Building a garden home: The rules and regulations to be aware of

One of the great things about metal building construction projects is how versatile they can be. They can be used for agricultural, residential, commercial or industrial purposes. However, just because they can be used for a variety of different functions, it doesn’t mean your chosen location is zoned accordingly.

There are so many different factors to be considered when it comes to building a garden home out of metal materials such as where you will source your materials, insulation options and ultimately the location you intend to build it. To avoid common mistakes, you need to be aware of the rules and regulations.

In most cases, for a building that is larger than a basic steel storage shed, you’ll need to have a building permit signed off, which you can obtain from your local governing agency. Bear in mind, this will only be approved on certified construction blueprints.

Once this is in place, you may think you’re ready to start building – think again!

Firstly, check zoning regulations

Zoning regulations are set by your local governing agency, put in place to keep general “uniformity of appearance” in different areas. For example, a section of a town that’s been zoned for commercial business will have different building regulations and requirements compared to residential sites.

Set up an appointment with your local building official to find out whether or not your desired metal garden home is appropriate for the zoning restrictions, and to get a heads up on buildings codes and regulations you may not have considered before. The sooner you do this the better – failure to do so will cost you money.

Do not construct your building illegally

If the zoning is not adequate for your needs, don’t just go ahead with work. Instead, you might be able to modify your plans in order to meet the zoning requirements or make exceptions to the zoning restrictions.

It’s a good idea to communicate with the neighbours to try and gain their approval as their voices will be a huge part of the zoning board.

You can also check your local zoning ordinances via:

  • The Internet
  • Contacting your government representative
  • Calling your town representative

Ask if your property is zoned for the metal building and if you feel that the zoning is blocking your construction unreasonably, you can request a hearing, although this will take some time.

Obtaining metal building permits

If your plans comply with the local zoning ordinance, you can now apply for a building permit. But be aware there could be a fee attached for processing your application. During the process, your local governing agency will want to evaluate multiple factors such as:

  • Height
  • Width
  • Square footage
  • Building materials
  • Electricals

The bigger the building you’re constructing and the more people will be working on it and so the stricter your building regulations will be. On the other hand, if your garden home is small enough, you may not need a permit, so just be sure to confirm this.

Before construction begins have your utility lines and pipes marked before you start cutting gas or electrical lines near your neighbours, which could cause serious accidents.

If you build without a permit, you may be required to pull the building down. Other problems will also crop up if you don’t get the correct permits such as safety issues from not using a professional contractor, lack of proper equipment or if the structure fails.

Your neighbours might complain, in fact they may do a lot more if they really dislike your building, so for whatever reason you’re building – whether it’s a for a home office, an extra living room or man cave, make you dot the ‘I’s and cross all the T’s’ ahead of time, follow all the rules and you’ll have no problems.