To obtain a Permit from the Marin County Building Department to build a houseboat, three full sets of Architectural and Engineering drawings and calculations must be submitted to the County for, firstly, a Planning Review to ensure adequate setbacks are maintained and the structure does not exceed size restrictions. Once Planning approval is obtained, the plans are checked by the Building Department for compliance with seismic, structural, energy loss, electrical, plumbing and mechanical codes.
In Marin County, either the County of Marin or the city of Sausalito issues building permits depending on where the home is located.
To build a complete houseboat of approximately 1200 sq. ft. takes about four months, given standard construction. The addition of specialty items, curved work, elaborate plumbing and tile work can add considerably to the time, especially long lead-time items.
Concrete barges float because of the sheer volume of water displaced by the barge. Acting in accordance with the laws of physics, the weight of water displaced equals the weight of the barge.
In a 16' X 32' barge there is approximately 5000lb of fusion coated steel reinforcing, consisting of #4 and #5 bars in the walls and slab, additional #6 bars in the top and bottom of the wall and additional #5 bars to reinforce the corners.
As of July 1st, 2005, all reinforcing steel will be fusion coated unless Buyer requests mill finish reinforcing.
Some concrete barges built by the military during WW11 are being used for houseboat hulls, and with better concrete and two coats of Cold Tar Epoxy, barges with uncoated reinforcing can be expected to last 40 years or more. With fusion coated reinforcing the life expectancy exceeds 80 years.
As of January 1, 2019, the price for a new barge 16' x 32' x 6' with 6" walls, is $145 per square foot for a total of $74,240. This price includes fusion coated steel reinforcing, two coats of Cold tar Epoxy or equal, 5/8" x 10" hot dipped galvanized anchor bolts @ 48" it the top of the walls, and one hot dipped galvanized mooring bracket in each corner.
Prices for barges larger than 16' x 32' x 6' will be quoted after barge is designed by a structural engineer licensed in the state of California.