The Tiny house Blog

Barndominiums – 5 Things to Know About Barn Conversions

Updated on:
June 9, 2023
A barn converted to a farm house styled tiny home

Barn conversions are a great option among renovators looking for a unique living space. While these projects necessitate a detailed plan, adaptable budgeting, solid design, and patience, the result is well worth the time and money invested.

A perfect barn conversion needs careful planning, flexible budgeting, as well as good design. The most significant challenge of barn conversions is that they are often expensive and take a long time to complete.

Your barn can be converted into a safe and attractive home by architects, builders, together with surveyors. Your route to your desired barn conversion will be substantially smoother if you consider the most important details prior to getting started on design or construction.

What Is A Barn Conversion?

A barn conversion is a building structure that was once utilized, or originally designed as, a farm barn and has been converted into a home or business. Barn conversions typically have rustic exteriors, high ceilings as well as generous proportions.

Barn conversions have been gaining more and more attention as there are some clear advantages to them. Typically you'll find stark contrast between modern interiors and classic exteriors, creating a lovely feeling of peace and antiquity.

You can design your own barndominium for your growing family or any other lifestyle needs you may have. With many different layout options like Barndominium floor plans for 4 bedrooms will offer you an open concept with plenty of living space and bedrooms.

Inside a barndominium (barn conversion)

What Are The Key Features Of Barn Conversions?

A perfect barn conversion goes along with some key features:

  • Located in rural locations
  • Generous living space
  • Modern finishes like underfloor heating or mezzanine floors
  • Antique exteriors and ultra-modern interior
  • Double size rooms and exposed beams
  • Vaulted ceilings and open-plan living

5 Things To Know About Barn Conversions

exterior of Barndominium

Nowadays, barn conversions are a familiar option for people who are looking for a unique space to call a home. In this article, you'll learn five things about barn conversions. But first, some history...

A History Of Barn Conversions In UK and Barn Conversions In The 1970s And 80s

You have to know that barn conversion is not an emerging concept. In the 1950s, a sharp decline in farming resulted in the disuse of farm buildings.

Alternative uses, like converting them to homes, began to circulate for these massive structures as their farm specific utility diminished. During the 1970s and 1980s, this grew more popular as conversion to private buildings generated the best income.

As a result of more complicated planning laws, these structures have undergone significant changes. Including adding PVC-clad windows and doors, dormers in the roof area, and expansions like conservatories and garages.

1 . Modern Barn Conversions

Due to the strict planning requirements, conversions throughout the 1990s and 2000s tended to keep much of the original building's outside charm.

Whereas homes in the 1980s were typically divided into various rooms, a desire for an open-plan living has resulted in less separation in 21st-century conversions.

With the introduction of Appendix Q allowed development in 2014, restrictions have been lifted. This was later modified in 2018 to permit the construction of three residences with a total area of up to 465 square meters.

Or even five smaller homes with a total area of up to 100 square meters; or a combination of both.

2. A Barn Conversion: What You Need To Know?

Before you decide to buy a barn conversion, check when it was converted. This could significantly impact the building's energy efficiency rating and hence your heating bills.

Since these structures are farm enough, it's also vital to check for covenants. Check if your property includes access rights, which neighbors could wish to retain for their farm vehicles.

If you're purchasing an unconverted barn with planning approval, be sure it's not listed. The requirement to employ appropriate tools throughout this conversion can result in additional unanticipated costs, making the conversion more expensive.

3. Can You Extend A Barn Conversion?

In many circumstances, large improvements to a barn are unlikely to be approved by municipal planners. Smaller additions, like a lean-to, might be permissible. A cloakroom, utility room, boiler room, or other auxiliary room could be an excellent reason to authorize this expansion. You might obtain a more favorable response as this would not result in considerable fragmentation of the original space.

4. How Do I Get Barn Conversion Approval?

  1. Contact the local planning department in charge of the area you're wanting to convert the barn you have chosen. If the barn is already on the proper ask for ‘change of use.’ requirements. You can't apply for outline planning permission. Therefore, the council will want the whole planning application in detail.
  2. Check the listed building consent and figure out if this barn is eligible or not.
  3. The more modifications you make to the barn, the longer of an approval process you will face, and likely more kickback.

5 . Is It Expensive To Convert A Barn?

If you’re new to this, and depending on how you design it, it’s possible you will spend more converting a barn than building a traditional house. While the costs will vary greatly depending on design, type of structure that is already there and the regulations of your local jurisdiction, expect to pay around $300 per square foot.

Converting a Barn: Potential Problems

Living room of Barndominium

Barns are not built for a lifetime. When the farmers built those barns, they gave priority to safety and waterproofing. They don't try to keep their barns looking pretty, nor did they put much effort into energy efficiency.

Architect Ben Parsons, said that your barn conversions will cost more if you buy a barn in worse condition. Check if there are any structural flaws in walls, rotten timber, or roof structures. These can add some extra costs.

Timber Repairs:

Check if the barn is made with timber, then find how many timbers will need to be repaired. Most of the timbers can be repaired or replaced, but this adds cost. In order to keep the costs down, consider keeping as much of the original structure and aesthetic as possible.

Masonry Repair:

Use lime-based renders as breathability and flexibility are essential. Try to avoid cement renders as this is not vaping permeable.

Wrapping Up

The tips above should help you to gain a deeper understanding of barn conversion. Suppose you’re in confusion and don't want to regret it after you build your dream home; contact a professional architect.

They will eagerly listen to your priorities and design your barn conversion properly. Transforming a barn into a home can give a pleasant sense of comfort when considering all these five things. But conversely, if you haven't planned properly, it will likely result in unsatisfactory end result, wasting time and money.

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