Steps to Building a Residential Pole Barn Home
There was a time when people would scratch their heads, wondering why anyone would want to live in, well, what they considered a machine shed. Those days are long gone as residential pole barn homes are soaring in popularity across the country. With complete design flexibility resulting in a 100 percent customizable look, greater durability and energy efficiency than traditionally built houses, there’s a lot to love about pole barn home living.
Here are 10 steps that will take any mystery out of building a pole barn house. (Note – The construction process is fluid and some of these steps can happen simultaneously.)
Step One: Come Up With a Design
Step Two: Buy Land
If you don’t already own a piece of property to build on, it’s time to buy one for several reasons:
The condition of the property is a big factor determining the final cost of your building project. If it’s located in a remote area without access to established infrastructure (water, sewer, electricity, gas, even roads), you’ll have to figure in costs to build access to those essential services. Land that needs more excavation will be pricier to build on than land that’s in construction-ready shape. “Getting a property into functional shape can add a third to the price of a project,” advises Ben Kormanik of K Construction, who has been building pole barn homes for more than a quarter century.
Some builders consider whether a customer already has land to build on as a qualifying factor for doing business together.
Some local governing bodies (townships, cities, counties, states) will require more or different building permits than others. The more permits needed, the more costly the overall project becomes.
The site you select can dictate the layout of your building and floor plan.
Step Three: Find a Builder
A good builder will help you create a floor plan and develop a budget, as long as you have an idea of what you want your layout to look like. (Yes, scratches on a napkin are a good place to start.)
Because not all builders are alike, evaluating which is right for you can be a daunting task. Be sure to ask:
about their experience building pole barn homes what their warranties cover
whether the quote they provide is a complete proposal or only an estimate that’s subject to change
what kind of flexibility there is in designing your home
for references, with their contact information.
Step Four: Secure Financing (This step should be done in conjunction with step Three)
(This step should be done in conjunction with step Three)
Pole barn houses are escalating in popularity, but they aren’t yet as common as conventionally built homes, so finding the right lender is key. Financial institutions that don’t understand the post frame building process could be unwilling to risk financing something they’re unfamiliar with. However, if you have the right information and approach the right lender, securing financing should be no different than getting a mortgage for a traditionally built house.
For a deeper look into financing, check out these five tips for a smooth experience.
Step Five: Get the Right Building Permits
Before putting a shovel in the ground, you must get the right permits. As we noted earlier, the number and type of permits you’ll need varies widely depending on location. “We serve five counties with four or five municipalities of size, and they all have different requirements,” Kormanik explains. “It’s been our experience that you want to get the permitting people involved at the cost estimate stage so that any weird zoning issues are identified up front.”
For example, your property might not be close to a lake or river, but it could be zoned as lying within a floodplain. Development might still be allowed with just a land use permit and a building permit, but restrictions could apply. If you don’t have the time, knowledge, or confidence to work directly with government agencies that grant permits, be sure to select a builder who will work in partnership with you, or one that will pull all necessary permits on your behalf. Your builder should be able to supply you with the proper construction plans to get the right permits.
Step Six – Gather Your Construction Team
Step Seven – Site Preparation
Once you’ve firmed up your plans, secured a mortgage and signed a contract with the right builder, the construction process is ready to begin! The first step here is site preparation.
“The first thing I want is to look at is the property,” Schulte says. “I want to see what the elevations look like to figure out how much excavation work we have to do or if we have to build up the land anywhere.” (Note: some builders may want to see your property before providing a quote.)
Step Eight – Construction
Step Nine – Finishing touches
Step Ten – Move in and enjoy your dream pole barn home!
Residential pole barn homes offer so many benefits, from energy efficiency and design flexibility to maintenance free exteriors and durability. It’s hard to imagine why someone wouldn’t want to live in one!
If you’re ready to build your dream pole barn home, contact your local Bud Carpenter at Vermont Barndominium today!.