Deciding to Build New, Renovate Comes Down to Cost

CANADA - A Farm Building Consultant with FGC Construction says, when considering whether to build new or renovate when making the move from stall housing to group housing of gestating sows, the decision comes down to cost, Bruce Cochrane writes.
calendar icon 25 September 2017
clock icon 3 minute read

As part of a programme coordinated by Swine Innovation Porc a multi institutional team of engineers and scientists has been documenting the conversion of sow barns from stall housing to group housing in an effort to provide insight to those considering making the change.

Murray Elliott, a Farm Building Consultant with FGC Construction, says before considering whether to renovate the barn or start from scratch the producer needs to decide what type of feeding and sorting systems he wants to use and whether the barn will accommodate before examining the state of the structure itself.

Murray Elliott-FGC Construction

Basically you look at the entire barn structure as if you're building it new.

You look at pit floors, foundations, foundation walls, upper walls, ceilings attics, trusses, truss plates and roof steel.

You're trying to assess the condition of each of those because a good portion of that's going to be left as is after the renovation.

You want it to have a other 30 years of life so you're not wasting your money on what you have put into the renovation and the biggest factor always comes down to cost.

You need to be able to do a renovation, in my opinion, for under 75 per cent of what a new structure is worth.

Otherwise you should probably lean toward a new structure.

Mr Elliott says, based on Ontario figures, the cost of a new structure without any of the equipment that goes into the barn runs at about 36 dollars per square foot.

He says a renovation almost always runs at least 50 per cent of that but if you start closing in on 75 per cent, you really need to have a hard look at whether you want to do that.

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