Even if the price is FREE, is it a bargain or not?
Let’s take a look at why this might not be such a great deal.
Better check out the building department first. Is the building more than a few years old? If the free building was not designed using the same building code as what is now required by your local jurisdiction, you could be spending money to upgrade the building to match the new codes. Major code changes occurred as the International Codes have been adopted over the past few years.
In snow country? Even the new code updates, every three years, have resulted in changes to how drift loads are applied to roofs. The seemingly perfect roof trusses may not be able to be reused.
So….assuming the entire design portion works out…..
Most pole buildings have the bottom end of the columns embedded in concrete. This means having to cut the posts off and use brackets to mount the building to concrete piers or a foundation, or purchase new columns. Neither of these options will be a bargain, and if you opt to use a bracket solution, you should hire an engineer to do the foundation design.
As you take things apart, make sure to label each piece, so it all fits back together as closely as possible. If steel roofed and sided, and the panels are attached with screws, this will speed up disassembly as well as minimize panels being damaged. Don’t stack one sheet of steel on top of another though, as the screw holes will scratch the paint of the panel directly below. Any roof insulation/vapor barrier will probably not be able to be reused, due to the inability to perfectly align screw holes.
Down to the framework? You can pretty well assume the original building frame was assembled using screws, often ring shank, or threaded ones, which can be a challenge to remove, without damage to the lumber.
Provided a relatively successful tear down, now it is time to move, usually involving equipment to load onto a truck. If you don’t already have a truck, there is the hassle of having to schedule renting a truck, picking up the truck, as well as offloading at the other end. Then the real fun begins – trying to put the puzzle back together so everything fits.
Besides all of the challenges above, seen and unforeseen, the cost of labor has been overlooked. Labor costs to construct a building, usually run from 50-75% of the cost of materials. It will cost every bit as much to disassemble and reassemble.
When all is said and done, was it actually a worthwhile investment to have a brand new “free” used building?
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