Do home inspectors inspect barns and other agricultural buildings on a farm?
Saturday, June 23, 2018
Home inspectors are trained in evaluating houses based on residential building standards and codes. But, here’s the catch: barns and agricultural buildings are exempt from the Florida Building Code. Florida Statue [553.73(10)(c)] states that “nonresidential farm buildings on farms” are exempt from compliance with the building code. That includes horse stables, which we are occasionally asked to inspect in conjunction with a residence on the property.
So, if you throw all the building codes out the window, what do you have? Not much. Plus, while a home inspector can evaluate the condition of the structure, along with any electrical and water service systems, most inspectors like us are not qualified to determine whether the building is adequate for its intended agricultural use.
Some inspectors will do barns, and some won’t. We accept requests to examine the outbuildings on an agricultural property, but try to make our customers aware of the limitations of our inspection.
If any part of the barn is used as a residence, such as a small loft apartment, the agricultural exemption from building code requirements is lost. Also, some jurisdictions will not allow even a bathroom or septic tank at a barn with an agricultural exemption.
For info on what to check in a rural property, see our blog posts What problems should I look for when buying a country house or rural property? and Are there any minimum inspection standards that a Florida licensed home inspector must meet?
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