Building an outdoor playhouse can be very rewarding for both you and your child, especially when the playhouse is finished.  You get the satisfaction of completing an awesome structure and it’ll be a playhouse that your child will absolutely love and be able to play in for many years into the future.

But before you build an outdoor playhouse, what kind of advice can be given to the average do-it-yourself builder who is constructing a kids playhouse for the first time?  The number one most powerful thing to know when building an outdoor playhouse is to check your local building codes before you begin to build anything.

This is especially true if you are considering adding a concrete building pad for the playhouse.  When you lay concrete, you are increasing the non-drainage or impervious surface area on your lot.

Most municipalities have a defined allowable single-family residential impervious surface rules that are based on a property’s lot size.  Impervious surface refers to the percentage of a lot covered by surfaces such as buildings, patios and driveway concrete that prevent or alter the flow and absorption of rain and snow.

In many areas, the residential property owners are limited to 25 percent impervious coverage. In some cases, older homes can be grandfathered in, but cannot exceed their existing percentage.

Usually, to be able to extend impervious surfacing beyond the minimum percentage, a homeowner must obtain a conditional use permit or a variance from the city.

You may have heard horror stories where impervious areas had to be removed or structures taken down to adhere to the local building code.

Don’t get into situations where you may or may not be following your local building codes.  Don’t guess.  A simple call to the local zoning office will clarify whether your proposed concrete platform for your outdoor playhouse will be following building codes.  Once you know the building code requirements, you can figure out whether your specific property lot size falls within those requirements.

Moving forward with the construction of the outdoor playhouse will be less stressful once you know you are following and adhering to your local building codes

Published by Dorothy Jones