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Planning for farm building renovations and repairsPlanning for farm building renovations and repairs

Farmers often face a common building decision: How to determine whether to renovate an existing farm structure or build a new one?

Dan Nyberg, training manager for Morton Buildings, says when the company’s repair division works with farmers, a remodel can be the best option if: 

  • The basic structure can effectively accommodate their equipment for the foreseeable future – based on height, width and door sizes.

  • The building has ‘family significance’ – for example, grandpa built it and we will keep it as one of our memories of him.

  • Or, if there is a pressing need which the existing structure can fulfill with some modification, based on estimated cost and return.

Nyberg says when planning a renovation project, there are several important considerations to keep in mind.

  • “First, make a realistic evaluation of the cost and ultimate use of the building,” he advises. “Will the end result provide an effective structure to be part of your overall operation for the long term?”

  • He also suggests that farmers get professional help in evaluating what must be done, as some updates may be more involved than they are able to project. “For instance, one of the first areas our repair division assesses in a renovation project is whether there are any structural issues that need to be addressed. These can be harder to identify on your own.”

  • Nyberg adds that every project estimate should provide a very clear and complete scope of work – what is included and what is not. “For any portion of the work you expect to perform yourself, be realistic about the time that work will require and the timeframe the project fits in,” he states.  “Also, don’t forget to build a ‘fudge factor’ into your budget to cover issues discovered in the middle of the project, such as an electrical wiring issue behind wall finishes.”


When basic repairs are needed, Nyberg says it’s important to prioritize.  His recommendations include:

  • If the structural integrity of the building is in question, make that a high priority. For example – a broken column or cracked truss.

  • If the function of the building is being impacted, that should also be given immediate attention, such as a large sliding door that won’t open or a skylight that is broken and leaking.

  • On the other hand, if a structure just needs some work, a facelift or fixing minor headache issues, carefully evaluate if an additional investment is a wise use of time and money.

Nyberg says these guidelines will help ensure that a repair or renovation will be cost-effective and support the long-term needs of a farming operation. For more information, visit MortonBuildings.com/Repairs.


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