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A State-by-State Guide to Dome Home Building Laws in America

  • 70 min read

Are you considering the versatility and sustainability of geodesic domes for your next housing project? At Ekodome, we understand the importance of thorough research when it comes to navigating the legal landscape surrounding dome home construction and occupancy. We have researched the building laws of every state in America, to ensure that our customers have the most accurate and up-to-date information available.

It’s important to note that building codes may vary drastically even within local governments of the same state. Due to this variability, creating a comprehensive resource of all laws in each county is almost impossible. However, by providing a broad overview of state-level regulations and permitting procedures, we aim to empower our customers with the knowledge they need to navigate the regulatory landscape effectively.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the state-by-state regulations governing alternative housing structures such as dome homes, tiny homes and modular homes across America. Please understand that building laws and regulations may change over time. If you have any information to share or updates to provide, please do so in the comments section below so we can keep the article updated and continue to provide valuable insights to our readers. 

Dome Home Building Rating Interactive Map

State by State Analysis

Dome Home Building in Alabama:

In Alabama, building regulations are primarily focused on residential and specific types of commercial construction. While statewide codes exist, their enforcement is primarily overseen by local counties, with the Division of Construction Management having limited authority in residential matters. In areas without local oversight, the State Fire Marshal assumes responsibility for code enforcement. Notably, over 20 counties in Alabama lack local code enforcement mechanisms.

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Any and all new construction projects require a building permit including the placement of moved homes, manufactured homes, recreational vehicle connections or any accessory structure including a pre-fabricated storage building on skids. As compared to other states in the US, Alabama stands out for its relaxed rules concerning dome homes, tiny houses, and RV’s. In areas zoned as Rural or agricultural, such as Centreville, Calera, and Baldwin County, it is often legal to reside in prefabricated, modular and manufactured homes. While there are typically regulations regarding sewage hookups, driveways, minimum lot sizes, and dwelling density, these rules are generally not overly strict. Permits for a dome house construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While specific requirements may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally straightforward in Alabama.

Off-Grid Living: Regarding electricity, opting for off-grid living in Alabama poses challenges due to legal restrictions. Disconnecting from the power grid is generally prohibited, and Alabama Power imposes steep fees, exceeding $5 per kilowatt, for utilizing solar energy. While net metering is an option to sell surplus solar power, pricing negotiations are left to individual agreements with the utility company, rendering Alabama among the least favorable states for off-grid solar initiatives. In contrast, water regulations in Alabama offer more flexibility. Rainwater harvesting is legal and considered a property right. Regulations concerning water usage on private property, including the establishment of ponds and water diversion, are notably lenient. Regarding waste management, certain rural areas may permit the use of pit toilets and portable toilets, albeit subject to permit requirements and specific guidelines. Compost toilets are explicitly allowed and regulated by defined rules. 

Dome Home Building in Alaska:

Alaska building codes are designed to withstand the unique challenges of its climate, with a strong emphasis on energy efficiency and safety. They address issues like extreme cold, seismic activity, and snow loads to ensure that structures are resilient in the face of harsh environmental conditions. While these building codes and regulations may present challenges for geodesic dome construction, the state highly encourages alternative housing options. Especially in remote areas of Alaska, where traditional construction materials may be scarce or costly to transport, geodesic dome kits offer a practical solution. In most incorporated areas of Alaska, permits are necessary for construction projects exceeding 120 square feet, although there are some exceptions. For instance, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough does not mandate building permits but does require plan reviews for new multi-family buildings.

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Alaska has recently implemented laws to facilitate legal residency in such dwellings. However, despite this positive change, various local zoning laws  enforce minimum home size requirements that may exclude tiny homes. Permits for a dome house typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While some areas may have additional requirements for cold weather construction and energy efficiency, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in Alaska.

Off-Grid Living: In Alaska, the legal landscape for off-grid living presents unique opportunities and challenges. The state boasts progressive microgrid laws, enabling individuals to become recognized as “utility providers” and disconnect entirely from the primary electric grid. However, the feasibility of off-grid solar installations may be limited in regions with minimal daylight during winter months, leading the majority of microgrids in Alaska to rely on diesel power. While the state implements a net metering policy for solar energy, there are no statewide incentives for solar installation. Regarding water regulations, Alaska permits rainwater harvesting, but strict guidelines govern the extraction and use of groundwater from sources such as streams or lakes. In waste management, Alaska’s laws specifically address outhouses, with allowances in many areas subject to stringent regulations. However, there is no explicit mention of compost toilets in the legislation. 

Building Codes in Alaska: Contrary to popular belief, there are building codes in Alaska. While not consistently enforced, these codes apply even in remote areas of the State. Currently, Alaska uses these building codes:

  • 2012 International Building Code
  • 2018 International Energy Conservation Code
  • 2012 International Fire Code
  • 2012 International Fuel Gas Code
  • 2012 International Mechanical Code

As of writing, Alaska has not adopted a statewide residential building code. Cities may have their own residential codes to follow, though.

Dome Home Building in Arizona:

Arizona is a “home rule” state, meaning each municipality can adopt building codes at their own discretion. Greenlee County is the only county in Arizona without residential building codes so they don’t review any plans or inspect construction. 

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Arizona has embraced geodesic domes as viable housing options, with some communities offering incentives for eco-friendly construction. Arizona stands out as a welcoming state for tiny homes, permitting their presence across various zoning categories. According to state regulations, dwellings ranging from 200 to 400 square feet fall under the category of tiny homes. While they are subject to the same building codes as traditional residential homes, certain specifications such as insulation levels and ceiling heights are typically less stringent. Permits for a dome house typically involve submitting site-specific plans and dome specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is very likely in Arizona. Arizona demonstrates a progressive stance towards alternative building materials, permitting constructions like earth ships, rammed earth, straw bales, and adobe. However, regulations vary by county, necessitating verification with local authorities and obtaining appropriate permits before proceeding with such projects.

Off-Grid Living: In Arizona, off-grid solar initiatives face significant hurdles due to legislation mandating homes to be connected to the electric grid, making it one of the least favorable states for such endeavors. Additionally, residents with grid-connected solar systems are subject to a “solar tax” imposed by the state. On the water front, Arizona allows rainwater harvesting, providing some flexibility for off-grid living practices. In waste management, Arizona permits the use of composting toilets, albeit requiring a permit for installation.

Dome Home Building in Arkansas:

Arkansas building codes are part of the state’s Fire Prevention Code, which is adopted by the State Fire Marshal’s office. The code is based on the International Fire, Building, and Residential Codes, with some changes specific to Arkansas. The code is made up of three volumes: Volume I: The “Fire Code”, Volume II: The “Building Code”, Volume III: The “Residential Code”. These codes apply statewide, even in rural and unincorporated areas. 

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Arkansas doesn’t have statewide restrictions on tiny houses, but some local zoning laws may limit where they can be placed. For example, some communities, like Lawrence County and Walnut Ridge, restrict tiny homes unless they are at least 600 square feet. Within these districts, individual communities may have even more strict rules. In most cases, inspections are required to ensure that the house meets all standard building codes.  While regulations may vary locally, obtaining approval for dome houses is likely in Arkansas.

Off-Grid Living: In Arizona, off-grid solar initiatives face significant hurdles due to legislation mandating homes to be connected to the electric grid, making it one of the least favorable states for such endeavors. Additionally, residents with grid-connected solar systems are subject to a “solar tax” imposed by the state. On the water front, Arizona allows rainwater harvesting, providing some flexibility for off-grid living practices. In waste management, Arizona permits the use of composting toilets, albeit requiring a permit for installation.

Dome Home Building in California:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: California’s progressive attitudes and diverse landscapes make it an attractive destination for dome living. Several counties in California allow tiny houses, including Fresno, Los Angeles, and San Diego. In order to build a dome house or tiny house, you will need to obtain a permit from your local planning department. To acquire the permit, you must adhere to the applicable building codes. The California State Building Code (CSBC) encompasses both the California Building Code and the California Residential Code. There are several laws and regulations for tiny houses, such as, there must be at least one room with a gross floor area of 120 square feet or more. The net floor area for all other living spaces must exceed 70 square feet. Basic requirements must be met for plumbing, lighting, ventilation, smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, and emergency exits. Building codes prioritize structural safety and environmental sustainability, with permits tailored to seismic and wildfire risks. While regulations may be stricter in densely populated urban areas, California generally welcomes innovative housing solutions, making the permitting process manageable for dome builders.

Off-Grid Living: In California, living off the grid is generally permissible under state laws, which are accommodating towards such lifestyle choices. However, strict adherence to building codes and obtaining permits for various activities is necessary. Challenges may arise regarding acquiring water rights, as there’s a risk of wells running dry. Additionally, a law mandating connection to municipal sewer systems near your property could restrict complete off-grid living. Zoning laws, which vary widely between counties, further complicate matters. These regulations govern aspects like property setbacks and animal ownership, potentially limiting off-grid living options. Researching local zoning laws is essential, especially for those considering alternative building materials or multiple dwellings.

Dome Home Building in Colorado:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Colorado’s breathtaking landscapes and eco-conscious communities make it an attractive destination for dome living. Colorado law is becoming more friendly to tiny homes, as long as they are on a permanent foundation and have approved wastewater systems. Permits require detailed plans and engineering calculations. While regulations may vary by municipality, Colorado generally welcomes alternative housing options, making the permitting process manageable for dome builders.

Off-Grid Living: In many parts of Colorado, living off the grid is legally permitted, but this doesn’t equate to unlimited freedom on your property. Counties enforce strict zoning laws and building codes, necessitating permits for various aspects of off-grid living, from toilets to wood stoves. Colorado’s zoning laws, determined by local governments, are notably detailed and restrictive compared to other states. Formerly unzoned rural areas have begun implementing zoning regulations. Key provisions in Colorado’s zoning laws include restrictions on land use, minimum lot sizes for agricultural zones, regulations on who can reside on the property, and limitations on accessory buildings. Accessory dwellings typically require permits, and residency is often restricted to family members or legally employed farmhands.

Dome Home Building in Connecticut:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Connecticut’s strict building codes and limited space can make dome living challenging, especially in densely populated urban areas. Building codes prioritize structural integrity and compliance with zoning regulations, with permits requiring detailed plans and engineering documentation. Dome houses are treated the same way as single-family dwellings, so you’ll need to meet those regulations regarding setbacks and other requirements. While dome construction may be permitted in certain rural areas, navigating regulatory hurdles can be challenging for aspiring dome dwellers.

Off-Grid Living: Living off the grid is typically allowed in Connecticut, but state regulations may hinder or complicate living without modern amenities like electricity or running water. Local ordinances might mandate connection to municipal services, undermining complete off-grid living. Connecticut’s zoning laws, varying by county, dictate permissible activities on private property. The state boasts unique zoning categories like “Gateway Residence” zones aimed at enhancing town entrances. However, these diverse zones, including unconventional ones like “Residential Housing Opportunity/Workforce” or “Village Center Zone,” can make zoning maps challenging to interpret. Manufactured homes are usually permitted but require approval from the building official and a separate installation permit. Zoning regulations typically treat manufactured homes similarly to single-family dwellings, necessitating compliance with setback and other requirements.

Building Codes in Connecticut: Connecticut uses the following building codes. They are regularly updated, so it is strongly recommended to check the current codes before starting any new project.

  • 2015 International Building Code
  • 2015 International Existing Building Code
  • 2015 International Plumbing Code
  • 2015 International Mechanical Code
  • 2015 International Residential Code
  • 2015 International Energy Conservation Code
  • 2017 National Electrical Code (NFPA 70)
  • 2009 ICC A117.1 Accessible and Usable Buildings & Facilities

Dome Home Building in Delaware:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Delaware generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in Delaware. Delaware currently does not have any statewide laws on tiny homes. However, several counties have adopted the 2018 version of the International Residence Code (IRC). It has an Appendix Q, which sets the requirements for homes under 400 square meters. You’ll have to check with your county to see whether they’ve adopted this code or if they have any laws regarding minimum dwelling size. Also, check local zoning laws. Tiny manufactured homes may only be allowed in certain zones. If the house is on wheels, it will likely be considered a mobile home and be illegal.

Off-Grid Living: Living off the grid in Delaware, despite its small size and limited rural areas, is generally legal, even in suburban settings, provided you understand the regulations governing utility disconnection. While some laws may necessitate connection to municipal services like sewer systems if available nearby, obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy without certain utilities, such as electricity, can pose challenges. Yet again, navigating the intricate permit and inspection procedures is still possible. Delaware’s zoning laws, applicable statewide due to its lack of extensive rural land, dictate permissible activities on private property. These laws encompass various restrictions, including types of accessory buildings allowed, limits on livestock, minimum lot sizes, permissions for manufactured houses, and driveway specifications. Agricultural-zoned land typically has more lenient regulations compared to residential or urban zones, though finding such land in Delaware is rare, and it may sometimes be designated as an “Agricultural Industrial” zone, potentially exposing residents to industrial activities.

Building Codes in Delaware: Building codes in Delaware are mostly adopted at the local county level. However, Delaware has adopted some statewide codes. These are based on:

  • International Plumbing Code 2018
  • International Energy Conservation Code 2018
  • Fire Code NFPA 1 2021
  • Electrical Code NFPA 70 2020
  • International Fuel Gas Code 2018

Check with your county for the applicable codes. Delaware can be strict in enforcing code, mainly because inspections are required after certain work is done.

Dome Home Building in Florida:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Florida’s susceptibility to hurricanes and strict building codes in coastal regions make dome living challenging. Building codes prioritize structural resilience and wind resistance, with permits requiring detailed plans and engineering assessments. While dome construction may be feasible in inland areas, additional requirements for hurricane-proofing can increase construction costs and regulatory hurdles. Zoning areas in Florida vary, including industrial, commercial, agricultural, rural residential, residential, and environmentally sensitive areas. Notably, tiny home living is often prohibited in many parts of Florida due to minimum home size requirements set by zoning regulations, such as Seminole County’s mandate of 700 to 1,600 square feet in residential zones. However, agricultural and rural zones typically offer more flexibility for tiny home living.

Off-Grid Living: Living off the grid is typically legal in remote and rural regions of Florida, except for the requirement to connect to municipal sewage systems where available. However, adherence to the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) can affect certain off-grid practices, potentially rendering methods like rainwater usage or outdoor showers illegal, depending on local interpretation. Florida’s zoning laws apply to all land and govern aspects such as building height, setbacks, lot sizes, and property usage. Before purchasing land for an off-grid lifestyle, researching local zoning regulations is imperative, as they may not always align with off-grid living preferences.

Dome Home Building in Georgia:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Georgia generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in Georgia. Regarding tiny homes, Georgia’s legislation tends to be unfriendly, with many counties imposing strict minimum size requirements for dwellings. Some counties have even raised these minimums to deter the presence of tiny homes in their communities. However, the adoption of the Tiny House Appendix “S” by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs in 2018 offers a glimmer of hope, although its local implementation may take time.

Off-Grid Living: Living off the grid is largely permissible in Georgia, except for waste disposal requirements that often mandate connection to public sewer lines in certain areas. However, in rural regions, off-grid living is typically legal, contingent upon obtaining permits and adhering to strict regulations for installing wells, septic tanks, and related systems. Georgia’s zoning laws, while not inherently prohibiting off-grid living, heavily influence land usage regulations. These laws vary significantly between counties, necessitating thorough research to ascertain allowances for activities like livestock ownership, poultry slaughter, or residing in tiny homes. Zoning districts, denoted by codes such as AG (Agricultural), CA (Commercial Agricultural), RR (Rural Residential), and SR or R-1 (Single-Family Residential), govern land use parameters. While agricultural zones generally have more lenient regulations, differences exist among counties, with some permitting mobile homes on agricultural land while others do not.

Dome Home Building in Hawaii:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Hawaii’s commitment to sustainability and unique lifestyle make it an attractive destination for dome living. Building codes prioritize structural resilience and environmental sustainability, with permits tailored to the state’s volcanic and coastal environments. While regulations may be stringent due to natural hazards, Hawaii welcomes innovative housing solutions, making the permitting process manageable for dome enthusiasts. Mobile and manufactured homes are legally permissible but must adhere to building codes and wastewater disposal requirements. Additionally, tiny homes enjoy favorable treatment under the State Building Code, based on the 2018 version of the IBC with an “Appendix Q” specifically addressing tiny homes, as long as they meet relevant building code standards.

Off-Grid Living: Living off the grid in Hawaii is generally legal and favored by state laws and building codes, particularly in remote regions where public services are lacking. The state’s land-use laws, managed by the Land Use Commission, prioritize environmental conservation, offering protection from unplanned development. However, navigating permit processes can be complex, requiring compliance with district-approved uses, such as specific allowances for agricultural tourism.

Building Codes in Hawaii: With few exceptions, all buildings in Hawaii must meet the State building codes. Hawaii bases its codes on international and national code standards but has made some amendments. Codes are regularly updated in Hawaii and it is recommended to check often if you want to start a project, from The Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) website .

  • Building Code – Based on the 2018 IBC
  • Residential Code – Based on IRC 2018
  • Existing Building Code – Based on IEBC 2018
  • Electrical Code – Based on NFPA 70 2018
  • Energy Conservation Code – Based on IECC 2018
  • Fire Code – Based on NFPA 1 2018
  • Plumbing Code – Based on UPC 2018

Dome Home Building in Idaho:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Idaho generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. All dwelling units in Idaho must meet the State building codes. However, many rural areas in Idaho do not have building departments – thus, they do not do inspections. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for a dome house is likely in Idaho.

Off-Grid Living: Living off-grid in Idaho is legal, but adherence to state building codes, local zoning laws, and obtaining permits for off-grid systems is necessary. Certain counties like Idaho, Bonner, and Boundary offer particularly favorable conditions for off-grid living, with relaxed regulations allowing residents significant autonomy on their properties.

Building Codes in Idaho: Idaho has adopted many building codes and apart from the structures like sheds and other small outbuildings, you must follow codes for any residential building. Below are the current building codes in Idaho:

  • 2018 International Building Code, with amendments
  • 2018 International Residential Code (parts I, II, III and IX), with Idaho amendments, collectively named the Idaho Residential Code (2020 Edition)
  • 2018 International Energy Conservation Code, with amendments, collectively named the Idaho Energy Conservation Code (2020 Edition)
  • 2018 International Existing Building Code
  • 2017 NEC with amendments
  • 2018 International Mechanical Code
  • 2018 International Fuel Gas Code
  • 2018 International Residential Code Parts V & VI
  • 2018 International Fire Code
  • 2015 Uniform Plumbing Code, with Idaho amendments, collectively named the 2017 Idaho State Plumbing Code

Dome Home Building in Illinois:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Illinois generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Illinois is very friendly toward tiny home living, particularly in areas without zoning laws. However, many areas with zoning do have minimum sizes for dwellings. For example, Livingston County requires 672 square feet on the ground floor. Many places also have restrictions on accessory dwellings. You’ll need to carefully look at your area’s laws to see what is allowed. Other requirements may include a permanent foundation, approved waste treatment system, and water supply. Permit applications typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. 

Off-Grid Living: While Illinois is often associated with Chicago, much of the state consists of rural and agricultural areas where off-grid living is common, including among the Amish community. Living off-grid in Illinois is legal, benefitting from relaxed regulations regarding building codes, wastewater treatment, and water rights compared to other states. However, it’s essential to review local laws carefully, as some areas may mandate connections to municipal water or sewer systems. Local zoning laws also dictate permissible activities on private property, covering aspects like building setbacks, lot sizes, home sizes, and allowances for mobile or manufactured homes. While much of Illinois has rural and agricultural zoning, which tends to be more lenient, some counties lack zoning regulations, allowing residents greater freedom but also potentially leading to neighborhood nuisances.

Building Codes in Illinois: Illinois stands out for its decentralized approach to building codes, with local areas adopting their own regulations, albeit with adherence to statewide plumbing, accessibility, and energy conservation codes. Obtaining permits and possibly undergoing inspections are typically required for construction projects, regardless of type or size, due to the absence of statewide building codes.

Dome Home Building in Indiana:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Indiana generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in Indiana. However, Indiana’s stance on tiny home living is unfavorable, with many local zoning laws imposing minimum size requirements that exceed typical tiny home dimensions. Similarly, regulations regarding mobile homes are strict, with restrictions on their placement and occupancy outside designated zones.

Off-Grid Living: Living off-grid in Indiana is largely legal, although proximity to municipal sewage systems may pose obstacles, along with regulations regarding water usage. Obtaining permits for construction projects is still necessary, even if off-grid systems are compliant. Zoning laws are stringent in most Indiana counties and cities, dictating permissible activities on private property, including restrictions on pets, fence heights, and building structures. Agricultural or Rural Residential zones offer more flexibility, but even these areas may have regulations restricting certain off-grid living practices. Several Indiana counties lack zoning laws, allowing greater freedom in land usage, albeit still requiring adherence to state building codes. However, these counties could potentially implement zoning laws in the future, emphasizing the importance of staying informed before purchasing property.

Dome Home Building in Iowa:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Iowa generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in Iowa. However, tiny homes may be subject to local zoning laws with minimum size requirements for homes. While some counties are gradually revising regulations to accommodate tiny homes, progress is slow statewide.

Off-Grid Living: Living off-grid is legal in Iowa, although certain sewer regulations in urban areas may hinder complete disconnection from the grid. Legal hurdles related to zoning laws and building codes are also common. In Iowa, counties and cities implement zoning laws that regulate land usage, potentially complicating or prohibiting certain off-grid lifestyles. Agricultural (AG) or Rural-Residential (RR) zones generally impose fewer restrictions, but limitations still exist. For instance, Oskaloosa County restricts the number of animals allowed on RR land based on lot size, which may affect off-grid living plans. However, even in AG or RR zones, restrictions may arise, such as Clinton County’s requirement of a minimum of 40 acres per dwelling in Agricultural zones compared to 2 acres per dwelling in Rural zones.

Building Codes in Iowa: Iowa has several building codes that apply to all buildings in the State. In many areas of Iowa, these codes are strictly enforced. You will likely need to get a permit for your home, which can involve submitting plans. Alternative systems might need to be reviewed or designed by an engineer. An inspection may be required (which can come with steep fees) before getting a Certificate of Occupancy. Here are the current building codes used in Iowa:

  • 2015 International Building Code
  • 2015 International Fire Code
  • 2015 International Residential Code
  • 2012 International Energy Conservation Code
  • 2015 International Existing Building Code
  • State Mechanical Code
  • State Plumbing Code
  • State Electrical Code
  • 2012 NFPA 101 Life Safety Code
  • 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Smoke Alarms/Detectors as adopted by Iowa Administrative Rule 661-210(effective July 1, 2021)
  • Carbon Monoxide Alarms as adopted by Iowa Administrative Rule 661-211

Dome Home Building in Kansas:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Kansas generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to local building codes and zoning regulations. Many rural areas of Kansas still have no building codes. Riley, Kansas, for example, currently has no building codes. Because many areas of Kansas do not have building codes, it is much easier to legally live in a tiny home. Still, many areas enforce minimum size requirements for residential homes, and certain zones may restrict manufactured homes. Overall, Kansas offers favorable conditions in obtaining approval for dome construction. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. 

Off-Grid Living: Kansas, renowned for its farming and homesteading heritage, appears conducive to establishing off-grid residences. In most rural areas of the state, off-grid living is legally permissible due to relaxed zoning laws and the absence of building codes in many counties, granting residents significant autonomy over their properties. However, in larger towns and cities, municipal sewer connection requirements may render complete off-grid living illegal. The majority of Kansas land is zoned as “Agricultural” (A-1 or A-2), where zoning regulations are typically lenient, allowing various land uses including farming and keeping farm animals. While minimum acreage requirements for dwellings may pose a challenge, zoning laws generally favor farms and homesteads. Under Statute 19-2960, zoning regulations do not apply to land used for agricultural purposes or the erection of agricultural buildings, provided they are solely used for agricultural activities. However, dwellings and accessory buildings are not considered agricultural structures. Many rural areas in Kansas lack building codes altogether, further facilitating off-grid living.

Building Codes in Kansas: Kansas does not have statewide building codes, except for the Kansas Fire Prevention Code and the 2006 IECC for commercial structures. The decision to adopt building codes is left to local authorities. The majority of cities in Kansas have implemented building codes, so compliance with these codes is usually requred:

  • International Residence Code
  • International Building Code
  • International Mechanical Code
  • International Property Maintenance Code
  • Uniform Plumbing Code
  • National Electric Code

Dome Home Building in Kentucky:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Kentucky generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in Kentucky.

Off-Grid Living: Kentucky is renowned for its rural landscape and affordability, making it an attractive destination for off-grid living. Off-grid living is not only permitted but common in Kentucky, with a significant population, including approximately 13,500 Amish, embracing this lifestyle. Zoning laws, which dictate land usage, are relatively relaxed compared to other states, especially in the state’s rural counties. For instance, Wayne County lacks zoning ordinances entirely. Even in areas with zoning regulations, much of the land is designated for Agricultural Use, allowing for off-grid living with certain requirements such as permits and adherence to minimum plot sizes. However, the state’s lax enforcement of building codes in rural areas presents challenges, as it may lead to unsightly or hazardous conditions in the community. Moreover, qualifying as a farm under Kentucky law offers tax benefits, as the land is taxed at its use-value rather than commercial value, resulting in lower property taxes. This incentive further encourages off-grid living and agricultural practices in the state.

Dome Home Building in Louisiana:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Louisiana generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in Louisiana.

Off-Grid Living: Louisiana’s warm climate, extended growing season, and agrarian tradition attract many to off-grid living in the state. Overall, off-grid living is legal in Louisiana, with favorable laws facilitating access to off-grid water and power, albeit with necessary permits. However, stringent sewage treatment regulations may pose challenges to complete disconnection from the grid in certain areas. When considering off-grid living in Louisiana, prioritizing land zoned as “Rural” is advised. Rural zones typically impose fewer restrictions, allowing activities such as raising animals, farming, or building storage sheds. However, these areas often require a minimum acreage, such as 40 acres in Agriculture-40 (R-Ag-40) zones.

Dome Home Building in Maine:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Maine generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in Maine. Maine’s zoning laws are particularly welcoming to the tiny house movement, with state legislation mandating equal treatment of manufactured homes and prohibiting restrictions on their width, thus accommodating many tiny home designs. However, zoning laws may still restrict their placement, requiring adherence to foundation installation and sewage treatment regulations for increased freedom.

Off-Grid Living: Maine stands out as one of the most accommodating states for off-grid living, boasting lenient regulations and incentives for alternative energy use. Residents are not compelled to connect to utilities in many areas, with permits only necessary for septic or waste disposal. The state’s rich history of land-based living has made it a popular destination for off-grid enthusiasts. However, despite the overall support, strict regulations govern nearly all aspects of life in Maine, necessitating permits, adherence to regulations, and regular inspections to live off-grid legally. Local zoning laws in Maine dictate permissible activities on properties, with a focus on detailed regulations that typically accommodate off-grid living, especially in rural areas conducive to farming and self-sufficiency. Concerns may arise in Shoreland Zones, where strict regulations limit activities within a certain distance from bodies of water, imposing restrictions on vegetation clearing, home sizes, and setbacks. Prospective property buyers should consider these limitations before purchasing land near water bodies.

Dome Home Building in Maryland:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Maryland generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. The state embraces tiny home living, incorporating standards for homes under 400 square feet through Appendix Q of the 2018 International Residential Code. Although minimum dwelling sizes aren’t stipulated in zoning laws, minimum lot sizes may limit placement possibilities. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in Maryland.

Off-Grid Living: Living completely off-grid in many parts of Maryland isn’t typically legal due to requirements to connect to municipal sewer or water systems. Even in areas where off-grid living is permitted, strict adherence to building codes, wastewater treatment regulations, and zoning laws is necessary. Garrett County currently stands out as the most accommodating location for off-grid living in Maryland. Zoning laws in Maryland play a pivotal role in determining allowable activities on properties, encompassing regulations on setbacks, livestock keeping, and additional dwelling units. While agricultural zones often have fewer restrictions, high minimum lot sizes in some areas pose challenges for off-grid living, particularly considering the state’s expensive land prices. Garrett County stands out as an anomaly in Maryland, being the only county without countywide zoning. While zoning exists within its six towns and the Deep Creek Watershed, areas outside these zones offer greater freedom, albeit subject to state codes and potential building permit requirements.

Building Codes in Maryland: Maryland uses statewide building codes, collectively called the Maryland Building Performance Standards. In addition to these, there are also codes relating to plumbing, electric, and other work. Even if your county does not actively enforce the codes, it remains essential to adhere to these building regulations. Failure to do so can lead to significant penalties. Typically, new constructions necessitate an inspection before obtaining a “certificate of occupancy,” which permits lawful residence in the property. Here are the current Maryland building codes:

  • 2018 International Building Code (with amendments)
  • 2018 International Residential Code (with amendments)
  • 2015 Existing Building Code (with amendments)
  • 2018 International Plumbing Code (with amendments)
  • 2018 International Mechanical Code
  • 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (with amendments)
  • 2012 International Green Construction Code (with amendments)
  • 2018 National Fire Protection Code NFPA 1 (with amendments)
  • 2017 National Electrical Code NFPA 70 (with amendments)

Dome Home Building in Massachusetts:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Massachusetts’ strict building codes and limited space make dome living difficult, especially in densely populated urban areas. However, tiny homes are largely legal following the enactment of Appendix Q of the International Residential Code in 2020, although zoning laws may mandate minimum dwelling sizes and lot sizes, posing challenges due to Massachusetts’ expensive land. Building codes prioritize structural integrity and compliance with zoning regulations, with permits requiring detailed plans and engineering documentation.

Off-Grid Living: Living off-grid in Massachusetts can be legal in certain areas, but many regions mandate connection to municipal sewer and water systems, rendering complete off-grid living illegal. State and local codes may also impede the use of certain off-grid systems, such as compost toilets, or primitive lifestyles devoid of electricity. Zoning laws across Massachusetts vary by county, town, and city, dictating permissible activities on properties, including livestock raising and accessory buildings. Agricultural zones typically impose fewer restrictions. Off-grid electricity, particularly solar power, is permissible with proper permits and adherence to building codes, although wind power may encounter zoning hurdles. However, regulations may require a minimum level of electrical infrastructure in dwellings, and obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy often necessitates electricity, potentially making primitive off-grid living illegal.

Building Codes in Massachusetts: All homes in Massachusetts must meet the State Building Code. This code is based on the following international codes:

  • The International Building Code (IBC);
  • International Residential Code (IRC);
  • International Existing Building Code (IEBC);
  • International Mechanical Code (IMC);
  • International Energy Conservation Code (IECC);
  • International Swimming Pool and Spa Code (ISPSC); and
  • Portions of the International Fire Code (IFC).

Dome Home Building in Michigan:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Michigan generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Michigan’s zoning laws are diverse, with regulations varying by county. Agricultural zones often have fewer restrictions, but minimum dwelling sizes and land parcel requirements can pose challenges. Tiny home living is limited by state law, mandating minimum size requirements, though some counties have stricter regulations. Some Michigan counties offer exemptions for hunting and fishing cabins, requiring permits but possibly with less stringent regulations compared to residential dwellings. To qualify for this exemption, such structures must be used for part-time private purposes, typically limiting occupation to 30-60 days and prohibiting rental arrangements. 

Off-Grid Living: Off-grid living is gaining popularity in Michigan, especially in the northern regions, thanks to abundant water, few natural disasters, and affordable land. However, legality varies due to statewide laws mandating connection to local sewer lines and restrictions on certain off-grid systems like compost toilets. Despite this, off-grid living is generally legal, although it requires adherence to strict building codes and permits. While off-grid electricity, particularly solar power, is legal and permits are attainable, wind power may face zoning hurdles. Michigan doesn’t mandate household electricity, but landlords and business owners must provide it. Building without permits is illegal and may lead to severe consequences, given Michigan’s stringent inspection policies.

Building Codes in Michigan:

  • 2015 Michigan Building Code
  • 2015 Michigan Residential Code
  • 2015 Michigan Rehabilitation Code for Existing Buildings
  • 2015 Michigan Mechanical Code
  • 2018 Michigan Plumbing Code
  • 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC)
  • 2015 Michigan Energy Code
  • 2015 International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC)
  • 2015 International Swimming Pool and Spa Code (ISPSC)
  • 2012 International Fire Code (IFC)

Dome Home Building in Minnesota:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Minnesota law is generally very friendly towards alternative housing structures. But there are some regions, particularly those adjacent to tourist attractions or protected water bodies, enforce rigorous zoning regulations. It’s crucial to meticulously investigate the zoning laws in your locality since they can vary significantly, even among areas zoned for rural purposes. Minnesota generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. 

Off-Grid Living: Minnesota’s vast natural resources and growing off-grid community make it an attractive option for self-sufficient living. However, before pursuing this lifestyle, it’s crucial to understand the legalities. Generally, Minnesota’s laws are supportive of off-grid living, but regulations may restrict certain practices, especially in areas with high water requirements or wetlands. For instance, the obligation to connect to public sewer lines near your property could render full off-grid living illegal. Zoning laws vary by county or city, impacting what activities are permitted on your property. While rural-zoned areas typically offer more flexibility, strict regulations near tourist spots or protected waters may limit options like RV living, livestock raising, or alternative power systems. Minnesota incentivizes solar energy adoption through tax exemptions and performance-based programs. These initiatives encourage sustainable practices while navigating the legal landscape of off-grid living in the state.

Dome Home Building in Mississippi:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Mississippi generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Mississippi’s tiny house regulations are relatively relaxed, with many counties lacking minimum dwelling size requirements. However, some still adhere to the 2012 International Residential Code, which mandates a minimum habitable room size of 120 square feet. Permits for a dome house typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. 

Off-Grid Living: Mississippi’s affordability, rural expanses, and low living costs may make it appear ideal for off-grid living. However, before committing, it’s crucial to understand the state’s off-grid laws. In rural Mississippi, off-grid living is typically legal, but regulations mandating connection to municipal sewer systems could pose challenges in more developed areas. Additionally, outdated laws may complicate permitting for certain off-grid technologies. Zoning laws, which vary by county, dictate property usage. Agricultural zones are often conducive to off-grid living, permitting activities like raising animals and mobile home residency. Mississippi’s minimal lot area requirements, usually just 1 or 2 acres, contrast sharply with other states, making it budget-friendly for land buyers.

Building Codes in Mississippi: In 2014, Mississippi passed a law that required all counties to enact one of the versions of the uniform building codes listed below.

  • 2012, 2015, 2018 International Building Code
  • 2012, 2015, 2018 International Existing Building Code
  • 2012, 2015, 2018 International Fire Code
  • 2012, 2015, 2018 International Fuel Gas Code
  • 2012, 2015, 2018 International Mechanical Code
  • 2012, 2015, 2018 International Plumbing Code
  • 2012, 2015, 2018 International Residential Code
  • 2012, 2015, 2018 International Energy Conservation Code

Counties retain the authority to adopt or revise their building codes at any time, so it’s essential to verify local regulations.

Dome Home Building in Missouri:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Missouri generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in Missouri.

Off-Grid Living: Missouri stands out as one of the prime states for off-grid living, boasting established off-grid communities and minimal government intervention. Legally, off-grid living in Missouri is welcomed, particularly in rural areas where building codes are scant, often limited to septic regulations. Navigating zoning laws, a common hurdle elsewhere, is relatively straightforward in rural Missouri due to ample unzoned land. Even areas without zoning often lack building codes, like Osage and rural Douglas counties. However, state regulations on wastewater disposal and floodplain management apply universally, even in areas devoid of zoning and building codes. To qualify for agricultural tax breaks, Missouri land must be actively farmed and assessed bi-annually, though tax inconsistencies are reported. Southern Missouri, especially the Ozarks, is favored for off-grid living due to affordable land, despite rocky terrain. Conversely, the north offers better soil but at a higher cost and with stricter regulations. Off-grid electricity is legal in Missouri, but adherence to local building codes is requisite, particularly for off-grid electrical system installations.

Dome Home Building in Montana:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Montana generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in Montana.

Off-Grid Living: Montana’s vast expanse of affordable rural land is drawing an increasing number of people interested in off-grid living. Living off-grid is legal in Montana, with both state and local laws addressing many off-grid systems, facilitating the process of obtaining permits for innovative construction methods. However, compliance with building regulations and acquiring permits is essential for legal off-grid living. Montana boasts some of the most lenient zoning laws in the country. For instance, areas like North Gallatin Canyon don’t require construction permits, and residents of places like Bear Canyon can keep animals and cultivate food on small plots without zoning restrictions. Still, the absence of zoning isn’t always advantageous, given Montana’s rapid population growth, which may lead to unexpected developments nearby. Off-grid electricity is allowed statewide, but obtaining an electrical permit for system installation is mandatory.

Dome Home Building in Nebraska:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Nebraska generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. However, many counties impose minimum home size requirements. For instance, La Vista mandates a minimum of 900 square feet for single-floor homes, with building regulations outlined in Section 71-1557 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes. Permits for dome houses typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department.

Off-Grid Living: Off-grid living is legal in Nebraska, as there are no state laws prohibiting it. However, some localities may require connection to the municipal sewer system, but otherwise, living off-grid is permitted. Nonetheless, compliance with state and local building codes and zoning regulations is necessary. Zoning laws in Nebraska vary by county, with Agricultural zones generally having fewer restrictions, allowing activities like livestock raising and home businesses. Minimum land parcel sizes also vary, with some requiring as much as 20 acres, while others mandate around 3 acres. Off-grid electricity is legal in Nebraska, provided compliance with county electrical codes and obtaining permits for the system. While it’s typically permitted to install your electrical system, adherence to regulations is necessary, although hiring a licensed contractor is not always compulsory.

Building Codes in Nebraska: Nebraska has statewide building codes. The legislation permits local counties to implement their own building codes as long as they align “generally” with the state building code. If counties opt not to establish their own codes, they must adhere to the state building codes below:

  • International Building Code (IBC), 2018 (with amendments)
  • International Existing Building Code, 2018
  • International Residential Code (IRC), 2018 (with amendments)
  • Uniform Plumbing Code, 2018
  • International Energy Conservation Code, 2018
  • National Electrical Code (NFPA 70), 2017 (with amendments)
  • Nebraska State Fire Code

Dome Home Building in Nevada:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Nevada generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Nevada has favorable laws about living in manufactured homes, including tiny homes. In almost all zones, they are usually allowed as accessory dwellings. If the manufactured home is attached to a permanent foundation and connected to the utilities, it will be considered a “real” home. However, if the manufactured home doesn’t qualify as a real home, it will be considered personal property and taxed.

Off-Grid Living: Nevada’s harsh environment doesn’t make it the most welcoming for off-grid living, however there’s been a trend of individuals purchasing property in the state to live off the grid. On the other hand, in many areas of Nevada, living off-grid is prohibited due to regulations mandating connection to municipal water and electricity supplies. Rural regions offer more leeway, but the reliance on bulk water delivery services may be necessary, which challenges the notion of true off-grid living. Zoning laws, even in remote rural areas, dictate permissible activities on properties. Agricultural zones typically offer more flexibility, albeit often requiring larger land parcels per dwelling unit. In populated areas like Clark County and Washoe County, zoning regulations are strict, governing aspects like vehicle storage, accessory dwellings, and even greenhouse construction. Livestock ownership may necessitate larger land parcels with limitations on animal numbers.

Dome Home Building in New Hampshire:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: New Hampshire generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Tiny homes are legal as the state uses the 2015 version of the International Building Code. Under this version of the code, all dwellings must have at least one room of at least 120 square feet. So, only tiny homes smaller than this would be illegal. Permits for a dome home typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. Your dome home will have to comply with all codes and regulations that apply to conventional single-family homes.

Off-Grid Living: Living off-grid in New Hampshire is generally legal, but there are regulations to consider. While living without basic utilities full-time is illegal, the state is still one of the most accommodating for off-grid living in the U.S. Zoning laws play a crucial role, with some areas having strict regulations on aspects like animal ownership and dwelling sizes. However, there are numerous zones without zoning laws, simplifying off-grid living legalities. Primitive living is somewhat legal, but adherence to building codes and obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy may be necessary. Off-grid electricity is allowed, with the state offering incentives for alternative energy systems and property tax exemptions for solar panels in certain regions. 

Building Codes in New Hampshire: With few exceptions, all buildings in New Hampshire must meet these buildings codes:

Dome Home Building in New Jersey:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: New Jersey’s dense population and strict building codes can make dome living challenging. Under NJ law, every dwelling must have at least 150 sq. feet of floor space for the first occupant and at least 100 sq. feet for every additional occupant. Each room used as a sleeping quarter for one person has to have at least 70 sq. feet and a further 50 sq. feet for each additional person sleeping in the room. Further, “At least one-half of the floor area of every habitable room shall have a ceiling height of at least seven feet. The floor area of that part of any room where the ceiling is less than five feet shall not be considered as part of the floor area in computing the total floor area in the room for the purpose of determining the maximum permissible occupancy thereof.” For that reason, tiny homes face size restrictions, rendering many illegal, and local zoning laws may impose additional requirements. While dome construction may be permitted in certain rural areas, navigating regulatory hurdles can be challenging for aspiring dome dwellers.

Off-Grid Living: In New Jersey, while technically legal, off-grid living faces numerous legal hurdles and strict regulations, making it challenging for those on a budget. Living without basic utilities like running water, electricity, or a water heater is illegal, as per the State Housing Code. Obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy necessitates compliance with all utility requirements, hindering primitive living. Exemptions for rural cabins or living in accessory buildings are nonexistent, requiring new homes to adhere to utility installation laws. Zoning laws further complicate off-grid living, with restrictions on property use and development, especially in Agricultural zones. Construction work on homes typically requires licensed professionals, with limited exemptions for owner-conducted work.

Dome Home Building in New Mexico:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: New Mexico has favorable laws for alternative housing. Tiny homes often have exemptions from standard building codes, provided they are on a foundation and connected to an approved sewage system. Obtaining approval for dome house building is feasible in New Mexico.

Off-Grid Living: Off-grid living is not only legal but often necessary in many parts of New Mexico due to the lack of utility infrastructure. However, adherence to local zoning laws is crucial when establishing an off-grid property. New Mexico boasts relatively lenient zoning regulations, with some areas even permitting livestock within city limits. Additionally, certain regions, like Socorro County, have no zoning requirements. Despite this, compliance with building codes is still essential, even in areas without zoning laws, to avoid potential legal consequences. Qualifying for agricultural or grazing classification can result in lower property taxes, but it requires periodic reassessment and scrutiny of farm-related financial records.

Dome Home Building in New York:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: New York’s diverse landscapes and strict building codes can make dome living challenging. The Empire State’s building codes are among the country’s toughest, and adherence to these codes is mandatory to obtain permits and certificates of occupancy. However, in recent years, New York State has become more accommodating towards tiny homes, with specific standards outlined in Appendix Q of the IRC. Yet again, zoning laws may still pose obstacles, particularly regarding minimum dwelling sizes. But, you might be able to get around some of the stricter building codes and regulations by building a cabin, as long as your structure fits into the strict definitions of what counts as a cabin. 

Off-Grid Living: New York State imposes stringent regulations on off-grid living, making it challenging but not impossible to pursue this lifestyle. Navigating New York’s zoning laws is crucial for off-grid living, as they dictate permissible activities and technologies on one’s property. While agricultural or rural zones tend to be more lenient, zoning restrictions can impact off-grid lifestyles, such as limiting building numbers or prohibiting certain energy sources.

Building Codes in New York State: New York State has strict building codes and there is no way around NY State building codes since inspections are required to get a Certificate of Occupancy. 

  • Building Code of New York State: Adopts 2018 IBC with amendments
  • Residential Code of New York State: Adopts 2018 IRC with amendments
  • Existing Building Code of NYS: Adopts 2018 IEBC with amendments
  • Plumbing Code of NYS: Adopts 2018 IPC with amendments
  • Mechanical Code of NYS: Adopts 2018 IMC with amendments
  • Fuel Gas Code of NYS: Adopts 2018 IECC with amendments
  • Property Maintenance Code of NYS: Adopts 2018 IPMC with amendments
  • Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities: Adopts 2009 A117.1 without amendments
  • Standard for Installation of Sprinkler Systems: Adopts 2016 NFPA 13 without amendments
  • National Electrical Code: Adopts the 2017 NFPA 70 without amendments
  • National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code: Adopts the 2016 NFPA 72 without amendments
  • Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators: Adopts the 2016 ASME A17.1 without amendments
  • Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete: Adopts the 2014 ACI 318 with amendments

Dome Home Building in North Carolina:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: North Carolina generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in North Carolina.

Off-Grid Living: Living off-grid in North Carolina is fully legal, with the state even permitting practices like building ponds and using outhouses on your property. However, obtaining permits and undergoing inspections are necessary for most off-grid systems. The feasibility of off-grid living depends on local zoning laws, which can vary significantly across counties and have undergone recent updates. Restrictions in areas zoned for residential or waterfront use may mandate connection to municipal water supplies, posing challenges to off-grid lifestyles. Land zoned for rural or agricultural purposes typically has fewer restrictions, but regulations regarding income generation and minimum lot sizes may apply. Qualifying as a farm offers exemptions from certain zoning regulations and tax benefits, provided specific criteria regarding land size and income generation are met. Off-grid electricity, particularly solar energy, is legal in North Carolina, with regulations prohibiting local governments from banning solar panels on residential properties under Chapter 160D. Despite zoning complexities, the state offers incentives for farmers, although meeting income requirements may pose challenges due to regulatory hurdles.

Dome Home Building in North Dakota:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: North Dakota generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in North Dakota.

Off-Grid Living: Living off-grid in North Dakota is entirely legal and relatively straightforward due to the state’s relaxed stance on water rights, zoning regulations, and permit requirements. However, the state’s laws are not very progressive concerning newer off-grid technologies, which could pose legal challenges for those wishing to use alternative systems like compost toilets or gray-water recycling. Zoning laws in North Dakota vary by county and typically encompass agricultural, residential, commercial, and industrial districts. Agricultural and rural zoning is generally the most permissive for off-grid living, allowing activities such as farming, animal husbandry, and certain home-based businesses. However, there are often restrictions on land usage, such as minimum lot sizes and regulations regarding floodplains. Off-grid electricity is legal with incentives available for solar energy systems connected to the grid.

Building Codes in North Dakota: As of January 2020, the North Dakota Building Code consists of the following:

  • 2018 International Building Code (IBC)
  • International Residential Code (IRC)
  • International Mechanical Code (IMC)
  • International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC) published by the International Code Council (ICC)

Additionally, your county or city may have further codes to follow. For example, Williams County also follows the 2018 International Fire Code (IFC).

You will be required to get a permit for almost every work on your property. However, North Dakota permit fees tend to be much lower than those in other states.

Dome Home Building in Ohio:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Ohio generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in Ohio.

Off-Grid Living: Living off-grid in Ohio is technically legal, but recent years have seen increased challenges in doing so legally, particularly regarding off-grid bathrooms. Ohio is strict about requiring connections to public sewage systems if available, and outhouses are generally prohibited. However, other aspects of off-grid life in Ohio are more permissive, especially concerning farming and water rights. While most land in Ohio is zoned, some areas, like parts of Clinton County, have no zoning regulations. Overall, Ohio’s zoning laws are relatively relaxed compared to other states, with favorable regulations for agricultural use. The state’s right-to-farm laws protect agricultural activities, allowing residents to keep farm animals even in urban areas, with some exceptions and restrictions based on property size. Qualifying as a farm in Ohio can significantly lower property taxes through the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) program, which requires an average annual income of $2,500 from agricultural activities.

Dome Home Building in Oklahoma:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Oklahoma generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in Oklahoma.

Off-Grid Living: Oklahoma has a strong tradition of homesteading, leading to generally favorable laws for those living off the land. Living off-grid is entirely legal in Oklahoma, with relaxed water usage and zoning laws compared to many states. However, the legality of certain off-grid systems like compost toilets can be vague, complicating permit processes. Local zoning laws dictate property usage, with much of Oklahoma falling under Agricultural zoning, allowing food production with few restrictions. However, commercial businesses on agricultural or rural lands may require permits, and conservation/preservation-zoned land imposes additional restrictions. To qualify as a farm for tax purposes, requirements vary by county but typically include around 40 acres of land. Sales tax exemptions on equipment are available for qualifying farmers. Off-grid electric systems are legal in Oklahoma, with sales tax exemptions for solar equipment. However, there are no state rebates, and installing such systems may increase property taxes.

Dome Home Building in Oregon:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Oregon generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Oregon has relatively favorable laws for alternative housing such as dome homes and tiny homes, but specific regulations may apply, such as requiring dome homes or tiny homes on permanent foundations. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department.

Off-Grid Living: Oregon is often seen as a top choice for off-grid living due to its fertile land and sustainable living policies. Off-grid living is legal in Oregon, however, the state’s strict zoning laws can pose challenges for setting up off-grid homes. The majority of private land is zoned for farm, forest, or mixed farm/forest use, with regulations aimed at protecting natural resources and preventing over-development. Farm-zoned land in Oregon, known as EFU, has strict rules regarding parcel size, dwelling types, and land use, making small-acreage off-grid farming difficult. Forest-zoned land also has restrictions to prevent deforestation and over-development. Qualifying as a farm in Oregon can help reduce property taxes, but it requires meeting revenue and land use criteria, which vary based on zoning. Oregon favors off-grid electricity systems, with incentives for renewable energy installation, but the permitting process remains strict, especially in areas with homeowner associations. In summary, while Oregon offers opportunities for off-grid living, navigating zoning laws and regulations is essential for compliance and successful establishment of off-grid lifestyles.

Dome Home Building in Pennsylvania:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Pennsylvania generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Under Pennsylvania law, recreational cabins do not have to meet the state building codes, but there are strict rules about what qualifies as a recreational cabin, and the cabin cannot be used for permanent residence or commercial purposes. In order to apply for a building permit, you need to submit the detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. Still, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in Pennsylvania.

Off-Grid Living: Living off-grid in Pennsylvania is legal, but it comes with challenges due to stringent regulations and laws. Despite the state’s favorability towards sustainable living, navigating various legal aspects such as zoning, permits, and sewage regulations can be complex. Permits are required for most aspects of off-grid living, even in rural areas. The Uniform Construction Code (UCC) governs construction work requiring permits, and violations can result in significant fines. Zoning laws vary by county, with some areas having more restrictions than others. Rural counties like Elk, Cameron, and Potter offer more flexibility for off-grid living.

Building Codes in Pennsylvania: In Pennsylvania, all construction projects requiring permits must adhere to the State’s building code known as the Uniform Construction Code (UCC). This code is based on standards outlined in the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) and International Building Code (IBC). Many counties in PA employ third-party entities for inspections to ensure compliance with these codes. Failure to obtain a permit and comply with the codes can result in fines of up to $1,000 per day per violation. To locate your local Building Code Official, visit the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) website, navigate to the “Local Enforcement” section, and select the “Municipal Elections and Contact Information” link.

Dome Home Building in Rhode Island:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Rhode Island’s limited space and strict building codes can make dome living challenging. Exceptions for cabins are absent, and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are subject to stringent zoning rules, often limited to specific family members and with restrictions on appearance and occupancy duration. However, modular homes are permissible if they meet state construction requirements. Still, there are minimum size requirements specified by state law. Dome construction may be permitted in certain areas, but navigating the regulations requires some extensive search and can be challenging.

Off-Grid Living: Living off-grid in Rhode Island presents legal challenges due to strict regulations mandating connection to municipal water and sewer systems, as well as requirements for dwellings to have certain amenities like potable water, flushing toilets, and electricity. Zoning laws vary by municipality, with agricultural zones offering fewer restrictions but being scarce in Rhode Island. Obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy is mandatory for living in any building in Rhode Island, requiring compliance with building codes that mandate basic amenities like potable water and electricity. Off-grid electricity is legally ambiguous, with requirements for electrical service within a certain distance of available power lines, making complete disconnection from the grid difficult to achieve within legal bounds.

Building Codes in Rhode Island: With very few exceptions, all Rhode Island residential buildings must meet the following codes. 

  • Rhode Island Building Code (Based on the International Building Code 2018, with amendments)
  • Rhode Island State One and Two Family Dwelling Code (Based on the International Residential Code 2018, with amendments)
  • Rhode Island Plumbing Code (Based on International Plumbing Code 2018, with amendments)
  • Rhode Island Mechanical Code (Based on the International Mechanical Code 2018, with amendments)
  • Rhode Island Electrical Code (Based on the National Electrical Code 2020, with amendments)
  • Rhode Island Property Maintenance Code (Based on the International Property Maintenance Code 2018, with amendments)
  • Rhode Island Energy Conservation Code (Based on the International Energy Conservation Code 2018, with amendments)
  • Rhode Island State Fuel Gas Code (Based on the International Fuel Gas Code 2018, with amendments)

Dome Home Building in South Carolina:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: South Carolina generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in South Carolina.

Off-Grid Living: South Carolina, alongside its neighboring states Georgia and Tennessee, is considered favorable for off-grid living, owing to its vast rural areas. However, navigating the legal landscape can be complex, with stringent oversight requiring permits and inspections for most off-grid systems. The state’s zoning laws generally permit rural land use, with large plots often remaining unzoned, though this can pose challenges if developers encroach. Qualifying as a farm can offer tax benefits, requiring a minimum acreage dedicated to agricultural or timberland use or a specified income threshold. Off-grid solar is legally permissible in South Carolina, with incentives like tax credits and net metering available for grid-tied systems.

Dome Home Building in South Dakota:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: South Dakota generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in South Dakota.

Off-Grid Living: Living off-grid in South Dakota is generally legal, though challenges like connecting to municipal sewage and water systems may arise. Certain off-grid systems, such as compost toilets, might be prohibited. Water rights acquisition can also be difficult, varying by county. Zoning laws, which dictate property use, play a crucial role. Much of South Dakota’s land is zoned as “Agriculture,” offering relaxed rules like livestock keeping and shed construction. However, minimum parcel sizes can vary significantly between counties. Some areas lack zoning entirely, potentially leading to unexpected neighboring activities.

Building Codes in South Dakota: Every building in South Dakota must adhere to the State’s specified building codes. Unlike many other states, South Dakota’s building codes are comparatively fewer, and certain types of structures might be exempt. However, it’s important to note that counties could opt to implement inspections at a later time. This scenario could result in a situation where your property is not compliant with regulations, leading to potential hefty fines unless brought up to code promptly.

  • 2015 International Building Code (IBC), with amendments
  • 2015 International Fire Code (IFC), with amendments
  • 2015 International Mechanical Code (IMC)
  • 2020 National Electrical Code (NFPA), with amendments
  • South Dakota Codified Law (which includes plumbing laws)

Dome Home Building in Tennessee:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Tennessee generally permits geodesic domes for residential living under certain conditions, often requiring a permanent foundation and approved septic system, with less stringent rules in areas without zoning. Obtaining approval for a dome home is generally feasible in Tennessee, and relatively straightforward as compared the other states.

Off-Grid Living: Many off-grid lifestyle seekers find Tennessee appealing due to its lengthy growing season, affordable land, and scenic landscapes. Off-grid living in Tennessee is generally legal, except in certain urban areas where building codes may pose obstacles. Key challenges often involve sewage hookup requirements and alternative waste disposal systems. The Eastern part of Tennessee is particularly favorable for off-grid living due to its supportive laws and existing off-grid communities. Counties such as Morgan, Cannon, Polk, Chester, and Lawrence are among the recommended areas. Tennessee’s zoning laws are relatively relaxed, with many regions lacking zoning regulations altogether, affording residents freedom in land use. However, urban and conservation areas may present zoning law complications. Building permits are not always mandatory in Tennessee, although adherence to building codes remains obligatory. Qualifying as a farmer under the Greenbelt Law can offer tax benefits, requiring a minimum land area in agricultural use and a certain level of farming income. While off-grid electricity is not prohibited in Tennessee, the state lacks incentives for such systems.

Building Codes in Tennessee: A pleasant aspect of Tennessee is that in many regions, there’s no need for building permits. For instance, in Morgan County, permits aren’t necessary for any structure, although they are required for septic and grid-tied electricity. Similarly, Chester County exempts structures outside of cities from needing building permits. However, it’s important to recognize that adherence to building codes remains mandatory even in the absence of permit requirements. Tennessee follows the International Building Code, which establishes fundamental regulations, including safety measures for plumbing and electricity.

Dome Home Building in Texas:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Texas generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in Texas.

Off-Grid Living: Texas is renowned for being one of the prime states for off-grid living, offering favorable laws for homesteads, ranches, cabins, tiny homes, and trailers. Off-grid living is generally legal in Texas, as there are no state laws prohibiting it. However, local regulations, particularly zoning ordinances, may pose challenges, especially in residential or commercial zones. Agricultural-zoned land in Texas typically permits off-grid living, but strict regulations regarding land use and activities apply. However, many rural parts of Texas lack zoning ordinances, granting freedom in land utilization. Properties labeled as “unrestricted use” must still adhere to local zoning and property maintenance laws, including the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC), which may require certain services like water and electricity hookups. Qualifying for agricultural use can reduce property taxes in Texas, with relatively lenient requirements compared to other states. Off-grid electricity, including solar power, is legal in most areas of Texas, with laws prohibiting homeowner associations from banning solar panels.

Dome Home Building in Utah:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Utah generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Those regulations may include minimum dwelling size requirements. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in Utah.

Off-Grid Living: Living off-grid is typically permitted in remote areas of Utah, but some regions may mandate connection to municipal sewer systems, effectively prohibiting complete off-grid living. Moreover, acquiring water rights in certain parts of Utah can be challenging, constraining off-grid lifestyle options. Zoning laws play a pivotal role in determining the legality of off-grid living in Utah. These regulations govern factors such as the number of farm animals allowed, landscaping criteria, setbacks, and permissible business activities. Agriculturally zoned land in Utah often offers the least restrictive regulations, albeit with potential constraints such as minimum parcel sizes, which can increase the cost of going off-grid. Regarding off-grid electricity, Utah permits the installation of solar panels with a required permit, although hiring a licensed electrician and undergoing inspection are typically mandatory. Conversely, utilizing wind power faces greater hurdles, with zoning ordinances imposing restrictions on turbine height, setbacks, noise levels, and insurance requirements in some counties.

Building Codes in Utah: Every property in Utah is required to adhere to the State building codes, with fire codes being notably stringent: 

  • 2018 IBC with amendments
  • 2020 National Electrical Code with amendments
  • 2015 International Residential Code with amendments
  • 2018 International Existing Building Code with amendments
  • 2018 Fire Code with amendments
  • 2018 International Plumbing Code with amendments
  • 2018 International Mechanical Code with amendments
  • 2018 International Fuel Gas Code with amendments
  • 2015 International Energy Conservation Code with amendments
  • 2018 Swimming Pool and Spa Code with amendments
  • 2009 Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities Code with amendments
  • 2014 Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete with amendments

Dome Home Building in Vermont:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Vermont generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Contrary to popular belief, Vermont has statewide building codes, though their enforcement may vary locally. In most rural areas of Vermont, residing in a tiny home is legal, but zoning laws in urban areas may prohibit it. However, building accessory dwelling units (ADUs) is permitted under state zoning laws, although localities may impose requirements like onsite parking spaces. Primitive camps in Vermont enjoy exemptions from various legal requirements, including the need for a septic system. Defined by law, primitive camps have limited interior plumbing and usage restrictions. Permits for a dome home typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in Vermont.

Off-Grid Living: Vermont, with its vast forested lands, attracts individuals seeking self-sufficiency and off-grid living, with many established off-grid homes and communities already present. Living off-grid in Vermont is not only permissible but prevalent, with laws favoring the establishment of independent electric and water systems. While sewage regulations are stricter, they still accommodate various off-grid and alternative systems. However, adherence to building codes, local zoning laws, and obtaining permits for construction endeavors are necessary. Off-grid electricity systems, encompassing wind and solar power, are sanctioned in Vermont. Small photovoltaic solar systems below 15 kW AC do not necessitate permits but must be registered under the Certificate of Public Good system.

Building Codes in Vermont: 

The codes are based on:

  • NFPA 1 Fire Code, 2015 edition
  • NFPA 101 Life Safety Code, 2015 edition
  • The International Building Code, IBC, 2015 edition
  • NFPA 70 National Electrical Code, 2017 edition
  • ICC International Plumbing Code, 2018 edition
  • The National Board Inspection Code, National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors,  2015

Dome Home Building in Virginia:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Virginia generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Alternative housing structures such as dome homes, tiny homes and RV’s are generally permissible, although navigating the permit process and adhering to septic requirements may pose challenges. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in Virginia.

Off-Grid Living: Living off-grid is entirely legal in Virginia, allowing individuals to disconnect from power and water utilities without legal hindrance. However, in urban and suburban areas, connection to municipal sewage systems may be mandatory, and local regulations could restrict complete off-grid living. Despite potential urban and suburban constraints, Virginia remains highly accessible for off-grid living, especially in its rural regions. Zoning laws play a crucial role in determining land usage legality, with rural and agricultural zones typically offering lenient regulations. Virginia provides tax breaks and incentives for farms, including taxation based on “use value” rather than “market value” for agricultural land meeting specific criteria. Requirements include a minimum of 5 acres utilized for farming and livestock, annual farming income of at least $1,000, and exclusive agricultural use for five consecutive years. Additional tax breaks are available for forest land and open spaces, with further details outlined in Virginia’s Use Value taxation rules.

Dome Home Building in Washington:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Washington generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Washington State’s progressive laws accommodate dome houses, RVs, mobile homes, and tiny homes, categorizing them as manufactured homes. However, local restrictions may apply, necessitating compliance with design standards and utility connections. Permits for dome home building typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in Washington.

Off-Grid Living: Living off-grid in Washington State is legally permissible, yet stringent land-use laws, particularly in urban and suburban areas, pose challenges for complete off-grid living. While not expressly outlawed, these laws impose restrictions on property usage, requiring permits for various activities, such as installing compost toilets or erecting new structures. The western part of Washington, especially areas like King County, maintains stricter regulations compared to regions east of the Cascades, where off-grid living is more feasible due to less urbanization and relaxed zoning laws. The Growth Management Act (GMA) enacted in 1990 mandates development plans to curb sprawl and conserve natural resources, leading to stringent zoning laws across most of the state. Even in counties with minimal growth, regulations aim to protect critical areas and natural resources, potentially complicating off-grid living plans. Zoning laws vary across the state, with rural or agricultural zones typically offering more leniency for off-grid endeavors. However, even in areas without zoning ordinances, permits may still be required for certain activities. Property tax relief is available for qualifying farmers under the Washington Open Space Taxation Act, incentivizing agricultural use of land. Washington encourages renewable energy adoption, offering incentives for systems like solar power. Off-grid electricity usage is permitted, allowing homeowners to rely solely on renewables.

Dome Home Building in Wisconsin:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Wisconsin imposes strict building codes for most structures, except for certain exemptions. Primitive rural hunting cabins, not used as residences, are exempt from the Uniform Dwelling Code if they are primarily for recreational hunting, under 2 stories, and meet specific conditions regarding construction date or alterations. Religious exemptions allow certain individuals, such as the Amish, to be exempt from building codes, provided they apply for a waiver, though details on eligibility for non-Amish individuals are unclear. Tiny homes are generally welcomed in Wisconsin, with many counties lacking minimum size requirements in zoning laws. However, tiny homes must meet code standards similar to residential dwellings, with considerations for the 2015 version of the International Building Code. So, it’s safe to say that Wisconsin permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. 

Off-Grid Living: Wisconsin, a predominantly rural state with a significant Amish population living off-grid, offers favorable conditions for those considering off-grid living. Living off-grid in Wisconsin is entirely legal, making it one of the best states for this lifestyle. While obtaining permits for non-domestic water use and meeting certain building codes, such as for gray-water reuse, may pose challenges, there are no legal barriers to living off-grid in the state. Much of the state’s land is zoned as “Agricultural,” offering relaxed regulations, although minimum lot sizes may apply. Areas without zoning exist in Wisconsin, although information accessibility can vary, requiring thorough research and verification with local authorities. Special zoning for shoreland and floodplains may impose stricter rules. Off-grid electricity is legal in Wisconsin, with relatively straightforward processes for obtaining permits for solar panel and wind turbine installations, provided relevant building codes are met. Permits may also be required for wood heaters or stoves, with compliance to federal EPA standards for new installations.

Dome Home Building in West Virginia:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: West Virginia generally permits geodesic domes for residential living, subject to standard building codes and zoning regulations. Permits for dome construction typically involve submitting detailed building plans and specifications to the local building department. While regulations may vary by municipality, obtaining approval for dome construction is generally feasible in West Virginia.

Off-Grid Living: Living off-grid in West Virginia is typically allowed, with local regulations posing the main challenges, particularly regarding connections to municipal sewer systems and obtaining permits for certain off-grid systems. However, state laws do not explicitly prohibit off-grid living. West Virginia’s zoning laws, which dictate lot sizes, setbacks, and permissible activities, ultimately determine the legality of off-grid living. While approximately 40% of the state is unincorporated and may have fewer regulations, zoning laws still apply, necessitating thorough research into specific areas. West Virginia allows off-grid electricity usage, with easy access to permits for solar power systems. Homeowners associations cannot prohibit solar installations, and there is net metering available for grid-tied homes. However, the state lacks additional incentives for solar installation.

Building Codes in West Virginia: Even though many rural counties do not enforce the codes, you must follow numerous state building codes in WV:

  • 2015 International Building Code
  • 2009 International Energy Conservation Code
  • 2015 International Existing Building Code
  • 2015 International Fuel Gas Code
  • 2015 International Mechanical Code
  • 2015 International Plumbing Code
  • 2015 International Property Maintenance Code
  • 2015 International Residential Code
  • 2015 International Swimming Pool & Spa Code
  • 2014 National Electric Code
  • 2010 ANSI/ASHRA/IESNA Standard for Commercial Buildings
  • 2009 ICC/ANSI American Standards for Accessible & Usable Buildings and Facilities

Dome Home Building in Wyoming:

Dome Homes / Tiny Homes: Wyoming’s approach to building codes varies across counties and cities. While the state lacks statewide building codes, many areas without zoning also lack adopted codes. For instance, Johnson County doesn’t mandate building permits or have building codes. In counties and cities where building codes exist, they are often more relaxed compared to the national standard. Despite the absence of stringent regulations, it’s advisable to adhere to building codes like the International Building Code. However, this doesn’t entail undergoing a burdensome and costly permitting process before starting a project. Wyoming’s stance on building projects like dome  homes is largely favorable due to the absence of zoning in many areas. Residents are free to choose their preferred type of home without restrictions. In any case, you’ll still need to build a permanent foundation. 

Off-Grid Living: Wyoming’s rugged landscapes and independent spirit attract many seeking to live off-grid. Fortunately, living off-grid is entirely legal in the state due to relaxed regulations and numerous areas without zoning laws. The primary challenge lies in securing water rights, especially for large properties or livestock. Zoning laws, which typically dictate property usage, are generally lenient in Wyoming. While some counties have zoning regulations, they often apply mainly to subdivisions rather than remote rural areas. Many counties in Wyoming have no zoning laws, allowing property owners considerable freedom. Regarding off-grid electricity, Wyoming has favorable laws for solar and wind energy systems. Solar installations usually don’t require permits in many areas, and the state offers rebates on equipment costs. Although solar equipment isn’t exempt from property taxes, Wyoming maintains a robust net metering policy, allowing grid-tied renewable electricity systems to flourish.

Navigating the Maze

With such variation in regulations and requirements across states, it’s essential to conduct thorough research and consult with local authorities before embarking on a geodesic dome house construction project. Each state presents its own unique challenges and opportunities for dome builders and residents, requiring careful consideration of local laws and building codes. By understanding the specific regulations applicable to their chosen location and working closely with experienced professionals, individuals can navigate the complexities of dome construction and create sustainable, innovative living spaces tailored to their needs.

It’s also essential to understand how building codes may vary depending on the intended use of the dome structure. If your intention is to build short-term rental units, you may need additional permits for commercial lodging operations, with considerations for guest safety, fire safety and accessibility for ensuring a safe and comfortable experience for guests.

Streamlining Dome Home Permitting with Dotec Engineering

In partnership with Dotec Engineering, Ekodome is committed to supporting dome dwelling enthusiasts in navigating the often complex process of obtaining permits for their dome homes. While our PRO Series domes come complete with shop drawings and structural engineering analysis, it’s crucial to recognize that local building departments often require additional documentation, including integrated foundation plans. In such cases, Dotec’s team of engineers stands ready to assist in creating comprehensive, site-specific plans tailored to meet the specific requirements of each region, all stamped by licensed Professional Engineers. With this invaluable support, you can embark on your dome home construction journey with confidence, knowing that you have expert guidance every step of the way.