Asked by Paul Schmidt from Reno, Nevada
My local building department requires that the plans be approved by a structural engineer and be stamped, are your plans stamped?
Also, they require fire resistant materials on the siding. Do you have any recommendations?
No, our plans are not stamped by an engineer, even if they were they would likely need to be re-stamped by an engineer that is local to you.
For most places this is not a problem because most areas do not require an engineer stamp. The closer you get to city’s especially those that have lots of regulations the more likely your area will have requirements like these.
Our plans are very basic and follow some basic structural guidelines and principles that have been tried and tested for thousands of years. They do not require an Engineer’s evaluation. It is like asking a Nasa rocket scientist to make sure your new bicycle will work. You will end up spending thousands of dollars and in the end be afraid to ride it.
So, what do you do then?
Well, the best thing I can suggest is to take your plans to your local building inspector, have them look at them. Once he or she sees them and sees how simple they are they will most likely allow you to build it without the engineer stamp.
If not, then I’m sorry you have no freedom left in your area.
As far as fire resistant siding, of course the best is brick, but there is also a cement fiber board that looks like wood and can be painted. You should be able to find it at your local lumber yard.
I’m surprised they require fire resistant siding, are there a lot of wild fires in Reno?
Why couldn’t I take your plan to an engineer who knows our county engineering requirements, have them add to the plan and then submit for permits?
Yes, you can present the plans to an engineer to get a stamp. Use caution though, I have found that about 50% of engineers will want to redesign the barn, adding a large amount of unnecessary cost to your project. It is unfortunate, but those who do this are more concerned with their own goals than they are with your project goals.
I have encountered 2 kinds of engineers though. Usually those who have more experience that are close to, or past retirement are much better to work with and don’t have something to prove.
Keep in mind our kits are priced according to our designs, if an engineer changes the design, the costs of the kit will likely increase.
I would recommend finding an engineer that is either semi retired, or is recommended by a mutual friend. I would also warn against using any engineer that the building dept. recommends. There are usually relationships there that involve a close circle of builder-engineer-building inspector and they all look out for each others interest, and that rarely aligns with a home owners goals.