Letter Re: Sticking to Accepted Building Standards

Dear Jim and Family,
I can understand why [the gentleman that writes Laptop and Rifle, a blog recently mentioned in SurvivalBlog] should go forthrightly into the wilderness this way. Its taking control of his life, with his own hands. But it is a pity that some important stuff got overlooked. There’s a wonderful (and necessary) book called the “Uniform Building Code” (UBC) that all contractors know and love as their bible of legal building laws, which also happen to be good engineering. The google programmer is doing the equivalent of writing bad code by ignoring this book. His second hut has no poured concrete footing, so the first time it rains, its going to sink/tilt and no longer be level. Considering the area he’s building is heavily volcanic, the soil will also be composed of swelling clay, which means its also going to tear apart his concrete block foundation, something it would also do to a poured concrete footing. In that territory, you have to build in spring after heavy rains or water down the site for 30 days in order to allow the clay to swell to saturation. Thus, once the foundation is poured the concrete is put under compression, the only way its physically strong. Most homes in California are built this way due to the common prevalence of swelling clay soil that formed subsequent to the lengthy volcanic system that predated the San Andreas fault line. If he’d asked the county building department in Chico, he’d know that. Or ditto if he had just looked it up with a web search. Cheers, – InyoKern