This is a place to check out great things about the Barndominium lifestyle and get tips to bring your Barndo ideas to life.
I understand the desire to know what those gorgeous Barndos cost to build; however, that is a difficult question to answer because there are several factors to consider. The first is location. For example, a Barndo that costs $170/sq ft in east Texas could easily cost $325-$350 sq ft in central Texas for the exact same Barndo. Another consideration is the cost of infrastructure. Items like septic systems and water wells can vary greatly depending on how deep you must dig, the diameter of the well, and if you must drill through rocks or any bedrock. Permitting costs can vary greatly from one area to the next—costs may range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Several Barndo owners take the leap to serve as their own general contractor which can save roughly 17%-20% of build costs. Many traditional homes have 200-300 sq ft of covered porches. Barndominiums tend to have hundreds, even thousands of square feet of covered porches. How you choose to finish the soffits over all that porch impacts costs significantly. For example, the labor and material costs for tongue and groove wood costs about 75% more than sheet metal. Finally, the windows, doors and finish out selections such as appliances are huge variables for cost. A sliding 5’ window in a pass-through space costs a fraction of a gas-strut or accordion window for the same space. It truly is impossible to provide a build cost for any one plan without filling in all the variables. Your best guide would be to know the average cost per square foot for construction for your area then add or subtract based on the features and selections you anticipate choosing.
We hear from folks frequently that they are having trouble identifying a general contractor for their Barndo build. The biggest reason is that residential steel frame construction is a relatively new residential home construction style and not all contractors are comfortable with it. However, that is rapidly changing as Barndominiums are exploding in popularity. And if you can’t find a builder to take on your build project start to finish, there are other potential ways of getting it done, depending on the type of Barndo you are building—weld-up vs bolt-up. At Our Barndominium Life, once we know what kind of system is going into the Barndo and where it is being built, if we don’t have a builder to refer, we guide our clients on how they might go about getting it built.
Selecting the right Barndominium designer for you is an important decision. There are some talented designers out there and the industry is growing. Depending on what you’re looking for, I think designers like Greg James Designs out of Edmond, Oklahoma and Back Forty Buildings in Washington State do good work. More and more players are entering the Barndo design business. Many are talented, experienced designers who will deliver a high-quality product. However, I would caution anyone searching for a designer, that many hang a shingle who do not understand residential steel frame construction or engineered wood-frame trusses; they may have never built a Barndo or not even live in one. As you think about who you want to partner with to design your Barndo, I recommend you consider these factors:
• Can the designer share actual photos of Barndos they have designed?
• How deep is their knowledge of construction, architecture, engineering?
• Do they have resources to share to help you complete your build such as steel frame suppliers, builders, bankers?
• Do they understand the supply chain and relative cost of design features so that they can properly guide you to make the right decision for your desires, timetable, and wallet?
• What level of service can they provide? Integral points to consider include how they handle customer service, turnaround times, site visits, discussions with your builder or engineer, options such as 3-D renders and video animations.
Selecting a designer is certainly a decision you should put some thought into. You will want someone who understands what you are trying to accomplish, how you and your family want to live in your Barndo, and is creative in designing the floor plan that works for you.
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