Permit Predicament: Building a Pole Barn Without Proper Paperwork


Well-known member
Aug 26, 2023
So, there's this interesting problem I found on Reddit. Basically, someone wants to build a pole barn, but the contractor they hired hasn't received the permit yet. Both the homeowner and the contractor know about this, and the contractor even asked for the job in writing without the permit. Now, the homeowner is asking for advice on what they should do. They're worried about getting into trouble because they found out even simple structures like pole barns need permits. The contractor says they'll get the permit soon, but the homeowner's not sure what to do with the risks involved. What would you do in this situation?
United States


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Well, considering that not obtaining the required permits, could result in you facing legal and financial risks at some point. You need to make sure you are able to obtain the required permits before any work is to begin. If you do file the required permits, it protects you from the likes of fines and legal issues, as well, it ensures that the work that is done, is done so in compliance with your local building codes and regulations. The sole intent of this is to ensure the utmost safety and standardization of the process.

If a contractor is okay with going without a permit, it's still recommended that you insist otherwise by obtaining said permit before any projects are started. It also wouldn't hurt to consult a building inspector or even a legal advisor who can provide more clarity on what is required and what could go wrong if you don't file a permit before any work is done.

Stay safe, get permits when required, and follow the rules and all should be good.
Pole barns are pretty standard. I haven't heard of a single person being denied a permit in my area over such a structure, but then again, we are zoned for farming. If it's a seasoned contractor who has shown me proof of the paperwork, I'd probably go ahead and let him start, with the caveat that the builder would be assuming the risk should the permit be denied. I also wouldn't pay the final amount until the permit was approved, since I'd be afraid that he'd be more difficult to contact once he's paid off. I doubt many contractors would agree to those terms, though.