The Value of Habitable Spaces

Permitted vs. Non-Permitted Structures

SQFT Studios are 100% Habitable spaces. What does that mean?

A Habitable space as defined by the Oregon Department of Buildings (DOB) is:

Habitable room or space is a structure for living, sleeping, eating or cooking.  Bathrooms, toilet compartments, closets, halls, storage or utility space, and similar areas are not considered habitable space.

Our Home Studios are considered detached habitable spaces, which means they must satisfy all building codes including Oregon Energy Codes, fire codes, and electrical codes. Equally important, a habitable space adds permanent real value to your property. Although the Oregon DOB description does not include working or office space, these areas are still governed by this requirement.

Other “backyard building” companies often market their structures as habitable, when in reality they are under insulated, lack seismic considerations, and not permanently mounted on a foundation. These buildings can be made habitable, but this results in a significant markup above the quoted or advertised price.

Non-habitable spaces like sheds, storage areas, or non-permitted studios do not add the same value. Non-permanent buildings also depreciate over time declining in value. Below is a chart comparing SQFT Studios habitable studios to other backyard structures and the key differences.

SQFT Studios Home Studio Non-Habitable Sheds
Use Living, working, sleeping, guest room, anything! Storage… or a garage, there are very few legal uses for non-habitable structures.
Comfort Comfortable, just like home (probably better!) Drafty, cold, hot, uncontrolled, and illegal to add mechanical equipment.
Added Value Just like your house, the square footage of your studio is directly added to your property increasing value permanently. Similar to an addition on your home. These structures can add value like a garage or shed, however a purchased product depreciates in value, and the square footage added is worth a fraction of the habitable space value
Sustainability Highly insulated and sealed enclosure, high performance mechanical systems, low flow fixtures, and healthy interior air quality. Built of FSC wood and local, high quality materials that will last decades. Use lower quality materials to reduce costs. This affects the quality, resulting in a structure that is not built to last or perform over time.
Energy SQFT Studios surpass Oregon Energy Code and are highly sealed. We even offer Passive Haus level insulation and air-tightness. Combined with our ERV, you get the highest energy performance and lowest energy usage with superior air quality and a fresh, healthy space. None of our competitors offer Oregon Energy Code qualifying structures in their standard models.
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