By Nikki Alvin-Smith
If you have never had the personal experience, not to mention challenge, of sourcing and buying building materials and actually constructing a horse barn yourself, then there are certain to be many questions in your mind about how barn pricing works. There are a number of factors and thousands of details that need to be considered that affect the price of a new barn build. It is helpful to understand what they are and why they matter as you embark on purchasing your new horse barn.
Whether you choose an on site build, or the convenient and extremely popular ‘instant’ modular horse barn, commodity market fluctuations will significantly affect the final cost of the project. Costs for steel, timber and fuel all play a role in how barns and indoor arenas are priced, and a savvy move is to lock in the cost with a ‘to the penny’ quote so there are no unwelcome surprises down the line. Location, labor costs and weather delays also play a part in the cost equation. Here’s a few tips to help guide the property owner in making their best decision with some insights from the leading modular horse barn producer in the country.
There are many types of materials available for use in the construction industry to ensure the structural integrity of the horse barn. Options run the gamut from traditional dimensional lumber to engineered, laminated wood products such as TJI’s. Wood is available in different grades. Wood with excessive knots present will not be as strong as wood with minimal knots so the latter is more expensive. Wood types may be soft or hard (pine versus oak for example). Lumber may be derived from the box or core of the tree offering optimal strength (such as the wood used in top quality timber frame builds) as well as a pleasing aesthetic or it may be derived from the outer growth of the trunk of the tree.
In the last 14 months lumber prices have escalated at an astonishing rate. The rule of supply and demand has affected the commodity market prices of all wood types and grades, as the Covid-19 crisis saw a decline in supply and a massive rise in demand.
Horizon Structures L.L.C., headquartered in Atglen, PA is the market leader in the modular horse barn U.S. market. Veteran Chief Marketing Officer, Jill Siragusa explains how this has factored in to the pricing of the company’s modular and prefabricated barns:
“The building (raw) material market continues to go up at a wild rate every week. The report we had 2/23/2021 shows last week’s Lumber Market report at $992 – The Week before at $966 and $406 a year ago, this is an increase of 144% more in material cost from a year ago. This forces us to add a surcharge effective immediately so we can continue to survive this wild ride. If lumber prices remain stable for 4 weeks, we will remove the surcharge. We help customers by giving them the opportunity to ‘lock in’ their purchase price. A 35% deposit on any barn order will hold pricing. Until 35% is received, any barn order total could change depending on the volatility of raw materials prices. Our current price sheet includes this additional surcharge. It’s important to be upfront with your clients and totally transparent throughout the relationship and this is something we are very proud to accomplish everyday at Horizon Structures. For folks searching the marketplace for a good deal, I urge them to ensure their barn purchase price is defined at the outset and any provisions for cost overruns clearly written before they sign up with a construction company. Affording a new barn is a big undertaking, and everyone deserves honesty so they can make the their best decision.”
When you contemplate the numerous components that complete a barn building material wise, from nuts and bolts to roofing, siding, hardware for everything from stall doors to metal joist plates, it is easy to understand that building material expenses are keenly affected by market forces and hence pricing of any horse barn has to include a myriad of constituents.
Larger companies that purchase bigger quantities of materials can leverage their buying power to some degree to assuage the volatility of the market by buying in bulk and carefully managing their purchasing power and timing in the commodity markets. In the case of the small independent contractor, that constructs a few horse barns a year, the provision of materials will be subject to prices available at the big box stores at any given week. Most smaller on-site building companies do not have the capital to order in large quantities or to order supplies based on commodity options. This can result on extra expense for the purchaser.
When comparing pricing on your next barn build, don’t forget to investigate the type and quality of the materials used. Astute review of all the components including what is offered in the barn design as a standard feature, versus extra customized features, will significantly affect the bottom line. Judicious decision making of ‘wants’ versus ‘needs’ can make all the difference to the project spend and how far your hard earned dollars will go.
Obviously the barn materials once purchased have to be assembled. In the world of modular and pre-fabricated horse housing construction, the factory environment provides many advantages over an on site build. For example, the crew has all the tools they need on hand and are experienced working together and knowledgeable about what goes where and why. The factory floor is level, the materials are on hand, the weather does not affect the timeline for completion of the build and quality control is easy to ensure. There is no time wasted waiting for the right temperature or humidity to paint or apply seals to wood, and for the busy horse owner there is no mess, stress or noise on their property during construction.
Labor is an expensive element in costing any project and is part of the pricing structure in any build. It is important to ask if set up is included in the delivery of a modular structure, as otherwise this can add significant costs to the final bill.
Freight and Delivery
Freight and delivery charges will apply for materials to be placed on site for a pole or stick built structure. Depending on how organized the construction foreman is, these supplies may arrive in dribs and drabs over a period of time or arrive altogether. Shortages, substitutions and over-ordering can cause problems in both the ultimate design of the building and the costs to the buyer.
The purchase of a modular horse barn will include expenses for the shipping of the structure on a large truck, with a competent (hopefully!) driver. It may require special permits if the barn is oversized for the legal allowance on the road in height, weight or most commonly the issue of width.
Once on site the structure must be off-loaded and set up. A run-in shed will certainly require less work on site than the 3-box jigsaw that is the Monitor barn.
The cost of the over-the-road transport will vary depending on the distance from factory to your property. It is an advantage to choose your new barn from a great selection and work with a leading producer of modular buildings as not only will they have a wealth of knowledge to share on design, the offerings in terms of style, colors, low maintenance materials etc. will be larger from which you can choose. However, you don’t want to pay more for the trucking costs than the barn or run-in shed!
Progressive companies, like Horizon Structures, address this issue by offering several factory locations nationwide. Thus barn building is completed and delivered from their location that is the closest zip code to your property to minimize freight expenses for your delivery.
“While we already have several locations in PA, Horizon Structures products have also been produced in other States. Our other locations are Chuckey, TN and Greenwood, SC. We have just opened a new shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming and are very excited about it. We have always had very strong interest in our barns in the Western U.S. but no way to service that area effectively. Delivery/set-up costs could often exceed the price of the barn itself. The Wyoming shop is full service with their own set-up crews building the exact same barns as our other locations. Now, a Horizon Structures horse barn is truly within reach for customers within the Continental U.S.,” states Siragusa.
Take Home Message
It is wise to carefully research the products used in your new barn build and have a firm quote for all associated costs from start to completion of your project.
As British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once said, “Due diligence is the mother of good fortune.”
Whether you’re a building a nation or a horse barn, the same applies!
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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 chicken coops, equine hay feeders, greenhouses, dog kennels, 1 and 2 car garages, storage sheds and outdoor living structures and playsets.
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
About Nikki Alvin-Smith:
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Grand Prix Dressage
Please visit https://nikkialvinsmithstudio.com/ to learn more about her affordable services.