What to Consider Before Moving a Barn
When America was founded, Thomas Jefferson believed it would become a country whose local farmers gave it complete independence and freedom. And, although the family farm is less common than it once was, barns are still a crucial part of many farming operations—and of the American landscape.
Whether your barn has historic value or is just a practical part of your farm, it’s important to be able to relocate it properly so you can use it for years to come.
We’ve put together this essential guide to moving a barn the right way. Read on to find out what you need to consider before a barn relocation.
1. Condition of the Barn
How old the barn is and the condition that it’s in will determine your approach to moving it. However, older barns aren’t necessarily more fragile.
Barns built prior to 1900 often used stronger beams because there were enough individual virgin-growth trees to build with. Old barns, therefore, usually used fewer parts, but stronger ones, which makes them easier to transport today. As old-growth forests disappeared and younger trees were used more for building, barns became more prone to collapse.
No matter the age or construction of the barn, you’ll still want to check what condition it’s in before the move. If there is damage from insects or water, this will affect your approach to moving it.
2. Distance of the Move
For short moves, it can make sense to move the entire barn as one piece. But for longer moves, this may actually not be the best choice. In fact, most of the time, it’s best to take the barn apart for the move. This is the safest option, but it does require specific equipment and construction knowledge.
When moving a historic barn, you’ll also want to consider the significance of its location before you move it. A short move to a permanent location is sometimes necessary to preserve the barn. However, you may want to avoid moving it too far from its original historic location, if at all possible.
For example, certain barn styles are attached to certain places. When people would settle parts of America from other countries, the barn styles in those areas reflected the architecture of their homelands. Keeping a historic barn in its original region means that significance won’t be lost.
3. Storage Options
If you’re going to move a barn by taking it apart, you may need to store it for a time before it can be put up in its new location.
Be sure that you plan ahead so you don’t end up with timbers sitting out in the elements. It’s best to store barn parts with a bit of space in between them for air to flow, covered with a metal roof, and raised off of the ground.
Final Thoughts on Moving a Barn
If you plan your barn move ahead of time, you won’t run into hassles along the way. From material condition to history to distance, take into account these major factors before moving a barn, so it will be functional for years to come.
Of course, you’ll also need to have the right equipment on hand. Hevi-Haul products have been trusted by professionals for structural moves for years. So, you can count on us to have the right products to make your barn move go smoothly—check out our options here.
5 Famous Examples of Structural Relocation
We often look at inspiring architecture with awe, marveling at how a structure could have been built before the development of modern structural techniques. It’s all the more shocking to find out that a structural relocation took place, bringing the original building to a new location.
Famously, William Shakespeare and a group of friends helped to dismantle and rebuild the original Globe Theater on the other side of the Thames. Imagine if they had been able to move the building without removing a nail!
1. The Gem Theater
The playing field for the Detroit Lions used to be the site for the Gem Theater. In 1999, the building was moved four city blocks downtown. The physically attached Century Club made the move more difficult. In order to accommodate the move, the Century Club was fitted with steel framing.
Both buildings were lifted simultaneously, and then placed on 70+ dollies that were each the size of a small sedan. With the wide range of skates and dollies available, relocation projects like this one have become more common than ever.
2. Captain Cook’s Cottage
Captain Cook’s 18th-century cottage was built by his parents in North Yorkshire in the United Kingdom. When a later owner decided to sell it in 1933, an Australian bought it and donated it.
The cottage was donated to Victoria, where Captain Cook first landed in Australia. It was dismantled brick-by-brick and shipped abroad. Even the original ivy from the English site was replanted along the walls of the new site.
3. John Rennie’s London Bridge
The London Bridge has been replaced every few hundred years. And, interestingly, one iteration of the bridge now resides in Arizona.
John Rennie’s bridge was built following an engineering contest held by the city. The Scottish engineer’s bridge was so strong and popular that its heavy use caused it to begin to sink into the Thames river. After the city put it up for sale, an Arizona oilman bid on it for 2.5 million dollars. He then brought it to Arizona in 1971.
4. Abu Simbel Temple
In 1960, a dam in Egypt demanded that a stone pyramid had to be relocated. Originally commissioned by Ramses II, the Abu Simbel Temple was designed with giant images of the pharaoh. It ended up becoming a tourist attraction for centuries.
For the move, each of the temple’s one thousand blocks was numbered and carefully dismantled. Blocks weighed an average of 30 tons each, making it one of the biggest structural relocation projects in history.
5. Fu Gang Building
This more recent Chinese structural relocation now holds the record for the largest building in history to move. The Fu Gang Building in the Guangxi Province was moved structurally intact, without being dismantled.
Although it only moved 120 feet, it took more than 10 days to move. The 33-million-pound relocation is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Make Your Own Structural Relocation History
While these types of moves are exceptional and mind-blowing, with the latest high-tech methods, they are easier than ever. If you’re struggling to plan your own relocation project, contact us with any questions. We have the perfect relocation solutions for everything from single-family homes to entire office parks.