Modern Castle Construction and Building Codes

If you want to build a modern day castle, you must abide by modern building codes that are in place nearly everywhere in the United States and other industrialized countries. While some counties and municipalities have very strict building codes, there are some that only enforce minimum standards. These areas tend to be more rural in less populated areas. Many rural areas just don't have the resources to enforce strict building codes like more urban areas with higher tax bases. Most people know about building codes and the necessity of complying with them. But, what most people don't know is that building codes in most municipalities are MINIMUM standards for building. Building to the standards means that you are building a home that is minimally built for safety and does not mean that the home is built to top specifications for safety or durability. If you intend to build a modern castle, then you are by definition trying to build a fortified structure which will be safe and secure.

That being said, many contractors, masons, and building code department inspectors, are not familiar with construction that exceeds the minimum building codes. They are accustomed to standard construction methods that are used in their areas. Therefore, you might be challenged by these people when you are planning and building your modern castle. This will make your job a bit more difficult and you will need to do some extra planning before building your castle. Don't despair, it can be done. The best approach is to learn what the minimum building codes in your area are. You can visit your local county or city planning or building codes department. Get to know these people. They can give you copies of the local building codes and can review your plans for compliance with the codes. You will need to be prepared to explain your construction methods to the inspectors and how they meet or exceed the minimum standards. You might also need to explain these methods to contractors. I am a licensed Civil Engineer and occasionally I attend trade shows in the construction industry. I recently attended an event and had the chance to talk to a masonry contractor about building with stone construction. He assured me that I could not build a stone structure to modern building codes. After speaking with him for a few minutes, I found out that the only experience he had with stone masonry construction was stone veneer over stick frame construction (same as brick veneer). Unless you are doing the masonry work yourself, you might have a difficult search for a mason who knows how to build a structure like you want. Keep searching, they are around. Don't forget to read my summary of concrete stay in place forms. This method of construction is easily adapted to stone veneer or real stone form construction and, by the way, meets modern building codes.

The easiest way to comply with local building codes is to enlist the services of a competant Structural Engineer. They will be familiar with local codes and can review your plans and make calculations to show your plans are in compliance. They should also be able to stamp your plans and make obtaining building permits easier. If you are willing to do a bit of research, you could do some calculations yourself, but be very careful as mistakes could lead to catastrophe. Even if you are doing the work yourself, it would pay you dividends to pay a few thousand dollars to have an engineer review your plans and offer suggestions. It could save you thousands of dollars, your castle, or your life.

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