Farm Shop Design Series – Build in Phases Rather than Build Too Small

February 5, 2018

Our farm shop design blog series, written by Dan Nyberg, the Sales Training Manager at Morton Buildings, focuses on a variety of farm shop design ideas to help you in planning your next agricultural building. 

We all have the issue of ‘budget’ to deal with as we begin to plan our shops.   Somehow the needs and desires very often are greater than the budget will cover.  What to do in that case?   Consider building your project in phases so that when the shop is complete – perhaps in 5 – 7 years or so – it will fulfill the needs you are constructing this for.  

Here is an example to consider:   After carefully considering all the criteria for size and layout you determine that you really have to have a shop that is 72’ wide by 110’ long to meet your needs.   When you start to work the numbers, you discover that to have a shop that is completed in the next year – with site preparation, building shell, concrete floor, insulation package, electric, plumbing and HVAC included your budget limits you to a 72’ wide x 45’ long or a 60’ wide x 60’ long.   Neither of those options entirely meet your needs.   Don’t make the mistake of building a shop that won’t work for your operation.

So – consider building in phases.   Start with a 72’ x 110’ building shell – with steel ceiling.  No – it doesn’t heat well – but it is way better than working in the wind – and it is more than you have now.   (The reason for the steel ceiling is twofold: 1) you can install your lighting and not have to take it down when the ceiling does go up and 2) you can install your insulation now and at least throw some heat on a project with reasonable results.)  Your investment to get this done can be as simple as site prep, building shell with ceiling, and partial electric.

In a year or two – when the funds and budget are able – finish off the below grade work such as the plumbing and any underground electric and put in your concrete floor. 

Next step – again when the budget and funds allow – install the wall insulation and wall finish.  Now your final electric and HVAC can be done in the same step – or the following year. 

It may seem like a rather lengthy project – but the goal is to ultimately have a shop that actually meets your needs and allows you the efficiency you expect from a facility like this – all while working within the constraints of your budget.

In some cases, if you can see the benefit of a shop with ‘segments’ you can consider building the 72’ x 45’ complete now and include one or two overhead doors on the endwall which will ultimately lead to the expanded shop.   Utilize the smaller shop while your budget gains strength and then do an addition off the endwall for the ultimate expanded shop.  You will end up with two section of shop with overhead doors to move between which some operations will find beneficial. 

Keep this in mind – you don’t have the facility today – and you are functioning.   Most likely you can continue to function with reasonable efficiency while seeing incremental improvements to your infrastructure.   Somewhere down the road about 10 years you will look back and be very pleased to have an extremely well-functioning building and a healthy bank account.

Browse more completed farm shop projects!

About Dan Nyberg, Sales Training Manager, Morton Buildings

Dan Nyberg has been employed with Morton Buildings for 28 years, where he held a variety of positions such as sales consultant, regional manager, and director of sales.  He has also served as a board member of the National Frame Building Association for nine years. Dan has been involved with farming most of his life, from living on a dairy farm as a child, moving back to a mixed livestock and grain farm in high school, to managing a personal farm in Colorado focused on horse-drawn events.  He has experience with beef cattle, dairy cattle, bison, pigs, sheep, chickens, ducks, geese, horses and mules.  Dan currently farms 72 acres with a herd of 23 Devon/Hereford cattle and owns three Morton buildings.

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