In answer to an email message.
The other day, I got the following email message from a reader:
Thank you for posting the information on your home. We are interested in doing something similar and were wondering if you had any ball park cost you could share on your project.
I’ve been blogging about the construction of my new home, which was built using post-frame (“pole building”) construction, since May 20, 2014. I’ve even created a series of daily time-lapse movies that show how the building was built.
A lot of people have asked me why I chose this type of construction. After all, at the end of the day I’m living in a metal building. While it isn’t unattractive, it doesn’t have what most folks would consider “curb appeal.” Surely I could have made something nicer looking with normal framing construction.
That could be true, but I seriously doubt I could have done it on the same budget. After all, my building has a 60 x 48 footprint with a high roof peak about 30 feet up. That’s a lot of 2 x 4s. And let’s not forget the fact that the RV garage portion of the building has a 16 foot internal clearance with no central posts for support. It took some seriously engineered trusses to make that work. And how about the vaulted ceilings in the living space? Do you know how thick the five glulam beams that support the roof over that area are?
Of course, I have no answer for this person’s question. Every building is different, every builder has different pricing and materials. Before choosing a builder, I got quotes from four of them and they ranged in price from $50K to $250K. Were they all trying to sell me the same thing? I don’t think so.
My building was (obviously) custom, built to my specifications with design assistance from the builder, Western Ranch Buildings. I don’t think they’d ever done a building with such a large open space inside it (24 x 48 x 16) and I know for certain that they’d never done one with so many windows (20). I’m extremely happy with the way it turned out and have absolutely no complaints about the builder, who was completely professional, flexible, helpful, and patient with me. And this was my first (and likely only) time as a general contractor.
Of course, Western Ranch only provided the building shell. I handled everything inside either myself or by hiring subcontractors. There was additional cost for all that. So reporting what I spent on just the building shell wouldn’t offer a complete picture of my building cost. And reporting what I spent on the entire project would include all the high-end finishing touches such as the vaulted ceiling, oversized ceiling fans, custom kitchen cabinets, granite countertops, Pergo flooring, soaking tub, glass block shower stall, etc., etc.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: The cost of any building project depends on the contractor(s), the materials, the type of construction, the size, and the features. My project is unique, so reporting its costs would be meaningless. If you’re interested in building your own pole building, come up with a plan and submit it to several builders. See what they say it’ll cost. Western Ranch was right on the money with their estimates — a reputable builder in your area should be, too.