Tag Archives: stick frame construction

Barndominium Costs Part II

Continuing my discussion of Barndominium costs from yesterday’s blog…
For sake of discussion, we will use 2400 sft (40×60) of finished living space (includes any bonus rooms) plus 1600 sft of garage/shop. To have a GC (General Contractor) turn-key this for you expect an average of:

2400 X $122.46 = $293,904
1600 X $61.56 = $ 98,496
$293,904 + $98,496 = $392,400 / .6977 = $562,419

This is having your barndominium built (turn key), not for owner-builders.
If your barndominium will be very simple, rectangle, standard sizes, with little to no upgrades on finish materials (counter tops, flooring, cabinets, showers, lighting, trim, etc) then your costs could be less per sft.


On spectrum’s other end would be for very intricate, high end, everything upgraded barndominiums. Including things like custom cabinets, real hardwood flooring, high end appliances, custom fireplace, built in entertainment options, oversized windows and doors, vaulted ceilings throughout, steep roof, extra bathrooms/kitchens, etc.

But what you really want to know is what it will cost for you to build it, right?
We will assume you are willing to do some legwork, so if you don’t do any physical work yourself and just act as general contractor (making phone calls, hiring people, ordering materials, dealing with problems, etc) you can build this average barndominium for $170,000 less than it would cost to hire a general contractor.

I can make a LOT of phone calls for this. In fact, I could easily take well over a year off work and still come out ahead!

Beyond making phone calls, hiring people, ordering materials, and dealing with problems, you can lower your price by doing some work yourself.
It’s all about what YOU are willing to do as an owner-builder.

Our prices above are for “stick frame” construction. By using post frame construction with embedded columns, rather than pouring a footing and foundation, a savings of $11,400 can be found: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/10/buildings-why-not-stick-frame-construction/.
This reduces your $392,400 investment by about 3% to $381,000
NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) allocated percentages in their Construction Cost Breakdown. These included:

Site work 5.6% (of this 1.6% was for architecture and engineering)
Foundations 11.6% (this includes excavation and backfill)
Framing 18%
Exterior Finishes 15% (siding, roofing, windows, doors)
Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC rough ins 13.1%
Interior Finishes 29.6% (insulation, drywall, interior trims and doors, painting, lighting, cabinets, counter tops, appliances, flooring, plumbing fixtures, fireplaces)
Final Steps 6.8% (Landscaping, decks, driveways, clean up)

Of framing and exterior finishes (roughly 1/3rd of costs), if you invest in an engineered post frame building kit package and do your own labor (labor being roughly 1/3rd of this portion), save $43,164 (I can take a lot of time off work for this).

Hansen Pole Buildings GuesthouseAnd my engineered post frame building kit package includes engineering, saving $6278.
Obviously even more savings can be achieved for those capable of doing electrical and plumbing, however assuming nothing other than what has been listed, your $562,419 barndominium has been built and is ready to move in for $331,558!! This resulted in over a 41% savings and kept over $230,000 in YOUR pocket!!

Of course your investment and savings could be more or less depending upon your tastes and location, however this should give you a feel for where you will be headed. It would be prudent to budget another 1% for every month you delay your start, as well.

Post Frame Apartment Buildings

Post Frame Apartment Buildings

I have thought about the possibilities of constructing apartments using post frame construction for years, however a recent query from reader DERRICK in CINCINNATI brought it to the forefront of my thoughts. Dave writes: “Can you build apartment buildings out of your products? Nothing fancy. Just affordable living in a rural area. If yes, have any of your customers done anything like this or similar?

Keep in mind, post frame construction is applicable in any circumstance where stick frame construction could be used. Although roll formed steel roofing and siding is going to be the most cost effective and durable – any choice of covering materials can be used.

Apartment buildings are something I have not done personally, nor have I had a client construct one. Come to think of it, I have yet to have seen any post frame apartments done by anyone.

So why use post frame construction for an apartment building?

Cost savings would obviously have to be a factor. Assuming the same siding and roofing materials the largest cost savings (as well as time savings) is going to come from the foundation. The investment into continuous footings and foundations of poured concrete are immense. These costs accelerate as foundation walls become deeper due to having to get footings below frost lines in colder climates.

Speed of construction. Construction financing can get to be expensive. Every day a project lags before being able to be occupied is reducing profits for the project. Short of using prefabricated wall panels, post frame construction is going to assemble far quicker than stick frame.

And wall panels are not cheap.

Post frame construction can easily accommodate high R value insulation systems. Certainly there is going to be an investment into more insulation, however tenants show a willingness to pay extra in rent, to see a lower monthly utility cost.

Looking to construct an apartment building or buildings? If the end result will be three or fewer floors with a wall height of 40 feet or less (add one more story and 10 more feet of wall height with sprinklers), then post frame should most certainly be considered as a design solution