Adding an Auxiliary Storage Building to Your Home

Adding an Auxiliary Storage Building to Your Home

Also referred to as accessory buildings, auxiliary storage buildings are outdoor storage structures designed to store different household items and equipment. Legally, an auxiliary storage building should not be used as a sleeping quarter or living space. Also, it shouldn’t be used to store commercial vehicles.

An auxiliary storage store helps to create additional storage space in your property, especially during the summer. It is the perfect place to store your gardening tools, bikes, snow blowers, sleds, and other tools. You can also use it as a workshop. But before you build an auxiliary storage structure in your property, there are essential factors you need to consider.

Distance Between the Storage Structure and Property Line

Typically, you are not supposed to set up an auxiliary storage building on a vacant plot. It should only be constructed when you’ve already constructed the main house or dwelling place on the property. This is important because the walls and roof of the auxiliary structure should be set back a specific distance from the property line. This distance is based on the height and location of the auxiliary structure.

You also need to understand that building codes in most states require auxiliary storage structures without a fire rating to be not more than three feet from the property line, regardless of their height or location.


If you are setting up your auxiliary storage building in your backyard, it should not occupy more than 25 percent of your backyard space. In a residential zone, the square footage of your main house should determine the maximum size of your accessory storage structure. For instance, if your main house is 1,200 square feet or less, your auxiliary storage structure should not be more than 600 square feet.

In terms of height, your auxiliary structure should not be more than 15 feet tall. Anything above that needs a building permit. The height of a building with a pitched roof is measured to midway between the peak and the lower edge of the pitched roof.

Building Permit Exemptions

For your auxiliary storage building to qualify for a building permit exemption, it has to meet specific standards. For instance, it should only be used for storage purposes which do not include storing commercial vehicles or residential occupancy. Also, its floor area shouldn’t be more than 200 square feet, and the roof should be less than 10 feet tall. If your auxiliary storage building doesn’t meet these standards, you should get a building permit.

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