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Thread: What's to know about building a sugarhouse in NH?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    Williston, VT
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    Default What's to know about building a sugarhouse in NH?

    Does anyone know the ins and outs of building a sugarhouse in NH?

    My son lives in NH and wants to build a sugarhouse. So I thought - perfect, I'll saw some logs for him and and he can do it reasonably cheap with rough cut and board/batten siding. Then he made the mistake of talking to his town building inspector. It seems that they only like to build structures that are hurricane proof down there. The inspector told him that he'd need to use graded lumber for the structure and board and batten siding would require diagonal wall bracing with some fancy details. Of course he could get a second mortgage on his house and buy OSB undersheathing at about $40 plus per sheet.

    What ever happened to "Live Free or Die"?

    Ken
    Ken & Sherry
    Williston, VT

    2017 - 13 gallons on 65 taps (12 buckets, rest 3/16), 2x4 flat bottom, modified cargo box sugarhouse
    2018 - 90 gallons on 418 taps (gravity lines), Leader 30"x10' Vortex Arch & Max Raised Flue with Rev Syrup Pan, New Sugarhouse
    2019 - Burned through alot more money: heated kitchen, 2x2,000 and 375 gal ss sap tanks, CDL1200 RO, Bauch Vac Pump, More taps, etc., etc., etc.
    https://www.facebook.com/pumpkinhillmaple/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Walpole, NH
    Posts
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    Not sure what town he lives in, but most towns in NH don’t care because a sugar house is like a barn. Tell your son to tell the building inspector that he is putting up a barn and to fight the inspector with any demands for building it like a house.
    Sugaring for 45+ years
    New Sugarhouse 14'x32'
    New to Me Algier 2'x8' wood fired evaporator
    225 Sugar Maples Currently,(105 on 3/16" and 110 on Shurflo 4008 vacuum, 10 gravity), (16,000 before being disabled)
    1947 Farmall H and Wagon with gathering tank
    2012 Kubota with forks to move wood around

  3. #3
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    Granville, PA
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    Have your son ask the municipalities secretary (not the building inspector) to ask the solicitor if an agricultural structure less than 1000 sq.ft. meets the agricultural exemption. Unless the town has its own laws more stringent than the state law, there appear to be exemptions for agriculture structures less than 1000 sq.ft. and according to the USDA, structures used to process maple sap are to be considered agriculture structures. All of that said, the state law does not read the same as the other codes that I have read, hence my saying "appears".

    Good luck. Does your son know any of the municipalities officials.
    Matt,
    Minehart Gap Maple

  4. #4
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    Dec 2007
    Location
    Bow, NH
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    517

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    Yeah, some of these inspectors here demand residential standards for agricultural buildings. Mine wanted a 72 lb snow load and 90 mph wind speed and easily 2X the framing necessary but didn't have the education to calculate my the design loads of my proposal. Ultimately my PE buddy showed him that he was demanding 250% of the code and I got the permit along with six $30 inspections. And I also believe there are exceptions for agricultural buildings, however they might be at the discretion of the inspector which is why I had to go the PE route.
    Bruce Treat
    750 Sugar Maple Taps
    3/16 w/ .225 Spiles
    H2O Innovation RO
    2X6 Grimm w/ Preheater & Blower
    Bow, New Hampshire

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Chatham NH
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    Quote Originally Posted by TapTapTap View Post
    Does anyone know the ins and outs of building a sugarhouse in NH?

    My son lives in NH and wants to build a sugarhouse. So I thought - perfect, I'll saw some logs for him and and he can do it reasonably cheap with rough cut and board/batten siding. Then he made the mistake of talking to his town building inspector. It seems that they only like to build structures that are hurricane proof down there. The inspector told him that he'd need to use graded lumber for the structure and board and batten siding would require diagonal wall bracing with some fancy details. Of course he could get a second mortgage on his house and buy OSB undersheathing at about $40 plus per sheet.

    What ever happened to "Live Free or Die"?

    Ken
    What town in NH? If you don't mind sharing. Alot of these smaller towns use a subcontractor for code inforcement, also they may not actually know the rules as they pertain to agricultural buildings. It can be tough. Where I live in Chatham we have almost zero town regulation but you are supposed to abide bye state firecodes,electric, plumbing and waste water.
    Nate Hutchins
    Nate & Kate's Maple
    2018 1000 taps?
    20x36 sugarhouse
    CDL 600gph RO
    Franken evaporator, lapierre arch, smokylake pans and a leader hood with pre-heater.
    A wife and 2 kids.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Williston, VT
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    Thanks for the thoughts. I think the concern by the building inspector isn't that extreme if the guy turns out to be flexible and open to other methods (without a PE stamp). I like the idea of good wall bracing since board and batten over girts on a 2x6 stud wall is definitely somewhat less effective than sheathing. I'm thinking of the T shaped steel tendons that get notched into the outside of the studs. And for grading, it makes sense for us to understand the general process of selecting premium lumber for critical structural members so we can effectively grade our own lumber during construction.. So at this point, the inspector has already (before the first cut) helped us with the project.

    Hopefully, going forward he can be more of a resource than a compliance officer.

    Ken
    Ken & Sherry
    Williston, VT

    2017 - 13 gallons on 65 taps (12 buckets, rest 3/16), 2x4 flat bottom, modified cargo box sugarhouse
    2018 - 90 gallons on 418 taps (gravity lines), Leader 30"x10' Vortex Arch & Max Raised Flue with Rev Syrup Pan, New Sugarhouse
    2019 - Burned through alot more money: heated kitchen, 2x2,000 and 375 gal ss sap tanks, CDL1200 RO, Bauch Vac Pump, More taps, etc., etc., etc.
    https://www.facebook.com/pumpkinhillmaple/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Walpole, NH
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    Before you bend any on your design, I would make them show you written building codes for that town. Some of these officials like to enforce things that aren’t actually part of their building codes. In fact, it might be proactive on your sons part to obtain a copy of them and read through them to find out what you actually need to do. When I added onto my house 8 years ago it was a $2 building permit and told to follow National building codes, no inspections. When I built my sugar 4 years ago it was a $2 building permit and that was it.
    Sugaring for 45+ years
    New Sugarhouse 14'x32'
    New to Me Algier 2'x8' wood fired evaporator
    225 Sugar Maples Currently,(105 on 3/16" and 110 on Shurflo 4008 vacuum, 10 gravity), (16,000 before being disabled)
    1947 Farmall H and Wagon with gathering tank
    2012 Kubota with forks to move wood around

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Granville, PA
    Posts
    371

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    Ken, I am sure that you are less concerned with regulations than most simply because you deal with them every day and have either acquired or required (not sure if you are on the design or construction side of civil engineering) a respect for the need of the requirements. Wow, that was a sentence and a half.
    That said, with you having an engineering background, I doubt the need for inspection of a structure that you build. But I am surprised that you wouldn't go for an exemption. I would. And did, that's how I knew about it.
    Matt,
    Minehart Gap Maple

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Wakefield,New Hampshire
    Posts
    391

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    I had the inspector trying to enforce a 95Lb snow load on my existing 12x16 sugar shack built with rough sawn pine and hemlock. He made me hire an engineer or i would have to tear it down. Luckily he was fired before the deadline he gave me, unfortunately i had already hired an engineer by that point. The new inspector approved the existing structure calling it an agricultural building and i just had to file a $45 mapping and set back form. I now intentionally let the snow pile up on the roof just to prove to myself it will hold.

    On another note, the NH native lumber law may be helpful if you're using rough cut. You can get certified or have another certified mill grade your rough lumber. https://extension.unh.edu/resource/n...ive-lumber-law
    6th season solo sugar maker in a young sugar bush of mostly red maples
    320 taps
    2x6 self built arch, Flat pans w/ dividers
    New 12x16 sugar house
    CDL hobby 250 RO

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