Planning an outbuilding | Living the Country Life

Planning an outbuilding

Carefully plan for your needs and choose a contractor wisely

Having enough room to store everything on a small farm can be a challenge. Putting up an outbuilding can be the answer.

It takes careful planning to get exactly what you want. The location needs to be considered, as well as permits and available utilities. As for the building itself, look at websites to get ideas on how different construction materials could complement or stand out from the other structures on your land.

Brian Haraf is the marketing director for Morton Buildings. He says when you’re shopping for a contractor, find one that has experience constructing the type building you want. Ask to see local projects that contractor has built, and take a tour of them.  

"It’s great to be able to look at buildings that are not only new, but if you can look at a building that that contractor built that’s 5, 10, 15, even 20-years old, you’re going to have a real good sense of what that builder is capable of doing, and really how their work hold up to the elements," says Haraf. "All new buildings look good, but it’s amazing how quickly different buildings can end up looking several years down the line."

He says the size of the structure should take into account all the ways you plan to use it now and in the future. Once you’ve got the plans on paper, physically flag out the location of the building.

"When you do that you start to have a better visual of how much space it’s going to take up on your property, how it might look in relation to the house, to the street as you approach, and then you can even start parking stuff in that spot as well," says Haraf. "Because when you talk about a building size 30x40 or 40x60, when you flag it out and actually get it marked out on the ground, that could end up not being enough or end up being too much. It can be a very useful technique in that planning."

Don’t forget access and approach to the building. Make sure there’s enough room to get everything inside and out.

North Dakota State University offers building plans for everything from machinery to poultry

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