Short answer: YES! Pole barns make great detached accessory dwelling units (ADUs). There are, however, a few considerations to take into account before you start to build a detached ADU on your property.
What is an accessory dwelling unit?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand what is considered an accessory dwelling unit. Per the American Planning Association, “An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a smaller, independent residential dwelling unit located on the same lot as a stand-alone (i.e., detached) single-family home.”
If you’ve never heard of an ADU, you’ve probably heard of mother-in-law apartments, granny flats, backyard bungalows, secondary dwelling units, or guest suites. Many of these types of alternative dwelling units are ADUs.
Detached Accessory Dwelling Units vs Attached ADUs vs Internal ADUs
While there are many different styles of ADUs that are known by many different names, there are three main types of accessory dwelling units: detached, attached and internal.
Detached accessory dwelling units are stand-alone living structures that are separate from the main home on the property. Often called mother-in-law suites or backyard accessory dwelling units, this type of ADU can be quickly and affordably constructed with a custom pole barn build.
Before expanding on pole barn ADUs, we’ll quickly go over the other two types of units.
Attached accessory dwelling units are just that – attached. While attached ADUs are most often added on to the existing structure of the main home via a first-floor addition, existing garage ADUs and above-garage apartment additions make use of an existing attached garage. Attached ADUs may or may not have a separate entrance from the main part of the house.
Internal accessory dwelling units are created in a portion of the existing home. These units can include part or all of an entire floor of the home, the basement or the attic, so long as they are built or renovated to provide a separate residence. Upper-level ADUs and basement apartments are often built with private entrances via exterior stairs.
Building a Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit
If you’re looking to build a mother-in-law apartment for older family members, want to generate extra income by renting out a backyard bungalow on Airbnb or help cover your mortgage with long-term tenants in a detached apartment, a pole barn is a quick, affordable and easy to maintain option.
Pole Barn ADU Cost
Also known as barndominiums, custom pole barn residences are a cost-effective way to build simple, open-concept living spaces without the cost of traditional foundations or stick framing. While a stick framed home typically costs $100 – $200 per square foot to build, pole barns cost $40 – $55 per square foot on average, thanks to their post frame construction.
While this price range only accounts for the building’s warm shell (exterior), concrete floors and a variety of accessories, the most expensive part of building a detached accessory dwelling unit is the framing. Post frame construction can save you a significant amount of money, particularly if you are able to complete all or some of the interior finishes on your own.
Local Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinances
One of the biggest factors in deciding on whether a pole barn accessory dwelling unit is right for you is what type of living units your state, local ordinances, city building codes and homeowners association (HOA) allow on your property.
For example, accessory dwelling units in Utah are legal; however, the ability to build one on your property depends on a number of state and local factors. Thankfully, due to the state experiencing the fastest-growing population in the country and housing prices reaching historic heights, Utah lawmakers are working to make ADUs more accessible to families across the state.
In Salt Lake City, there are numerous residential zones that permit ADUs, more that permit conditional use – yet still more that do not allow ADUs. And while the city provides a fairly comprehensive guide to building an ADU in Salt Lake County, it’s important to check with your local building department to make sure your property and your plans meet all of the necessary requirements before starting to plan you pole barn ADU build.
Likewise, many HOAs have their own rules and requirements when it comes to ADUs.
Build Your Pole Barn ADU
Building a pole barn accessory dwelling unit on your property can provide a whole host of financial and familial benefits. As one of the top pole barn builders in Utah, Beehive Buildings help homeowners add value to their properties through custom pole barns that meet their needs. If you’re curious about adding a pole barn ADU to your property, please contact us with your questions or for a free quote.