There are a lot more expenses than just the barn to consider when you purchase horse housing. The key to staying on budget is to put together an accurate analysis that identifies the real costs of construction of your new horse barn.
The sincere advantage of beginning the purchasing process with a ‘to the penny’ quote for the actual structure, with a defined timeline for delivery and set up, clearly written pricing, contract terms and warranties is a great first step in the process.
Whether you are shopping for a run-in shed, shedrow or a larger structure such as a center-aisle or timber frame barn, working with a modular building company ensures this important first step stays on target price wise.
Other components you should you include are site preparation; services such as water and electric; segmentation i.e. fencing and access; storage for equipment, feed/hay and bedding supplies.
Here are some insights to help you along:
This will obviously vary depending on the scope and size of the building and the levelness and accessibility of the site you have chosen. You can read a humorous blog on what to avoid when deciding on the site for your barn here!
In general terms, the less level the site, the more the ‘dirtwork’ to level the site will be required and the greater the cost.
The cheapest site preparation option for smaller structures such as shedrows and run-in sheds less than 48’ long, is to install a level stonedust pad. Modern bulldozers have laser sights to ensure leveling to within an inch across the entire site. Pretty impressive!
It is important that the stonedust be firmly compacted to stop frost heave and uneven settling.
For larger and longer structures Sonotubes® or similar concrete columns can be added to mitigate the chance of the barn settling unevenly and causing issues down the road such as stuck/inoperable windows and doors.
It is prudent to install concrete columns on which to rest the vertical members of the structure for any overhang. Many manufacturers will not warranty the structure without implementation of this support system.
Of course a full concrete pad is also an option for any structure.
The site for a modular barn should also be level and well prepared to prevent settling of the structure over time. The more complex the design of the structure the more the site cost may escalate. Consider these three options for this type of horse barn:
- A basic option with foundation piers/concrete columns as mentioned above with a firmly compacted stonedust base. The site is prepared before the building is placed and then areas such as walkways and stalls can be backfilled by hand or small machine with additional stonedust. Stall mats may be laid over the top of this firm base. The structure has no wood floors installed in the stalls or feed/tack room.
- The same as above but instead of placing additional stonedust to high traffic areas after the placement of the structure, concrete can be poured after the building is set in place, to provide a sturdy base. Drainage should be integrated for each stall, especially wash stalls. Be sure to let your modular barn construction firm know ahead of ordering if you plan to add concrete to the structure after delivery, so areas for the pour can be left without a wood floor. The advantage of this option is that you can incorporate concrete at a later date and minimize the initial spend.
- Install a full concrete pad before the building is placed. This is obviously the most expensive option. Collaboration with the modular building company as to exact placement of support columns, stub-ins for electrical and plumbing needs and pipeline placement is essential. Modular companies will supply you and/or your contractor with full plans and details.
When it comes to site preparation you may not have worked directly with a ‘dirt’ firm before and may find it intimidating. Larger modular construction firms will have site prep teams they commonly work with in certain regions of the country, so don’t forget to ask if you need help. They may offer to liaise directly with the contractor of your choice to ensure a direct and clear communication on the all-important details of the concrete pad preparation.
Costs for site preparation are variant depending on your location, amount of site work required and proximity and availability of the materials needed. For this reason it is best to obtain quotations based on a site visit from 2/3 excavators and request a detailed contract that defines the amount of fill to be moved/materials to be laid etc. It is best to get a per job quote and not a per hour quote, as the latter can quickly increase beyond expectations. Be aware the discovery of large rocks, bedrock, water springs and other site issues can increase the time and labor required in site preparation.
The placement of your barn close to existing water and electrical supplies will minimize the cost of bringing them on site to your barn.
Plumbing and electrical rules and regulations and costs vary widely both by region and by how complex your needs are within the building.
For example, if you plan to add frost-free faucets in the aisle, automatic waterers to each stall, a wash stall, hot water and commercial grade fans to your barn the requirements will obviously be considerably more involved and hence expensive, than a single exterior light for a run-in shed.
Most modular barn builders will offer a roughed-in electrical package for smaller structures. Your local licensed electrician can then complete the final connection to the electrical source and ensure that all code requirements are satisfied.
For larger and more complicated builds plumbing and electrical services should be obtained directly from local licensed professionals. Building code requirements for both vary extensively from region to region and state to state, so it is important that whatever building you choose the water and electrical services meet code requirements for safety, and to minimize insurance costs.
Fencing can be an expensive component of your horse yard especially if you plan on Dutch doors from stalls that open into individual pastures, paddocks or dry lots.
Consideration of heights and type of fencing is essential. For example, for a breeding operation fence heights for stallions should be 5 to 5’5” or even higher for larger breeds, while foal fencing should be diamond wire or no climb wire that is safe for tiny hooves to avoid entrapment and injury and that will provide a secure environment from neighborhood dogs or worrisome wildlife.
Electrical fences may do well in large areas of pasture but may be unsafe for horses kept in close proximity that can easily argue over together over their strands.
Every type of fence has advantages and disadvantages so carefully consider the viability for use, availability of raw materials in your area, aesthetic and maintenance factors before making a choice.
It may be that different types of fencing to segment different areas of the property work best to minimize the overall budget spend.
An often overlooked component in purchasing a horse barn, is where to safely store hay/feed/bedding supplies and other equipment for daily use. Don’t forget to include ample space to protect your expensive hay supplies and equipment.
Options include loft space, feed and tack rooms within the barn or a separate storage building placed within a reasonable distance of the main horse housing structure.
KINDLY NOTE: This article is available for use in its entirety without edit, in any media format, on condition that credit, in any media format, on condition that credit is given to Horizon Structures Inc., and author Nikki Alvin-Smith as a byline at the beginning of the article publication and Horizon Structures URL address and Nikki Alvin-Smith URL is included. Horizon would appreciate notification of any publication. Kindly contact Horizon Structures for photos to accompany the article.
This article is brought to you courtesy of Horizon Structures Inc., Atglen PA – Modular horse barn specialists. Horizon Structures also offers both residential and commercial kennels, coops, multi-use structures and playsets. Please visit https://www.HorizonStructures.com to learn more.
About Horizon Structures: One horse or twenty, there’s one thing all horse owners have in common…the need to provide safe and secure shelter for their equine partners. At Horizon Structures, we combine expert craftsmanship, top-of-the-line materials and smart “horse-friendly” design to create a full line of sheds and barns that any horse owner can feel confident is the right choice for their horses’ stabling needs.
All wood. Amish Made. Most of our buildings are shipped 100% pre-built and ready for same-day use. Larger barns are a modular construction and can be ready for your horses in less than a week. All our barn packages include everything you need –
Horizon Structures also sells indoor riding arenas, chicken coops, dog kennels, 1 and 2 car garages, storage sheds and outdoor living structures.
Headquartered in South-Central Pennsylvania, Horizon Structures, LLC is owned by Dave Zook. Dave was raised in the Amish tradition and grew up working in the family-owned shed business. He started Horizon Structures in 2001 in response to an ever-increasing customer demand for high quality, affordable horse barns. For additional information about the company or their product line, please visit their website at https://www.horizonstructures.com
Horizon Structures LLC, Atglen, PA
Tel: 888 447 4337
Photos are available on request.
About Nikki Alvin-Smith: International published writer and creative content producer. Ghostwriting, blog services, PR/Marketing specialist. Nikki also produces catalog and website copy, white papers, e-books, corporate brochures, advertising copy, photography, videography for a wide range of businesses.
As a Brit who has called the America home for the past 35 years, Nikki brings a unique perspective to the equestrian world. Nikki is also an accomplished Grand Prix dressage trainer/competitor, competing at international level and is a highly sought clinician offering clinics worldwide. She has been a horse breeder/importer of warmblood and Iberian breeds for more than 25 years. Together with her husband Paul who is also a Grand Prix trainer, they run Willowview Hill Farm, a private dressage training operation in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of New York. Please visit https://nikkialvinsmithstudio.com/ to learn more about her affordable services.