Thursday, May 30, 2024
HomeBarndominiumBuilding an Arizona Barndominium: Are They Allowed?

Building an Arizona Barndominium: Are They Allowed?

Yes, barndominium homes are generally allowed to be built in Arizona, but they are subject to local zoning regulations and building codes. It’s important to note that specific rules and restrictions can vary depending on the county, city, or neighborhood where you plan to construct the barndominium. Different jurisdictions may have their own specific guidelines that you’ll need to follow while building to ensure that you’re not only in compliance with state and county building codes and guidelines, but all the way down to the specific neighborhood rules. Some are more strict with their rules than others; I’m sure that a gated community is going to have much stricter rules regarding what can be built there than say a rural county outside of town where you can most likely get by with much more. 

Before starting the construction process, it is advisable to do the proper research required for your specific project and understand all the local zoning regulations in your particular area. These are very important because if something you build is not in compliance they can pull your building permit and shut the entire build down until it’s corrected. Some areas may have restrictions on the type of structures allowed or specific square footage requirements for residential properties. It is important to determine if your desired property is appropriately zoned for residential use or allows for agricultural-residential combinations.This could determine what you’re ultimately going to be allowed to build.

To ensure compliance with building codes, it is recommended that you work with local licensed professionals who are familiar with the area’s zoning requirements. Individuals such as architects and general contractors will be the people who are most familiar with Arizona’s building standards, including the International Building Code (IBC) and the International Residential Code (IRC). They can guide you through the construction process step by step, ensuring that your barndominium meets all the necessary requirements for structural integrity, electrical and plumbing systems, fire safety, and energy efficiency. It’s highly recommended to hire a professional right out of the gate. I’ve put together a few pointers to help make your Arizona barndominium a whopping success. 

white barndominium with barn doors

Understanding Barndominiums

A barndominium is an interesting structure that combines barn aesthetics with a metal building to create a very functional residential living space. People love barndominiums because they offer the unique opportunity to enjoy an open, spacious living area with high ceilings and large open rooms, while providing comfortable living spaces such as bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and more. Barndominiums can be customized to suit your personal preferences and lifestyle, providing you a blank canvas to create your very own dream home that you can be proud showing off to family and friends.

Selecting the Perfect Location

Choosing the right location in Arizona for your barndominium is crucial. Consider factors such as proximity to amenities, school district, views, accessibility, and zoning regulations. Check with the town hall first to understand any local building codes and restrictions to ensure compliance before settling on a specific site. Arizona is a large expansive state; the top 3 counties people decide to build in will help you narrow down your build location somewhat. Those top 3 counties are Maricopa, Yavapai, and La Paz. These counties hold all the major cities and their suburbs as well as an extensive amount of rural land that I’ve personally explored and can attest to its raw natural beauty and solitude. Don’t forget geography class; this state is unique in that it houses one of the world’s most amazing natural wonders: the Grand Canyon. If you ever get the opportunity to go see it in person, I highly recommend the experience for everyone. 

Research Local Zoning Regulations

Before diving into your barndominium project, familiarize yourself with the zoning regulations in your specific area of Arizona. Zoning laws can vary across cities, counties, and even neighborhoods, so it’s crucial to know the rules governing your intended building site. Generally, Arizona’s zoning classifications include residential, agricultural, commercial, and industrial zones. Ensure that your desired property is zoned appropriately for residential use or allows for agricultural-residential combinations.

Working with Professionals

Building a barndominium involves a diverse set of skills, so it’s essential to assemble a team of experienced professionals. Collaborate with architects, builders, and contractors who specialize in barndominium construction. They can provide expert advice, create detailed plans, and guide you through the entire process, ensuring a smooth and successful project.

Building Codes and Standards

Arizona adheres to the International Building Code (IBC) and the International Residential Code (IRC) for construction projects. These codes outline minimum standards for structural integrity, electrical and plumbing systems, fire safety, and energy efficiency. It’s crucial to work with licensed professionals, such as architects and contractors, who are well-versed in these codes to ensure your barndominium complies with all the necessary requirements.

Obtain the Necessary Permits

To comply with building codes and regulations, you will need to acquire the required permits for your barndominium construction in Arizona. Depending on your location, you may need permits for site preparation, building construction, electrical work, plumbing, and septic systems. Contact your local building department or planning and development office to obtain a comprehensive list of permits necessary for your specific project.

Navigating Structural integrity

Before construction starts your plans will be stamped by a licensed architect or someone who has analyzed those plans to determine the structure will hold up like it should. Furthermore, the plans may need to be modified if the county has specific requirements that your plans don’t reflect; this is a common issue that will arise depending on the location and restrictions in that specific jurisdiction. 99.9% of people building a barndominium will be using floor pans and building from scratch from the ground up, as they say. That other .1% of people could opt to use an existing structure, such as repurposing an actual barn and turning that into your barndominium. It’s important to know this is not typical and I wouldn’t recommend this for a number of reasons. Strength and longevity being my initial concern, I would much rather trust a newly constructed frame than save a few bucks with an old existing structure that may have issues you’re not aware of. I always recommend buying barndominium house plans over buying a barndominium kit or overusing any type of existing structure as a framework. 

Water and Septic Systems

If your barndominium is located in a more rural location far enough away so that it can not connect to municipal water and sewer lines, you’ll need to install a well for a water supply and a septic system for waste disposal. This process is the same all across the US. However, Arizona has its own specific regulations regarding the design and installation of these systems, including obtaining permits and complying with setback requirements. Consulting with local experts and licensed contractors experienced in well and septic system installations is crucial to meeting these requirements. It’s not a project that you would want to take on over the weekend with a single buddy; this installation is going to take skilled workers who are well-versed in the legal requirements as well as the installation process. If you mess up the installation of the septic system it will most likely end up costing you twice the original cost just to correct and re-install it properly. It pays off, in the long run, to work with professionals on short-term projects that they specifically specialize in.

Utilities and Infrastructure

Ensuring your barndominium is connected to essential utilities such as water, electricity, and sewage systems can be a breeze or a huge headache. Depending on your location, you may need to consider alternative options like well water, solar panels, or septic systems. Discuss these details with professionals to find the most suitable and cost-effective solutions for your specific needs. A professional is going to be able to come out to your site, do some preliminary measurements, check the lay of the earth, and maybe even do a “perk test” where a hole is dug to ensure there will be no environmental risks to digging and placing a septic or well in that exact location. 

Consider incorporating energy-efficient features and universal design principles into your barndominium. Arizona’s hot climate makes energy-efficient insulation, HVAC systems, and windows crucial for maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures and reducing utility costs. Additionally, ensuring accessibility features for individuals with disabilities will contribute to the overall functionality and inclusivity of your barndominium.

Arizona’s unique climate offers tons of opportunities for outdoor living spaces. Design your surroundings to compliment the barndominium’s architecture and style. Try to maximize the use of your barndominium’s outdoor infrastructure by incorporating features like patios, decks, swing sets, gazebos, picnic tables, pool houses, docks, or even an actual in-ground pool, creating an inviting atmosphere to entertain guests or relax and enjoy the beautiful Arizona landscape in bliss & solitude.

black barndominium shophouse with 3 car garage and wraparound porch with flowers lining the porch

Maintenance and Long-Term Care

Once your barndominium is complete, ensure you have a plan for ongoing maintenance. Regular inspections, repairs, and upkeep will help preserve your investment. Consider factors such as weatherproofing, sealing, and periodic maintenance of metal components to ensure the longevity and aesthetic appeal of your barndominium for years to come. Don’t forget to take plenty of pictures of the entire build process and document it thoroughly; these pictures could really come in handy later on for a number of reasons, but mostly just to document the progress. 

Building a barndominium in Arizona offers a unique opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind living space that perfectly balances functionality, charm, and the beauty of its surroundings. By considering the various aspects discussed in this comprehensive guide above, you can navigate the process of building in Arizona with a bit more confidence than before and ultimately realize your dream of owning a stunning barndominium in the picturesque Arizona landscape. With some careful planning, collaboration with professionals, and attention to detail, you’ll soon be enjoying the Arizona sunshine in and around your freshly built barndominium.

Brianna Euler
Brianna Euler
From a young age, Brianna has had an interest in reading, writing, and nature. When she isn't researching or writing for her own enjoyment, she enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with her two dogs.
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We are super excited with results and service. Tony offered really helpful suggestions. Our dream build was pretty complicated but he and his designer were able to meet our needs.

James B

Recent Client