Barn Construction

Definition and Use of Barns

Barns are structures erected to shelter animals and their feed or for storing other farm equipment. Consequently, barns are named according to the purpose they serve, such as dairy barns, tractor barns, and hog barns. Barn designs with numerous compartments serving different purposes are also common. Barns are also named according to their designs, most of which originated from different parts of the continent. Despite the different designs, all barns share common aspects such as a fall arrest system, location on the farmyard, and orientation in respect to wind direction. This guide covers all the essentials you need to know about barn construction and safety.

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How barns are built

Construction of barns begins by identifying the preferred design and sitting a location. If you are using poles, the standard height is six feet. These may be made of steel, solid wood or glue-laminated depending on the availability and the purpose of the barn. For stability, poles are set at least 30 inches into the ground for rocky surfaces and 48 inches in sandy soil. Compact the soil around the poles well to achieve maximum stability while ensuring the posts are vertical to the ground. Space poles every 10 or 12 feet. Next set up the trusses and add sheet metal on top and the sides. You may prefer to add some aesthetics after fixing the roof.


Materials used for barn construction

Traditionally, barns were built from timber but stone barns were also common in places where stone was a cheaper building option. However, sheet metal and steel poles have since taken over barn construction due to their ease of use. The sides of a barn are either covered by sheet metal or ribbed panel. Wooden poles are still used for the frame although steel is equally used. Trusses may either be made of timber or factory engineered steel.


Safety measures in barn construction

Most jurisdictions require construction personnel working six feet or higher to use a fall prevention mechanism. There are numerous options to choose from, including guard rails, fall arrest systems, safety nets, and safety monitoring systems. Fall arrest anchors are commonly used for fall prevention, and they feature a steel shaft with a welded ring for anchor attachment. Barns are also fitted with condensation control systems to prevent sweating during cold seasons. This is done by spraying foam to the metal surfaces to form barriers for condensation. A wainscot is a sheet metal barrier installed round the perimeter of a barn to prevent the barn from dents.


Selecting Your Barn Site

Locate your barn such that it will guarantee maximum ventilation from the free-flowing air. However, ensure openings such as isle-way doors away from the prevailing winds of winter. The barn should not be too close to the house. You also need to maximise natural light in your barn. Site your barn to shield away from the setting sun to reduce heat build up within the structure. Consider a higher ground so that water runoff does not get into the barn. Remember to cater for safety for both livestock and people, and always incorporate a fall prevention mechanism when constructing.