To build a barndominium, either from an existing barn or from scratch, is likely to have around the same timescale.
The question of what that timescale actually is depends on a few factors.
How big do you want your barndominium to be?
How much, in terms of muscle and resources, do you have spare to speed the process along? With enough money and the right contractors and help, anything is possible – we’ve all seen the TV shows where they go from demolition of a previous house to handing over the keys of a brand new one within 7 days, right?
Weather permitting, you can do that. But you’ll never make your money back.
A more reasonable timescale for either a build-up from an original barn or a build from scratch is around the 6-month mark
That’s because there’s a lot of work to do to build a barndominium, and many jobs can’t be done out of sequence – at least at the beginning, you have to build a barndominium from the ground up.
The process goes something like this:
1. Excavate if necessary
2. Pour your solid foundations. Wait until dry – protecting from the elements as and when necessary
3. Put up your framework, so you have the ‘edges’ of the jigsaw puzzle that is your barndominium
4. Secondary framework if necessary, including any raised levels or elements
5. Roofing – a particularly important stage, as it protects all the work underneath from the direct assault of the elements, like rain.
6. The stuff of life – plumbing, electricity, heat, and AC
7. Insulation – for the avoidance of freezing to death
8. Interior work and furniture – frequently including shopping, and always including any design work.
As we’ve said, these elements frequently depend on the previous elements being completed before they can kick in. You can’t start framing until your foundations are in and firm, for instance.
You can't get to the interior work until the plumbing, electricity, and heating elements are installed if you intend to stay in the barndominium overnight.
You can’t really install all those elements until the roof and the walls are in place, because if you risk it, and it rains, you could not only damage the electricity lines, you could also turn the whole barndominium into a danger zone for electrocution.
So while there’s at least technically a way to speed this process up, there are limits to what is sensible to do in a hurry. That’s why most people who build a barndominium take at least six months over it – because mistakes due to too much haste can be costly, annoying, and ultimately only end up extending the time it takes to go from initial plans and permits to walking into your new barndominium.
Go as fast as you feel comfortable with, but be aware of these reasons why it takes most people at least six months to build their barndominium.
How fast can you build a Barndominium?
How fast it’s possible to build a barndominium is a different question to how fast most people build their barndominium.
The factors that can speed up the process are:
2. Muscles, and
If you have money to burn on the way to your new barndominium, then having multiple crews (more muscles and machines) on site at the same time becomes a possibility.
If there is nothing productive they can do on site at the same time, having the money ready to pay crews immediately – and a healthy command of your barndominium building diary – means you can plan to have one crew move in and get working the moment it’s safe for them to do so.
That means, for instance, you can cut down the time lag between some of the stages of building, by having your framers ready to arrive as your foundations are in and solid, having the roofers on standby to come in the moment the framers are done, and while all that initial work is going on, you can be shopping for the interior furnishings based on a design plan, so that they can be held until they’re needed, and delivered the moment the plumbers, the electricians, and the insulation specialists are driving out.
That is at least technically possible, and it could cut your standard 6 month building time down to a matter of weeks. But be aware that if you’re doing it this way, you need a military control of your diary, your budget, and your suppliers and construction workers. You can make the process a well-oiled machine, but you need reliable companies to work with, and you need nothing to go wrong.
Be aware: Things Will Go Wrong.
They’ll probably be easily fixable things, but they will go wrong. The framers will suddenly need to quarantine after one of them develops a suspicious cough.
Your cabinets will be delivered in luminescent ultramarine, and no-one at the store will know anything about you having asked for them in calming caramel cream. The head of the roofing company will become a Bitcoin billionaire and retire to the Hamptons. Things will happen.
And while it’s not the main reason barndominium builds usually take 6 months or longer – that’s usually down to you the client not making important decisions in a timely manner – Things Happening is a very good reason why a little patience in the construction process will serve you well.
If your framers suddenly have to quarantine and you have no rigidly constructed line of dominos that have to fall exactly on given dates to maximize construction efficiency, then you don’t have to stress – you can find another set of less potentially infectious framers, pay them to turn up as soon as possible, and get on with the barndominium building process.
When you take that flexibility out of the process, and when things absolutely, positively have to be done on time, you add in stress, and you arguably take out most of the fun. You can cut the construction process down to a matter of weeks this way, but it’s not really advisable unless you have that extra money, and access to reliable muscle and machines.
6 months gives you the chance to build your barndominium the right way, with leeway for things happening and the opportunity to make choices, both construction and aesthetic, with enough thought that you’ll love the results for years to come.