Building a Barndominium in Florida – State and Local Requirements
A barndominium is essentially a home built inside a pole barn or steel frame structure. They have become increasingly popular in recent years as an affordable and unique housing option. However, since they involve converting an agricultural building into a residence, there are various state and local regulations that must be followed when constructing a barndominium in Florida.
Permits and Codes
Like any other residential dwelling in Florida, you will need to obtain all necessary permits before starting construction on the barndominium. This includes a building permit from the local municipality where the structure will be located. The barndominium must meet Florida building codes for a single-family residence, including standards for electrical, plumbing, wind resistance, fire safety, roofing and accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The construction plans will need approval from your county or city building department before permits can be issued.
It’s important to check local zoning laws and homeowner’s association rules (if applicable) to ensure barndominiums are allowed on your property. Some residential areas prohibit buildings that look like agricultural barns or have industrial features like steel exteriors. There also may be rules regarding maximum building height, setbacks from property lines, or limits on total acreage covered by structures. Discuss your plans with your local zoning office early in the process to avoid issues down the road.
If your property lies within a flood zone, the finished floor level of the barndominium will need to meet a minimum flood elevation height based on risk level. This ensures living spaces are situated above potential flood levels. Some counties in Florida require the finished floor to be at least 1 foot above the 100-year flood elevation. Meeting flood regulations is key to being approved for permits.
Barndominiums in Florida require permanent foundations to meet residential building codes regarding structural stability. While pole barns used for agriculture can be built directly on the ground or dirt, the reinforced concrete slab, piers and ground anchors for a barndominium must adhere to standards for home foundations. This provides enhanced protection during storms and heavy winds.
Living Space Standards
Although the exterior looks like a barn, the interior living space of a Florida barndominium must offer typical home amenities – including full kitchen and bathroom facilities, bedrooms, living areas and laundry rooms. The finished dwelling space must provide adequate room dimensions, ventilation,egress, and structural necessities outlined in Florida’s residential building code.
At different stages of the barndominium building process, county or municipal building inspectors will assess that work meets codes and standards. Some key inspections cover: foundation, electrical, plumbing, framing, insulation, and final occupancy. Calling for timely inspections ensures code compliance.
How Florida Differs from Other States
When it comes to barndominium requirements, several factors make Florida unique compared to other parts of the country.
Hurricane Standards –
Florida’s building codes have some of the toughest wind resistance and storm safety requirements in the U.S. Barndominiums must include advanced framing, anchoring, and protective features to withstand extreme weather events like hurricanes.
Elevation Standards –
Due to widespread flood zones, Florida sets strict minimum elevation rules for living spaces that are higher than many other states. Barndominium floor levels must meet these elevation heights.
– Some parts of Florida prohibit “pole barns” or metal buildings often used for barndominiums in rural areas of other states. Unique architectural rules may limit barndominium appearance.
Foundation Needs –
Florida’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and soil subsidence means barndominiums require reinforced foundations that securely anchor them. This differs from some regions where pole barns can sit directly on dirt.
Following Florida’s building codes and standards during construction ensures your barndominium offers safe, comfortable and durable living space for years to come. Proper permitting and inspections confirm your unique home meets all structural regulations.