The Great Project has begun

As Tam mentioned in her earlier post, we’ve begun work on the barn.

We’ve been discussing building the barn since… well, since not long after we moving in 10 years ago. The big shed we built back in 2005 (with much help from Steve and Jennifer) has been great, vital even. The concrete floor we (finally) got poured in the shed back in 2011 has made it even better.

When we moved in, the place came with an empty concrete foundation- where the old cattery was located.  It naturally attracted piles of junk (firewood, scrap timber, Yvonne’s jumping-rails and equestrian-stuff). Serious construction plans started in 2010; I took a draft barn plan to council. They pointed out that the existing foundation was 20 years old, but the code required that the foundation have a minimum of a 50-year lifespan.  Time to call in the first engineer! They confirmed the slab was in good shape, that it was on good firm ground, and that there was steel in the slab, as per plan.  They couldn’t guarantee the lifespan of the slab unless he cut it in half… which kinda defeats the purpose.  So he suggested we pour a new footing around the perimeter. That way the barn will be resting on the new (50-year-lifespan) footing, and center of the slab is now just a floor with no lifespan requirements.

A couple of years passed as I worked on the building consent, and we went through many, many iterations of the barn plan. We settled on a final plan in 2012, and I got the building consent approved (a lengthy saga of its own, building consents are becoming excessively ponderous in their required paperwork).

Last December Dave M and I built the form-work for the new concrete footing (and I put in lots and lots of reinforcing steel), and in early January with the help of my new neighbor Dave W we got the concrete poured.  Woo!

And then they announced the road running through our farm. So I lost 4 months reading, researching, writing, meeting with local mayors and councils, etc.

Back in June I finally got to the construction phase. I would build walls and bits during the week, then on the weekend get some friends over and we would prop them up and bolt them in place.


barn under construction

Two walls

Alpacas exploring the barn under construction

The alpacas aren’t concerned


Yesterday was a big day- the posts and beams.  This was not going to be a 2 or 3 person job, so I put out the call and we got a big team.

The posts are 250x250x27000 macrocarpa, rough saw straight from the sawmill. They look great!  And they weren’t that hard to get in place.

The large beams are 410x90x5400, LVL (laminate veneer lumber- essentially structural plywood).  They were HEAVY. I was glad for all the extra people.


barn under construction

posts and beams

barn under construction


With that done, I can now continue.  A floor, the second level walls, then the rafters and roof await!

One thought on “The Great Project has begun

  1. carol hamilton says:

    Stephen, It is looking real good! Glad you are finally seeing some progress

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