Kit Homes, working with building departments and their quirks! Unique sites and neighborhoods and designing your home fit within them. Discussion of zoning issues as well as more details on energy codes and mechanical systems.
Steve Tuma: It’s also good to have the plans clear so that your contractor knows what’s to be built because amazingly, yes, we have seen this, people don’t always believe that a building department will approve a set of plans that can’t be built.
Interviewer: Hey, everyone. Thank you for joining us for Episode 41 of the Panelized Prefab Kit Home Building Show. With me as always is the President and Founder of Landmark Home and Land Company, a company which has been helping people build their new homes where they want exactly as they want nationwide and worldwide since 1993, that man is Steve Tuma. Steve, how’s it going buddy?
Steve Tuma: Excellent. It’s another great day helping people design homes and build homes. It’s always fun.
Interviewer: [Laughs] And it’s always busy. You guys are really busy over there at Landmark.
Steve Tuma: Yeah, but it’s a good time. It’s kind of neat running into and helping customers figure out different things that they want to build, where they want to build, how they want to build it, how it works in the budget, how it fits on land.
Steve Tuma: Then there’s always building departments in there working around their parameters as well.
Interviewer: Always something. So I thought today we jump into some questions that have come our way regarding issues that often arise during the designing and building phases of a panelized home building project. Are you good with that?
Steve Tuma: Yeah, I probably have a few ideas.
Interviewer: [Laughs] Awesome. So start with, give us some background. What are some of the issues that you and your customers have had dealing with building departments? I don’t necessarily mean like major sort of – the kind of issues that would stop a project but I mean just some of the basic issues that people run into.
Steve Tuma: Well, you bring something up there because stopping a project, it’s – Building Department is not there to stop it. They are just there to make sure that it meets codes and safe and works well on the community. But what’s interesting is a lot of people come to us for the help of getting through the building department, understanding what goes on and what they need, when they say something, what does that interpret to. And some building departments are very good at communicating what they want. Other building departments are exceptionally bad. So they can vary where they are at. It really runs into the way that building department decides to communicate. So in some places – first of all, we contact the building department on any of our customer’s projects to see what’s required. But some building departments will say things like, “Well, just get me plans.” I’m like, “OK, well, that’s an interesting one. Plans. You just want floor plans, electric, plumbing, mechanical, energy, what is it?” And then others will give a list of 200, 300, 400 items saying, “We need this, we need this.” And it’s pretty interesting. The nice thing about it is we can work with any of them and go through. We’ve got the experience. We talk the same language. So we can go through and figure out what the situation is that building department needs.
So it’s really just finding out what they need and how it applies to them, because we are all under a code when you are building that covers the nation. It’s that application of the code to your building site and your building department’s interpretation of that code that can be interesting. A lot of people will say, “Hey, how can you engineer a house in Florida? How can you do one in Washin