Are Two Stories the Solution?
Another great question from a reader, which requires a lengthy answer.
DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I was wondering if it possible two have a 2-story structure with 2 garages + some storage on the ground floor and a small office with bath and small kitchen on the 2nd floor (in the 24+ x 24+ size range)? BRETT in SUSSEX
DEAR BRETT: It is very possible. There will be some considerations for two story pole buildings.
First stop is to chat with your local Planning Department to insure you can place a building of this footprint, as well as height on your property. In many urban and suburban areas there are height restrictions which could very well dictate. The Planning Department will also tell you if your use of the building is allowable within the zoning for your neighborhood.
Now the practical considerations.
A 24 foot square garage is going to pretty well be used up by two vehicles. I know – as I have a 22 x 24 post frame garage and there is just really no room left for any sort of storage. Provided you have the space in your yard and the square footage is allowable by the Planning Department, you may want to consider sizes such as 24 x 30 or even 30 feet square. Remember, so much of your cost is you have even decided to put up a building. Once you have made the decision, put up the largest building you can economically afford and fit on your property.
Going to multiple stories will be more expensive than building the same amount of finished square footage on a single level. It is going to entail having to have a one-hour fire separation between the levels.
Stairs…..if they are inside, it is going to severely reduce the usable footprint of the garage/parking area. Plus, the stairwell will need to be fire separated from the garage area including the need for a fire rated entry door. Outside stairs might very well be the answer, however they are going to be exposed to the weather unless provisions are made for a roof over them.
Accessibility also might eventually come into play. Age and/or the unexpected have a way of making stairs problematic – again making the all on a single level a potentially attractive solution.
Mike the Pole Barn Guru