When building a barn, it is incredibly tempting to go forward without a permit. You may be thinking that the consequences will be minimal or that it is your property. Those are both fair assumptions, but what happens if you build a barn without a permit?
Depending on state or city requirements, a permit ensures that your building is up to code. Without a permit, that means your building could be deemed unsafe for a reason you have not fully considered. You could also be held responsible for significant fines, relocation, or the removal of the building from your property.
Permits are the city’s way of ensuring that each building meets minimum standards of safety. It ensures that when you sell your home later, your property will maintain its value. Below, we will let you know some resources on helping you through the permit process. We will also explore the question of permit penalties a bit further.
Table of Contents
- Building Without A Permit Penalty
- What Is The Statute Of Limitations On Building Code Violations?
- How To Get Around Building Permits?
- How Do You Get A Permit For Your Barn?
- Where Can I Build Without A Permit?
- Why Are Permits So Expensive?
- Related Questions
- What About Building A Pole Barn Without A Permit?
- What Happens If I Build A Garage Without A Permit?
- What Happens If You Build A Fence Without A Permit?
Building Without A Permit Penalty
When breaking down the fines, It is typical for you to pay double the project’s cost. At the very least, you can expect the cost of filing the permit to double.
Let’s assume that you plan on building a pretty traditional barn at 1600 sq ft. You can expect to spend around $60,000 easily. They inform you that due to a city ordinance, which you are technically a part of, your structure cannot exceed 70 ft tall.
As a result, you are now paying the cost of tearing down the structure. Also, you decided you could wing the form. As a result, your design has not received approval by an architect. There is another potential fine based on further safety concerns.
Every day that the structure is off, you can see upwards to $200 a day added onto that bill. Combine that with a penalized $2000 permit, and it is easy to see how a $60,000 project can quickly turn into a monster.
Also, you are liable for any injuries that occur at your location. An unpermitted building will almost always lose any legal battles.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations On Building Code Violations?
If you decide to go ahead with the instructions, a building code violation can stay on your record for some time. It will depend on your state and the attorney at the time, but the typical wait time can be around two years.
If someone obtains an injury due to an accident, the exposure period can last forever. Doing so may cause you not to be allowed to build other structures. If you are in the construction business, you can expect your time in the industry to end.
How To Get Around Building Permits?
Don’t. There is typically a reason for building permits existing, even when it isn’t apparent. It is entirely natural to ask why they have this permit there. If they don’t give you a good reason, it may give you an excellent reason to petition for its removal.
Do not think of a way to circumvent or hide from the system that will only brand you as a criminal. Instead, use the power of the masses to make a real change.
How Do You Get A Permit For Your Barn?
If you’ve found that the limitations are reasonable, its time to work towards getting that permit. Your first step will be to locate your zoning office. You can do so by searching on google.
Smaller towns may not have zoning offices, so try and call the local courthouse for further information. Otherwise, utilizing a combination of Google and state websites should help you narrow down the issues. Next, you will want to contact them and inform them about your project. The zoning officer will let you know what sort of permit you need and tell you whether your structure is acceptable.
However, you don’t want to rely on the zoning officer as your ultimate source. If you feel that their statements don’t sound quite right, consult a friend who has gone through the process before. Also, see if you cannot get a copy of the booklet they use on zoning limitations for barns. If there is no explicit reference to why they would deny your barn, consult the book with them going forward.
If the design needs to be approved by an architect, find out how your friends got through this process. You may also compare notes with a zoning officer from another district as needed.
The most important tool at your disposal is research. If you come into the office knowing the requirements behind your barn, the process will be much smoother.
Where Can I Build Without A Permit?
Some counties within states have yet to establish building permits. These states include the following:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
Building codes apply to any city location, but rural county areas not within city or town limits are less likely to have permit requirements. However, those laws are subject to change based on local conditions.
Also, moving to a location to get around safety requirements is not suggested.
Why Are Permits So Expensive?
Permits are from a variety of experts performing research on what makes a good structure. It requires an ample amount of experience in architecture and construction, resulting in a good deal of skill to create and update codes.
A barn has four walls, a floor, and the possibility of multiple levels. For a building not up to code, there are numerous areas your structure can fail. Add another tick to the expensive side if you plan on installing electricity in there.
Compare that to replacing a patio or a water heater at a single structure or location. If there is less to worry about, it requires a less expensive permit.
What About Building A Pole Barn Without A Permit?
If you plan on building a pole barn, some locations do not require the same amount of permits. In this case, you will want to check with your local zoning office regardless. Just because you do not need a permit does not mean you should cut corners. Be sure to follow the best building practices and choose high-quality materials.
Pole barns are held up by their walls’ quality, meaning you should be seeking high-quality sheet metal or wood. Some zoning locations will have access to design documents that can help you out.
What Happens If I Build A Garage Without A Permit?
If you decide to build a garage without a permit, you can expect those fines to increase. While most barns do not have electrical work, garages are typically a bit more complicated. Failing to build your garage up to code will cause code agencies to assume that your garage may catch fire. This increase in cost is because of the complicated electrical components that go inside of garages.
Live in locations like Alabama, Wyoming, or North Dakota. You may get around it when living in rural areas. Always be sure to follow the best safety practices.
What Happens If You Build A Fence Without A Permit?
Depending on where you are from, city code requirements can regulate the height and materials used in your chosen fence. In some locations, they can even control the fencing style, but this is more likely to come from a homeowner’s association (HOA).
Typically, fence permits are among the least expensive permits you can purchase. It is because the fence typically doesn’t have the same rigorous safety protocols of barns or otherwise.
If you decide upon making this a DIY project, be sure you have your plans set up before submitting it. Zoning officials look for any reason they can to deny your project. It is in their job description.
Hiring a fence installer typically circumvents some of this issue. These professionals have pre-approved fence structures. You will still have to acquire a permit before beginning but check with your zoning officer to be sure whether you need one.