Oregon Agricultural Exemption

Personally, I am no fan of having buildings exempted from structural plan reviews. As most of the agricultural exemption buildings tend to be pole buildings, some of them are prone to being under designed, under built, and subsequently fall down – which does not cast a fair light on the providers of pole buildings (such as Hansen Buildings) who do not cut corners.

As I spent a decade providing post frame buildings in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, often it felt like almost everyone was using the Agricultural Exemption – or trying to.

The Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 455.315(1) & (2) clarified what is and is not an exempt building.

The agricultural exemption is only from the Oregon Structural Specialty Code (Oregon’s version of the International Building Code). Any electrical, plumbing or mechanical work is subject to permit and must comply with the respective specialty code provisions.

The building official is not authorized to determine what constitutes a “farm” as applied in ORS 455.315(2). The determination for what constitutes a farm is vested with the local jurisdiction’s planning department in conjunction with adopted zoning ordinances.

In Oregon an “agricultural building” is defined as a structure located on a farm and used in operation of the farm for one of the following:

Storage, maintenance or repair of farm machinery and equipment.

The raising, harvesting and selling of crops.

The feeding, breeding, management and sale of, or the produce of, livestock, poultry, fur-bearing animals or honeybees.

Dairying and the sale of dairy products.

Horse BarnAny other agricultural or horticultural use or animal husbandry, or any combination thereof, including the preparation and storage of the produce raised on the farm for human use and animal use and disposal by marketing or otherwise.

An “agricultural building” is not any of the following:

A dwelling.

A structure used for a purpose other than growing plants in which ten or more persons are present at any one time.

A structure regulated by the State Fire Marshall.

A structure used by the public.

A structure subject to sections 4001 to 4127, title 42, United States Code (the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968).

If you are considering constructing a pole building in Oregon which you feel might fall under the agricultural exemption, be safe, rather than sorry.  Contact your local permit issuing authority and get permission first, rather than having to ask for forgiveness later.

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