Experts recommend producers evaluate several factors
Whether a producer should renovate an existing structure or tear it down and build a new one, depends on a variety of factors. Construction specialists recommend producers evaluate several criteria in order to determine if they should remodel or raze a building.
Factors to Consider: First, look at the scope of the project and determine if it is a minor renovation or a major renovation. Next, evaluate if the changes in the existing building would require structural work. In addition, consider the condition of the current structure. Producers should assess whether the structure is in good condition or if it has seen better days. If it is in poor condition, it may be more cost effective to raze the structure and build a new one.
Another factor to consider includes determining whether an addition to the existing building can be completed and still look aesthetically pleasing. For example, if it is a metal building and the metal has faded, then it will be difficult to match the new metal to the faded material.
A thorough evaluation of the building is critical in determining whether it can structurally handle being added on to. Though producers may want to expand the existing structure, the current building may not be in good enough condition for an addition or even a remodel.
Last but certainly not least, request bids to determine what it will cost to remodel and what it will cost to build new. “A lot of times depending on how invasive and extensive the remodel is, sometimes it is less expensive to tear it down and start again,” Jim Crawford, University of Missouri Extension Field Specialist in Agricultural Engineering, said.
Cost Savings: One cost saving measure on a new project is reusing some of the materials from the razed structure. Producers will be able to save some money if they are willing to take apart the building themselves and store the materials for reuse. “If it is something you are doing yourself you can save a lot of money by recycling some of the lumber, wiring and things like that, as long as it is in good condition and still safe to use,” Crawford explained.
However, the cost savings plummet if producers rely on contracted workers to carefully disassemble the old structure. There is a significant labor investment in hiring workers to take apart an old building. In fact, construction specialists say most contractors are unwilling to disassemble a building for repurposing because it is cost prohibitive.
Using Salvaged Materials: The upside to producers investing their time and labor to save materials for reuse is the potential cost savings. However, there are a few downfalls to reusing old materials. First, most contractors will not warranty or guarantee work that is completed with used materials. Even if a contractor agrees to use parts from a producers’ old structure, the materials will not have a warranty on them.
Producers should also consider what their time and labor is worth. Taking apart a shed or barn can be time consuming and difficult, especially if farmers do not have the proper tools and equipment.
In addition, producers should consider the safety aspect of disassembling a structure. They should have experience working on a ladder, knowledge working with electrical wiring, as well as proficiency in other construction related skills. Construction specialists encourage producers planning to tackle projects to make sure they can safely accomplish the task.