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The Home Depot

5 Barn Build Questions to Ask Contractors

Pro Referral > Home Guides > General Contracting > 5 Barn Build Questions to Ask Contractors
5 Barn Build Questions to Ask Contractors

Once you decide that you want to build a barn, check to see if you have enough land. Do you have an actual site preference for this new structure? The contractor may have a better idea. Ask what his reservations might be about the area you’ve chosen. If he says, “It’s on a hill and all the cows will fall out,” he’s got a good point. Pick the contractors brain: Where would he put it and why would he stick the barn where he suggests?

  1. 1.Building Permits

    Whether your new barn will be housing livestock, equipment, food stuffs or all-of-the-above, a well-constructed barn should last for generations.

    What type of legal things do you need to have in-hand before starting? As a contractor, ask if they will take care of these requirements?


    Building permits are generally required by law. The contractor usually takes charge of this matter.

  2. 2.The Utilities

    Will your new barn have electricity, water, sewage and other utilities? If it’s not readily available, what’s it going to cost to get these services? If it is readily available, what will be done not to disrupt existing connections?


    From an existing connections standpoint, this is another matter that the builder will handle, but to be safe, ask if this is your responsibility or is it in the contractor’s ballpark. Most states have a toll-free number that you can call to set up an appointment with various utilities. In other cases, you may have to call each one individually. You ultimately want to have someone come out to your property and place color-coded flags in the ground, marking where the given utility runs.


    As for laying new pipe or new cable, the contractor will be either sub-contracting the work or there are people on his team handling the duties.

  3. 3.Assisting The Contractor

    Can you keep the final bill more manageable by doing some of the grunt work? Know what you’re doing when you’re around tools? Ask to see if the contractor will shave a little from the bottom line if you help.


    Doing things like preparing the job site or pounding-out a little demolition might save you some change. See if the contractor will buy-in to the plan. Keep in mind, if you do toss in a hand; make sure you and the contractor are in sync. Putting up a barn is like most other projects. It’s a process. If just one part of the process is wrong, incorrectly done or not finished on the timetable, it can delay the entire shebang.

  4. 4.Insurance

    What type of insurance and bonding does the barn builder have? In some areas of the country, it’s not required that the contractor have insurance. Picking a company that has comprehensive liability, even though it’s not the law, should be a top consideration. Not settling there, ask if the owner has Workers Comp for their employees.


    This is for your protection. Some contractors sub-contract. It keeps the main man from having to cover that which flows downstream. Considering that’s the case in this example, you want to see all insurance papers from every sub-contractor the boss will use.

  5. 5.Post and Beam

    One type of barn is the post and beam structure. You want to go this way? Then ask the contractor if they ever built a Log Cabin. Some will say they have experience with traditional wood structures. These specialists are the ones to place at the very top of the list if you’re in the rustic barn market.


    Whether your new barn will be housing livestock, equipment, food stuffs or all-of-the-above, a well-constructed barn should last for generations.

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