Depending on whether you’re looking at a new hay barn, a machine shop or a livestock shelter, you will be analyzing totally different types of structures and the location can vary greatly. Analyzing use and need must be the first step when planning a structure. If the “barn” will be a hay barn in the back, a machine shop in the front, and could even end up as a bottle calf shelter in harsh weather, doors, windows and preservation factors must also go into the planning process.

Selecting a site
To begin, a site must be selected. Finding a level site out of a flood plain with good drainage will save money and time. Kelly McFarland, the head of the drafting department at Lucas Metal said, “Really it is all in site preparation, because it gets very expensive moving dirt.”
We consulted eight local building manufacturers, suppliers and builders in the area to give us their top considerations for site selection. We’ve compiled their answers into Table 1.1.
The major concern all echoed was in the importance of ease of access. Where will you want your machinery to be located in proximity to your home, your fields? Mike Kaiser with Morton Buildings said, “It should be located for convenience as close as you can get it for whatever its intended purpose is. Machinery buildings should be located centrally so you can get in the gates and get in and out of it easier.”
Also with often treacherous weather in the Ozarks, considering proximity to creeks, trees, areas where wind will be stronger, should also be considered.
What materials?
Material for a building is going to vary greatly on use and cost. A person should factor what the building will be. Is this a lean-to shelter, or a four-sided structure that you want sealed tight? Also, what will be in it mostly? Bob Milroy, vice president at Lucky Lumber noted, “You can build a building no wind will affect, but you have to look at the cost. You don’t want to spend $100,000 for a hay barn. Hay’s not worth that expense.”
Typically the options for material are wood and steel. If you choose to go with wood, Terry Scott, owner of Scott Construction, said anything with ground contact needs to be treated with CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate) or ACQ (Alkaline Copper Quaternary), noting CCA is more for agricultural use.
Steel will last longer, but wood may be a cheaper option. Todd Wells at Wheeler Metals said, “Right now in everybody’s mind is value. With building materials you can determine cost and value on wood versus metal, but definitely go steel as far as siding. Everyone will agree on steel siding versus wood or vinyl.”
Jeremy Youngblood at Floyds’ Sales and Construction recommends putting in roof insulation, because a metal roof will sweat. He believes roof insulation will make your building last longer.

Will I need a building permit?
As much as farmers hate to admit it, the cities get closer every day. In more urban counties a county’s zoning and planning department may have a say in what structures you’re erecting on your property. The burden of getting a permit falls on you, not your builder or supply company. In most counties building permits are not necessary, but, for example, outside the city limits in Washington County, Ark., buildings must be located 20 ft. from rear property lines and 10 ft. from side property lines and 25 ft. from the front right-of-way. (This does not include a subdivision with covenants.) State building codes can be accessed at our website, Contact your county courthouse for more information on your county’s rules.

Livestock Shelters
There are many ways to offer protection for livestock. If your building will be exposed to the wear-and-tear animals will inflict, there are ways to preserve your building that you should consider. Panels on the inside of a barn will keep metal siding from being bent and dented in by large animals.
Greg Samuel, the manager at Portable Livestock Shelters, said, “Whatever is going to protect the livestock the best, be it a three-sided shelter with a bit of overhang or something that needs to be enclosed on all four sides with a door opening, it all boils down to what you’re sheltering.”

Doors and Windows
David Hostetler with Hostetler Construction said that sliding doors are more economical, and they can add a certain ‘look’ to a barn. He added that when deciding where to put the doors, it is important to determine the easiest access to the building. “Where is the access to the building, at the end or side? Also, how does that building sit in the scope of property?”
The disadvantage Youngblood, of Floyds’ Sales and Construction, noted with sliding doors was the inability to seal them completely. “A roll up door keeps birds and animals out and insulates the building better,” Youngblood said.
If it’s automatic doors you want, you pretty much have to go with an overhead door. Also, overhead doors will almost always require a concrete floor, which gets into more cost. Sliding doors will be required, usually, if you have big equipment to move in and out of the barn. Kaiser at Morton building noted people usually don’t consider that sliding doors can always be taller, but they can’t always get as wide as an overhead door. This is because you usually need extra wall to roll the sliding door onto, so your wall will have to be as wide as your doors. Wells at Wheeler Metals said that overhead doors usually go up to 16 ft. tall. Milroy at Lucky Lumber said the cheapest sliding doors will be about $25/ft.
When it comes to doors and windows, the experts warned on putting in too many windows and doors if you are housing expensive machinery. Also, consider door placement. It’s happened more than once that a door or window gets covered when a barn is filled with hay.
The decisions involved with building farm structures require input from you and an expert in the business. Weigh all your needs and concerns and plan, plan, plan.


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