You Can’t Build a Post Frame Building Here

Author’s Note: This is part 5 of a series of blogs written from a 6500+ motorcycle trip from WA to Ohio and back.  See Blog from Oct. 15th for the beginning…and hang on for the ride!

Still in Wisconsin and I get into a discussion with a former builder. He tries to tell me the City of X will not allow pole buildings to be constructed within the city limits.

Welcome to WisconsinI reserve the right to not disclose the name of the city, as this is the not the first time it has happened – in states other than Wisconsin.  It doesn’t happen often, but when it does…I am all over this one!

Now this happens to be one of my favorite subjects.  If I believed in past lives, maybe I was an attorney in one of them, because I get all too excited about the prospect of winning this argument.

Here is the basic Email I have used to sway Planning Departments (anyone is welcome to borrow this – or contact me and I will fight your battle):

“Post frame (pole) buildings are Code conforming buildings and the methodology for their structural design is outlined and/or referenced in every edition of the International Building Codes.

It is within the legal scope of a Planning Department or Commission (after following whatever processes are in place for public notifications, etc.) to be able to place limitations on the size of structures, their placement on a given property, as well as the appearance (e.g. restrictions on type and or color of siding and roofing materials). Any appearance restrictions must be applied uniformly to any Code conforming structural system.

In order to legally preclude the use of post frame construction (or of any other Code conforming structural system), the onus would be upon the jurisdiction to somehow prove their structural inadequacy. It would be both arbitrary and capricious to deny the utilization of post frame construction, which could easily leave open the door to a plethora of probably indefensible lawsuits – resulting in undue costs to the jurisdiction, as well as the taxpayers.

While I am not an attorney, nor profess to offer legal advice, I have been involved in similar circumstances with other jurisdictions, each of which has made the determination to NOT LIMIT the use of post frame buildings as a structural system. I would encourage the same decision in your jurisdiction.”

I first innocently emailed the City of X Building & Zoning Administrator:

“What restrictions would be placed upon post frame construction within the City?”

 I have to admit, I was almost saddened when the response was:

 It must meet all standards of the Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code”.

In the end, a win for post frame counts as one in the “W” column, no matter how it was done.

4 thoughts on “You Can’t Build a Post Frame Building Here

  1. I am going through the same situation right now in Genoa city WI can could greatly use some assistance before hiring an attorney. I do not quite understand the ending to this article. Do post frames comply with Wisconsin uniform dwelling code or not?
    Currently my building and zoning commissioner says that under 310.8 they are not an accessory structure per the definition of one. But I told him further down on page 24 it defines like building and says it is permitted provided it meets Wisconsin uniform dwelling code and is sided in high quality finish.

  2. I was looking for information on this and can’t seem to find anything anywhere.

    When taking down a useless 1 car garage and replacing it with a new one…
    Can you attach a pole structure garage to an existing stick built home?
    Can you attach a metal frame building to an existing stick built home?


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