. Additionally, a lot of the proposed solutions were accompanied by unintended consequences that may not have come into play for them, but may have factored into the equation of others. What is the point of me saying all of this? It’s not that I believe these things wouldn’t have worked. However, I did a lot of research in these areas and I realized that these solutions were not universal. Our goal is to help the movement grow. We must have a solution that can grow with tiny houses. While I am proud to offer the ebook we created, I left out a lot of information because it wasn’t a part of the universal solution. I received some good feedback and decided to add this toolkit to open your eyes up to some of the options available to you. The toolkit also includes my personal assessments regarding the viability of these options. With the frame work of the original e-book and the addition of the toolkit, you can come up with a solution that works best for you according to where you are right now.

Establishing a Primary Dwelling Elsewhere I think this is an important step in most of the solutions you can choose, because it eliminates a lot of questions and it has some added benefits. Technically, having your primary dwelling – meaning the place on paper in which you officially live - in another place, at a traditional house, means that you can legally say, ‘I don’t live in the tiny house.’ If a code enforcement office asks you if you live there you can honestly say, ‘No, I live at this other place, this is just a work space, art studio, meditation spot, camper, RV, etc.’ You can produce your driver’s license, which notes the other address, and that should stop any other questions from being asked. You will understand the value of this when you fully understand the codes and why having a place labeled as your primary dwelling is so important. At this point, you may be asking, “What other place am I going to say is my primary place of residence?” Here’s what I suggest: If you are parked behind someone else’s house, use their residence for your address. If you are on bare land it might be a bit more difficult, but consider using your significant other’s address, your parents’ address, a friend’s apartment or some other relative’s address. Pros: You can eliminate a lot of code questions , and you will now have an official mailing address. Cons: You need to be sure that you aren’t breaking any laws, and you’ll also need to have arrangements with those people whose address you are using – just in case things need to be verified for officials.

Camping Many people in rural areas and even some people in cities have been able to use camping as a way to live in a tiny house on a long-term basis. In many places, you can’t camp in one spot for more than a pre-determined amount of time. When reading your local code, if you are lucky, it will give you the rules and regulations regarding the amount of time you can camp in one place. What does this mean for you? If you move every so often, you are now camping in a new spot! The code enforcers will come observe, watch you hook up your tiny house, roll it a few feet, and you’re good to go. After some time, they’ll give up or they’ll begin to like you. Then you won’t have to worry. Heck, you can even ask them when will they be coming again, and invite them to a cook out. Now, the reason I didn’t put this information in the original e-book is: a lot of places have discovered this solution. As a result, many of them have banned camping unless a natural disaster or emergency has been declared. Or, they will only allow you to camp for a certain time period per parcel of land. This means, no matter where you move it to, it won’t matter unless you cross a parcel line. Still, if you’re fortunate enough, you can get a plot of land that has a weird division and is technically two parcels. In this instance, you can just roll the house across the line and back again. Pros: It’s pretty simple. Most code enforcement officers are fine with it if you’re knowledgeable about the law and keep a friendly attitude. Cons: This is not a universal solution, and you will need a vehicle to tow the house frequently. Also, if you have a curmudgeon inspector, he/she will get sick of your plan and cite you on something else, even if he/she has to make it up in order to stop dealing with you.

RV’s Many people have chosen to use RV’s and they’ve had varying amounts of success. Some states will allow you to get a special designation as a “home built” RV or, you can go to the DMV and get an RV designation. Typically, there are a lot of rules that surround this and it usually entails an inspection and a higher tax rate, but it may be only a few dollars in many cases. Despite these things, it can be a workable solution depending on the codes in your area and, more importantly, the zoning. Zoning often determines where you can park your RV and building codes often control whether or not you can camp in or live in your RV. Using an RV isn’t a perfect solution, because most towns will not let you camp in an RV on residential property. In fact, there are more and more towns that will not let you store an RV on your property. In addition to this, sometimes you can live in them, but you have to do so in a RV park; and most of these parks are limited to seasonal living. To top it all off, since the RV is home built, many parks will not allow your RV entry, because it isn’t professionally manufactured. We’ve found that most of the RV parks in our area aren’t a desirable place to live. Often, these parks are found in bad parts of town or in other places where no one would actually want to live. There are many places in the US that have quality parks that would suit you just fine. It’s just a matter of you doing some homework. I explored, very heavily, becoming an official RV manufacturer, much like Tumbleweed has done. We actually submitted our application, but came to realize that there wasn’t a park within 30 miles of where I worked. Again, this wasn’t a universal solution. Pros: It worked for some and it can be a lower entry cost where home built RV’s are allowed. It’s also a way to contribute a fair share of taxes to your community. Cons: It’s not a universal solution. You might get placed in areas you don’t want to live in and some parks will not allow home built RV’s. Also, many parks are seasonal, and in some places you can’t live full-time in an RV.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) To be honest, ADU’s are something with which I am not very familiar. This is mainly because my local municipality just recently added an amendment about ADU’s. The idea behind ADU’s is: you have a main house and behind that main house there’s a small, unattached house. This is an interesting concept. I think it holds a lot of potential. Now, of course, there are some rules that often come with this. First off, it still needs to meet minimum habitable definitions which, most often, tiny houses don’t. Secondly, it needs to be on a foundation – most of the time. Some other common considerations are shown in the code below: • • • •

The ADU shall be clearly subordinate to the principal single family detached structure. No more than one ADU shall be located on a lot. The ADU and the principal dwelling shall be owned by the same person. The ADU shall not be served by a driveway separate from that serving the principal dwelling, unless it is within an accessory structure and located on a corner lot or a lot that abuts an alley.

Pros: ADU’s hold a lot of promise for future tiny house variances. Cons: ADU’s often need to be on a foundation, and they must meet minimum habitable requirements. Additionally, there are setbacks required from property lines.

Take It on the Road Tiny houses are mobile. If you’re going from place to place often times, it doesn’t matter what the building codes are. If someone raises an issue, you can just leave. It does require a, somewhat, nomadic lifestyle because there’s a level of uncertainty involved. Some places you can consider staying are campgrounds, RV parks, truck stops, private land, abandoned parking lots and many Wal-Marts allow RV’s to park overnight. Pros: You’re always exploring and you get to see new things. Cons: You’re always moving; uncertain of where you’ll be parking each night. The cost of gas is high.

Under the Radar For the most part, this has been the method most often used by tiny house dwellers. This, paired with maintaining an official residence at a traditional house, has proven to be the most successful. We do hope this changes, because there are a lot of people that are doing great work to bring tiny houses into legal status, but it will take time. Staying under the radar works well because most cities use a complaint-driven system for code enforcement. This means the city doesn’t actively seek out violations unless a complaint is filed. So, if you keep a low profile; taking steps not to be seen from the road and you practice being a good neighbor, you should be just fine. Pros: This is the most popular method for tiny houses, at this point. It’s easy to do and has minimal red tape. Cons: It’s technically illegal. If you have an unfriendly neighbor, it could be a problem, because they could report you.

Building on a Trailer: This method is often cited as the end-all-be-all of solutions; but frankly, it’s not. Those who defend this method by saying it’s “all you need to do,” are grossly uninformed. This isn’t to say that building on a trailer isn’t a good idea. In fact, I would advise you to do so, simply because adding a trailer brings a lot of advantages. The biggest advantage is that it brings the tiny house into a legal gray area. By adding a trailer, a tiny house doesn’t fit into any building code boxes very neatly. We know this because it can’t technically be a dwelling, according to minimum habitable definitions. It places tiny houses in a position of flexibility. After adding a trailer, a tiny house doesn’t fit neatly in a certain category. Now, there’s room to work with departments to adapt things to the best possible outcome. Another advantage is: if things don’t go well, you can pack up and leave. Better yet, you can even move the house before code enforcement shows up…. What house? I often advise that you look around your area for campgrounds that you can stay at for a few weeks, if there’s a need. Pros: It allows you to be flexible with how you are classified, and it allows you to be mobile. Cons: It’s not the end-all-be-all solution. Sometimes, not fitting into a box is difficult to handle; it requires some work.

Build Smaller than Permitting Requirements Honestly, since it’s on a trailer and; therefore, it’s a vehicle, this is a pretty moot point. In some townships, code specifies a total square footage. If the vehicle is under that, then you’re ok. There are; however, some towns that don’t specify square footage. Many often say, “a footprint not more than ___ feet in either direction.” This is an important distinction because many tiny houses are less than 144 square feet, but they are often longer than they are wide. So, if the code states “not more than ___ feet in either direction,” a tiny house will not qualify. Like I said, this is not a big issue because it’s on a trailer. Technically, it’s not a building. With trailers, the only thing you have to worry about is zoning rules. This is also the case because it is not the building of the tiny house that causes issues; it is trying to reside in them. Pros: Depending on the code in your area, this will eliminate any annoyances by inspectors because you won’t have pulled a permit. Cons: It doesn’t really help with the overall issue(s), in most cases.

Get a Variance This technique is really to be used in conjunction with other approaches of this guide. It’s another promising approach because you can work with your local department to determine what route you want to pursue. Then you can get variations to adapt things to fit into that specific definition. Most often you will select what you will be designated as (ADU, RV, Mobile Home, etc), then ask for a variance where you fall short of the definitions. It also means you will gain legal status and be free to live in your house as you see fit - without any worry. Say, for example, that you’re going to be classified as a mobile home, but there are 3 codes that you can’t meet because of the size. You could apply for a variance of those 3 codes, and if allowed, you will become legally defined as a mobile home. The one downside to this is that it might not work. The department may not be willing to grant the variance. It can also come with some costs (fees, permits, etc.). Also, many cities accept applications for variances only once or twice a year, so it can take a while to apply and then hear back. Pros: It’s an avenue to having a legal tiny house and living without any worries. Cons: It’s time consuming, costly, and it might not work.

Mobile Homes and Park Models This designation has good potential if you can find a good place to park your tiny house. The issue when you pursue this option, along with RV’s, is that zoning will dictate that you can’t park it unless it is designated for specific classifications. Most often, residential zoning doesn’t allow for these to be parked. In many cases, where you’d have to park isn’t a place you’d want to live. That said, there are many great parks in which you’d have a great life. I It just depends where you live or to where you’re willing to move. There is even the potential to buy an old park and start a tiny house park. There are two potential roadblocks to this method. One roadblock is the definition of a mobile home/park model and the requirements for professional manufacturing designation. In a lot of areas a mobile home or park model definition often states that the unit must be at least 30-feet long. Check your local codes and you’ll find that they are often referred to as, manufactured housing. The second roadblock is that many parks require that your tiny house be insured and produced by a licensed manufacturer. (This is a similar story to RV’s and their limitations.) Pros: This method has potential to be a legal avenue to park tiny houses and live in them. There are some great communities that already exist or you can create your own. Cons: Sometimes tiny houses don’t meet the code definition of manufactured housing. In some cases, you might not want to live in the areas zoned for these. Many cities are not granting new zonings for these.

So, these are just a few tools that you have in your toolkit. They will help you to successfully navigate your local codes and zoning. I laid them out for you so you can understand some of the nuances of each strategy. With this information, you can decide what’s best for you. Each one comes with its own set of strengths and challenges. It’s important to know what the long-term implications of each of them are and how you can use them to your advantage. Working with your local code enforcement can be a positive force in your pursuit of achieving legal status for your tiny house. Good luck!

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BUILDING INSPECTION CHECKLIST Location:

Exterior:

1.

Is the building address or identification clearly visible?

Yes

No

2.

Are exterior lights in working order?

Yes

No

3.

Are periodic inspections conducted and documented?

Yes

No

4.

Is an unobstructed access road to the building provided?

Yes

No

5.

Are the exits onto public streets free from visibility obstructions?

Yes

No

6.

Are trees and shrubs pruned and documented?

Yes

No

7.

Are roots pruned and documented?

Yes

No

8.

Are all building sides accessible to emergency equipment?

Yes

No

9.

Are fire hydrants accessible?

Yes

No

N/A

10. Are sprinkler/standpipe connections accessible?

Yes

No

N/A

11. Are sprinkler/standpipe connections clearly marked?

Yes

No

N/A

12. Are landscape sprinklers at least 6 inches from walkways or pathways?

Yes

No

N/A

13. Does the building appear to be in good repair?

Yes

No

14. Is building free from signs of vandalism?

Yes

No

15. Are exterior walls free from cracks or other damages?

Yes

No

N/A

16. Are windows free from cracks or broken panes?

Yes

No

N/A

17. Has vegetation been cut back from the building?

Yes

No

N/A

18. Are turf areas inspected for holes, exposed roots, etc. and documented?

Yes

No

N/A

19. Are paved surfaces inspected and repaired (i.e., lifts, cracks, etc.)?

Yes

No

20. Are combustible materials stored away from the building?

Yes

No

N/A

21. Is the building free from signs of exterior damage? 22. Are stairs, landings and handrails in good repair and fastened securely? (inspect the bottom of each step)

Yes

No

N/A

Yes

No

23. Are facilities periodically inspected and documented?

Yes

No

24. Are all sewer clean out caps in place?

Yes

No

25. Are all irrigation covers in place?

Yes

No

N/A

26. Are housing authority owned light post bases free of rust and/or deterioration?

Yes

No

N/A

27. Do entrance doors close slowly to avoid hazards to fingers?

Yes

No

28. Are utility/cable boxes marked "Keep Off"?

Yes

No

Interior: Electrical System:

N/A

Building Inspection Checklist Page 2

29. Are all electrical panels secured?

Yes

No

N/A

30. Is a 3' clearance provided around all electrical panels?

Yes

No

N/A

31. Are all electrical rooms free from combustible storage?

Yes

No

N/A

32. Are all electrical panels cool to the touch?

Yes

No

N/A

33. Are all electrical panels free from evidence of burning?

Yes

No

N/A

34. Have all electrical circuits been identified?

Yes

No

N/A

35. Are all electrical switches and receptacles in good repair?

Yes

No

N/A

36. Has the use of extension cords been discontinued?

Yes

No

N/A

37. Have Ground Fault Interrupter's been provided on circuits in proximity to water?

Yes

No

N/A

38. Is there a "lock-out" procedure in place?

Yes

No

N/A

39. Is a 3' clearance provided around all heating equipment?

Yes

No

N/A

40. Are furnace/boiler rooms kept locked?

Yes

No

N/A

41. Are furnace/boiler rooms free from combustible storage?

Yes

No

N/A

42. Are residents reminded to keep combustibles away from heaters?

Yes

No

N/A

43. Is smoking prohibited in the building common areas?

Yes

No

44. Are designated smoking areas properly identified?

Yes

No

N/A

45. Are non-combustible receptacles provided in smoking areas?

Yes

No

N/A

46. Are smoking materials disposed of properly?

Yes

No

N/A

47. Is trash removed from the building daily?

Yes

No

48. Is storage restricted to designated areas?

Yes

No

N/A

49. Is storage neatly arranged and secured from rolling away?

Yes

No

N/A

Heating System:

Smoking:

Housekeeping:

Building Inspection Checklist Page 3

Private Protection: 50. Is building equipped with an automatic sprinkler system?

Yes

No

51. Is the main sprinkler control valve accessible?

Yes

No

N/A

52. Are all valves supplying water or air to the system open?

Yes

No

N/A

53. Is system operation monitored by an alarm company?

Yes

No

N/A

54. Is valve operation monitored by an alarm company?

Yes

No

N/A

55. Is the sprinkler system tested on a quarterly basis and documented?

Yes

No

N/A

56. Are spare sprinkler heads available in the building?

Yes

No

N/A

57. Is the building equipped with a fire detection system?

Yes

No

58. Does the system protect the entire building?

Yes

No

N/A

59. Does the system provide an alarm signal in the building?

Yes

No

N/A

60. Is system tested on a monthly basis and documented?

Yes

No

N/A

61. Is the main alarm panel in normal operating condition?

Yes

No

N/A

62. Are portable fire extinguishers provided?

Yes

No

63. Are all extinguishers inspected on a monthly basis and documented?

Yes

No

N/A

64. Do all extinguishers have a current inspection tag?

Yes

No

N/A

65. Are all exits and travel paths identified with illuminated "EXIT" signs?

Yes

No

66. Are travel paths leading to exits free of obstructions?

Yes

No

67. Are exits unlocked and operational?

Yes

No

68. Are working emergency lights provided in the building?

Yes

No

69. Are emergency lights tested periodically and documented?

Yes

No

70. Are evacuation diagrams posted throughout the building?

Yes

No

71. Has flammable storage been limited to designated areas?

Yes

No

N/A

72. Is all cooking equipment protected by extinguishing systems?

Yes

No

N/A

73. Is cooking equipment clean?

Yes

No

N/A

74. Are filters inspected periodically and documented?

Yes

No

N/A

75. Are all computer areas free from combustible storage?

Yes

No

N/A

Emergency Evacuation:

Miscellaneous:

- House Construction Glossary A/C- An abbreviation for air conditioner or air conditioning. A/C Condenser- The outside fan unit of the Air Conditioning system. It removes the heat from the freon gas and "turns" the gas back into a liquid and pumps the liquid back to the coil in the furnace. A/C Disconnect- The main electrical ON-OFF switch near the A/C Condenser. Aerator- The round screened screw-on tip of a sink spout. It mixes water and air for a smooth flow. Aggregate- A mixture of sand and stone and a major component of concrete. Air space - The area between insulation facing and interior of exterior wall coverings. Normally a 1" air gap. Allowance(s) - A sum of money set aside in the construction contract for items which have not been selected and specified in the construction contract. For example, selection of tile as a flooring may require an allowance for an underlayment material, or an electrical allowance which sets aside an amount of money to be spent on electrical fixtures. Amortization - A payment plan by which a loan is reduced through monthly payments of principal and interest. Anchor bolts- Bolts to secure a wooden sill plate to concrete , or masonry floor or wall. Annual Percentage Rate (APR)- Annual cost of credit over the life of a loan, including interest, service charges, points, loan fees, mortgage insurance, and other items. Appraisal An expert valuation of property. Apron- A trim board that is installed beneath a window sill Architect - One who has completed a course of study in building and design, and is licensed by the state as an architect. One who draws up plans. Area wells- Corrugated metal or concrete barrier walls installed around a basement window to hold back the earth Assessment - A tax levied on a property, or a value placed on the worth of a property. Assumption - Allows a buyer to assume responsibility for an existing loan instead of getting a new loan. Astragal- A molding, attached to one of a pair of swinging double doors, against which the other door strikes.

© Ryan Mitchell 2012 – TheTinyLife.com

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Attic access- An opening that is placed in the dry walled ceiling of a home providing access to the attic. Back Charge- Billings for work performed or costs incurred by one party that, in accordance with the agreement, should have been performed or incurred by the party to whom billed. Owners bill back charges to general contractors, and general contractors bill back charges to subcontractors. Examples of back charges include charges for cleanup work or to repair something damaged by another subcontractor, such as a tub chip or broken window. Backfill- The replacement of excavated earth into a trench around or against a basement / crawl space foundationwall. Backing- Frame lumber installed between the wall studs to give additional support for drywall or an interior trim related item, such as handrail brackets, cabinets, and towel bars. In this way, items are screwed and mounted into solid wood rather than weak drywall that may allow the item to break loose from the wall. Carpet backing holds the pile fabric in place. Backout- Work the framing contractor does after the mechanical subcontractors (HeatingPlumbing-Electrical) finish their phase of work at the Rough (before insulation) stage to get the home ready for a municipal frame inspection. Generally, the framing contractor repairs anything disturbed by others and completes all framing necessary to pass a Rough Frame Inspection. Ballast- A transformer that steps up the voltage in a florescent lamp. Balloon - A loan that has a series of monthly payments with the remaining balance due in a large lump sum payment at the end. Balloon framed wall- Framed walls (generally over 10' tall) that run the entire vertical length from the floor sill plate to the roof. This is done to eliminate the need for a gable end truss. Balusters- Vertical members in a railing used between a top rail and bottom rail or the stair treads. Sometimes referred to as 'pickets' or 'spindles'. Balustrade- The rail, posts and vertical balusters along the edge of a stairway or elevated walkway. Barge- Horizontal beam rafter that supports shorter rafters. Barge board- A decorative board covering the projecting rafter (fly rafter) of the gable end. At the cornice, this member is a fascia board. Base or baseboard- A trim board placed against the wall around the room next to the floor. Basement window inserts- The window frame and glass unit that is installed in the window buck. Base shoe- Molding used next to the floor on interior base board. Sometimes called a carpet strip. Bat - A half-brick. Batt - A section of fiber-glass or rock-wool insulation measuring 15 or 23 inches wide by four to eight feet long and various thickness'.   Sometimes "faced" (meaning to have a paper covering on one side) or "unfaced" (without paper). © Ryan Mitchell 2012 – TheTinyLife.com

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Batten- Narrow strips of wood used to cover joints or as decorative vertical members over plywood or wide boards. Bay window- Any window space projecting outward from the walls of a building, either square or polygonal in plan. Beam- A structural member transversely supporting a load. A structural member carrying building loads (weight) from one support to another. Sometimes called a "girder". Bearing partition- A partition that supports any vertical load in addition to its own weight. Bearing point- A point where a bearing or structural weight is concentrated and transferred to the foundation Bearing wall- A wall that supports any vertical load in addition to its own weight. Bearing header- (a) A beam placed perpendicular to joists and to which joists are nailed in framing for a chimney, stairway, or other opening. (b) A wood lintel. (c) The horizontal structural member over an opening (for example over a door or window). Bedrock- A subsurface layer of earth that is suitable to support a structure. Bid- A formal offer by a contractor, in accordance with specifications for a project, to do all or a phase of the work at a certain price in accordance with the terms and conditions stated in the offer. Bid bond- A bond issued by a surety on behalf of a contractor that provides assurance to the recipient of the contractor's bid that, if the bid is accepted, the contractor will execute a contract and provide a performance bond. Under the bond, the surety is obligated to pay the recipient of the bid the difference between the contractor's bid and the bid of the next lowest responsible bidder if the bid is accepted and the contractor fails to execute a contract or to provide a performance bond. Bid security Funds or a bid bond submitted with a bid as a guarantee to the recipient of the bid that the contractor, if awarded the contract, will execute the contract in accordance with the bidding requirements of the contract documents. Bid shopping- A practice by which contractors, both before and after their bids are submitted, attempt to obtain prices from potential subcontractors and material suppliers that are lower than the contractors' original estimates on which their bids are based, or after a contract is awarded, seek to induce subcontractors to reduce the subcontract price included in the bid. Bidding requirements- The procedures and conditions for the submission of bids. The requirements are included ion documents, such as the notice to bidders, advertisements for bids, instructions to bidders, invitations to bid, and sample bid forms. Bifold door- Doors that are hinged in the middle for opening in a smaller area than standard swing doors. Often used for closet doors. Binder- A receipt for a deposit to secure the right to purchase a home at an agreed terms by a buyer and seller. Bipass doors- Doors that slide by each other and commonly used as closet doors.

© Ryan Mitchell 2012 – TheTinyLife.com

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Blankets- Fiber-glass or rock-wool insulation that comes in long rolls 15 or 23 inches wide. Blocked (door blocking)- Wood shims used between the door frame and the vertical structural wall framing members. Blocked (rafters)- Short "2 by 4's" used to keep rafters from twisting, and installed at the ends and at mid-span. Blocking- Small wood pieces to brace framing members or to provide a nailing base for gypsum board or paneling. Block out- To install a box or barrier within a foundation wall to prevent the concrete from entering an area. For example, foundation walls are sometimes "blocked" in order for mechanical pipes to pass through the wall, to install a crawl space door, and to depress the concrete at a garage door location. Blow insulation- Fiber insulation in loose form and used to insulate attics and existing walls where framing members are not exposed. Blue print(s) - A type of copying method often used for architectural drawings. Usually used to describe the drawing of a structure which is prepared by an architect or designer for the purpose of design and planning, estimating, securing permits and actual construction. Blue stake- Another phrase for Utility Notification. This is when a utility company (telephone, gas, electric, cable TV, sewer and water, etc) comes to the job site and locates and spray paints the ground and/or installs little flags to show where their service is located underground. Board foot- A unit of measure for lumber equal to 1 inch thick by 12 inches wide by 12 inches long. Examples: 1" x 12" x 16' = 16 board feet, 2" x 12" x 16' = 32 board feet Bond or bonding - An amount of money (usually $5,000-$10,000) which must be on deposit with a governmental agency in order to secure a contractor's license. The bond may be used to pay for the unpaid bills or disputed work of the contractor. Not to be confused with a 'performance bond'. Such bonds are rarely used in residential construction, they are an insurance policy which guarantees proper completion of a project. Boom- A truck used to hoist heavy material up and into place. To put trusses on a home or to set a heavy beam into place. Bottom chord - The lower or bottom horizontal member of a truss. Bottom plate- The "2 by 4's or 6's" that lay on the subfloor upon which the vertical studs are installed. Also called the 'sole plate'. Brace- An inclined piece of framing lumber applied to wall or floor to strengthen the structure. Often used on walls as temporary bracing until framing has been completed. Breaker panel- The electrical box that distributes electric power entering the home to each branch circuit (each plug and switch) and composed of circuit breakers. Brick ledge- Part of the foundation wall where brick (veneer) will rest. Brick lintel- The metal angle iron that brick rests on, especially above a window, door, or other opening. © Ryan Mitchell 2012 – TheTinyLife.com

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Brick mold-Trim used around an exterior door jamb that siding butts to. Brick tie- A small, corrugated metal strip @ 1" X 6"- 8" long nailed to wall sheeting or studs. They are inserted into the grout mortar joint of the veneer brick, and holds the veneer wall to the sheeted wall behind it. Brick veneer- A vertical facing of brick laid against and fastened to sheathing of a framed wall or tile wall construction. Bridging- Small wood or metal members that are inserted in a diagonal position between the floor joists or rafters at mid-span for the purpose of bracing the joists/rafters & spreading the load. Buck- Often used in reference to rough frame opening members. Door bucks used in reference to metal door frame. See Window Bucks Builder's Risk Insurance- Insurance coverage on a construction project during construction, including extended coverage that may be added for the contract for the customer's protections. Building codes-   Community ordinances governing the manner in which a home may be constructed or modified. Building insurance- Insurance covering the structure of the building. Building paper- A general term for papers, felts, and similar sheet materials used in buildings without reference to their properties or uses. Generally comes in long rolls. Built-up roof- A roofing composed of three to five layers of asphalt felt laminated with coal tar, pitch, or asphalt. The top is finished with crushed slag or gravel. Generally used on flat or lowpitched roofs. Bull nose (drywall)- Rounded drywall corners. Bundle - A package of shingles. Normally, there are 3 bundles per square and 27 shingles per bundle. Butt edge- The lower edge of the shingle tabs. Butt hinge- The most common type. One leaf attaches to the door's edge, the other to its jamb. Butt joint- The junction where the ends of two timbers meet, and also where sheets of drywall meet on the 4 foot edge. To place materials end-to-end or end-to-edge without overlapping. Buy down- A subsidy (usually paid by a builder or developer) to reduce monthly payments on a mortgage. By fold door- Doors that are hinged in the middle for opening in a smaller area than standard swing doors. Often used for closet doors. CO- An abbreviation for "Certificate of Occupancy". This certificate is issued by the local municipality and is required before anyone can occupy and live within the home. It is issued only after the local municipality has made all inspections and all monies and fees have been paid. © Ryan Mitchell 2012 – TheTinyLife.com

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Caisson- A 10" or 12" diameter hole drilled into the earth and embedded into bedrock 3 - 4 feet. The structural support for a type of foundation wall, porch, patio, monopost, or other structure. Two or more "sticks" of reinforcing bars (rebar) are inserted into and run the full length of the hole and concrete is poured into the caisson hole Cantilever- An overhang. Where one floor extends beyond and over a foundation wall. For example at a fireplace location or bay window cantilever. Normally, not extending over 2 feet. Cantilevered void- Foundation void material used in unusually expansive soils conditions. This void is "trapezoid" shaped and has vertical sides of 6" and 4" respectively. Cap- The upper member of a column, pilaster, door cornice, molding, or fireplace. Cap flashing- The portion of the flashing attached to a vertical surface to prevent water from migrating behind the base flashing. Capital- The principal part of a loan, i.e. the original amount borrowed. Capital and interest- A repayment loan and the most conventional form of home loan. The borrower pays an amount each month to cover the amount borrowed (or capital or principal) plus the interest charged on capital. Capped rate- The mortgage interest rate will not exceed a specified value during a certain period of time, but it will fluctuate up and down below that level. Casement- Frames of wood or metal enclosing part (or all) of a window sash. May be opened by means of hinges affixed to the vertical edges. Casement Window- A window with hinges on one of the vertical sides and swings open like a normal door Casing- Wood trim molding installed around a door or window opening. Caulking- (1) A flexible material used to seal a gap between two surfaces e.g. between pieces of siding or the corners in tub walls. (2) To fill a joint with mastic or asphalt plastic cement to prevent leaks. CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate)- A pesticide that is forced into wood under high pressure to protect it from termites, other wood boring insects, and decay caused by fungus Celotex ™- Black fibrous board that is used as exterior sheething. Ceiling joist- One of a series of parallel framing members used to support ceiling loads and supported in turn by larger beams, girders or bearing walls. Also called roof joists. Cement- The gray powder that is the "glue" in concrete. Portland cement. Also, any adhesive. Ceramic tile- A man-made or machine-made clay tile used to finish a floor or wall. Generally used in bathtub and shower enclosures and on counter tops. CFM (cubic feet per minute)- A rating that expresses the amount of air a blower or fan can move. The volume of air (measured in cubic feet) that can pass through an opening in one minute. Chair rail- Interior trim material installed about 3-4 feet up the wall, horizontally.

© Ryan Mitchell 2012 – TheTinyLife.com

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Chalk line- A line made by snapping a taut string or cord dusted with chalk. Used for alignment purposes. Change order- A written document which modifies the plans and specifications and/or the price of the construction Contract. Chase- A framed enclosed space around a flue pipe or a channel in a wall, or through a ceiling for something to lie in or pass through. Chink- To install fiberglass insulation around all exterior door and window frames, wall corners, and small gaps in the exterior wall. Chip Board- A manufactured wood panel made out of 1"- 2" wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitute for plywood in the exterior wall and roof sheathing. Also called OSB (Oriented Strand Board) or wafer board. Circuit- The path of electrical flow from a power source through an outlet and back to ground. Circuit Breaker- A device which looks like a switch and is usually located inside the electrical breaker panel or circuit breaker box. It is designed to (1) shut of the power to portions or all of the house and (2) to limit the amount of power flowing through a circuit (measured in amperes). 110 volt household circuits require a fuse or circuit breaker with a rating of 15 or a maximum of 20 amps. 220 volt circuits may be designed for higher amperage loads e.g. a hot water heater may be designed for a 30 amp load and would therefore need a 30 amp fuse or breaker. Class "A"- Optimum fire rating issued by Underwriter's Laboratories on roofing. The building codes in some areas require this type of roofing for fire safety. Class "C"- Minimum fire rating issued by the Underwriters' Laboratories for roofing materials. Clean out- An opening providing access to a drain line. Closed with a threaded plug. Clip ties- Sharp, cut metal wires that protrude out of a concrete foundation wall (that at one time held the foundation form panels in place). Cold air return- The ductwork (and related grills) that carries room air back to the furnace for re-heating. Collar- Preformed flange placed over a vent pipe to seal the roofing above the vent pipe opening. Also called a vent sleeve. Collar beam- Nominal 1- or 2-inch-thick members connecting opposite roof rafters. They serve to stiffen the roof structure. Column- A vertical structural compression member which supports loads. Combustion air- The duct work installed to bring fresh, outside air to the furnace and/or hot water heater. Normally 2 separate supplies of air are brought in: One high and One low. Combustion chamber- The part of a boiler, furnace or woodstove where the burn occurs; normally lined with firebrick or molded or sprayed insulation.   Compression web- A member of a truss system which connects the bottom and top chords and   which provides downward support.

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Compressor- A mechanical device that pressurizes a gas in order to turn it into a liquid, thereby allowing heat to be removed or added. A compressor is the main component of conventional heat pumps and air conditioners. In an air conditioning system, the compressor normally sits outside and has a large fan (to remove heat). Concrete- The mixture of Portland cement, sand, gravel, and water. Used to make garage and basement floors, sidewalks, patios, foundation walls, etc. It is commonly reinforced with steel rods (rebar) or wire screening (mesh). Concrete block - A hollow concrete 'brick' often 8" x 8" x 16" in size. Concrete board - A panel made out of concrete and fiberglass usually used as a tile backing material. Condensation- Beads or drops of water (and frequently frost in extremely cold weather) that accumulate on the inside of the exterior covering of a building. Use of louvers or attic ventilators will reduce moisture condensation in attics. A vapor barrier under the gypsum lath or dry wall on exposed walls will reduce condensation. Condensing unit - The outdoor component of a cooling system. It includes a compressor and condensing coil designed to give off heat. Conditions, Convenants, and Restrictions (CC and Rs) - The standards that define how a property may be used and the protections the developer makes for the benefit of all owners in a subdivision. Conduction- The direct transfer of heat energy through a material. Conductivity- The rate at which heat is transmitted through a material. Conduit, electrical- A pipe, usually metal, in which wire is installed. Construction drywall- A type of construction in which the interior wall finish is applied in a dry condition, generally in the form of sheet materials or wood paneling as contrasted to plaster. Construction, frame- A type of construction in which the structural components are wood or depend upon a wood frame for support. Continuity tester- A device that tells whether a circuit is capable of carrying electricity. Contractor- A company licensed to perform certain types of construction activities. In most states, the generals contractor's license and some specialty contractor's licenses don't require of compliance with bonding, workmen's compensation and similar regulations. Some of the specialty contractor licenses involve extensive training, testing and/or insurance requirements. There are various types of contractors:

• General contractor - responsible for the execution, supervision and overall coordination of a project and may also perform some of the individual construction tasks. Most general contractors are not licensed to perform all specialty trades and must hire specialty contractors for such tasks, e.g. electrical, plumbing. • Remodeling contractor - a general contractor who specializes in remodeling work. • Specialty contractor - licensed to perform a specialty task e.g. electrical, side sewer, asbestos abatement. © Ryan Mitchell 2012 – TheTinyLife.com

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• Sub contractor - a general or specialty contractor who works for another general contractor. Control joint- Tooled, straight grooves made on concrete floors to "control" where the concrete should crack Convection- Currents created by heating air, which then rises and pulls cooler air behind it. Also see radiation. Conventional loan A mortgage loan not insured by a government agency (such as FHA or VA) Convertibility The ability to change a loan from an adjustable rate schedule to a fixed rate schedule. Cooling load- The amount of cooling required to keep a building at a specified temperature during the summer, usually 78° F, regardless of outside temperature. Coped- Removing the top and bottom flange of the end(s) of a metal I-beam. This is done to permit it to fit within, and bolted to, the web of another I-beam in a "T" arrangement Coped joint- Cutting and fitting woodwork to an irregular surface. Corbel- The triangular, decorative and supporting member that holds a mantel or horizontal shelf. Corner bead- A strip of formed sheet metal placed on outside corners of drywall before applying drywall 'mud'. Corner boards- Used as trim for the external corners of a house or other frame structure against which the ends of the siding are finished. Corner braces- Diagonal braces at the corners of the framed structure designed to stiffen and strengthen the wall. Cornice- Overhang of a pitched roof , usually consisting of a fascia board, a soffit and appropriate trim moldings. Counter flashing- A metal flashing usually used on chimneys at the roofline to cover shingle flashing and used to prevent moisture entry. Counterfort- A foundation wall section that strengthens (and generally perpendicular to) a long section of foundation wall Course- A row of shingles or roll roofing running the length of the roof. Parallel layers of building materials such as bricks, or siding laid up horizontally. Cove molding- A molding with a concave face used as trim or to finish interior corners. Crawl space- A shallow space below the living quarters of a house, normally enclosed by the foundation wall and having a dirt floor. Credit rating- A report ordered by a lender from a credit agency to determine a borrower's credit habits.

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Cricket- A second roof built on top of the primary roof to increase the slope of the roof or valley. A saddle-shaped, peaked construction connecting a sloping roof with a chimney. Designed to encourage water drainage away from the chimney joint. Cripple- Short vertical "2 by 4's or 6's" frame lumber installed above a window or door. Cross bridging- Diagonal bracing between adjacent floor joists, placed near the center of the joist span to prevent joists from twisting. Cross Tee- Short metal "T" beam used in suspended ceiling systems to bridge the spaces between the main beams. Crown molding- A molding used on cornice or wherever an interior angle is to be covered, especially at the roof and wall corner. Culvert- Round, corrugated drain pipe (normally 15" or 18" in diameter) that is installed beneath a driveway and parallel to and near the street. Cupping- A type of warping that causes boards to curl up at their edges. Curb- The short elevation of an exterior wall above the deck of a roof. Normally a 2 by 6 box (on the roof) on which a skylight is attached. Curb stop- Normally a cast iron pipe with a lid (@ 5" in diameter) that is placed vertically into the ground, situated near the water tap in the yard, and where a water cut-off valve to the home is located (underground). A long pole with a special end is inserted into the curb stop to turn off/on the water. Dado- A groove cut into a board or panel intended to receive the edge of a connecting board or panel. Damper- A metal "door" placed within the fireplace chimney. Normally closed when the fireplace is not in use. Damp proofing- The black, tar like waterproofing material applied to the exterior of a foundation wall. Daylight- The end of a pipe (the terminal end) that is not attached to anything. Dead bolt- An exterior security lock installed on exterior entry doors that can be activated only with a key or thumb-turn. Unlike a latch, which has a beveled tongue, dead bolts have square ends. Dead light- The fixed, non-operable window section of a window unit. Deck, decked- To install the plywood or wafer board sheeting on the floor joists, rafters, or trusses. Dedicated circuit- An electrical circuit that serves only one appliance (ie, dishwasher) or a series of electric heaters or smoke detectors. Default- Breach of a mortgage contract (not making the required payments). De-humidistat- A control mechanism used to operate a mechanical ventilation system based upon the relative humidity in the home.

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Delamination- Separation of the plies in a panel due to failure of the adhesive.   Usually caused by excessive moisture. Disconnect- A large (generally 20 Amp) electrical ON-OFF switch. Discount rate- A mortgage interest rate that is lower than the current rate for a certain period of time, e.g. 2.00% below variable rate for 2 years. Doorjamb, interior- The surrounding case into which and out of which a door closes and opens. It consists of two upright pieces, called side jambs, and a horizontal head jamb. These 3 jambs have the "door stop" installed on them. Door operator- An automatic garage door opener. Door stop- The wooden style that the door slab will rest upon when it's in a closed position. Dormer- An opening in a sloping roof, the framing of which projects out to form a vertical wall suitable for windows or other openings. Double glass- Window or door in which two panes of glass are used with a sealed air space between.   Also known as Insulating Glass. Double hung window- A window with two vertically sliding sashes, both of which can move up and down. Down payment- The difference between the sales price and the mortgage amount. A down payment is usually paid at closing. Downspout- A pipe, usually of metal, for carrying rainwater down from the roof's horizontal gutters. Drain tile- A perforated, corrugated plastic pipe laid at the bottom of the foundation wall and used to drain excess water away from the foundation. It prevents ground water from seeping through the foundation wall. Sometimes called perimeter drain. Draw- The amount of progress billings on a contract that is currently available to a contractor under a contract with a fixed payment schedule. Drip- (a) A member of a cornice or other horizontal exterior finish course that has a projection beyond the other parts for throwing off water.(b) A groove in the underside of a sill or drip cap to cause water to drop off on the outer edge instead of drawing back and running down the face of the building. Drip cap- A molding or metal flashing placed on the exterior topside of a door or window frame to cause water to drip beyond the outside of the frame. Dry in- To install the black roofing felt (tar paper) on the roof. Drywall (or Gypsum Wallboard (GWB), Sheet rock or Plasterboard)- Wall board or gypsumA manufactured panel made out of gypsum plaster and encased in a thin cardboard. Usually 1/2" thick and 4' x 8' or 4' x 12' in size. The panels are nailed or screwed onto the framing and the joints are taped and covered with a 'joint compound'. 'Green board' type drywall has a greater resistance to moisture than regular (white) plasterboard and is used in bathrooms and other "wet areas". © Ryan Mitchell 2012 – TheTinyLife.com

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Ducts- The heating system. Usually round or rectangular metal pipes installed for distributing warm (or cold) air from the furnace to rooms in the home.   Also a tunnel made of galvanized metal or rigid fiberglass, which carries air from the heater or ventilation opening to the rooms in a building. Due-on-sale- A clause in a mortgage contract requiring the borrower to pay the entire outstanding balance upon sale or transfer of the property. Dura board, dura rock- A panel made out of concrete and fiberglass usually used as a ceramic tile backing material. Commonly used on bathtub decks. Sometimes called Wonder board Earthquake Strap- A metal strap used to secure gas hot water heaters to the framing or foundation of a house. Intended to reduce the chances of having the water heater fall over in an earthquake and causing a gas leak. Easement- A formal contract which allows a party to use another party's property for a specific purpose. e.g. A sewer easement might allow one party to run a sewer line through a neighbors property. Eaves- The horizontal exterior roof overhang. Egress- A means of exiting the home. An egress window is required in every bedroom and basement. Normally a 4' X 4' window is the minimum size required Elbow (ell)- A plumbing or electrical fitting that lets you change directions in runs of pipe or conduit. Electric lateral- The trench or area in the yard where the electric service line (from a transformer or pedestal) is located, or the work of installing the electric service to a home. Electric resistance coils- Metal wires that heat up when electric current passes through them and are used in baseboard heaters and electric water heaters. Electrical entrance package- The entry point of the electrical power including: (1) the 'strike' or location where the overhead or underground electrical lines connect to the house, (2) The meter which measures how much power is used and (3) The 'panel' or 'circuit breaker box ' (or 'fuse box') where the power can be shut off and where overload devices such a fuses or circuit breakers and located. Electrical Rough- Work performed by the Electrical Contractor after the plumber and heating contractor are complete with their phase of work. Normally all electrical wires, and outlet, switch, and fixture boxes are installed (before insulation). Electrical Trim- Work performed by the electrical contractor when the house is nearing completion. The electrician installs all plugs, switches, light fixtures, smoke detectors, appliance "pig tails", bath ventilation fans, wires the furnace, and "makes up" the electric house panel. The electrician does all work necessary to get the home ready for and to pass the municipal electrical final inspection

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Elevation sheet- The page on the blue prints that depicts the house or room as if a vertical plane were passed through the structure. Equity- The "valuation" that you own in your home, i.e. the property value less the mortgage loan outstanding. Escrow - The handling of funds or documents by a third party on behalf of the buyer and/or seller. Estimate- The amount of labor, materials, and other costs that a contractor anticipates for a project as summarized in the contractor's bid proposal for the project. Escutcheon- An ornamental plate that fits around a pipe extending through a wall or floor to hide the cut out hole Estimating- The process of calculating the cost of a project. This can be a formal and exact process or a quick and imprecise process. Evaporator coil- The part of a cooling system that absorbs heat from air in your home. Also see condensing unit. Expansion joint- Fibrous material (@1/2" thick) installed in and around a concrete slab to permit it to move up and down (seasonally) along the non-moving foundation wall. Exposed aggregate finish- A method of finishing concrete which washes the cement/sand mixture off the top layer of the aggregate - usually gravel. Often used in driveways, patios and other exterior surfaces. FHA strap- Metal straps that are used to repair a bearing wall "cut-out", and to "tie together" wall corners, splices, and bearing headers. Also, they are used to hang stairs and landings to bearing headers. Face nail- To install nails into the vertical face of a bearing header or beam. Faced concrete- To finish the front and all vertical sides of a concrete porch, step(s), or patio. Normally the "face" is broom finished. Facing brick- The brick used and exposed on the outside of a wall. Usually these have a finished texture. Fascia- Horizontal boards attached to rafter/truss ends at the eaves and along gables. Roof drain gutters are attached to the fascia. Felt- Tar paper. Installed under the roof shingles. Normally 15 lb. or 30 lb. Female- Any part, such as a nut or fitting, into which another (male) part can be inserted. Internal threads are female. Ferrule- Metal tubes used to keep roof gutters "open". Long nails (ferrule spikes) are driven through these tubes and hold the gutters in place along the fascia of the home. Field measure- To take measurements (cabinets, countertops, stairs, shower doors, etc.) in the home itself instead of using the blueprints.

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Finger joint- A manufacturing process of interlocking two shorter pieces of wood end to end to create a longer piece of dimensional lumber or molding. Often used in jambs and casings and are normally painted (instead of stained). Fire block- Short horizontal members sometimes nailed between studs, usually about halfway up a wall. See also 'Fire stop'. Fire brick- Brick made of refractory ceramic material which will resist high temperatures. Used in a fireplace and boiler. Fireplace chase flashing pan- A large sheet of metal that is installed around and perpendicular to the fireplace flue pipe. It's purpose is to confine and limit the spread of fire and smoke to a small area. Fire-resistive or Fire rated- Applies to materials that are not combustible in the temperatures of ordinary fires and will withstand such fires for at least 1 hour. Drywall used in the garage and party walls are to be fire rated, 5/8", Type X. Fire retardant chemical- A chemical or preparation of chemicals used to reduce the flammability of a material or to retard the spread of flame. Fire stop- A solid, tight closure of a concealed space, placed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke through such a space. In a frame wall, this will usually consist of 2 by 4 cross blocking between studs. Work performed to slow the spread of fire and smoke in the walls and ceiling (behind the drywall). Includes stuffing wire holes in the top and bottom plates with insulation, and installing blocks of wood between the wall studs at the drop soffit line. This is integral to passing a Rough Frame inspection.   See also 'Fire block'. Fishplate (gusset)- A wood or plywood piece used to fasten the ends of two members together at a butt joint with nails or bolts. Sometimes used at the junction of opposite rafters near the ridge line. Sometimes called a gang nail plate. Fish tape- A long strip of spring steel used for fishing cables and for pulling wires through conduit. Fixed price contract- A contract with a set price for the work. See Time and Materials Contract. Fixed rate- A loan where the initial payments are based on a certain interest rate for a stated period .   The rate payable will not change during this period regardless of changes in the lender's standard variable rate. Fixed Rate Mortgage- A mortgage with an interest rate that remains the same over the years. Flagstone (flagging or flags)- Flat stones (1 to 4 inches thick) used for walks, steps, floors, and vertical veneer (in lieu of brick). Flakeboard- A manufactured wood panel made out of 1"- 2" wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitute for plywood in the exterior wall and roof sheathing. Also called OSB or wafer board.

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Flame retention burner- An oil burner, designed to hold the flame near the nozzle surface. Generally the most efficient type for residential use. Flashing- Sheet metal or other material used in roof and wall construction to protect a building from water seepage. Flat mold- Thin wood strips installed over the butt seam of cabinet skins. Flat paint- An interior paint that contains a high proportion of pigment and dries to a flat or lusterless finish. Flatwork- Common word for concrete floors, driveways, basements, and sidewalks. Floating- The next-to-last stage in concrete work, when you smooth off the job and bring water to the surface by using a hand float or bull float. Floating wall- A non-bearing wall built on a concrete floor. It is constructed so that the bottom two horizontal plates can compress or pull apart if the concrete floor moves up or down. Normally built on basements and garage slabs. Fluorescent lighting- A fluorescent lamp is a gas-filled glass tube with a phosphur coating on the inside.   Gas inside the tube is ionized by electricity which causes the phosphur coating to glow.   Normally with two pins that extend from each end. Flue- Large pipe through which fumes escape from a gas water heater, furnace, or fireplace. Normally these flue pipes are double walled, galvanized sheet metal pipe and sometimes referred to as a "B Vent". Fireplace flue pipes are normally triple walled. In addition, nothing combustible shall be within one inch from the flue pipe. Flue collar- Round metal ring which fits around the heat flue pipe after the pipe passes out of the roof. Flue damper- An automatic door located in the flue that closes it off when the burner turns off; purpose is to reduce heat loss up the flue from the still-warm furnace or boiler. Flue lining- 2-foot lengths, fire clay or terra-cotta pipe (round or square) and usually madein all ordinary flue sizes. Used for the inner lining of chimneys with the brick or masonry work done around the outside. Flue linings in chimneys runs from one foot below the flue connection to the top of the chimney. Fly rafters- End rafters of the gable overhang supported by roof sheathing and lookouts. Footer, footing- Continuous 8" or 10" thick concrete pad installed before and supports the foundation wall or monopost. Forced air heating - A common form of heating with natural gas, propane, oil or electricity as a fuel. Air is heated in the furnace and distributed through a set of metal ducts to various areas of the house. Form- Temporary structure erected to contain concrete during placing and initial hardening. Foundation- The supporting portion of a structure below the first floor construction, or below grade, including the footings.

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Foundation ties- Metal wires that hold the foundation wall panels and rebar in place during the concrete pour. Foundation waterproofing- High-quality below-grade moisture protection. Used for belowgrade exterior concrete and masonry wall damp-proofing to seal out moisture and prevent corrosion. Normally looks like black tar. Frame Inspection- The act of inspecting the home's structural integrity and it's complianceto local municipal codes. Framer-The carpenter contractor that installs the lumber and erects the frame, flooring system, interior walls, backing, trusses, rafters, decking, installs all beams, stairs, soffits and all work related to the wood structure of the home. The framer builds the home according to the blueprints and must comply with local building codes and regulations. Framing- Lumber used for the structural members of a  building, such as studs, joists, and rafters. Frieze- In house construction a horizontal member connecting the top of the siding with the soffit of the cornice. Frost lid- Round metal lid that is installed on a water meter pit. Frost line- The depth of frost penetration in soil and/or the depth at which the earth will freeze and swell. This depth varies in different parts of the country. Furring strips- Strips of wood, often 1 X 2 and used to shim out and provide a level fastening surface for a wall or ceiling. Fuse- A device often found in older homes designed to prevent overloads in electrical lines. This protects against fire. See also  'circuit breakers'. GF C I, or G F I- Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter- an ultra sensitive plug designed to shut off all electric current. Used in bathrooms, kitchens, exterior waterproof outlets, garage outlets, and "wet areas". Has a small reset button on the plug. Gable- The end, upper, triangular area of a home, beneath the roof. Gang nail plate- A steel plate attached to both sides at each joint of a truss. Sometimes called a fishplate or gussett. Gate valve- A valve that lets you completely stop—but not modulate—the flow within a pipe. General Contractor A contractor who enters into a contract with the owner of a project for the construction of the project and who takes full responsibility for its completion, although the contractor may enter into subcontracts with others for the performance of specific parts or phases of the project. Gas lateral- The trench or area in the yard where the gas line service is located, or the work of installing the gas service to a home. Girder- A large or principal beam of wood or steel used to support concentrated loads at isolated points along its length.

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Glazing- The process of installing glass, which commonly is secured with glazier's points and glazing compound. Globe valve- A valve that lets you adjust the flow of water to any rate between fully on and fully off. Also see gate valve. Gloss enamel- A finishing paint material. Forms a hard coating with maximum smoothness of surface and dries to a sheen or luster (gloss) Glued Laminated Beam (Glulam)- A structural beam composed of wood laminations or lams. The lams are pressure bonded with adhesives to attain a typical thickness of 1 ½" . (It looks like  5 or more 2 X 4's are glued together). Grade- Ground level, or the elevation at any given point. Also the work of leveling dirt. Also the designated quality of a manufactured piece of wood. Grade beam- A foundation wall that is poured @ level with or just below the grade of theearth. An example is the area where the 8' or 16' overhead garage door "block out" is located, or a lower (walk out basement) foundation wall is poured Graduated Payment Mortgage (GPM) - A fixed-rate, fixed-schedule loan. It starts with lower payments than a level payment loan; payments rise annually, with the entire increase being used to reduce the outstanding balance. The increase in payments may enable the borrower to pay off a 30-year loan in 15 to 20 years, or less. Grain- The direction, size, arrangement, appearance, or quality of the fibers in wood. Grid- The completed assembly of main and cross tees in a suspended ceiling system before the ceiling panels are installed. Also the decorative slats (munton) installed between glass panels. Ground- Refers to electricity's habit of seeking the shortest route to earth. Neutral wires carry it there in all circuits. An additional grounding wire or the sheathing of the metal-clad cable or conduit—protects against shock if the neutral leg is interrupted. Ground fault- Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI, GFI)- an ultra sensitive plug designed to shut off all electric current. Used in bathrooms, kitchens, exterior waterproof outlets, garage outlets, and "wet areas". Has a small reset button on the plug. Ground iron- The plumbing drain and waste lines that are installed beneath the basement floor. Cast iron was once used, but black plastic pipe (ABS) is now widely used. Groundwater- Water from an aquifer or subsurface water source. Grout- A wet mixture of cement, sand and water that flows into masonry or ceramic crevices to seal the cracks between the different pieces. Mortar made of such consistency (by adding water) that it will flow into the joints and cavities of the masonry work and fill them solid. Gusset- A flat wood, plywood, or similar type member used to provide a connection at the intersection of wood members. Most commonly used at joints of wood trusses. They are fastened by nails, screws, bolts, or adhesives.

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Gutter- A shallow channel or conduit of metal or wood set below and along the (fascia) eaves of a house to catch and carry off rainwater from the roof. Gyp board- Drywall. Wall board or gypsum- A panel (normally 4' X 8', 10', 12', or 16')made with a core of Gypsum (chalk-like) rock, which covers interior walls and ceilings. Gypsum plaster- Gypsum formulated to be used with the addition of sand and water for basecoat plaster. H Clip- Small metal clips formed like an "H" that fits at the joints of two plywood (or wafer board) sheets to stiffen the joint. Normally used on the roof sheeting. Hardware- All of the "metal" fittings that go into the home when it is near completion. For example, door knobs, towel bars, handrail brackets, closet rods, house numbers, door closers, etc. The Interior Trim Carpenter installs the "hardware". Haunch- An extension, knee like protrusion of the foundation wall that a concrete porch or patio will rest upon for support. Hazard insurance - Protection against damage caused by fire, windstorms, or other common hazards. Many lenders require borrowers to carry it in an amount at least equal to the mortgage. Header- (a) A beam placed perpendicular to joists and to which joists are nailed inframing for a chimney, stairway, or other opening. (b) A wood lintel. (c) The horizontal structural member over an opening (for example over a door or window). Hearth- The fireproof area directly in front of a fireplace. The inner or outer floor of a fireplace, usually made of brick, tile, or stone. Heating load- The amount of heating required to keep a building at a specified temperature during the winter, usually 65° F, regardless of outside temperature. Heat meter- An electrical municipal inspection of the electric meter breaker panel box. Heat pump- A mechanical device which uses compression and decompression of gas to heat and/or cool a house. Heat Rough- Work performed by the Heating Contractor after the stairs and interior walls are built. This includes installing all duct work and flue pipes. Sometimes, the furnace and fireplaces are installed at this stage of construction. Heat Trim- Work done by the Heating Contractor to get the home ready for the municipal Final Heat Inspection. This includes venting the hot water heater, installing all vent grills, registers, air conditioning services, turning on the furnace, installing thermostats, venting ranges and hoods, and all other heat related work. Heel cut- A notch cut in the end of a rafter to permit it to fit flat on a wall and on the top, doubled, exterior wall plate. Highlights- A light spot, area, or streak on a painted surface. Hip- A roof with four sloping sides. The external angle formed by the meeting of two sloping sides of a roof. © Ryan Mitchell 2012 – TheTinyLife.com

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Hip roof- A roof that rises by inclined planes from all four sides of a building. Home run (electrical)- The electrical cable that carries power from the main circuit breaker panel to the first electrical box, plug, or switch in the circuit. Honey combs- The appearance concrete makes when rocks in the concrete are visible and where there are void areas in the foundation wall, especially around concrete foundation windows. Hose bib- An exterior water faucet (sill cock). Hot wire- The wire that carries electrical energy to a receptacle or other device—in contrast to a neutral, which carries electricity away again. Normally the black wire. Also see ground. Humidifier- An appliance normally attached to the furnace, or portable unit device designed to increase the humidity within a room or a house by means of the discharge of water vapor. Hurricane clip- Metal straps that are nailed and secure the roof rafters and trusses to the top horizontal wall plate. Sometimes called a Teco clip. I-beam- A steel beam with a cross section resembling the letter I. It is used for long spans as basement beams or over wide wall openings, such as a double garage door, when wall and roof loads bear down on the opening. I-joist- Manufactured structural building component resembling the letter "I". Used as floor joists and rafters. I-joists include two key parts: flanges and webs. The flange of the I joist may be made of laminated veneer lumber or dimensional lumber, usually formed into a 1 ½" width. The web or center of the I-joist is commonly made of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). Large holes can be cut in the web to accommodate duct work and plumbing waste lines. I-joists are available in lengths up to 60 feet long Incandescent lamp- A lamp employing an electrically charged metal filament that glows at white heat. A typical light bulb. Index- The interest rate or adjustment standard that determines the changes in monthly payments for an adjustable rate loan. Infiltration- The passage of air from indoors to outdoors and vice versa; term is usually associated with drafts from cracks, seams or holes in buildings. Inside corner- The point at which two walls form an internal angle, as in the corner of a room. Insulating glass- Window or door in which two panes of glass are used with a sealed air space between.   Also known as Double glass. Insulation board, rigid- A structural building board made of coarse wood or cane fiber in ½and 25/32-inch thickness. It can be obtained in various size sheets and densities. Insulation- Any material high in resistance to heat transmission that, when placed in the walls, ceiling, or floors of a structure, and will reduce the rate of heat flow. Interest - The cost paid to a lender for borrowed money. Interior finish- Material used to cover the interior framed areas of walls and ceilings

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J Channel- Metal edging used on drywall to give the edge a better finished appearance when a wall is not "wrapped" Generally, basement stairway walls have drywall only on the stair side. J Channel is used on the vertical edge of the last drywall sheet Jack post- A type of structural support made of metal, which can be raised or lowered through a series of pins and a screw to meet the height required. Basically used as a replacement for an old supporting member in a building. See Monopost. Jack rafter- A rafter that spans the distance from the wall plate to a hip, or from a valley to a ridge. Jamb- The side and head lining of a doorway, window, or other opening. Includes studs as well as the frame and trim. Joint- The location between the touching surfaces of two members or components joined and held together by nails, glue, cement, mortar, or other means. Joint cement or Joint compound- A powder that is usually mixed with water and used for joint treatment in gypsum-wallboard finish. Often called "spackle" or drywall mud. Joint tenancy- A form of ownership in which the tenants own a property equally. If one dies, the other automatically inherits the entire property. Joint trench- When the electric company and telephone company dig one trench and "drop" both of their service lines in. Joist- Wooden 2 X 8's, 10's, or 12's that run parallel to one another and support a floor or ceiling, and supported in turn by larger beams, girders, or bearing walls. Joist hanger- A metal "U" shaped item used to support the end of a floor joist and attached with hardened nails to another bearing joist or beam. Keeper- The metal latch plate in a door frame into which a doorknob plunger latches. Keyless- A plastic or porcelain light fixture that operates by a pull string. Generally found in the basement, crawl space , and attic areas. Keyway- A slot formed and poured on a footer or in a foundation wall when another wall will be installed at the slot location. This gives additional strength to the joint/meeting point. Kilowatt (kw)- One thousand watts. A kilowatt hour is the base unit used in measuring electrical consumption. Also see watt. King stud- The vertical "2 X's" frame lumber (left and right) of a window or door opening, and runs continuously from the bottom sole plate to the top plate. Knot- In lumber, the portion of a branch or limb of a tree that appears on the edge or face of the piece. Laminated shingles - Shingles that have added dimensionality because of extra layers or tabs, giving a shake-like appearance. May also be called "architectural shingles" or "threedimensional shingles." Laminating- Bonding together two or more layers of materials.

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Landing- A platform between flights of stairs or at the termination of a flight of stairs. Often used when stairs change direction. Normally no less than 3 ft. X 3 ft. square. Lap- To cover the surface of one shingle or roll with another. Latch- A beveled metal tongue operated by a spring-loaded knob or lever. The tongue's bevel lets you close the door and engage the locking mechanism, if any, without using a key. Contrasts with dead bolt. Lateral (electric, gas, telephone, sewer and water)- The underground trench and related services (i.e., electric, gas, telephone, sewer and water lines) that will be buried within the trench. Lath- A building material of narrow wood, metal, gypsum, or insulating board that is fastened to the frame of a building to act as a base for plaster, shingles, or tiles. Lattice- An open framework of criss-crossed wood or metal strips that form regular, patterned spaces. Ledger (for a Structural Floor)- The wooden perimeter frame lumber member that bolts onto the face of a foundation wall and supports the wood structural floor. Ledger strip- A strip of lumber nailed along the bottom of the side of a girder on which joists rest. Leech field- A method used to treat/dispose of sewage in rural areas not accessible to a municipal sewer system.   Sewage is permitted to be filtered and eventually discharged into a section of the lot called a leech field. Let-in brace- Nominal 1 inch-thick boards applied into notched studs diagonally. Also, an "L" shaped, long (@ 10') metal strap that are installed by the framer at the rough stage to give support to an exterior wall or wall corner. Level- True horizontal. Also a tool used to determine level. Level Payment Mortgage- A mortgage with identical monthly payments over the life of the loan. Lien- An encumbrance that usually makes real or personal property the security for payment of a debt or discharge of an obligation. Light- Space in a window sash for a single pane of glass. Also, a pane of glass. Limit switch- A safety control that automatically shuts off a furnace if it gets too hot. Most also control blower cycles. Lineal foot- A unit of measure for lumber equal to 1 inch thick by 12 inches wide by 12 inches long. Examples: 1" x 12" x 16' = 16 board feet, 2" x 12" x 16' = 32 board feet. Lintel- A horizontal structural member that supports the load over an opening such as a door or window. Load bearing wall- Includes all exterior walls and any interior wall that is aligned above a support beam or girder. Normally, any wall that has a double horizontal top plate. Loan- The amount to be borrowed. © Ryan Mitchell 2012 – TheTinyLife.com

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Loan to value ratio- The ratio of the loan amount to the property valuation and expressed as a percentage. E.g. if a borrower is seeking a loan of $200,000 on a property worth $400,000 it has a 50% loan to value rate. If the loan were $300,000, the LTV would be 75%. The higher the loan to value, the greater the lender's perceived risk. Loans above normal lending LTV ratios may require additional security. Lookout- A short wood bracket or cantilever that supports an overhang portion of a roof. Louver- A vented opening into the home that has a series of horizontal slats and arranged to permit ventilation but to exclude rain, snow, light, insects, or other living creatures. Lumens- Unit of measure for total light output. The amount of light falling on a surface of one square foot. Male- Any part, such as a bolt, designed to fit into another (female) part. External threads are male. Mantel- The shelf above a fireplace opening. Also used in referring to the decorative trim around a fireplace opening. Manufactured wood- A wood product such as a truss, beam, gluelam, microlam or joist which is manufactured out of smaller wood pieces and glued or mechanically fastened to form a larger piece. Often used to create a stronger member which may use less wood. See also Oriented Strand Board. Manufacturer's specifications- The written installation and/or maintenance instructions which are developed by the manufacturer of a product and which may have to be followed in order to maintain the product warrantee. Masonry- Stone, brick, concrete, hollow-tile, concrete block, or other similar building units or materials. Normally bonded together with mortar to form a wall. Mastic- A pasty material used as a cement (as for setting tile) or a protective coating (as for thermal insulation or waterproofing) Mechanics lien- A lien on real property, created by statue in many years, in favor of persons supplying labor or materials for a building or structure, for the value of labor or materials supplied by them. In some jurisdictions, a mechanics lien also exists for the value of professional services. Clear title to the property cannot be obtained until the claim for the labor, materials, or professional services is settled. Timely filing is essential to support the encumbrance, and prescribed filing dates vary by jurisdiction. Metal lath- Sheets of metal that are slit to form openings within the lath. Used as a plaster base for walls and ceilings and as reinforcing over other forms of plaster base. Microlam- A manufactured structural wood beam. It is constructed of pressure and adhesive bonded wood strands of wood. They have a higher strength rating than solid sawn lumber. Normally comes in l ½" thickness' and 9 ½", 11 ½" and 14" widths Milar (mylar)- Plastic, transparent copies of a blueprint.

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Millwork- Generally all building materials made of finished wood and manufactured in millwork plants. Includes all doors, window and door frames, blinds, mantels, panelwork, stairway components (ballusters, rail, etc.), moldings, and interior trim. Does not include flooring, ceiling, or siding. Miter joint- The joint of two pieces at an angle that bisects the joining angle. For example, the miter joint at the side and head casing at a door opening is made at a 45° angle. Molding- A wood strip having an engraved, decorative surface. Monopost- Adjustable metal column used to support a beam or bearing point. Normally 11 gauge or Schedule 40 metal, and determined by the structural engineer Mortar- A mixture of cement (or lime) with sand and water used in masonry work. Mortgage- Loan secured by land. Mortgage broker - A broker who represents numerous lenders and helps consumers find affordable mortgages; the broker charges a fee only if the consumer finds a loan. Mortgage company - A company that borrows money from a bank, lends it to consumers to buy homes, then sells the loans to investors. Mortgage deed- Legal document establishing a loan on property. Mortgagee- The lender who makes the mortgage loan. Mortgage loan- A contract in which the borrower's property is pledged as collateral. It is repaid in installments. The mortgagor (buyer) promises to repay principal and interest, keep the home insured, pay all taxes and keep the property in good condition. Mortgage Origination Fee- A charge for work involved in preparing and servicing a mortgage application (usually one percent of the loan amount). Mortise- A slot cut into a board, plank, or timber, usually edgewise, to receive the tenon (or tongue) of another board, plank, or timber to form a joint. Mudsill- Bottom horizontal member of an exterior wall frame which rests on top a foundation, sometimes called sill plate. Also sole plate, bottom member of interior wall frame. Mullion- A vertical divider in the frame between windows, doors, or other openings. Muntin- A small member which divides the glass or openings of sash or doors. Nail inspection- An inspection made by a municipal building inspector after the drywall material is hung with nails and screws (and before taping). Natural finish- A transparent finish which does not seriously alter the original color or grain of the natural wood. Natural finishes are usually provided by sealers, oils, varnishes, water repellent preservatives, and other similar materials. NEC (National Electrical Code)- A set of rules governing safe wiring methods. Local codes— which are backed by law—may differ from the NEC in some ways. Neutral wire- Usually color-coded white, this carries electricity from an outlet back to the service panel. Also see hot wire and ground.

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Newel post- The large starting post to which the end of a stair guard railing or balustrade is fastened. Nonbearing wall- A wall supporting no load other than its own weight. Nosing- The projecting edge of a molding or drip or the front edge of a stair tread. Notch- A crosswise groove at the end of a board. Note- A formal document showing the existence of a debt and stating the terms of repayment. O C- On Center- The measurement of spacing for studs, rafters, and joists in a building from the center of one member to the center of the next. Oakum- Loose hemp or jute fiber that's impregnated with tar or pitch and used to caulk large seams or for packing plumbing pipe joints Open hole inspection- When an engineer (or municipal inspector) inspects the open excavation and examines the earth to determine the type of foundation (caisson, footer, wall on ground, etc.) that should be installed in the hole. Oriented Strand Board or OSB- A manufactured 4' X 8' wood panel made out of 1"- 2" wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitute for plywood. Outrigger- An extension of a rafter beyond the wall line. Usually a smaller member nailed to a larger rafter to form a cornice or roof overhang. Outside corner- The point at which two walls form an external angle, one you usually can walk around. Overhang- Outward projecting eave-soffit area of a roof; the part of the roof that hangs out or over the outside wall. See also Cornice. Padding- A material installed under carpet to add foot comfort, isolate sound, and to prolong carpet life. Pad out, pack out- To shim out or add strips of wood to a wall or ceiling in order that the finished ceiling/wall will appear correct. Paint- A combination of pigments with suitable thinners or oils to provide decorative and protective coatings. Can be oil based or latex water based. Pallets- Wooden platforms used for storing and shipping material. Forklifts and hand trucks are used to move these wooden platforms around. Panel- A thin flat piece of wood, plywood, or similar material, framed by stiles and rails as in a door (or cabinet door), or fitted into grooves of thicker material with molded edges for decorative wall treatment. Paper, building- A general term for papers, felts, and similar sheet materials used in buildings without reference to their properties or uses. Generally comes in long rolls. Parapet- A wall placed at the edge of a roof to prevent people from falling off. Parting stop or strip- A small wood piece used in the side and head jambs of double hung windows to separate the upper sash from the lower sash.

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Particle board- Plywood substitute made of course sawdust that is mixed with resin and pressed into sheets. Used for closet shelving, floor underlayment, stair treads, etc. Partition- A wall that subdivides spaces within any story of a building or room. Paver, paving- Materials—commonly masonry—laid down to make a firm, even surface. Payment schedule- A pre-agreed upon schedule of payments to a contractor usually based upon the amount of work completed. Such a schedule may include a deposit prior to the start of work. There may also be a temporary 'retainer' (5-10% of the total cost of the job) at the end of the contract for correcting any small items which have not been completed or repaired. Pedestal- A metal box installed at various locations along utility easements that contain electrical, telephone, or cable television switches and connections. Penalty clause - A provision in a contract that provides for a reduction in the amount otherwise payable under a contract to a contractor as a penalty for failure to meet deadlines or for failure of the project to meet contract specifications. Penny- As applied to nails, it originally indicated the price per hundred. The term now series as a measure of nail length and is abbreviated by the letter "d". Normally, 16d (16 "penny") nails are used for framing Percolation test or perc. test- Tests that a soil engineer performs on earth to determine the feasibility of installing a leech field type sewer system on a lot. A test to determine if the soil on a proposed building lot is capable of absorbing the liquid affluent from a septic system. Performance bond- An amount of money (usually 10% of the total price of a job)   that a contractor must put on deposit with a governmental agency as an insurance policy that guarantees the contractors' proper and timely completion of a project or job. Perimeter drain- 3" or 4" perforated plastic pipe that goes around the perimeter (either inside or outside) of a foundation wall (before backfill) and collects and diverts ground water away from the foundation. Generally, it is "daylighted" into a sump pit inside the home, and a sump pump is sometimes inserted into the pit to discharge any accumulation of water. Permeability- A measure of the ease with which water penetrates a material. Permit - A governmental municipal authorization to perform a building process as in: · Zoning\Use permit - Authorization to use a property for a specific use e.g. a garage, a single family residence etc. · Demolition permit - Authorization to tear down and remove an existing structure. · Grading permit - Authorization to change the contour of the land. · Septic permit - A health department authorization to build or modify a septic system. · Building permit - Authorization to build or modify a structure. · Electrical permit - A separate permit required for most electrical work. · Plumbing permit - A separate permit required for new plumbing and larger modifications of existing plumbing systems.

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Pigtails, electrical- The electric cord that the electrician provides and installs on an appliance such as a garbage disposal, dishwasher, or range hood. Pier- A column of masonry, usually rectangular in horizontal cross section, used to support other structural members. Also see Caisson. Pigment- A powdered solid used in paint or enamel to give it a color. Pilot hole- A small-diameter, pre-drilled hole that guides a nail or screw. Pilot light- A small, continuous flame (in a hot water heater, boiler, or furnace) that ignites gas or oil burners when needed. Pitch- The incline slope of a roof or the ratio of the total rise to the total width of a house, i.e., a 6-foot rise and 24-foot width is a one-fourth pitch roof. Roof slope is expressed in the inches of rise, per foot of horizontal run. PITI - Principal, interest, taxes and insurance (the four major components of monthly housing payments). Plan view- Drawing of a structure with the view from overhead, looking down. Plate-   Normally a 2 X 4 or 2 X 6 that lays horizontally within a framed structure, such as: ! Sill plate- A horizontal member anchored to a concrete or masonry wall. ! Sole plate- Bottom horizontal member of a frame wall. ! Top plate- Top horizontal member of a frame wall supporting ceiling joists, rafters, or other members. Plenum- The main hot-air supply duct leading from a furnace. Plot plan- An overhead view plan that shows the location of the home on the lot. Includes all easements, property lines, set backs, and legal descriptions of the home. Provided by the surveyor. Plough, plow- To cut a lengthwise groove in a board or plank. An exterior handrail normally has a ploughed groove for hand gripping purposes Plumb- Exactly vertical and perpendicular. Plumb bob- A lead weight attached to a string. It is the tool used in determining plumb. Plumbing boots- Metal saddles used to strengthen a bearing wall/vertical stud(s) where a plumbing drain line has been cut through and installed. Plumbing ground- The plumbing drain and waste lines that are installed beneath a basement floor. Plumbing jacks- Sleeves that fit around drain and waste vent pipes at, and are nailed to, the roof sheeting. Plumbing rough- Work performed by the plumbing contractor after the Rough Heat is installed. This work includes installing all plastic ABS drain and waste lines, copper water lines, bath tubs, shower pans, and gas piping to furnaces and fireplaces. Lead solder should not be used on copper piping.

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Plumbing stack- A plumbing vent pipe that penetrates the roof. Plumbing trim- Work performed by the plumbing contractor to get the home ready for a final plumbing inspection. Includes installing all toilets (water closets), hot water heaters, sinks, connecting all gas pipe to appliances, disposal, dishwasher, and all plumbing items. Plumbing waste line- Plastic pipe used to collect and drain sewage waste. Ply- A term to denote the number of layers of roofing felt, veneer in plywood, or layers in builtup materials, in any finished piece of such material. Plywood- A panel (normally 4' X 8') of wood made of three or more layers of veneer, compressed and joined with glue, and usually laid with the grain of adjoining plies at right angles to give the sheet strength. Point load- A point where a bearing/structural weight is concentrated and transferred to the foundation. Portland cement- Cement made by heating clay and crushed limestone into a brick and then grinding to a pulverized powder state. Post- A vertical framing member usually designed to carry a beam. Often a 4" x 4", a 6" x 6", or a metal pipe with a flat plate on top and bottom. Post-and-beam- A basic building method that uses just a few hefty posts and beams to support an entire structure. Contrasts with stud framing. Power vent- A vent that includes a fan to speed up air flow.   Often installed on roofs. Premium- Amount payable on a loan. Preservative-. Any pesticide substance that, for a reasonable length of time, will prevent the action of wood-destroying fungi, insect borers, and similar destructive agents when the wood has been properly coated or impregnated with it. Normally an arsenic derivative. Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) is an example. Pressure Relief Valve (PRV)- A device mounted on a hot water heater or boiler which is designed to release any high steam pressure in the tank to prevent tank explosions. Pressure-treated wood- Lumber that has been saturated with a preservative. Primer- The first, base coat of paint when a paint job consists of two or more coats. A first coating formulated to seal raw surfaces and holding succeeding finish coats. Principal- The original amount of the loan, the capital. Property survey- A survey to determine the boundaries of your property. The cost depends on the complexity of the survey. P trap- Curved, "U" section of drain pipe that holds a water seal to prevent sewer gasses from entering the home through a fixtures water drain. Pump mix- Special concrete that will be used in a concrete pump. Generally, the mix has smaller rock aggregate than regular mix. Punch list- A list of discrepancies that need to be corrected by the contractor.

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Punch out- To inspect and make a discrepancy list. Putty- A type of dough used in sealing glass in the sash, filling small holes and crevices in wood, and for similar purposes. PVC or CPVC - Poly Vinyl Chloride-A type of white or light gray plastic pipe sometimes used for water supply lines and waste pipe. Rabbet- A rectangular longitudinal groove cut in the corner edge of a board or plank. Radiant heating- A method of heating, usually consisting of a forced hot water system with pipes placed in the floor, wall, or ceiling. Also electrically heated panels. Radiation- Energy transmitted from a heat source to the air around it. Radiators actually depend more on convection than radiation. Radon- A naturally-occurring, heavier than air, radioactive gas common in many parts of the country.   Radon gas exposure is associated with lung cancer. Mitigation measures may involve crawl space and basement venting and various forms of vapor barriers. Radon system- A ventilation system beneath the floor of a basement and/or structural wood floor and designed to fan exhaust radon gas to the outside of the home Rafter- Lumber used to support the roof sheeting and roof loads. Generally, 2 X 10's and 2 X 12's are used. The rafters of a flat roof are sometimes called roof joists. Rafter, hip- A rafter that forms the intersection of an external roof angle. Rafter, valley- A rafter that forms the intersection of an internal roof angle. The valley rafter is normally made of double 2-inch-thick members. Rail- Cross members of panel doors or of a sash. Also, a wall or open balustrade placed at the edge of a staircase, walkway bridge, or elevated surface to prevent people from falling off.   Any relatively lightweight horizontal element, especially those found in fences (split rail). Railroad tie- Black, tar and preservative impregnated, 6" X 8" and 6'-8' long wooden timber that was used to hold railroad track in place. Normally used as a member of a retaining wall. Rake- Slope or slanted. Rake fascia- The vertical face of the sloping end of a roof eave. Rake siding- The practice of installing lap siding diagonally Ranch- A single story, one level home. Ready mixed concrete- Concrete mixed at a plant or in trucks en route to a job and delivered ready for placement. Rebar, reinforcing bar-Ribbed steel bars installed in foundation concrete walls, footers, and poured in place concrete structures designed to strengthen concrete. Comes in various thickness' and strength grade. Receptacle- An electrical outlet.   A typical household will have many 120 volt receptacles for plugging in lams and appliances and 240 volt receptacles for the range, clothes dryer, air conditioners, etc.

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Recording fee - A charge for recording the transfer of a property, paid to a city, county, or other appropriate branch of government. Redline, red lined prints- Blueprints that reflect changes and that are marked with red pencil. Reducer- A fitting with different size openings at either end and used to go from a larger to a smaller pipe. Reflective insulation- Sheet material with one or both faces covered with aluminum foil. Refrigerant- A substance that remains a gas at low temperatures and pressure and can be used to transfer heat. Freon is an example and is used in air conditioning systems. Register- A grill placed over a heating duct or cold air return. Reglaze- To replace a broken window. Relief valve- A device designed to open if it detects excess temperature or pressure. Remote- Remote electrical, gas, or water meter digital readouts that are installed near the front of the home in order for utility companies to easily read the home owners usage of the service. Retaining wall- A structure that holds back a slope and prevents erosion. Retentions- Amounts withheld from progress billings until final and satisfactory project completion. R factor or value- A measure of a materials resistance to the passage of heat. New homewalls are usually insulated with 4" of batt insulation with an R value of R-13, and a ceiling insulation of R-30. Ribbon (girt)- Normally a 1 X 4 board let into the studs horizontally to support the ceiling or second-floor joists. Ridge- The horizontal line at the junction of the top edges of two sloping roof surfaces. Ridge board- The board placed on the ridge of the roof onto which the upper ends of other rafters are fastened. Ridge shingles- Shingles used to cover the ridge board. Rim joist- A joist that runs around the perimeter of the floor joists and home. Rise- The vertical distance from the eaves line to the ridge. Also the vertical distance from stair tread to stair tread (and not to exceed 7 ½"). Riser- Each of the vertical boards closing the spaces between the treads of stairways. Riser and panel- The exterior vertical pipe (riser) and metal electric box (panel) the electrician provides and installs at the "Rough Electric" stage. Road base- A aggregate mixture of sand and stone. Rock 1, 2, 3- When referring to drywall, this means to install drywall to the walls and ceilings (with nails and screws), and before taping is performed. Roll, rolling- To install the floor joists or trusses in their correct place. (To "roll the floor" means to install the floor joists). Romex- A name brand of nonmetallic sheathed electrical cable that is used for indoor wiring. © Ryan Mitchell 2012 – TheTinyLife.com

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Roll roofing- Asphalt roofing products manufactured in roll form. 36-inch wide rolls with and 108 square feet of material. Weights are generally 45 to 90 pounds per roll. Romex- A name brand of nonmetallic sheathed electrical cable that is used for indoor wiring. Roof jack- Sleeves that fit around the black plumbing waste vent pipes at, and are nailed to, the roof sheeting. Roof joist- The rafters of a flat roof. Lumber used to support the roof sheeting and roof loads. Generally, 2 X 10's and 2 X 12's are used. Roof sheathing or sheeting- The wood panels or sheet material fastened to the roof rafters or trusses on which the shingle or other roof covering is laid. Roof valley- The "V" created where two sloping roofs meet. Rough opening- The horizontal and vertical measurement of a window or door opening before drywall or siding is installed. Rough sill- The framing member at the bottom of a rough opening for a window. It is attached to the cripple studs below the rough opening. Roughing-in- The initial stage of a plumbing, electrical, heating, carpentry, and/or other project, when all components that won't be seen after the second finishing phase are assembled. See also Heat Rough, Plumbing Rough, and Electrical Rough. Run, roof - The horizontal distance from the eaves to a point directly under the ridge. One half the span. Run, stair- the horizontal distance of a stair tread from the nose to the riser. R Value- A measure of insulation. A measure of a materials resistance to the passage of heat. The higher the R value, the more insulating "power" it has. For example, typical new home's walls are usually insulated with 4" of batt insulation with an R value of R-13, and a ceiling insulation of R-30. Saddle- A small second roof built behind the back side of a fireplace chimney to divert water around the chimney. Also, the plate at the bottom of some—usually exterior—door openings. Sometimes called a threshold. Sack mix- The amount of Portland cement in a cubic yard of concrete mix. Generally, 5 or 6 sack is required in a foundation wall. Sales contract - A contract between a buyer and seller which should explain: (1) What the purchase includes, (2) What guarantees there are, (3) When the buyer can move in, (4) What the closing costs are, and (5) What recourse the parties have if the contract is not fulfilled or if the buyer cannot get a mortgage commitment at the agreed upon time. Sand float finish- Lime that is mixed with sand, resulting in a textured finish on a wall. Sanitary sewer- A sewer system designed for the collection of waste water from the bathroom, kitchen and laundry drains, and is usually not designed to handle storm water. Sash- A single light frame containing one or more lights of glass. The frame that holds the glass in a window, often the movable part of the window. © Ryan Mitchell 2012 – TheTinyLife.com

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Sash balance- A device, usually operated by a spring and designed to hold a single hung window vent up and in place Saturated felt- A felt which is impregnated with tar or asphalt. Schedule (window, door, mirror)- A table on the blueprints that list the sizes, quantities and locations of the windows, doors and mirrors. Scrap out- The removal of all drywall material and debris after the home is "hung out" (installed) with drywall. Scratch coat- The first coat of plaster, which is scratched to form a bond for a second coat. Screed, concrete- To level off concrete to the correct elevation during a concrete pour. Screed, plaster- A small strip of wood, usually the thickness of the plaster coat, used as a guide for plastering. Scribing- Cutting and fitting woodwork to an irregular surface. Scupper- (1) An opening for drainage in a wall, curb or parapet. (2) The drain in a downspout or flat roof, usually connected to the downspout. Sealer- A finishing material, either clear or pigmented, that is usually applied directly over raw wood for the purpose of sealing the wood surface. Seasoning- Drying and removing moisture from green wood in order to improve its usability. Self-sealing shingles- Shingles containing factory-applied strips or spots of self-sealing adhesive. Semigloss paint or enamel- A paint or enamel made so that its coating, when dry, has some luster but is not very glossy. Bathrooms and kitchens are normally painted semi-gloss Septic system- An on site waste water treatment system. It usually has a septic tank which promotes the biological digestion of the waste, and a drain field which is designed to let the left over liquid soak into the ground. Septic systems and permits are usually sized by the number of bedrooms in a house. Service entrance panel- Main power cabinet where electricity enters a home wiring system. Service equipment- Main control gear at the service entrance, such as circuit breakers, switches, and fuses. Service lateral- Underground power supply line. Setback Thermostat- A thermostat with a clock which can be programmed to come on or go off at various temperatures and at different times of the day/week. Usually used as the heating or cooling system thermostat. Settlement- Shifts in a structure, usually caused by freeze-thaw cycles underground. Sewage ejector- A pump used to 'lift' waste water to a gravity sanitary sewer line. Usually used in basements and other locations which are situated bellow the level of the side sewer. Sewer lateral- The portion of the sanitary sewer which connects the interior waste water lines to the main sewer lines. The side sewer is usually buried in several feet of soil and runs from

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the house to the sewer line. It is usually 'owned' by the sewer utility, must be maintained by the owner and may only be serviced by utility approved contractors. Sometimes called side sewer. Sewer stub- The junction at the municipal sewer system where the home's sewer line is connected. Sewer tap- The physical connection point where the home's sewer line connects to the main municipal sewer line. Shake- A wood roofing material, normally cedar or redwood. Produced by splitting a block of the wood along the grain line. Modern shakes are sometimes machine sawn on one side. See shingle. Shear block- Plywood that is face nailed to short (2 X 4's or 2 X 6's) wall studs (above a door or window, for example). This is done to prevent the wall from sliding and collapsing. Sheathing, sheeting- The structural wood panel covering, usually OSB or plywood, used over studs, floor joists or rafters/trusses of a structure. Shed roof- A roof containing only one sloping plane. Sheet metal work- All components of a house employing sheet metal, such as flashing, gutters, and downspouts. Sheet metal duct work- The heating system. Usually round or rectangular metal pipes and sheet metal (for Return Air) and installed for distributing warm (or cold) air from the furnace to rooms in the home. Sheet rock- Drywall-Wall board or gypsum- A manufactured panel made out of gypsum plaster and encased in a thin cardboard. Usually 1/2" thick and 4' x 8' or 4' x 12' in size. The 'joint compound'. 'Green board' type drywall has a greater resistance to moisture than regular (white) plasterboard and is used in bathrooms and other "wet areas". Shim- A small piece of scrap lumber or shingle, usually wedge shaped, which when forced behind a furring strip or framing member forces it into position. Also used when installing doors and placed between the door jamb legs and 2 X 4 door trimmers. Metal shims are wafer   1 1/2" X 2" sheet metal of various thickness' used to fill gaps in wood framing members, especially at bearing point locations. Shingles- Roof covering of asphalt. asbestos, wood, tile, slate, or other material cut to stock lengths, widths, and thickness'. Shingles, siding- Various kinds of shingles, used over sheathing for exterior wall covering of a structure. Short circuit- A situation that occurs when hot and neutral wires come in contact with each other. Fuses and circuit breakers protect against fire that could result from a short. Shutter- Usually lightweight louvered decorative frames in the form of doors located on the sides of a window. Some shutters are made to close over the window for protection. Side sewer- The portion of the sanitary sewer which connects the interior waste water lines to the main sewer lines. The side sewer is usually buried in several feet of soil and runs from the

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house to the sewer line. It is usually 'owned' by the sewer utility, must be maintained by the owner and may only be serviced by utility approved contractors. Sometimes called sewer lateral. Siding- The finished exterior covering of the outside walls of a frame building. Siding, (lap siding)- Slightly wedge-shaped boards used as horizontal siding in a lapped pattern over the exterior sheathing. Varies in butt thickness from ½ to ¾ inch and in widths up to 12". Sill- (1) The 2 X 4 or 2 X 6 wood plate framing member that lays flat against and bolted to the foundation wall (with anchor bolts) and upon which the floor joists are installed. Normally the sill plate is treated lumber. (2) The member forming the lower side of an opening, as a door sill or window sill. Sill cock- An exterior water faucet (hose bib). Sill plate (mudsill)- Bottom horizontal member of an exterior wall frame which rests on top a foundation, sometimes called mudsill. Also sole plate, bottom member of an interior wall frame. Sill seal- Fiberglass or foam insulation installed between the foundation wall and sill (wood) plate. Designed to seal any cracks or gaps. Single hung window- A window with one vertically sliding sash or window vent. Skylight- A more or less horizontal window located on the roof of a building. Slab, concrete- Concrete pavement, i.e. driveways, garages, and basement floors. Slab, door- A rectangular door without hinges or frame. Slab on grade- A type of foundation with a concrete floor which is placed directly on the soil. The edge of the slab is usually thicker and acts as the footing for the walls. Slag- Concrete cement that sometimes covers the vertical face of the foundation void material. Sleeper- Usually, a wood member embedded in concrete, as in a floor, that serves to support and to fasten the subfloor or flooring. Sleeve(s)- Pipe installed under the concrete driveway or sidewalk, and that will be used later to run sprinkler pipe or low voltage wire. Slope- The incline angle of a roof surface, given as a ratio of the rise (in inches) to the run (in feet). See also pitch. Slump- The "wetness" of concrete. A 3 inch slump is dryer and stiffer than a 5 inch slump. Soffit- The area below the eaves and overhangs. The underside where the roof overhangs the walls. Usually the underside of an overhanging cornice. Soil pipe- A large pipe that carries liquid and solid wastes to a sewer or septic tank. Soil stack- A plumbing vent pipe that penetrates the roof. Sole plate- The bottom, horizontal framing member of a wall that's attached to the floor sheeting and vertical wall studs.

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Solid bridging- A solid member placed between adjacent floor joists near the center of the span to prevent joists or rafters from twisting. Sonotube- Round, large cardboard tubes designed to hold wet concrete in place until it hardens. Sound attenuation- Sound proofing a wall or subfloor, generally with fiberglass insulation. Space heat- Heat supplied to the living space, for example, to a room or the living area of a building. Spacing- The distance between individual members or shingles in building construction. Span- The clear distance that a framing member carries a load without support between structural supports. The horizontal distance from eaves to eaves. Spec home- A house built before it is sold. The builder speculates that he can sell it at a profit. Specifications or Specs- A narrative list of materials, methods, model numbers, colors, allowances, and other details which supplement the information contained in the blue prints. Written elaboration in specific detail about construction materials and methods. Written to supplement working drawings. Splash block- Portable concrete (or vinyl) channel generally placed beneath an exterior sill cock (water faucet) or downspout in order to receive roof drainage from downspouts and to divert it away from the building. Square- A unit of measure-100 square feet-usually applied to roofing and siding material. Also, a situation that exists when two elements are at right angles to each other. Also a tool for checking this. Square-tab shingles- Shingles on which tabs are all the same size and exposure. Squeegie- Fine pea gravel used to grade a floor (normally before concrete is placed). Stack (trusses)- To position trusses on the walls in their correct location. Standard practices of the trade(s)- One of the more common basic and minimum construction standards. This is another way of saying that the work should be done in the way it is normally done by the average professional in the field. Starter strip- Asphalt roofing applied at the eaves that provides protection by filling in the spaces under the cutouts and joints of the first course of shingles. Stair carriage or stringer- Supporting member for stair treads. Usually a 2 X 12 inch plank notched to receive the treads; sometimes called a "rough horse." Stair landing- A platform between flights of stairs or at the termination of a flight of stairs. Often used when stairs change direction. Normally no less than 3 ft. X 3 ft. square. Stair rise- The vertical distance from stair tread to stair tread (and not to exceed 7 ½"). Static vent- A vent that does not include a fan. STC (Sound Transmission Class)- The measure of sound stopping of ordinary noise.

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Steel inspection- A municipal and/or engineers inspection of the concrete foundation wall, conducted before concrete is poured into the foundation panels. Done to insure that the rebar (reinforcing bar), rebar nets, void material, beam pocket plates, and basement window bucks are installed and wrapped with rebar and complies with the foundation plan. Step flashing- Flashing application method used where a vertical surface meets a sloping roof plane. 6" X 6" galvanized metal bent at a 90 degree angle, and installed beneath siding and over the top of shingles. Each piece overlaps the one beneath it the entire length of the sloping roof (step by step). Stick built- A house built without prefabricated parts. Also called conventional building. Stile- An upright framing member in a panel door. Stool- The flat molding fitted over the window sill between jambs and contacting the bottom rail of the lower sash.   Also another name for toilet. Stop box- Normally a cast iron pipe with a lid (@ 5" in diameter) that is placed vertically into the ground, situated near the water tap in the yard, and where a water cut-off valve to the home is located (underground). A long pole with a special end is inserted into the curb stop to turn off/on the water. Stop Order- A formal, written notification to a contractor to discontinue some or all work on a project for reasons such as safety violations, defective materials or workmanship, or cancellation of the contract. Stops- Moldings along the inner edges of a door or window frame. Also valves used to shut off water to a fixture. Stop valve- A device installed in a water supply line, usually near a fixture, that permits an individual to shut off the water supply to one fixture without interrupting service to the rest of the system. Storm sash or storm window-. An extra window usually placed outside of an existing one, as additional protection against cold weather. Storm sewer- A sewer system designed to collect storm water and is separated from the waste water system. Story- That part of a building between any floor or between the floor and roof. Strike- The plate on a door frame that engages a latch or dead bolt. String, stringer- A timber or other support for cross members in floors or ceilings. In stairs, the supporting member for stair treads. Usually a 2 X 12 inch plank notched to receive the treads Strip flooring- Wood flooring consisting of narrow, matched strips. Structural floor- A framed lumber floor that is installed as a basement floor instead of concrete. This is done on very expansive soils. Stub, stubbed- To push through. Stucco- Refers to an outside plaster finish made with Portland cement as its base.

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Stud- A vertical wood framing member, also referred to as a wall stud, attached to the horizontal sole plate below and the top plate above. Normally 2 X 4's or 2 X 6's, 8' long (sometimes 92 5/8"). One of a series of wood or metal vertical structural members placed as supporting elements in walls and partitions. Stud framing- A building method that distributes structural loads to each of a series of relatively lightweight studs. Contrasts with post-and-beam. Stud shoe- A metal, structural bracket that reinforces a vertical stud. Used on an outside bearing wall where holes are drilled to accommodate a plumbing waste line. Subfloor- The framing components of a floor to include the sill plate, floor joists, and deck sheeting over which a finish floor is to be laid. Sump- Pit or large plastic bucket/barrel inside the home designed to collect ground water from a perimeter drain system. Sump pump- A submersible pump in a sump pit that pumps any excess ground water to the outside of the home. Suspended ceiling- A ceiling system supported by hanging it from the overhead structural framing. Sway brace- Metal straps or wood blocks installed diagonally on the inside of a wall from bottom to top plate, to prevent the wall from twisting, racking, or falling over "domino" fashion. Switch- A device that completes or disconnects an electrical circuit. T & G, tongue and groove- A joint made by a tongue (a rib on one edge of a board) that fits into a corresponding groove in the edge of another board to make a tight flush joint. Typically, the subfloor plywood is T & G. Tab - The exposed portion of strip shingles defined by cutouts. Tail beam- A relatively short beam or joist supported in a wall on one end and by a header at the other. Take off- The material necessary to complete a job. Taping- The process of covering drywall joints with paper tape and joint compound. T bar- Ribbed, "T" shaped bars with a flat metal plate at the bottom that are driven into the earth. Normally used chain link fence poles, and to mark locations of a water meter pit. Teco- Metal straps that are nailed and secure the roof rafters and trusses to the top horizontal wall plate. Sometimes called a hurricane clip. Tee- A "T" shaped plumbing fitting. Tempered- Strengthened. Tempered glass will not shatter nor create shards, but will "pelletize" like an automobile window. Required in tub and shower enclosures and locations, entry door glass and sidelight glass, and in a windows when the window sill is less than 16" to the floor. Termites- Wood eating insects that superficially resemble ants in size and general appearance, and live in colonies.

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Termite shield- A shield, usually of galvanized metal, placed in or on a foundation wall or around pipes to prevent the passage of termites. Terra cotta- A ceramic material molded into masonry units. Thermoply ™- Exterior laminated sheathing nailed to the exterior side of the exterior walls. Normally ¼ " thick, 4 X 8 or 4 x 10 sheets with an aluminumized surface. Thermostat- A device which relegates the temperature of a room or building by switching heating or cooling equipment on or off. Three-dimensional shingles- Laminated shingles. Shingles that have added dimensionality because of extra layers or tabs, giving a shake-like appearance. May also be called "architectural shingles". Threshold- The bottom metal or wood plate of an exterior door frame. Generally they are adjustable to keep a tight fit with the door slab. Time and materials contract- A construction contract which specifies a price for different elements of the work such as cost per hour of labor, overhead, profit, etc. A contract which may not have a maximum price, or may state a 'price not to exceed'. Tinner- Another name for the heating contractor. Tip up- The downspout extension that directs water (from the home's gutter system) away from the home. They typically swing up when mowing the lawn, etc. Title- Evidence (usually in the form of a certificate or deed) of a person's legal right to ownership of a property. TJI or TJ- Manufactured structural building component resembling the letter "I". Used as floor joists and rafters. I-joists include two key parts: flanges and webs. The flange or from of the I joist may be made of laminated veneer lumber or dimensional lumber, usually formed into a 1 ½" width. The web or center of the I-joist is commonly made of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). Large holes can be cut in the web to accommodate duct work and plumbing waste lines. I-joists are available in lengths up to 60'' long. Toenailing- To drive a nail in at a slant. Method used to secure floor joists to the plate. Top chord- The upper or top member of a truss. Top plate- Top horizontal member of a frame wall supporting ceiling joists, rafters, or other members. Transmitter (garage door)- The small, push button device that causes the garage door to open or close. Trap- A plumbing fitting that holds water to prevent air, gas, and vermin from backing up into a fixture. Tread- The walking surface board in a stairway on which the foot is placed. Treated lumber- A wood product which has been impregnated with chemical pesticides such as CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate) to reduce damage from wood rot or insects. Often used

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for the portions of a structure which are likely to be in contact with soil and water. Wood may also be treated with a fire retardant. Trim (plumbing, heating, electrical)- The work that the "mechanical" contractors perform to finish their respective aspects of work, and when the home is nearing completion and occupancy. Trim- Interior- The finish materials in a building, such as moldings applied around openings (window trim, door trim) or at the floor and ceiling of rooms (baseboard, cornice, and other moldings). Also, the physical work of installing interior doors and interior woodwork, to include all handrails, guardrails, stair way balustrades, mantles, light boxes, base, door casings, cabinets, countertops, shelves, window sills and aprons, etc. Exterior- The finish materials on the exterior a building, such as moldings applied around openings (window trim, door trim), siding, windows, exterior doors, attic vents, crawl space vents, shutters, etc. Also, the physical work of installing these materials Trimmer- The vertical stud that supports a header at a door, window, or other opening. Truss- An engineered and manufactured roof support member with "zig-zag" framing members. Does the same job as a rafter but is designed to have a longer span than a rafter. Tub trap- Curved, "U" shaped section of a bath tub drain pipe that holds a water seal to prevent sewer gasses from entering the home through tubs water drain. Turnkey- A term used when the subcontractor provides all materials (and labor) for a job. Turpentine- A petroleum, volatile oil used as a thinner in paints and as a solvent in varnishes UL (Underwriters' Laboratories)- An independent testing agency that checks electrical devices and other components for possible safety hazards. Undercoat- A coating applied prior to the finishing or top coats of a paint job. It may be the first of two or the second of three coats. Sometimes called the Prime coat. Underground plumbing- The plumbing drain and waste lines that are installed beneath a basement floor. Underlayment- A ¼" material placed over the subfloor plywood sheeting and under finish coverings, such as vinyl flooring, to provide a smooth, even surface. Also a secondary roofing layer that is waterproof or water-resistant, installed on the roof deck and beneath shingles or other roof-finishing layer. Union- A plumbing fitting that joins pipes end-to-end so they can be dismantled. Utility easement- The area of the earth that has electric, gas, or telephone lines. These areas may be owned by the homeowner, but the utility company has the legal right to enter the area as necessary to repair or service the lines. Valley- The "V" shaped area of a roof where two sloping roofs meet. Water drains off the roof at the valleys. Valley flashing- Sheet metal that lays in the "V" area of a roof valley.

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Valuation- An inspection carried out for the benefit of the mortgage lender to ascertain if a property is a good security for a loan. Valuation fee- Th fee paid by the prospective borrower for the lender's inspection of the property. Normally paid upon loan application. Vapor barrier- A building product installed on exterior walls and ceilings under the drywall and on the warm side of the insulation. It is used to retard the movement of water vapor into walls and prevent condensation within them. Normally, polyethylene plastic sheeting is used. Variable rate- An interest rate that will vary over the term of the loan. Veneer- Extremely thin sheets of wood. Also a thin slice of wood or brick or stone covering a framed wall. Vent- A pipe or duct which allows the flow of air and gasses to the outside. Also, another word for the moving glass part of a window sash, i.e. window vent. Vermiculite- A mineral used as bulk insulation and also as aggregate in insulating and acoustical plaster and in insulating concrete floors. Veterans Administration (VA)- A federal agency that insures mortgage loans with very liberal down payment requirements for honorably discharged veterans and their surviving spouses. Visqueen- A 4 mil or 6 mil plastic sheeting. Void- Cardboard rectangular boxes that are installed between the earth (between caissons) and the concrete foundation wall. Used when expansive soils are present. Voltage- A measure of electrical potential. Most homes are wired with 110 and 220 volt lines. The 110 volt power is used for lighting and most of the other circuits. The 220 volt power is usually used for the kitchen range, hot water heater and dryer. Wafer board - A manufactured wood panel made out of 1"- 2" wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitute for plywood in the exterior wall and roof sheathing. Walk-Through- A final inspection of a home before "Closing" to look for and document problems that need to be corrected. Wall out- When a painter pray paints the interior of a home. Warping- Any distortion in a material. Warranty- In construction there are two general types of warranties. One is provided by the manufacturer of a product such as roofing material or an appliance. The second is a warranty for the labor. For example, a roofing contract may include a 20 year material warranty and a 5 year labor warranty. Many new homebuilders provide a one year warranty. Any major issue found during the first year should be communicated to the builder immediately. Small items can be saved up and presented to the builder for correction periodically through the first year after closing. Waste pipe and vent- Plumbing plastic pipe that carries waste water to the municipal sewage system.

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Water board- Water resistant drywall to be used in tub and shower locations. Normally green or blue colored Water closet- Another name for toilet. Water meter pit (or vault)- The box /cast iron bonnet and concrete rings that contains the water meter. Water-repellent preservative- A liquid applied to wood to give the wood water repellant properties Water table- The location of the underground water, and the vertical distance from the surface of the earth to this underground water. Water tap- The connection point where the home water line connects to the main municipal water system. W C- An abbreviation for water closet (toilet). Weatherization- Work on a building exterior in order to reduce energy consumption for heating or cooling.   Work involving adding insulation, installing storm windows and doors, caulking cracks and putting on weather-stripping. Weatherstrip- Narrow sections of thin metal or other material installed to prevent the infiltration of air and moisture around windows and doors. Weep holes- Small holes in storm window frames that allow moisture to escape. Whole house fan- A fan designed to move air through and out of a home and normally installed in the ceiling. Wind bracing- Metal straps or wood blocks installed diagonally on the inside of a wall from bottom to top plate, to prevent the wall from twisting, racking, or falling over "domino" fashion. Window buck- Square or rectangular box that is installed within a concrete foundation or block wall. A window will eventually be installed in this "buck" during the siding stage of construction Window frame- The stationary part of a window unit; window sash fits into the window frame. Window sash- The operating or movable part of a window; the sash is made of window panes and their   border. Wire nut- A  plastic device used to connect bare wires together. Wonderboard ™- A panel made out of concrete and fiberglass usually used as a ceramic tile backing material. Commonly used on bathtub decks. Wrapped drywall- Areas that get complete drywall covering, as in the doorway openings of bifold and bipass closet doors. Y- A "Y" shaped plumbing fitting. Yard of concrete- One cubic yard of concrete is 3' X 3' X 3' in volume, or 27 cubic feet.   One cubic yard of concrete will pour 80 square feet of 3 ½" sidewalk or basement/garage floor.

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Yoke- The location where a home's water meter is sometimes installed between two copper pipes, and located in the water meter pit in the yard. Z-bar flashing- Bent, galvanized metal flashing that's installed above a horizontal trim board of an exterior window, door, or brick run. It prevents water from getting behind the trim/brick and into the home. Zone- The section of a building that is served by one heating or cooling loop because it has noticeably distinct heating or cooling needs. Also, the section of property that will be watered from a lawn sprinkler system. Zone valve- A device, usually placed near the heater or cooler, which controls the flow of water or steam to parts of the building; it is controlled by a zone thermostat. Zoning- A governmental process and specification which limits the use of a property e.g. single family use, high rise residential use, industrial use, etc. Zoning laws may limit where you can locate a structure. Also see building codes.

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Building Codes: You've Got a Friend at City Hall by Steve Blenk That mysterious "code" contractors always talk about isn't the Code of the West. It's probably the Uniform Building Code, or UBC, the legal standard for construction in any given geographical area. The UBC sets forth all requirements for a construction job, from installing a window or a woodstove to building an entire house or office building. In short, it's a set of rules that helps make our structures safe by specifying what methods and materials we can use. If you're renovating, remodeling or building anything that requires a permit, you'll be dealing with codes and the inspectors who enforce them. The UBC comes in different flavors depending on where you live, and they're all long and complex. The various states, and sometimes even separate counties and municipalities, use differing versions of the UBC, so your project must conform to the version enforced in your locale. How do you find out what will be required to be "up to code?" Easy: let the building department show you from the very beginning.

From the Top: Plans Most building departments will offer a prepermit meeting with an owner-builder. Here, you can tell them about your project. Generally, they will require a set of plans for approval; these need not be architectural blueprints. For a fence or a small deck, a simple sketch may do. For a room addition, kitchen remodel, new house or other major project, your building department will likely require a set of engineered and approved plans. For this, consult an architect, engineer or plan company (there are entire catalogs of plans out there). Once you've submitted your plans, the building department will make any changes needed to comply with the local code. They will keep an approved copy of your plans and give a set back to you. Once your plans are approved, you'll receive a building permit and pay a fee based on the value and/or the square footage of your project. Those approved plans are the "rules" for your job.

Ask Questions If you have questions as you go, ask the folks at the building department. They're the experts, and they're usually happy to work with an owner/contractor. Get them involved from the beginning, and then follow their lead. They'll explain what you must do to make your project conform to the UBC and, in some areas, the building department gives out copies of the pertinent parts of the code to those who request it. Also, building departments can suggest alternative methods of construction that could save you time and money. In fact, most building departments have a hotline for such questions. Depending on your project, building inspectors will check your progress one or more times. Usually, you'll be required to call in and request an inspection at specified points—which should be clearly explained to you before you start the job. Don't skip any of these inspection points, or you could be in for a world of trouble. For example, if you pour concrete and you haven't had your footings and forms inspected before the pour, you

will have to prove you've included the proper steel reinforcement. How do you prove this? With a jackhammer. The building department will schedule an inspection within a reasonable time after your call. Typically, lead time is 24 to 48 hours, but this will vary. Don't call for an inspection until you're ready. Inspectors are busy folks, and if you waste their time they won't forget. If they show up on your site while you're still nailing down what they're supposed to inspect, you may wait a week the next time you call. At inspection time, be sure your work conforms to the UBC. Disagreements over code interpretations sometimes arise, especially in remodeling. Have the original copy of your building permit ready, and listen to the inspector. If you think you have the code on your side, you can make a better case for yourself. The inspector may just sign off on your work. But if there's a problem, the inspector will tell you exactly how to fix it. You'll receive a correction notice, and it will go into your file. You'll need to correct any problems and order a new inspection before you go on to the next part of the job.

Inspectors Are Pros Most inspectors are real professionals as well as walking construction encyclopedias. If any one person knows the entire UBC (doubtful!), it's an inspector. Try to develop a good working relationship with your inspector, and he or she will help you along with your job. Fill inspectors in ahead of time on what you're going to do, and they can save you a lot of grief. Don't be afraid to ask questions when they're on site; they'd rather keep you from making mistakes than force you to correct them later. Above all, don't try to slide anything substandard past a building inspector. The inspectors who come to see your project as it develops will be playing by the rules, so play it straight. Don't ask them to bend the rules: They won't risk their jobs for you, and they'll resent your asking for favors. And once it's clear you can't be trusted, an inspector can make your life miserable. Be straight with them and they'll be a great resource.

Bad Apples This is not to say that there aren't bad inspectors out there. Many contractors can tell you stories about problems they've had with an unqualified or incompetent building inspector. If you suspect this is the case, don't argue. Listen to what the inspector has to say, and keep your opinions about his or her ancestry to yourself. Then call the building department for confirmation of the problem and solution. Most departments have an appeals process for reinspection if there are grounds. But be very sure before you go this route. Most inspectors are up on the code, and they're usually right.

Codes and Contractors Even if you're hiring a contractor to do the work, your local building inspectors can still be helpful. While most building departments cannot, by law, say that one builder is better than another, they do keep records of infractions and problems. These files are in the public record, and you can use them to check up on a contractor before hiring. Once the job is underway, always be at your job site when the inspector comes. Keep your eyes and ears open (and your mouth shut), and you'll get a good idea of how good a job your contractor is doing. Capable

contractors maintain professional working relationships with inspectors. They do the job right, with only minimal corrections. If you find your contractor is being corrected a lot or, worse, is trying to hide things from an inspector, you definitely have a problem. But you won't know it unless you're there during inspections.

Electrical Work Electrical work, inspections and the codes that govern them are a world unto themselves, a world that's ruled by the National Electrical Code. If your job involves new wiring or extensive rewiring, you must obtain an electrical permit, and a special electrical inspector will examine and approve every bit of your work. Electricity is pretty unforgiving, and if wiring isn't correct, someone can get hurt. Key steps of an electrical job must be approved, and when this is done in stages, you often can solicit advice from the inspector about succeeding steps. Bottom line: Although the physical act of wiring requires only basic skills, a comprehensive understanding of the subject takes years. If you're out of your depth, get a permit and hire a licensed electrician. That way, you know the job's done right.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

SECTION 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Finding: Purpose Definitions Minimum Standards of Fitness for Dwellings and Dwelling Units Minimum Standards for Structural Condition Minimum Standards for Basic Equipment and Facilities Minimum Standards for Ventilation Minimum Standards for Space, Use and Location Minimum Standards for Safe and Sanitary Maintenance Minimum Standards for Control of Insects, Rodents and Infestations Minimum Standards Applicable to Rooming Houses; Exceptions Responsibilities of Owner and Occupants Duties of Building Inspector Powers of Building Inspector Inspections Administrative Procedure Methods of Service of Complaints and Orders In Rem Action by Inspector; Placarding Costs, a Lien on Premises Alternative Remedies Mecklenburg County Zoning Board of Adjustment Conflict with Other Provisions Violations; Penalty Severability Implementation

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Section 1.(a) Finding: Purpose. Pursuant to G.S. 160A-441, it is hereby found and declared that there exist in the County dwellings which are unfit for human habitation due to dilapidation, defects increasing the hazards of fire, accidents and other calamities, lack of ventilation, light and sanitary facilities, and other conditions rendering such dwellings unsafe or unsanitary, dangerous and detrimental to the health and otherwise inimical to the welfare of the residents of the County. (b) In order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the County as authorized by Part 6 of Article 19, Chapter 160A of the General Statutes of N.C., it is the purpose of this ordinance to establish minimum standards of fitness for the initial and continued occupancy of all buildings used for human habitation, as expressly authorized by G.S. 160A-444.

Section 2. Definitions. The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and administration of this ordinance: (a) Basement shall mean a portion of a building which is located partly underground, having direct access to light and air from windows located above the level of the adjoining ground. (b) Cellar shall mean a portion of a building located partly or wholly underground having an inadequate access to light and air from windows located partly or wholly below the level of the adjoining ground. (c) Deteriorated shall mean that a dwelling is unfit for human habitation and can be repaired, altered, or improved to comply with all of the minimum standards established by this ordinance, at a cost not in excess of fifty percent (50%) of its value, as determined by finding of the Inspector. (d) Dilapidated shall mean that a dwelling is unfit for human habitation and cannot be repaired, altered or improved to comply with all of the minimum standards established by this ordinance at a cost not in excess of 50% of its value, as determined by finding of the Inspector. (e) Dwelling shall mean any building which is wholly or partly used or intended to be used for living or sleeping by human occupants; provided that temporary housing as hereinafter defined shall not be regarded as a dwelling. (f) Dwelling unit shall mean any room or group of rooms located within a dwelling and forming a single habitable unit with facilities which are used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking and eating. (g) Extermination shall mean the control and elimination of insects, rodents or other pests by eliminating their harborage places; by removing or making inaccessible materials that may serve as their food; by poisoning, spraying, fumigating, trapping or by any other recognized and legal pest elimination methods approved by the Inspector.

(h) Garbage shall mean the animal and vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food. (i) Habitable room shall mean a room or enclosed floor space used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking or eating purposes, excluding bathrooms, water closet compartments, laundries, heater rooms, foyers, or communicating corridors, closets and storage spaces. (j) Infestation shall mean the presence, within or around a dwelling of any insects, rodents or other pests in such number as to constitute a menace to the health, safety or welfare of the occupants or the public. (k) Inspector shall mean an inspector of the County. (l) Multiple dwelling shall mean any dwelling containing more than two dwelling units. (m) Occupant shall mean any person over one year of age, living, sleeping, cooking or eating in, or having actual possession of a dwelling unit or rooming unit. (n) Operator shall mean any person who has charge, care or control of a building, or part thereof, in which dwelling units or rooming units are let. (o) Owner shall mean any person who alone or jointly, or severally with others: (1) shall have fee simple title to any dwelling or dwelling unit, and every mortgagee, and owner and holder of a deed of trust and the trustee therein, of record; with or without accompanying actual possession of said dwelling or dwelling unit; or (2) Shall have charge, care or control of any dwelling or dwelling unit, as owner or agent of the owner, or as executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix, trustee or guardian of the estate of the owner. Any such person thus representing the actual owner shall be bound to comply with the provisions of this ordinance, and of rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, to the same extent as if he were the owner. (p) Parties in Interest means all individuals, associations and corporations who have interests of record in a dwelling and any who are in possession thereof. (q) Plumbing shall mean and include all of the following supplied facilities and equipment: Gas pipes, gas burning equipment, water pipes, mechanical garbage disposal units (mechanical sink grinder), waste pipes, water closets, sinks, installed dishwashers, lavatories, bathtubs, shower baths, installed clothes washing machines, catch basin, drains, vents and any other similar supplied fixtures, together with all connections to water, sewer or gas lines. (r) Public Authority, shall mean the Mecklenburg County Board of County Commissioners or any officer who is in charge of any department or branch of the government of Mecklenburg County or the State of North Carolina relating to health, fire, building regulations or other activities concerning dwellings in the County. 2

(s) Rooming unit shall mean any room or group of rooms forming a single habitable unit used or intended to be used for living and sleeping, but not for cooking or eating purposes. (t) Rooming house shall mean any dwelling, or that part of any dwelling containing one or more rooming units, in which space is let by the owner or operator to three or more persons who are not husband and wife, son or daughter, mother or father or sister or brother of the owner or operator. (u) Rubbish shall mean combustible and noncombustible waste materials, except garbage and ashes, and the term shall include paper, rags, cartons, boxes, wood, excelsior, rubber, leather, tree branches, yard trimmings, tin cans, metals, mineral matter, glass crockery, and dust. (v) Supplied shall mean paid for, furnished, or provided by, or under the control of, the owner or operator. (w) Temporary housing shall mean any tent, trailer or other structure used for human shelter which is designed to be transportable and which is not attached to the ground, to another structure, or to any utilities system on the same premises for more than thirty consecutive days. (x) Unfit for human habitation shall mean that conditions exist in a dwelling which violate or do not comply with one or more of the minimum standards of fitness or one or more of the requirements established by this ordinance. (y) Meaning of certain words. Whenever words "dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming house, rooming unit, premises" are used in this ordinance, they shall be construed as though they were followed by the words "or any part thereof."

Section 3. Minimum Standards of Fitness for Dwellings and Dwelling Units. Every dwelling and dwelling unit used as a human habitation, or held out for use as a human habitation, shall comply with all of the minimum standards of fitness for human habitation and all of the requirements of Sections 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 of this ordinance. No person shall occupy as owneroccupant, or let to another for occupancy or use as a human habitation, any dwelling or dwelling unit which does not comply with all of the minimum standards of fitness for human habitation and all of the requirements of Sections 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 of this ordinance.

Section 4. Minimum Standards for Structural Condition. (a) Walls or partitions or supporting members, sills, joists, rafters or other structural members shall not excessively list, lean or buckle and shall not be rotted, deteriorated or damaged, and shall not have holes or cracks which might admit rodents. (b) Floors or roofs shall have adequate supporting members and strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used.

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(c) Foundations, foundation walls, piers or other foundation supports shall not be deteriorated or damaged so as to dangerously reduce their intended toad bearing characteristics. (d) Steps, stairs, landings, porches, or other parts or appurtenances shall be maintained in such condition that they will not fail or collapse. (e) Adequate facilities for egress in case of fire or panic shall be provided. (f) Interior walls and ceilings of all rooms, closets and hallways shall be finished of suitable materials, which will, by use of reasonable household methods promote sanitation and cleanliness, and shall be maintained in such a manner so as to enable the occupants to maintain reasonable privacy between various spaces. (g) The roof, flashings, exterior walls, basement walls, floors, and all doors and windows exposed to the weather shall be constructed and maintained so as to be weather and watertight. (h) There shall be no chimneys or parts thereof which are in danger of falling, or in such condition or location as to constitute a fire hazard. (i) There shall be no use of the ground for floors, or wood floors on the ground.

Section 5. Minimum Standards for Basic Equipment and Facilities. (a) Plumbing System. (1) Each dwelling unit shall be connected to a potable water supply and to the public sewer or other approved sewage disposal system. (2) Each dwelling unit shall contain not less than a kitchen sink, lavatory, tub or shower, water closet, and adequate supply of both cold and hot water. All water shall be supplied through an approved pipe distribution system connected to an approved potable water supply. (3) All plumbing fixtures shall be maintained in a state of good repair and in good working order. (4) All required plumbing fixtures shall be located within the dwelling unit and be accessible to the occupants of same. The water closet and tub or shower shall be located in a room or rooms affording privacy to the user. (b) Heating System. Every dwelling and dwelling unit shall have facilities for providing heat in accordance with either (1) or (2) below. (1) Central and electric heating systems. Every central or electric heating system shall be of sufficient capacity so as to heat all habitable rooms, bathrooms and water closet compartments in every dwelling unit to which it is connected with a minimum temperature of sixty-eight (68) degrees Fahrenheit measured at a point three feet (3') 4

above the floor and two feet (2') from exterior walls during ordinary winter conditions (2) Other Heating facilities. Where a central or electric heating system is not provided, each dwelling and dwelling unit shall be provided with sufficient fireplaces, chimneys, flues or gas vents whereby heating appliances may be connected so as to heat all habitable rooms with a minimum temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit measured three feet (3') above the floor and two feet (2') from exterior walls during ordinary winter conditions. (c) Electrical System. (1) Every dwelling and dwelling unit shall be wired for electric lights and convenience receptacles. Every habitable room shall contain at least two floor or wall-type electric convenience receptacles, connected in such manner as determined by the National Electric Code. There shall be installed in every bathroom, water closet room, laundry room and furnace room at least one supplied ceiling, or walltype electric light fixture. In the event wall or ceiling light fixtures are not provided in any habitable room, then each such habitable room shall contain at least three floor or wall-type electric convenience receptacles (2) Every public hall and stairway in every multiple dwelling shall be adequately lighted by electric lights at all times when natural daylight is not sufficient. (3) All fixtures, receptacles, equipment and wiring shall be maintained in a state of good repair, safe, capable of being used, without hazard to property or person.

Section 6. Minimum Standards for Ventilation. (a) General. Every habitable room shall have at least one window or skylight facing directly to the outdoors for adequate ventilation. At least one window in every habitable room shall be of such size and location to allow egress by an average adult in the event of fire or other emergency. (b) Habitable rooms. Every habitable room shall have at least one (1) window or skylight which can easily be opened, or such other device as will adequately ventilate the room. The total openable window area in every habitable room shall be equal to at least forty-five percent (45%) of the minimum window area size or minimum skylight type window size as required, or shall have other approved, equivalent ventilation. (c) Bathroom and water closet rooms. Every bathroom and water closet compartment shall comply with the light and ventilation requirements for habitable rooms except that no window or skylight shall be required in adequately ventilated bathrooms and water closet rooms equipped with an approved ventilation system.

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Section 7. Minimum Standards for Space, Use, and Location. (a) Room sizes. Every dwelling unit shall contain at least the minimum room size in each habitable room as required by the current version of the NC State Building code or the building cod e in effect at the time of the construction, which ever is least restrictive. Every dwelling unit shall contain at least one hundred and fifty (150) square feet of habitable floor area for the first occupant, at least one hundred (100) square feet of additional habitable area for each of the next three occupants, and at least seventy-five (75) square feet of additional habitable floor area for each additional occupant. In every dwelling unit and in every rooming unit, every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one occupant shall contain at least seventy (70) square feet of floor area, and every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one occupant shall contain at least fifty (50) square feet of floor area for each occupant twelve (12) years of age and over any at least thirtyfive (35) square feet of floor area for each occupant under twelve (12) years of age. (b) Ceiling Height. At least one-half (1/2) of the floor area of every habitable room shall have a ceiling height of not less than seven feet (7'). (c) Floor area calculation. Floor area shall be calculated on the basis of habitable room area. However, closet area and wall area within the dwelling unit may count for not more than ten percent (10%) of the required habitable floor area. The floor area of any part of any room where the ceiling height is less than four and one-half feet (4'6") shall not be considered as part of the floor area computing the total area of the room to determine maximum permissible occupancy. (d) Cellar. No cellar shall be used for living purposes. (e) Basements. No basement shall be used for living purposes unless: (1) The floor and walls are substantially watertight; (2) The total window standards, total openable window area, and ceiling height are equal to those required for habitable rooms; (3) The required minimum window standards of every habitable room are entirely above the grade adjoining such, window area, except where the window or windows face a stairwell, window well, or access way.

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Section 8. Minimum Standards for Safe and Sanitary Maintenance. (a) Exterior foundation, walls, and roofs. Every foundation wall, exterior wall, and exterior roof shall be substantially weathertight and rodent proof; shall be kept in sound condition and good repair; shall be capable of affording privacy; shall be safe to use and capable of supporting the load which normal use may cause to be placed thereon. Every exterior wall shall be protected with paint or other protective covering to prevent the entrance or penetration of moisture or the weather. (b) Interior floors, walls, and ceilings. Every floor, interior wall, and ceiling shall be substantially rodent proof; shall be kept in sound condition and good repair; and shall be safe to use and capable of supporting the load which normal use may cause to be placed thereon. (c) Windows and doors. Every window, exterior door, basement or cellar door, and hatchway shall be substantially weathertight, watertight, and rodent proof; and shall be kept in sound working condition and good repair. (d) Stairs, porches, and appurtenances. Every outside and inside stair, porch, and any appurtenance thereto shall be safe to use and capable of supporting the load that normal use may cause to be placed thereon; and shall be kept in sound condition and good repair. (e) Bathroom floors. Toilet, bath and shower spaces. Bathtub and shower floors and walls above bathtubs with installed shower heads and in shower compartments shall be finished with a nonabsorbent surface. Such nonabsorbent surfaces must extend at least six feet (6') above the floor. Every bathroom floor surface and water closet compartment floor surface shall be constructed and maintained so as to permit such floor to be easily kept in a clean and sanitary condition. (f) Supplied facilities. Every supplied facility, piece of equipment, or utility which is required under this ordinance shall be so constructed or installed that it will function safely and effectively, and shall be maintained in satisfactory working condition. (g) Drainage. Every yard shall be properly graded so as to obtain thorough drainage and so as to prevent the accumulation of stagnant water. (h) Noxious Weeds. Every yard and all exterior property areas shall be kept free of species of weeds or plant growth which are noxious or detrimental to health. (i) Egress. Every dwelling unit shall be provided with adequate means of egress as

required by the current version of the NC State Residential Building Code or the building code in effect at the time of construction, which ever is the least restrictive. All interior egress doors and a minimum of one exterior egress door shall be readily openable from the side from which egress is to be made without the use of a key or special knowledge or effort. (j) Smoke alarms. Every dwelling and dwelling unit shall have smoke alarms installed and maintained according to the NC State Residential Building Code.

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(k) Carbon monoxide alarms. Every dwelling and dwelling unit shall have carbon monoxide alarms installed and maintained according to the Mecklenburg County Carbon Monoxide Alarm Ordinance. Section 9. Minimum Standards for Control of Insects, Rodents and Infestations. (a) Rodent control. Every basement or cellar window used or intended to be used for ventilation, and every other opening to a basement which might provide an entry for rodents, shall be supplied with screens installed or such other approved device as will effectively prevent their entrance. (b) Infestation. Every occupant of a dwelling containing a single dwelling unit shall be responsible for the extermination of any insects, rodents, or other pests therein or on the premises; and every occupant of a dwelling unit in a dwelling containing more than one dwelling unit shall be responsible for such extermination whenever his dwelling unit is the only one infested. Whenever infestation is caused by failure of the owner to maintain a dwelling in a rodent-proof or reasonably insect-proof condition, extermination shall be the responsibility of the owner. Whenever infestation exists in two or more of the dwelling units in any dwelling or in the shared or public parts of any dwelling containing two or more dwelling units, extermination shall be the responsibility of the owner. (c) Rubbish Storage and Disposal. Every dwelling and every dwelling unit shall be supplied with approved containers and covers for storage of rubbish as required by county ordinances, and the owner, operator or agent in control of such dwelling or dwelling unit shall be responsible for the removal of rubbish. (d) Garbage Storage and Disposal. Every dwelling and every dwelling unit shall be supplied with an approved garbage disposal facility, which may be an adequate mechanical garbage disposal unit (mechanical sink grinder) in each dwelling unit or an incinerator unit, to be approved by the inspector, in the structure for the use of the occupants of each dwelling unit, or an approved outside garbage can as required by county ordinances.

Section 10. Minimum Standards Applicable to Rooming Houses; Exceptions. All of the provisions of this ordinance, and all of the minimum standards and requirements of this ordinance, shall be applicable to rooming houses, and to every person who operates a rooming house, or who occupies or lets to another for occupancy any rooming unit in any rooming house, except as provided in the following subsections: (a) Water closet, hand lavatory, and bath facilities. At least one (1) water closet, lavatory basin, and bathtub or shower, properly connected to an approved water and sewer system and in good working condition, shall be supplied for each four (4) rooms within a rooming house wherever said facilities are shared. All such facilities shall be located within the residence building served and shall be directly accessible from a common hall or passageway and shall be not more than one (1) story removed from any of the persons sharing such facilities. Every lavatory basin and bathtub or shower shall be supplied with hot and cold water at all times. Such required facilities shall not be located in a cellar or uninhabitable basement. 8

(b) Minimum Floor Area for Sleeping Purposes. Every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one (1) occupant shall contain at least seventy (70) square feet of floor area, and every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one (1) occupant shall contain at least fifty (50) square feet of floor area for each occupant twelve (12) years of age and over and at least thirty-five (35) square feet of floor area for each occupant under twelve (12) years of age. (c) Sanitary Conditions. The operator of every rooming house shall be responsible for the sanitary maintenance of all walls, floors, and ceilings, and for the sanitary maintenance of every other part of the rooming house; and he shall be further responsible for the sanitary maintenance of the entire premises where the entire structure or building within which the rooming house is contained is leased or occupied by the operator. (d) Sanitary Facilities. Every water closet, flush urinal, lavatory basin,' and bathtub or shower required by subsection (a) of this Section shall be located within the rooming house and within a room or rooms which afford privacy and are separate from the habitable rooms, and which are accessible from a common hall and without going outside the rooming house or through any other room therein.

Section 11. Responsibilities of Owners and Occupants. (a) Public areas. Every owner of a dwelling containing two or more dwelling units shall be responsible for maintaining in a clean and sanitary condition the shared or public areas of the dwelling and premises thereof. (b) Cleanliness. Every occupant of a dwelling or dwelling unit shall keep in a clean and sanitary condition that part of the dwelling, dwelling unit, and premises thereof which he occupies and controls. (c) Rubbish and Garbage. Every occupant of a dwelling or dwelling unit shall dispose of all his rubbish and garbage in a clean and sanitary manner by placing it in the supplied storage facilities. In all cases the owner shall be responsible for the availability of rubbish and garbage storage facilities. (d) Supplied Plumbing Fixtures. Every occupant of a dwelling unit shall keep all supplied plumbing fixtures therein in a clean and sanitary condition and shall be responsible for the exercise of reasonable care in the proper use and operation of same. (e) Care of Facilities, Equipment and Structure. No occupant shall willfully destroy, deface, or impair any of the facilities or equipment, or any part of the structure of a dwelling or dwelling unit.

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Section 12. Duties of Building Inspector. The Director of the Mecklenburg County department that enforces the NC State Residential Building Code, or his or her designee, is hereby designated as the officer to enforce the provisions of this ordinance and to exercise the duties and powers herein prescribed. It shall be the duty of this officer or his agents: (a) to investigate the dwelling conditions, and to inspect dwellings and dwelling units located in the county, in order to determine which dwellings and dwelling units are unfit for human habitation, and for the purpose of carrying out the objectives of this ordinance with respect to such dwellings or dwelling units; (b) to take such action, together with other appropriate departments and agencies, public and private, as may be necessary to effect rehabilitation of housing which is deteriorated; (c) to keep a record of the results of inspections made under this ordinance and an inventory of those dwellings that do not meet the minimum standards of fitness herein prescribed; and (d) to perform such other duties as may be herein prescribed.

Section 13. Powers of Building Inspector. The Building Inspector is authorized to exercise such powers as may be necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the purpose and provisions of this ordinance, including the following powers in addition to other herein granted: (a) To continually investigate the dwelling conditions in the county in order to determine which dwellings therein are unfit for human habitation; (b) to administer oaths and affirmations, examine witnesses and receive evidence; (c) to enter upon premises for the purpose of making examinations and inspections; provided, such entries shall be made in accordance with law and in such manner as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the persons in possession; and (d) to appoint and fix the duties of such officers, agents, and employees as he deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this ordinance.

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Section 14. Inspections; Duty of Owners and Occupants. For the purpose of making inspections, the Inspector is hereby authorized to enter, examine, and survey at all reasonable times all dwellings, dwelling units, rooming units and premises. The owner or occupant of every dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit, or the person in charge thereof, shall give the inspector free access to such dwelling, dwelling unit, or rooming unit, and its premises at all reasonable times and with one week notice for the purposes of such inspection, examination and survey. Every occupant of a dwelling or dwelling unit shall give the owner thereof, or his agent or employee, access to any part of such dwelling or dwelling unit, and its premises, at all reasonable times for the purpose of making such repairs or alterations as are necessary to effect compliance with the provisions of this ordinance or with any lawful order issued pursuant to the provisions of this ordinance.

Section 15. Administrative Procedure. (a) Preliminary Investigation; Notice; Hearing. Whenever a petition is filed with the Inspector by a Public Authority or by at least five (5) residents of the County charging that any dwelling or dwelling unit is unfit for human habitation, or whenever it appears to the Inspector, upon inspection, that any dwelling or dwelling unit is unfit for human habitation, he shall, if his preliminary investigation discloses a basis for such charges, issue and cause to be served upon the owner of and parties in interest in such dwelling or dwelling unit a complaint stating the charges and containing a notice that a hearing will be held before the Inspector at a place therein fixed, not less than ten (10) days nor more than thirty (30) days after the serving of said complaint. The owner and any party in interest shall have the right to file an answer to the complaint and to appear in person, or otherwise, and give testimony at the time and place fixed in the complaint. Notice of such hearing shall also be given to at least one of the persons signing a petition relating to such dwelling. Any person desiring to do so may attend such hearing and give evidence relevant to the matter being heard. The rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity shall not be controlling in hearings before the Inspector. (b) Procedure After Hearing. After such notice and hearing, the Inspector shall state in writing his determination whether such dwelling or dwelling unit is unfit for human habitation, and, if so, whether it is deteriorated or dilapidated. If the Inspector determines that the dwelling or dwelling unit is deteriorated, he shall state in writing his findings of fact in support of such determination, and shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner thereof an order directing and requiring the owner to repair, alter, and improve such dwelling or dwelling unit to comply with the minimum standards of fitness established by this ordinance within a reasonable specified period of time. Such order may also direct and require the owner to vacate and close such dwelling or dwelling unit until such repairs, alterations, and improvements have been made. Upon completion of required improvements, a new certificate of occupancy must be issued prior to subsequent leasing or ,sale of dwelling to a third party. Hardship cases may be handled by the inspector, recommending time or minimum requirement waivers to the Board of Appeals [Mecklenburg County Zoning Board of Adjustment], which body shall act on such recommendation.

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If the Inspector determines that the dwelling is dilapidated, he shall state in writing his findings of fact to support such determination, and shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner thereof an order directing and requiring the owner to either repair, alter and improve such dwelling or dwelling unit to comply with the minimum standards of fitness established by this ordinance, or else vacate and remove or demolish the same within a reasonable specified period of time. (c) Failure to Comply with Order. (1) In Personam Remedy. If the owner of any deteriorated dwelling or dwelling unit shall fail to comply with an order of the inspector to repair, alter, or improve the same within the time specified therein, or if the owner of a dilapidated dwelling shall fail to comply with an order of the Inspector to vacate and close, and remove or demolish the same within the time specified therein, the Inspector shall submit to the governing body [Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners] at its next regular meeting a resolution directing the County Attorney to petition the superior court for an order directing such owner to comply with the order of the Inspector, as authorized by G.S. 160A-446(g). (2) In Rem Remedy. After failure of an owner of a deteriorated dwelling or dwelling unit, or of a dilapidated dwelling, to comply with an order of the Inspector within the time specified therein, if injunctive relief has not been sought or has not been granted as provided in the preceding paragraph (1), the Inspector shall submit to the governing body an ordinance ordering the Inspector to cause such dwelling or dwelling unit to be repaired, altered, improved, or vacated and closed and removed or demolished, as provided in the original order of the Inspector, and pending such removal or demolition, to placard such dwelling as provided by G.S. 160A-443 and Section 17 of this ordinance. (d) Appeals from Orders of Inspector. An appeal from any decision or order of the Inspector may be taken by any person aggrieved thereby. Any appeal from the Inspector shall be taken within ten days (10) from the rendering of the decision or service of the order, and shall be taken by filing with the Inspector and with the Mecklenburg County Zoning Board of Adjustment, hereinafter referred to as "Board", a notice of appeal which shall specify the grounds upon which the appeal is based. Upon the filing of any notice of appeal, the Inspector shall forthwith transmit to the Board all the paper constituting the record upon which the decision appealed from was made. When appeal is from a decision of the Inspector refusing to allow the person aggrieved thereby to do any act, his decision shall remain in force until modified or reversed. When any appeal is from a decision of the Inspector requiring the person aggrieved to do any act, the appeal shall have the effect of suspending the requirement until the hearing by the Board, unless the Inspector certifies to the Board, after the notice of appeal is filed with him, that by reason of the facts stated in the certificate (a copy of which shall be-furnished the appellant), a suspension of his requirement would cause imminent peril to life or property, in which case the requirement shall not be suspended except by a restraining order, which may be granted for due cause shown upon not less than one days written notice to the Inspector, by the Board, or by a court of record upon petition made pursuant to G. S. 160A-446(f) and subsection (e) of this Section. 12

The Board shall fix a reasonable time for the hearing of all appeals, shall give due notice to all the parties, and shall render its decision within a reasonable time. Any party may appear in person or by agent or attorney. The Board may reverse or affirm, wholly or partly, or modify the decision or order appealed from, and may make such decision and order as in its opinion ought to be made in the matter, and to that end it shall have the powers of the Inspector, but the concurring vote of four-fifths of the members of the Board shall be necessary to reverse or modify any decision or order of the Inspector. The Board shall have power also in passing upon appeals, in any case where there are practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships in the way of carrying out the strict letter of the ordinance, to adapt the application of the ordinance to the necessities of the case to the end that the spirit of the ordinance shall be observed, public safety and welfare secured, and substantial justice done. (e) Every decision of the Board shall be subject to review by proceedings in the nature of certiorari instituted within 15 days of the decision of the Board, but not otherwise, as provided in G.S. 160A-446(e). In addition, any person aggrieved by an order issued by the Inspector or a decision rendered by the Board shall also have the right, within thirty (30) days after issuance of the order or rendering of the decision, to petition the superior court for a temporary injunction restraining the Inspector pending a final disposition of the cause, as provided by G.S. 160A-446(f).

Section 16. Methods of Service of Complaints and Orders. Complaints or orders issued by the Inspector shall be served upon persons either personally or by registered or certified mail. If the whereabouts of such persons are unknown and cannot be ascertained by the Inspector in the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the Inspector makes an affidavit to that effect, then the serving of the complaint or order upon such persons may be made by publishing the same once each week for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county, the second publication being not less than ten (10) days nor more than thirty (30) days prior to the date of the hearing. Section 17. In Rem Action by Inspector; Placarding. After failure of an owner of a dwelling or dwelling unit to comply with an order of the Inspector issued pursuant to the provisions of this ordinance, and upon adoption by the Governing Body [Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners] of an ordinance authorizing and directing him to do so, as provided by G. S. 160A-443(5) and Section 15(c) of this ordinance, the Inspector shall proceed to cause such dwelling or dwelling unit to be repaired, altered, or improved to comply with the minimum standards of fitness established by this ordinance, or to be vacated and closed and removed or demolished, as directed by the ordinance of the Governing Body [Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners] and shall cause to be posted on the main entrance of such dwelling or dwelling unit a placard with the following words: "This building is unfit for human habitation; the use or occupation of this building for human habitation is prohibited and unlawful." Occupation of a building so posted shall constitute a misdemeanor. Each such ordinance shall be recorded in the office of the Register of Deeds in the county wherein the property is located, and shall be indexed in the name of the property owner in the grantor index, as provided by G. S. 160A-443(5).

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Section 18. Costs, a Lien on Premises. As provided by G.S. 160A-443(6), the amount of the cost of any repairs, alterations, or improvements, or vacating and closing, or removal or demolition, caused to be made or done by the inspector pursuant to Section 17 of this ordinance shall be a lien against the real property upon which such cost was incurred. Such lien shall be filed, have the same priority and be enforced and the costs collected as the lien for special assessments provided by Article 10, Chapter 160A of the General Statutes.

Section 19. Alternative Remedies. Neither this ordinance nor any of its provisions shall be construed to impair or limit in any way the power of the County to define and declare nuisances and to cause their abatement by summary action or otherwise, or to enforce this ordinance by criminal process as authorized by G. S. 14-4 and Section 21 of this ordinance, and the enforcement of any remedy provided herein shall not prevent the enforcement of any other remedy or remedies provided herein or in other ordinances or laws.

Section 20. Mecklenburg County Zoning Board of Adjustment. The Mecklenburg County Zoning Board of Adjustment shall perform the duties prescribed by Section 15(d) and shall keep an accurate record of all its proceedings.

Section 21. Conflict with other Provisions. In the event any provision, standard, or requirement of this ordinance is found to be in conflict with any provision of any other ordinance or code of the County, the provision which establishes the higher standard or more stringent requirement for the promotion and protection of the health and safety of the residents of the County shall prevail.

Section 22. Violations; Penalty. It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dwelling or dwelling unit to fail, neglect, or refuse to repair, alter, or improve the same, or to vacate and close and remove or demolish the same, upon order of the Inspector duly made and served as herein provided, within the time specified in such order, and each day that any such failure, neglect, or refusal to comply with such order continues shall constitute a separate and distinct offense. It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dwelling or dwelling unit, with respect to which an order has been issued pursuant to Section 15 of this ordinance, to occupy or permit the occupancy of the same after the time prescribed in such order for its repair, alteration or improvement or its vacation and closing, and each day that such occupancy continues after such prescribed time shall constitute a separate and distinct offense. The violation of any provision of this ordinance shall constitute a misdemeanor, as provided by G. S. 14-4. In addition to the remedy specified in this and in other sections of this ordinance, the provisions of this ordinance may also be enforced by the County by injunction and order or abatement or by any other equitable remedy issuing from a court of competent jurisdiction, as specified in G.S. 153A-123(d) and (e).

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Section 23. Severability. If any provision of this ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such provision shall be deemed a separate, independent provision and such holding shall not affect the validity of any other provision hereof, and to that end, the provision of this ordinance are hereby declared to be severable.

Section 24. Implementation. This code shall become effective upon approval by the Board of County Commissioners.

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THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS GET ZONING AND PROPERTY INFORMATION

DESIGN YOUR PROJECT AND DRAW PLANS

SUBMIT PLANS TO BUILDING AND SAFETY AND COMPLETE A PERMIT APPLICATION

PLANS APPROVED AND PERMIT ISSUED

CONSTRUCTION AND INSPECTION

FINAL INSPECTION AND CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY

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