A Quick 101 Course on Smart Horse Barn Purchase
From Horizon Structures L.L.C. Presents Series
Building a horse barn is not a cheap enterprise. A new barn is an exciting purchase and it is easy to become carried away with enthusiasm. Before you gallop headlong into the project do a quick check on how well saddled up you are for a successful outcome particularly from a monetary standpoint.
Here are the top five questions that you should ask your prospective builder from a financial perspective:
1. Plan Ahead with Plans
The building company should provide you with basic elevations drawings and/or a floor plan (or stamped architectural drawings if needed) for presentation to your local Zoning officials and Building Inspector if a building permit is required in your township. As plans can be very expensive to produce ascertain if there are any extra charges for providing these documents.
Even if your township does not require engineer certified plans a good builder will provide a barn design, with specs, that meet or exceed the snow load, wind load and other general requirements for agricultural buildings in your area. It is prudent to have these plans in hand so that you can have peace of mind that the building will conform to the needs of your geographic location from both a safety and design standpoint.
2. Set Your Sights on Site Preparation
Whose responsibility is the site preparation and will the building company provide you with plans for such preparation that you can present to your excavating company? Also ask the building company if they will speak with your excavator directly so that nothing gets ‘lost in translation?’ It is important that you are aware of who is shouldering the cost of the site preparation? It would usually fall to you so get a quotation in writing that defines all the details of exactly what work will be completed. Be aware if your excavator hits a water hole or spring or a large piece of bedrock that requires extra machine time to drain or extract, then there are likely to be extra fees involved.
Different buildings will require different preparation specifics. While a level area with compacted stone dust that extends past the apron of the building might be sufficient for a run-in shed, a horse barn will need support pillars at a minimum.
Experienced modular horse barn companies will give your excavator all the information they need as to correct placement of pillars, their depth and construction. Sometimes the building company may recommend an excavator or even complete the site preparation as part of our project. It always pays to ask lots of questions, so don't be shy.
3. Timelines and Costs
What is the timeline on this project and will your building company put it in writing? The complete cost for the entire project should also be provided to you as part of the contract as a firm price (not an estimate) and detail exactly what is included and what is not included? This firm price should be a detailed document that clearly states when deposits or payments are due paid and in what amount. Ensure that you cover all the bases in this agreement and be certain to include freight/delivery charges for a modular build, all labor and set-up costs, warranty offered, materials to be used.
4. Financing Options
Companies that offer financing provide a handy resource for you to get started now.
If you are a horse business owner this immediate access to funding all or part of the project allows you to receive the income from the use of the barn to pay the monthly fee, deduct interest paid and amortize the value of the structure on your tax return. Consult your tax professional for aid in this area and to provide you with numbers so you can include these in your cash flow projections to ensure you make a smart decision.
5. Check The References
Does the building company have references that you can speak with to ascertain quality of service and product that they provide? Be wary of salted or limited references. A good company will provide an open resource to their past customers and have a portfolio of previous clients where you can even visit and see the workmanship and chat about their experience with the building company firsthand.
When you purchase a barn for your horses it should be an enjoyable and satisfying experience. Do your homework now. The safety of your horses and the health of your bank balance depend on it.
Always consult with the most experienced companies you can find and ensure you are comparing apples to apples.
Enjoy the ride by ensuring you back the right horse!
Editor Note: Catskill Horse magazine thanks Horizon Structures L.L.C. of Atglen, PA, a leading modular barn building company, for the use of this article. Please visit www.HorizonStructures.com to learn from their wealth of advice on all things horse barn building, including their blog and barnfinder maps, and see their full range of high quality Amish built products including horse barns of all types, indoor arenas, kennels, coops and outdoor structures and playsets.