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Moving a barn about 30 feet?

Posted by louw (My Page) on
Fri, May 10, 13 at 7:53

Hello all, and welcome to what I'm sure will be the first of many questions to this forum, as we made an offer on a 1900 Victorian yesterday, and I'm sure I'm going to need a lot of advice and recommendations.

However, my first question is about the barn, not the house. The barn sits 25 feet from the house, and it's 25' x '30 [2 stories, ~25' high]. The barn sits on a fieldstone foundation, and has a 6-7' foot crawl space under it.

I don't want to tear down the barn, but it's location is poor. The lot is narrow, 90' wide, and 255' deep, and the front of the barn is dead center of the lot, blocking the view of the back half of the property from the house. I'd also like to put in a swimming pool and deck, and the barn (and the shadow it casts) are in the way.

Now, I know picking up a building and moving it can be done, but how hard (and expensive) is it to pick up and move a barn like this about 25-35 feet? The ground is reasonably flat, there should be no difficulty pouring a new foundation (assuming the septic system installed in 2009 is where it's supposed to be), and the only utility in the barn is electricity, which would need to get re-run anyway if I do a pool.

So I have three main questions. First, are there any complications I should be aware of? Second, this would not be DIY, I'd hire out the whole job, including the new foundation (no basement), and I'm hoping it would be around $6-8k. Am I in the right ballpark? Three, how does one go about getting estimates and references on moving a barn? Where I am, suburban Boston, it's not that common a task.

Thanks for any help!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Moving a barn about 30 feet?

No idea for certain but a wild guess would be 3 to 4 times the amount your thinking. And that would be plus the new slab and excavation work.


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RE: Moving a barn about 30 feet?

Shouldn't be hard to move, but, based on personal experience, nothing in suburban Boston is that cheap ;-). Depending on the age and construction of the barn it might be easier to disassemble and reassemble it (ie if it is post and beam), making it easy to replace rotted sills etc while you're in the process. There are several folks in the area (MA, NH, CT) who specialize in that sort of work--google 'massachusetts barn restoration' to find them.


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RE: Moving a barn about 30 feet?

A house mover would be the company to ask.

What do you plan to use the barn for? It might make more sense to scavenge the wood and fieldstone and make more than one building of it, exactly hwere you want ot.

Or, as hot as the market for old wood is, sell it and have new stuff built.


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RE: Moving a barn about 30 feet?

Thanks for the responses. I should first note that my estimate of $6-8k was supposed to be for the foundation work only, not the moving. I have no idea how much that costs, although talking to a house mover seems smart.

As far as what I want to use the barn for, that's a good question for me to think about. I'd been planning on a garage, workspace, and storage. So basically that's equal to 'big garage'. So if I could actually have someone pay me to take down the barn and take the wood, I'd probably be glad to do that and just build a garage instead. I like old barns in general, and it was one of the things that attracted me to this house. But now that I better understand the lot shape and the zoning rules, I'd wouldn't mind it it was gone. The barn was built between 1900-1910.

The other idea of conserving the wood and using it to build a new garage is also very interesting, and the next time I look at the property I'll talk about it with my contractor.

Thanks for the help!


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RE: Moving a barn about 30 feet?

Probably 20-25K for the slab and excavation work and that might be to the low side.


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RE: Moving a barn about 30 feet?

The barn may not be built well enough to withstand moving.

Taking it apart and then rebuilding (especially something as simple as a barn) might be a better option.

You also need to keep in mind the AHJ may require it to meet the codes in effect now (in either case).

This post was edited by brickeyee on Sat, May 11, 13 at 10:28


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RE: Moving a barn about 30 feet?

Extremely good point Brickeye brings up about zoning and codes. It may have changed a good deal since the house was built and its location on the lot, since it's an existing structure is probably grandfathered in. Many urban homes built in that timeframe had a barn, and often a stable under it since people were using horse and buggies at that time. My parents had a barn on their sloping lot and a brick drive around to the back of it with large doors in what would have been the 'crawlspace' area. It was, in fact a stable.


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RE: Moving a barn about 30 feet?

It wasn't just carriages which barns needed to house...all the heavy farm work was done with horses also: plowing, planting and harvesting was all done with horse-drawn machinery. My father mentioned that before World War II many farmers waited for the people with the steam thresher and other major things to come around since no single farmer could afford such an expensive piece of equipment. My family farmed using horses I think through the War, my uncle was one of the first to actually have a gas-powered tractor on his farm.

This was all on farms in north central Ohio from 1850-1950. Such was the life of small farms everywhere I think, today only the Amish still farm that way. I'm sure my ancestors are spinning in their graves with the trend toward factory farms and genetically modified seed! I'd like to see someone grow their own gasoline to 'feed' their tractor now! :)


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RE: Moving a barn about 30 feet?

Yes, I know my great uncle died in the mid-thirties from the aftereffects of being thrown from his wagon pulled by mules in the coal mines. I also know the terracing done in the front of our house was done by a horse-drawn pan scoop in the thirties. A lady who used to live in this house passed this on to me, and I still am finding old horse shoes when I garden. My f.i.l. was still farming behind mules back in Missouri until the early sixties, shortly before I joined the family. The implements were still by the fields where he left them. I guess what I was getting at, is it doesn't have to be a farm to find a barn. Barns and stables were part of urban life as well and can be found in towns. It doesn't mean that that structure was any part of a rural or farm setting.


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RE: Moving a barn about 30 feet?

would it have to be on a slab?
isn't on foundation walls now?
it may shave $$ to put it on a
concrete block foundation wall.

around here..old barns are built of
cedar. tearing them down & selling
the lumber is a good return.
tearing them down for the lumber
is an excellent return for whoever
does tear down.

find out what type of wood was used.
it may make a big difference.

people here move houses all the time.
something I'd never seen before, but it
is a common practice.
check into costs of moving it such a short
distance.

best of luck.


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