Tag Archives: Planning Department regulations

Acquiring a Building Permit

Unless one has grown up on a foreign planet, they are probably familiar with Hertz® Rent-A-Car. My lovely bride and I rent lots of cars (usually for about 50% of the year), so we are intimately familiar with Hertz. Hertz is not only #1, they also are nearly everywhere on the face of the Earth.

One would think, regardless of the Hertz location, they would have this entire car renting thing down to an exact science. Maybe in most parts of the United States but not in locales such as Quito, Ecuador.

Hertz is the main international car rental agency in Quito (Ecuador’s capital with a population of nearly three million and over 9,000 feet above sea level). One can book online with Hertz and even prepay, however it is going to be expensive as well as more complicated than buying a house.

Among the ridiculous list of documents which will needed to be provided to rent from Hertz in Quito are (but not limited to): Passport, Valid Driving License, International driving permit, an exact replica of your credit card modelled out of indigenous mud and a photograph of your maternal grandmother eating an arepa. (Ok, I’m stretching it a bit).

Obviously most of us do not carry with us more than two or three of the above items, so we are rejected for renting a car from Hertz.

There are times when surviving the Planning and Building permit process for a new pole building can feel the same way – like we never have all of the right documentation.

Well, more and more county and city governments are trying to speed up the permitting process. Some have instituted online systems for applying, paying and checking on the status of your rental..

I’m hopeful these new technologies and processes will soon make their way to the entire country. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, there are ways to speed up the building permit process.

In the event you are considering building anything, and have not been in contact with your Planning Department, please do this now (it seriously will make your life so much easier):


Once through the gauntlet of Planning (Kind of like waiting in line at the Hertz counter), it’s on to the Building Department to verify Code and Load information:


With the above accomplished, it is time for serious business.

Building Department ChecklistMost jurisdictions will provide a checklist of items with which you must comply. Take the list and check it twice, because they will think you are naughty and not nice if the complete package of required information is not provided at time of submittal.

Meet with the staff to discuss your project at the earliest possible point.

Take advantage of any pre-submittal process (or pre-planning conference). In this meeting input is provided by all staff involved in the review process. Much better to find out about having to pour sidewalks, install a fire hydrant, or any other possible surprises early in the game.

Any chance of complex environmental issues? Schedule a meeting with the jurisdiction’s land use biologist or similar official.

Take advantage of any simultaneous review processes where site plan, environmental permit and building permit reviews take place concurrently.

Respond to staff building permit review comments in a timely manner. Always request comments to be specific and made in writing – and pass along the written list to your pole building provider, so they can share it with their engineers.

With some patience, the building permit acquisition process can be far easier than Hertz in Quito!

Dear Pole Barn Guru: How Do I Keep My Pole Barn Roof Square?

Welcome to Ask the Pole Barn Guru – where you can ask questions about building topics, with answers posted on Mondays.  With many questions to answer, please be patient to watch for yours to come up on a future Monday segment.  If you want a quick answer, please be sure to answer with a “reply-able” email address.

Email all questions to: PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Does Hansen have a referral program (existing customer to new customer) at all? COOLING IT IN COLORADO

DEAR COOLING: Certainly. In order to qualify, the referring person must be the purchaser of a complete Hansen Pole Buildings kit package. The referral person must not already be in our data base.

Currently, once the referred person has ordered their complete Hansen Pole Buildings kit package, and paid in full, they will receive a $100 discount (thanks to you) and you will receive a check for $100 as well.

We reward our previous purchasers for being loyal customers, and their friends, for becoming our friends as well.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Thanks for all of your information. I am a carpenter but it would be much easier for me and time saving if you have some limited prints that i could assemble the building. NOT ILL IN ILLINOIS

DEAR ILL: Unlike most suppliers of pole building kits, Hansen Pole Buildings does not just dump a pile of materials upon your doorstep and say, “Good luck”! Every complete post frame building kit package comes with two sets of completely detailed plans which show where every board and piece of steel on the building are installed.

Here is an example: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/sample-plans.htm

You also get our 400+ page Construction Guide, which gives step-by-step instructions, details and photos.

Keep in mind these buildings are designed for the average Do-It-Yourselfer to successfully craft a beautiful new building. For more on this subject: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2013/02/pole-buildings-3/

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am squaring my roof and am able to pull it to square but I can’t pull it far enough beyond square so that when I release it the roof stays square.  It wants to return to being 1.5″ out of square.

My thought is to permanently install a steel cable to hold the roof square during, and after, installing the roof steel.


 DEAR KING: You are finding one of the miracles of pole building construction, it doesn’t take much to move the roof around, when it is framed only.

Once you have the roof pulled to square, leave the cables, ropes, braces, etc., in place, until after the steel is installed on the roof. You can then remove everything you used on a temporary basis to get the roof square in place, as the roof steel will hold it.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m about to build a pole barn storage shed for my lawn and garden tools. Do I need a building permit for such a small building? FLUMOXED IN FLORIDA

DEAR FLUMOXED: Great question. There’s a common misconception building permits are only required for sheds larger than some arbitrary size. Do not just guess – contact your local Planning and Building Department. They can provide you with information to adequately determine if your proposed building requires a permit.

There are several very good reasons why a permit may be required, even for a relatively small (or at least by your assessment) building.

The Building Department will want to make sure the shed is built to code so it won’t sink into the ground, suffer a catastrophic roof collapse, or be blown over by a strong wind. (Go ahead and laugh, but all three incidents occur all the time.) Code compliant structures must be able to withstand wind, snow and seismic loads.

The Planning Department will need to approve the proposed building site to ensure it isn’t encroaching into wetlands, sitting over a septic system or straddling a property line.

If you build any structure on your property without first obtaining a building permit, you may end up having to move the structure, or even take it down completely.  Asking first can save a huge headache (and expense)