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Your Horse Barn
Cherry Hill's Horsekeeping Almanac
Your Horse Barn DVD
Horsekeeping On A Small Acreage
Horse Housing

Getting Your Horse Barn Built

Excerpt from the DVD, Your Horse Barn, Planning - Designing - Building

  2008 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

  One of the first things you have to decide when planning a horse barn is who will build it. Basically, you have four choices:

  1. Buy a modular or pre-manufactured barn to be delivered and set up.
  2. Hire someone to take charge of all or part of your barn project.
  3. Act as your own contractor and hire the construction workers and tradesmen.
  4. Build it yourself from scratch or from a modular barn package.

The method you choose will depend on how soon you need the barn, how much time you have to spend on the project, your budget, and the extent of your construction ability and experience.


Your Horse Barn DVDBuying a modular, or pre-manufactured, barn can be the easiest, quickest, and most economical way to go. Many modular barns can be configured to suit your specific needs and most pre-fab barn companies have a national network of representatives, many of whom are also builders or can work with a local builder to coordinate building delivery and erection. One drawback is that many modular barn companies do not provide site planning or prep work such as excavation or installation of utilities - these will be up to you.


A project manager or general contractor, is someone you hire to take charge of some or all aspects of your barn project. They can do things like:


· locate or draw plans
· get plans approved by local building department
· obtain building permits
· make cost estimates
· compile material lists
· arrange for temporary electrical service
· schedule delivery of materials
· hire (and maybe fire) competent subcontractors for various stages of construction such as excavating, framing, wiring, plumbing
· pay suppliers and subcontractors
· ensure all workers are covered by insurance
· check all stages of construction to make sure they are done right
· keep track of all agreements, schedules, payments, and receipts
· work with you to make changes as the building progresses
· keep the building site clean and haul trash away
· and provide the equipment needed to get your barn built on time and within your budget.

Expect to pay a manager or general contractor between 10 to 20 percent of the total cost of the barn, depending on how much responsibility you have him take on.


If you are considering acting as your own contractor, realize that it takes communication and organization skills and a basic understanding of the work being done by subcontractors. Often, a self-contractor's biggest challenge is finding good workers. One advantage of hiring a general contractor or project manager is that they usually have connections to find competent, reliable workers in your area.

And as the boss, you'll need to hold subcontractors accountable for doing the kind of work that you expect, and for showing up as promised to get the work done on time…and if necessary, you'll need to be able to fire workers and replace them.

By doing your own contracting you can save the 10 to 20 percent you'd pay a general contractor or manager, but you would have to make time to perform all of the duties that I just mentioned. If you are working a job, this might be next to impossible.


Horse HousingYou can avoid a lot of the hassle of dealing with workers by building the entire barn by yourself. It's not rocket science, but then it's not as easy as professional builders make it look, either, and building by yourself is the most time consuming way to go, because you must be the GC, the subcontractors and the laborers all rolled into one. You must not only be experienced in all aspects of building and paperwork, but must have a good measure of "stick-to-it-iveness". It's not uncommon for an owner-built barn to linger in various stages of completion for several years or stall out altogether and never get finished.

One more option you might consider is hiring a barn company to put up the shell of the barn - just the walls and the roof - and maybe hire someone to do the concrete. These are the three most difficult parts to do alone.

Then you can finish the inside of the barn as time and money allow. If you want to do part of the work yourself, but aren't exactly sure how to go about it, like plumbing or wiring, you might look into hiring a local professional tradesman as a consultant to advise you and check your work.

What We Did

Since I'd had experience in many aspects of building houses and barns, we opted to build this barn ourselves.

However, there were several areas where we needed help: to prepare the site and dig trenches we hired a local excavator, and later he lifted the trusses into place using a boom on his tractor.

And when it came time to pour the concrete we invited some friends over and asked them to bring along their rubber boots.     

Cherry Hill's barn at Long Tail Ranch

Your Horse Barn DVDWatch our DVD, Your Horse Barn, to learn about stall flooring, wall materials and types of doors.


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  2008 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

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