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Outbuildings are structures on a property that are not physically connected to the main structure or house. The outbuilding may be as simple in design as a small shed or as complex as a pool house with its own electrical, plumbing and HVAC system. Typical examples of outbuildings are:

  • Detached Garage
  • Detached Carport
  • Storage Shed
  • Smokehouse
  • Root Cellar
  • Barn
  • Pool House
  • Boat House
  • Outhouse
  • Apartment/In-Law’s Residence

Generally, the structural standards for simple uninhabited outbuildings are often below that of the primary dwellings because they usually serve limited purposes (e.g. storage). However, as the size increases or the intended purpose more closely resembles that of an inhabitable building, the standards applied to the structure also usually increase.

Common Concerns

Problems found in primary dwellings are also found in outbuildings. However, problems that are commonly encountered with outbuildings include:

  • Deteriorated siding, framing, roofing and trim;
  • Broken windows
  • Inadequate roof or wall framing;
  • Insufficient or damaged foundation;
  • Water penetration; and
  • Structural movement

Such problems are usually associated with lack of maintenance and/or substandard construction. The greatest reason for maintenance-related problems in outbuildings is the attitude “out of sight, out of mind.” Two common reasons for construction-related problems are: 1) the outbuilding is not being used for its intended purpose; and 2) poor design and workmanship of the outbuilding. The extent and scope of corrective actions will vary depending on the scope of the defect and the size and intended use of the structure.