There are places in America where it is not required to have a building permit to start building, most of these areas are rural counties. There are places in America where there are no zoning laws, Houston Texas being the prime example.
You may be curious to know that the Australian equivalent would be the Northern Territory, go outside of a “Building Control Area” and you won’t need to worry about Building Codes, although, Planning Codes may still be applicable. If you are outside a Building Control Area in the NT, then typically you are far far away from any developed city or town.
Fortunately or unfortunately, here in Queensland, every inch of land is governed by the Planning Act and Building Act, so Planning and Building Codes always apply… unless you’re building a tiny house on wheels… 🙂
The below video provides interesting first-hand insights from a couple of the good, the bad, and the ugly of building in an American county where there are no mandatory building codes to comply with.