House Permitted and Built In California Without Engineering


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House Built in California without Engineering

During the last year and a half this economy small three bedroom, 70′ x 32′ (including garage) house obtained a building permit and was built in a county in California without the need for a structural engineer. To those not familiar with building in California this project is unusual because almost everything that is granted a building permit in the Golden State requires structural engineering.  At this time it is fair to mention that your particular municipality may require engineering or even an architect’s and engineer’s stamp.

The program for the project was to create the least expensive possible three bedroom two bath house using absolutely minimal framing and no requirement for engineering. The total size was to be in the one thousand square foot range plus an attached large two car garage. This home was to be for a couple that was retiring but still wanted enough bedrooms for visitors.  The bedrooms are a bit small but there are three of them so plenty of room for a short stay. The main bedroom with en suite is a bit larger.

It became evident that the only way to make this project feasible was to design entirely using “standard construction”. This meant that nothing could be added beyond time proven basic construction details. Since the entire house was to be framed using 2” x 4” studs there would be a slight additional cost for wall insulation in order to get to R-20 as required by Title 24.

The biggest concern was being able to get a stick-framed roof using 2”x 8” rafters approved. The solution in this case was to add a collar beam; this wouldn’t have been acceptable in a location with any sort of snow load. The original house also had a huge full brick fireplace but that has been removed in the version of the plan being offered here.  A wood-burning stove might be a better solution for those in a community that allows wood smoke.

Raised floor framing seemed preferable so that future renovations or repairs would not require jack-hammering a concrete slab. The foundation stem walls in this case were concrete block on a poured concrete footing with a two foot crawl space. It would have been preferable to add a concrete skim coat in the crawl space but low cost was a top priority.

This house fits on a small fifty foot wide lot and has a small overall footprint of 70′ x 32′ including the garage.  For those that seek a very inexpensive and simple three bedroom, two bath house this plan could be a definite front runner. Those that have purchased this ebook may buy the entire building plans at a significant discount during the launch period. Buy the ebook showing the floor plans  using any of the forms at   Please put “house without engineering” in the inquiry.

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If you are a builder who has the ebook or the plans please feel free to leave your guess-timate of construction costs and contact info in the comments.


3 thoughts on “House Permitted and Built In California Without Engineering

    1. easybuildingplans Post author

      If certain guidelines are followed it actually is still possible to avoid engineering in some cases even in Ca. This house was built for a retiring couple who want it to be as inexpensive as humanly possible.

      1. Earl

        We are also a retired couple looking to build a house as cheaply as possible. What did this retired couple build it for ( house only, not including land, utilities, etc)? Was it built completely by a contractor?

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