How do I go about talking to my building department about the legality of this? Are you guys building these under agriculture? Can I contruct this into a house? Location Ogemaw county Michigan. Also what size beams should I saw up to let dry ahead of time or does size depend on the structure size and type?

 A lot of this really depends on your Building Department. Most people get permits without a problem just from the standard plans. Some have to go through a little extra effort like getting an engineer stamp. Some building officials don’t understand Timber Framing, and instead of educating themselves they just default to “get an engineer stamp”
Your best bet, is to email the boss. You want to go right to the highest ranking person in the department you can find, or the most experienced. Not necessarily the same person.
This person is much more likely to understand heavy timber construction and will be comfortable and confident that they can inspect your barn and pass it without trouble.
Most problems with building departments come from a lack of understanding. You can help them understand a little better by sending them to our website. BarnGeek.com.
Most of the beams in our barns are 6×6, 6×8, and 6×10. Basically what I would do is just square up your logs leaving at least and inch of overage all the way around. So 7×7, 7×9, or 7×11. This will give you room to take out most movement or shrinkage in the timber.
On the question of Agricultural. Yes, you can build these under the Michigan Ag exemption.
The state law says that it must be “incidental to Agriculture” If you want to go this route, just make sure that you can prove that this is what the barn is for. I know that some farmers in Michigan have gone so far as to use the ag exemption to build housing for migrant workers, because that is “incidental to agriculture”.
In my opinion, that should also apply to the farmers housing, since the farmer is the most incidental to agriculture on that farm.
Of course, you should use this at your own risk. Legal disclaimer, I am not a lawyer and this should not be taken as legal advice.
You are not required to notify or apply with the building department, if you are using the AG exemption. A lot of counties want you to fill out an “exemption form” There is no provision that I have found in the State Code for an exemption form. Again Not Legal Advice.
Can you construct this into a house? In short, yes. Many people have, my sister Calley Currier and her husband are doing that as we speak. You can see their project on their Youtube Channel, and her posts on this page. https://www.youtube.com/@beelinecreative_cc

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