Smart Planning and Design of Your Barn Pays Off in Both Dollars and Quality of Life
Most of us would agree horses are part of the family. As owners, we intend to create a building that provides health, comfort and safety for our horses. Unfortunately, we sometimes find ourselves regretting some of the decisions made in our barn and facilities investments. Careful planning can avoid common mistakes and unforeseen expenses.
Plan For the Future
While a well-designed barn is more comfortable and enjoyable, it can also help lower maintenance costs, and vet bills, plus add overall property value. In other words, a low-cost strategy can result in a high-maintenance property in the long run. Everyone needs an ideal barn design for their budget, and the first key to barn design is planning.
Planning is as important for a two-horse barn as it is to a large equestrian facility. Many property owners find themselves wishing they ‘would have known then what I know now’ before they began building. One of the most common regrets comes when the owner needs more space and has no ability to expand.
How do you make sure you plan for both today’s needs and what you anticipate years down the road? Here is a basic checklist to help:
Design Planning Checklist
- Write it down. Planning on paper can avoid expensive modifications and additions after the barn is built.
- Ask yourself how the barn will be used. Will it be used for personal pleasure only or will you board horses? What is the maximum number of animals you project? What kinds of horses do you have? Different breeds and sizes have different needs that impact the design.
- What will you be doing with your horses? Think and walk through how you will spend your day with your horses.
- How will you store tack and feed?
- Where will you groom your horses?
- Consider your own needs. Owner amenities such as restrooms can improve your workflow, and lounge areas can allow you to relax in comfort while you watch your animals.
- Do you need a multi-use facility? You may have a need for non-equestrian storage, etc.
- Visit other horse owners’ barns to see what you like and what works. While design planning can be exciting, researching the budget ans zoning should be completed first.
Financing should be a key part of the early planning to avoid wasting time on designs that will not fit the funding. FCP can design and build a structure to meet almost any current budget constraint with future expansion options.
Some helpful hints:
- Include permit costs, grading, turnouts, final landscaping, and utility hook-up costs in your budget plans.
- Always assume there will be unforeseen expenses. A good rule of thumb is to factor 10-15% of your budget for unplanned needs.
Often overlooked in the beginning stages, a lot of time and trouble can be saved by researching zoning issues first. Consult local building codes and governing bodies before planning to ensure your project is within acceptable standards.
Put some time into these basic steps, and you will have fewer regrets and expenses down the road. Most importantly, you can look forward to many years of health, comfort and safety for those valued members of the family.
To learn more about barn design, call an FCP Design Consultant at 1-800-807-2276 or request a quote.