Backyard shed house with hangout area.

Do You Need a Permit to Build a Shed House?

Shed houses have become all the rage in custom home building over recent years. This is largely due to the fact that building a residential structure has become extraordinarily expensive and time-consuming. As a result of the pandemic, there is a major shortage in labor and resources (specifically timber and steel), leading to a decreased inclination for custom home development. 

As it stands, aspiring homeowners have to face longer-than-usual construction periods and wait-times for materials – and all of this comes at a premium due to the scarcity of workers and resources. Many of these individuals are thinking to themselves: I don’t need much square-footage anyways, what if I convert a sizable shed into a living space? 

Opting for less square footage also helps save on steep property taxes in certain regions. In fact, a shed house is a cost-saver in many regards: It relies on fewer utilities, making for a more sustainable and low-cost lifestyle. However, it’s not without its caveats, the first of which includes the zoning and permitting requirements for said shed houses.

Permitting Process for Shed Homes

In order to ensure that your tiny shed home is built in accordance with local ordinances, you must request a building plan from a certified engineer that is familiar with local building regulations. Some municipalities do not allow tiny homes, going as far as to mandate a minimum square footage for new constructions that must be in line with their local zoning code books. 

So, always check to make sure that you can get by with the minimum square footage that your county or city is requiring. Portable storage building manufacturers like Keen’s Buildings offer two-story or double-wide onsite built sheds as large as 24×30 – that’s a 720 square foot structure. 

If you can meet minimum square footage requirements while maintaining a shed structure, make sure that there aren’t any further restrictions present on your property that would affect placement, such as the size of the lot itself. Various counties have different requirements for setback lines. Setback lines mark the minimum distance that a structure should maintain from the property line, road, etc. The average minimum setback is usually about 15 feet, but this can vary widely.

Your new shed can be blocked and anchored just like a traditional mobile home to save time and expense. Or, you can pour concrete foundation per the engineer specifications with footers and piers required. Remember that what keeps a shed house affordable is not only the smaller square footage, but the speed of project completion.

Should I Go New or Pre-Built?

Going with prefabricated shed home plans that are already approved as habitable structures is the best way to ensure your project is up-to-code. Trying to convert your existing shed into a permitted habitable unit is rarely worth the time or money it would take as far as health department upgrades, wind load requirements, and fire codes. For example, standard sheds intended for storage don’t always have the door and window configurations required for fire safety. 

If you opt for a brand new shed house from Keen’s Buildings, it only takes 3-4 days to construct the exterior after foundation is chosen and completed. This includes weatherproofing and wind loading, with most of our structures able to withstand gusts of up to 160 mph. When the completed structure is delivered, most items are already pre-cut to size and trusses are already built for consistency and quality.

Shed House Configurations

Shed homes can be ordered with or without porches, and they are also offered in different exterior custom colors. Door, window, and roofing upgrades are available to enhance the durability of your shed house by making it more weather-resistant, soundproofed, and insulated

The other important item to remember with tiny shed homes is your overall cost. While you may take out a land loan for the lot purchased on which to place your shed, you won’t have a mortgage loan. Tiny shed houses can be financed with no collateral as long as your credit is approved, which makes this option very attractive for prospective home buyers. 

Two-story shed homes are the most popular configuration for space, offering a smaller footprint with the same square footage. The most popular sizes to consider are 14×20, 14×24, 16×20, and 16×24. If you purchase a two-story shed home from us, you can rest assured that it is wind loaded and expert engineered, as well as built in accordance with local building and zoning regulations for the Florida and Georgia regions. 

There are also no limitations with regards to height. Tiny homes on wheels have to have clearance for bridges when being hauled to your property, and they are also limited to the width of the road, which can cause you to settle sometimes for a structure that is too narrow. Meanwhile, our construction will take place onsite and be adapted to the constraints of your lot. 

Stability is also a key factor. Since our onsite built structures are made of a heavy-duty yellow pine wood and our exteriors consist of LP smart siding, you can be sure that superior materials are used for longevity. After we complete your shell, it’s up to you as the homeowner to finish off the inside with your choice of appliances, wall covering, interior walls, electrical needs, etc. 

Our standard tiny home only costs approximately $65 per square foot. Once it has been ordered, we can typically mobilize and complete your dream shed house in 45 days with no underlying concerns.