Tag Archives: barndominiums

How a Realtor Can Participate With Post-frame Barndominiums

Reader (and Realtor) JIM in NEW PALISTINE writes:

“How can I participate in the post-frame industry as a Realtor?   How do people develop their custom residential interior designs?   How are residential pole barn projects coordinated A-Z?

Okay, that was three.  Can you help me, please?”


Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

Post frame construction generally flies ‘under the radar’ as a design solution. Few people realize our industry is a multi-billion dollar a year one just in our country. Post frame offers affordable and unique design solutions for virtually any low rise building. Low rise being defined as up to and including three stories above grade with a maximum of 40 foot sidewalls (add a floor and 10 feet if equipped with fire suppression sprinklers). Modern fully engineered post frame buildings have moved off farms and are seen everywhere (often without people realizing they are post frame). Commercial buildings, strip malls, retail establishments, restaurants, fire houses, schools, churches and yes homes are all being designed and built as post frame.

How to best participate? Become an expert and let people know you are one – put it on your website, business cards, any promotional literature or videos. Residential post frame construction is evolving rapidly as people want to leave cities and flee to low tax, less governmental intervention regions of our nation – bringing forth a rise in what are affectionately known as barndominiums. Post frame homes are most often steel sided and roofed as this presents your most cost effective and durable option. However any types of siding and roofing may be utilized. Be on your lookout for rural properties where people can build on anything from a large lot to multiple acres, as there are plenty of folks looking for these parcels.

Post frame homes are less expensive to erect than stick frame, primarily due to foundation savings. For those willing and able to DIY some or all, these savings multiply. Having clients with a realistic expectation of investment certainly is a starting point: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/07/how-much-will-my-barndominium-cost/

Before getting crazy over floor plans is where you play a huge part: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/08/a-place-for-a-post-frame-barndominium/

Done right, barndominium interior designs begin with clients doing a bit of homework on their own to determine what spaces best meet with their needs as well as how big those spaces should be https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/09/room-in-a-barndominium/ and 

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/09/the-first-tool-to-construct-your-own-barndominium/.

Only after land has been acquired and homework done, should floor plans be developed: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/post-frame-floor-plans/?fbclid=IwAR2ta5IFSxrltv5eAyBVmg-JUsoPfy9hbWtP86svOTPfG1q5pGmfhA7yd5Q

Processes for residential pole barns projects follow an identical path to stick frame, they just have building shells more quickly assembled.

To best participate, I would recommend you try to team with a General Contractor (or more than one) who is willing to embrace post frame construction as well as to work with clients who want to do some DIY work.

Arnold Puts Moratorium on Barndominiums

Arnold puts moratorium on ‘barndominiums’

This article by Tony Krausz appeared in the Jefferson County, MO “Leader” October 25, 2020

An example of a barndominium.

The city of Arnold has temporarily prohibited the construction of “barndominiums,” which typically are metal barn-like structures that include living quarters.

City Council members voted 5-0 last month to place a six-month moratorium on building barndominiums inside the Arnold city limits. Ward 1 Councilman Jason Fulbright and Ward 2 Councilman Brian McArthur were absent from the meeting.

The moratorium says no building permits will be issued for the construction of pole buildings, metal-clad buildings and buildings clad with other construction material inconsistent with that of residential development within the city of Arnold, if those structures are intended to be used for residential dwellings.

Twice since March, people have reached out to the city inquiring about building a barn-like structure in Arnold to use as a house, said David Bookless, the city’s Community Development Director.

Currently, the city’s codes do not allow for barndominiums, so during the moratorium, city staff and officials will look at building codes to determine how and where the structures could be built in the city.

“It doesn’t have to take six months,” Community Development Director David Bookless said. “If the Planning Commission figures it out in two months, we are golden, or, if we get to six months and it is a bigger animal than we thought, it could be extended.”

One of the main code violations related to barndominiums is no step up between the living area and the barn or garage area of the structure, Bookless said.

He also told City Council members there are fire risks related to the unique residential structures, as well as risks for the structures to be damaged by seismic or high-wind events.

“We just want to be sure that if any of these come to Arnold that No. 1, they are structurally safe, and No. 2, they are going to be made out of materials and look consistent with the kind of single-family housing that we have in the city,” said Bryan Richison, the city administrator. “That is the whole point.”

During a presentation at a council work session in September, Bookless said barndominiums typically are found in rural areas on large-acre lots.

He said it is possible for someone who wants to construct one in Arnold to spend the extra money needed to meet the city’s buildings codes, which would pave the way for the barn-like homes to be built anywhere in the city.

“Right now, we don’t have design guidance that would stop somebody from building something in a neighborhood that is out of character or context with what is around it,” Bookless said. “If you are in a residential subdivision and there are four models of houses that are typical of a suburb and one house is a pole barn, is that appropriate? That is the type of thing the Planning Commission will discuss.”

Bookless said it is doubtful someone wanting to build a barndominium would want to spend the extra money on construction because part of the appeal is the less expensive construction.

A typical house costs about $115 per square foot to build, while a barndominium costs about $100 per square foot to build, according to the website BarndominiumLife.com.

Bookless said Planning Commission members and city staff will work with city attorney Bob Sweeney to draft an ordinance adjusting codes that would allow the structure to be built in Arnold and will present that to the council.

“There are other communities that have different types of guidelines in place for the design of buildings in commercial and residential areas that have been challenged in court and withstood those challenges,” Bookless said. “We will make sure we utilize the lessons learned from other communities.”

Pole Barn Guru’s comments:

This community has actually not banned barndominiums or post frame homes. Jurisdictional Planning Departments have every right to limit exterior cladding materials and even colors, just not Code compliant structural systems. 


Unless Arnold has enacted a local provision contrary to IRC (International Residential Code), there is no requirement for a step between a garage and a living area – indeed, such a barrier would pose an undue restriction for those who are mobility challenged.

A post frame home fully engineered for R-3 (residential) occupancy would pose less of a risk against extreme climatic conditions than would structures prescriptively constructed under IRC code and a steel exterior skin will be far less likely to be a fire risk than would be vinyl or wood sidings.