Engineering – Its Purpose and What you Get
The engineering we supply you is Structural Engineering for our steel frame system & panels, or what’s commonly referred to as the building shell. Engineering also includes the foundation plan. This engineering package includes all the drawings, the specifications of the materials to be used and all the structural calculations that show your building department the structure meets or exceeds all the Design Loads unique to your location. That means, among other things, Design Wind Load, Design Snow Load (if applicable) and other factors including the Seismic Zone for the location.
If you are acquiring a building permit, structural engineering is required for that. Typically, you’ll also need a site plan showing the structure is located within an allowable building envelope on your site. This is to ensure you observe lot line setbacks and/or distances from other structures, so fire responders have access & are not put in danger. The site plan, if required, is your responsibility.
Is It Necessary?
Yes & no. (Don’t you love answers like that?)
Yes if you have to obtain a building permit from your local building department having jurisdiction over your property.
If your building location is in a rural county where they do not require you to obtain a building permit, the answer is a qualified No. We say “qualified” because for the reasonable price at which we offer engineering, if it were our family to reside in the barndominium, we’d want the engineering just so we could sleep better at night. It also might be helpful when it comes to resale or for insurance replacement purposes.
Note: If you live in an area not requiring a building permit you won’t need engineering, but rest assured, your building is still manufactured to meet or exceed your area’s building code. There are NO EXCEPTIONS to this.
What Does Barndominium Engineering Cost?
It won’t cost less than $650 and could run as high as $1500 depending upon the complexity of the structure. That is very competitive pricing. Get a quote from your local structural engineer for the same product and the price will probably start at $2500 and move up from there. It will not include the foundation without a Soils Report which will cost you another $2000-$3000.
Why is our engineering so reasonably priced? Due to the volume of business we provide the engineering firm(s); we’ve negotiated aggressively, and we pass that savings on to you. It’s simple – we make our money on our buildings, not engineering.
How Long Does it Take?
At the time of this writing, engineering firms, just like most of the building/construction industry, are busy to the point of being backlogged. For most of the last 20 years engineering has taken 2, sometimes maybe 4 weeks to complete. Today the timing will range from 4 to 8 weeks.
One could sum it up as the problems of prosperity; the US economy is strong which certainly beats the alternative.
If you are acquiring a permit, a factor that has ALWAYS affected the timeliness is the back & forth with the plan reviewer at your building department. Plan reviewers can be easy to deal with and conversely, very difficult to deal with. We have no control over that.
All this to say, please be patient. Our job of the submitting the drawings for review by the engineering firms is done without delay—ten days or less is typical. After that, it’s out our hands. We can push it, and we have important relationships with these firms, but good engineers are best left alone—they work better with their heads down and not on the phone.
If you have more questions about engineering, we are always happy to help.