barndominium builders in california
Photo by David Wakely

California Barndominium Builders

Building a barndominium in California makes economic sense for many potential homeowners. The state’s soaring real estate prices have led to a boom in alternative housing options, and barndominium builders are capitalizing on the opportunity to help you get into a new home.

However, California barndo restrictions can be difficult to navigate, depending on your country.

California Barndominium Restrictions

California barn homes are popping up in some cities and non-existent in others. Why? Cities have the right to have different construction requirements, and you may have issues building new steel structures in some city limits.

For example, South El Monte no longer permits metal structures being built in city limits

Working with reputable barndominium builders in California will make the process easier. Some builders will do all of the hard work for you by:

  • Researching local laws and regulations
  • Obtaining permits for your build
  • Ensuring all California barn homes meet or exceed code

Some of the guidelines you’ll have to adhere to during the construction process are:

  • Most city ordinances only permit construction from 8 AM – 6 PM, with potential bans on Sundays
  • Ventilation for 1/50 attic space
  • Drywall of 1/2″ or more between the main living space and the barn
  • Builds must meet any seismic requirements

 You may also come across issues if the barndo is a pre-fab.

Pre-fab and Fab Make a Difference

Barndominiums in California can be made either on-site or manufactured in a company warehouse. Unfortunately, not all barndos are created equal, and local governments tend to be more willing to allow site-built structures to be built.

If you’re having issues with permitting due to the barndo being built in a factory, an on-site build may be a better option.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Barndominium Build in California

California barn homes have their advantages and disadvantages. You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons for yourself before determining whether this type of home is a good option for you.


  • Cost per square foot is often cheaper than a site-built home
  • Builders offer multiple customization options
  • Outer metal shell makes the structure perfect for California’s most harsh climates
  • Yearly maintenance costs are lower than traditional homes
  • Faster construction time than most other building options


  • Fewer builder options than a traditionally built structure
  • Requires more clarity from local authorities on what can and cannot be built

California barndominiums have come a long way in recent years. Many builders are now offering plans and options to help anyone building in California the option of a barndo.

Note: Metal barndos are the most common option, so the advantages above are for metal builds. However, some builders and owners prefer wooden buildings, and in this case, they’re very similar to a traditional home.

Costs of Building Your Barndo in California

California’s barndominium costs vary a lot. While you’ll find many options of sizes from 1,000 square feet to 3,000 square feet or more, pricing truly depends on the company and options you choose.

The price per square foot is between $94 and $250 per square foot.

However, these costs are still relatively low in California’s real estate market. If you’re buying a kit, the price may be $50 to $100 a square foot. The kit doesn’t include any of the interior materials. Instead, you’ll receive a shell of the home and need to account for interior materials separately, such as:

  • Flooring
  • Cabinets
  • Fixtures
  • Trim
  • Sheetrock
  • Etc.

All of these costs add up quickly and need to be considered alongside other building costs. If you opt to go the DIY approach, you can dramatically lower the cost of the build because labor is one of the most expensive parts of the building process. Of course, you’ll still need to ensure that the structure is up to local code.

Other Building Costs to Consider

The structure itself is just one piece of the puzzle when building a barn home. You also have to consider other costs that come along with building any home, which include:


Maybe you already have a parcel of land for your barndo, but if not, you’ll need to find a buildable lot. Not every piece of land is suitable for building, so you’ll need to take this step carefully.

Some builders offer land acquisition services, but if you can’t find one that does, consider bringing a general contractor with you to ensure that a lot is buildable before you purchase it.

Site Prep

Once you have a suitable piece of land, you need to prepare it for your barn home. Site preparation can be costly in some cases, and there’s no way to estimate this cost because there are so many variables to consider.

Some costs associated with site prep include:

  • Clearing trees
  • Grading and excavating
  • Installing a septic and well, or connecting to the city’s water and sewer lines

Depending on the parcel, site prep can sometimes be as costly as the barndominium itself.


In addition to site prep, you also have to consider the cost of running other utilities, including:

  • Electric
  • Internet
  • Gas lines

The cost to run these lines will largely depend on the distance from your property to the nearest line. If you purchase remote property, the cost to run utilities can be quite high, but you may find alternative options with solar power and satellite or cell internet.

These are just a few of the additional costs that you’ll need to budget for. Depending on the builder and plans, you may need to finish the entire interior with a contractor’s help, purchase appliances, add finishing touches and more.

Barndominium Builders in California

Ready to build a barndominium in California? These builders are some of the most popular in the state and specialize in California barn homes.

Back Forty Building Co

Back Forty Buildings | Washington Pole Barn Barndo Builders
© The Bozeman Plan by Back Forty Buildings


191609 E 304 Prse SE, Kennewick, WA 99337

Back Forty Building Co is located in Washington and serves the entire U.S. They offer barndominium plans for all needs, including custom options. They design pole barns, steel and even stick-built barndos as well as shop houses. They ship their kits to anywhere in the contiguous U.S.

While they don’t handle the construction of their barndos, they have resources to help with this step and can answer any questions you may have about your build.

D.C. Builders

DC Buidlers | California Barn Builders
© DC Builders


11251 SE 232nd Ave, Damascus, OR 97089

DC Builders is headquartered in Portland, Oregon and has been in business for more than two decades. The company specializes in a wide range of building types, including barndos, equestrian buildings, custom homes, shops, barns with living quarters and more.

D.C. Builders serves the entire U.S. as well as Canada. The company has its own skilled framing crews that assemble their structures anywhere in the nation.

Gary’s Custom Barns

© Gary’s Custom Barns


2060 Taurus Dr Cool, CA, 95614

Located in El Dorado County, CA, Gary’s Custom Barns is a trusted source for custom barns. Gary has been in the industry for more than 30 years, and they offer turn-key solutions to bring your dream barn home to life. Along with barndos, they also build barn stalls, custom shops, lofted barns and more.

Gary’s Custom Barns serves Northern California. They offer custom width/height breezeways, custom stalls, unique configurations and more.