What You Need to Know About Converting Your Barn
barn conversions in northern ireland
The Northern Irish countryside is dotted with beautiful buildings from our past no longer used but ripe with opportunity and potential. Each building, be it an old church, schoolhouse or barn, has its own charm and with barn conversions becoming more popular, attainable and manageable the possibilities are there.
If you are considering undertaking a barn conversion in the near future, take time and care to consider all aspects of the project.
With that in mind, your first consideration should be the ultimate purpose of the barn conversion. The reuse and alteration of these unique old buildings can take many forms including development for economic, tourism, recreational and residential facilities. There is also scope, in accordance with PPS 21, to repurpose for community facilities but retail plans will almost always be denied.
The perfect project will pair the right property with the right purpose so if you’re converting for a new home, office or tourism business consider all aspects and the variations of each.
slemish design studio architects surveying one of their barn conversion projects
After deciding on the right property and purpose, a comprehensive survey of the barn is absolutely essential to identify any potential issues before conversion work begins.
Surveys can be carried out by architects like ourselves, structural engineers or building surveyors and will help for planning to conserve the character of the building, highlight any structural issues and provide clear indications concerning project costs.
For all their charm, barn conversions are serious projects, and generally more expensive than typical new builds, and one major reason for this is the likely lack of connection to normal services.
As most barns, in their original state, would have been used for non-residential or agricultural purposes they are unlikely to be connected to electrical and water mains as well as required sewage systems.
It’s essential that you plan and budget to connect the property to the required services as soon as possible.
When it comes to barn conversions the design, layout and feel of the property is the most exciting part of the project. This is where you get to breathe life back into somewhere that’s been left derelict, unused and forgotten about.
However, even though it can be an exciting time, barn conversion design can be difficult and testing and it’s absolutely crucial you work with professionals experienced in this unique style of building. Almost all planning permission will be subject to retaining and maintaining the look, character and feel of the original structure.
This can prove problematic as old barns and unused buildings can come with limited natural light available, necessary but impractical wood or iron beams and limited access to creating new levels/floors.
With all of that in mind you might be rethinking your dream project but don’t be dismayed. With hard work, careful planning and the right guidance the end result can be truly unique, worthwhile and rich in character and integrity.
Finally, and underpinning everything we’ve already discussed, is the cost of your proposed project.
Unfortunately, there is no rule of thumb when dealing with such wildly unique projects and only after sourcing the right property, getting a proper survey and obtaining the correct planning permission will you begin to understand the costs involved in your barn conversion project. Also, the scale of the work needed and the involved of other parties will also largely depend on your own experience and knowledge.
We hope that this has given you some guidance if or when you consider a barn conversion.
They can be some of the best and most interesting projects to be involved in and luckily, we’re experienced in numerous projects on a variety of sites.
If you have questions on a project you’d like us to come see or need guidance contact us below or via our facebook page & we’ll do what we can to help out on your project.