The Outbuilding

Introduction

Wherever you travel you can see that there are lots of houses on most of the farms. Picturesque barns, cow barns and garages. Some well treated but many of them have seen better days. That shapes the countryside and underlines the cultivated area and the farmers place in the society through time. I have always been interested in architecture and carpentering work has always been my favorite hobby. Therefore I have good knowledge about existing building methods, building materials, designing and construction of houses.

History

In the 1700 century, the farmers had a lot of small houses, one for each purpose. The present building culture, with barns, where one built houses for beasts and fodder together, arise approximately year 1800. Even if barns and garages came in normal use long time ago it is not until the latest years that the amount of, and the size of the equipment and machinery on the farms has become so comprehensive that the farmers had to find new solutions. The need for large equipment buildings and the spreading of these therefore is a relatively new phenomenon. What solution that will be the most common as time goes by is still to be seen but within some years we will for sure see how the trends goes in this field. We must believe that they will be just as nice as the existing building culture with barns. Picturesque and worth preserving but often not especially practical for modern farming.

What is the problem with the outbuildings on farms?

For those of us who have grown up on a farm the problem with today’s outbuildings on farms are very clear. It is complete impossible to modernize the buildings so they cover the need in a rational manner. The farmers are always on arrears. Firstly it is too expensive to build new outbuildings as the needs changes. And the needs are changing all the time. Either because the farmers want to grow something else or because they need new equipment with other space demands. I saw myself how troublesome it was in this way when tractors got drivers cab. Suddenly most of the doorways were to low. The same happened when the combines grew big and was equipped with drivers cab. Some buildings were possible to rebuild, but for the most it was a costly change. And then you sit there, having huge and costly mass of buildings which is poorly suitable for efficient farming. The buildings are impossible to remove without being destroyed and thus they represent only expenses.
You sit there often with unpractical buildings and cannot afford to build new ones. You have many buildings to maintain but are short of the buildings you need for the crop and the machines. Less rational farming is the result.

Valuable machines need housing.

Because the investments in machines and equipment are so huge in the farming it is important that the depreciation is reduced to a minimum. This can of course best be done by keeping the machines indoor when not in use. It is then also easier to do inspections and maintenance when necessary. This way the machines are in addition quite protected against vandalism and theft. Therefore we think that it would be advantageous for the farmers that we offer prefabricated moderate priced specially designed outbuildings for large and valuable machines like for instance combines and tractors. With big enough doors and plenty space for inspections and maintenance, this can be done even if the weather is bad or in the evening after darkness. In this way the outbuildings can be optimal designed and calculated and after that be produced in series. Current and light will be delivered modulated so that it can be connected together with plugs just like inside a computer. Insulation modules with different degree of insulation will be delivered to those who need to insulate the building. These insulation modules can of course be mounted and demounted undamaged like the rest of the building. Thus the outbuilding can be cheap, easy and fast to mount and the farmer know exactly what the price will be in advance. And you can sell it if your need is changing. It is important to have nice buildings because that makes well-being and because the buildings are visible all the time and is the farm’s”face” outwards. Therefore we will do our best to make the houses looking nice. The color and wall coverage on the outbuildings and the degree of current wiring the farmers can choose themselves.

Lack of systematic design.

But will this be expensive? No, in the contrary. It will be cheap. After studying outbuildings in detail we see that it is possible to make concepts of outbuildings that are looking very nice at the same time as they are prefabricated and easy to rise on the farm. When you make a prefabricated building system in wall sections, roof sections and doors that just can be lifted on place and connected together you will get very limited production expenses. The outbuildings will be calculated so they can stand all sorts of bad weather and snow, but at the same time as light as possible. Because of that, you can use little building materials and optimal supporting devices and thus the buildings will be cheap and light. Since so many sections can be produced in equal series the design and calculation costs for the buildings will be modest and serial production gives lower production costs. Our goal is to halve the price.

Makes the buildings flexible.

The reason I began to interest me for outbuildings is that the need for these kinds of houses changes all the time in the same manner as for farming equipment and machinery. Therefore it is a thought that should be adjacent that you view and produce machine and crop buildings for the farms in the same way as other machines. You buy them when you need them and sell them if, and when your need change. Of course you can let the old buildings stand if you want, but you can get the outbuildings you need for the farming in addition.

Laying the foundation of outbuildings and costs for work on the foundations.

Work on the foundation is normally a costly part of the building. And because it is done so massively cast in concrete it is impossible and expensive to move later. At minimum it will be destroyed. I worked in the army among others with testing anchoring of earth anchors in order to work out guide lines for rescuing purposes. I then got a good understanding of how you best can get efficient earth anchoring. Based on this I know that it will be possible to make very efficient and price favorable laying of foundation (anchoring) of outbuildings and storage halls even in these extreme weather times. And in addition. The foundation can be moved to the new location when or if you need to move or sell the outbuilding. Your values therefore don’t disappear even if your need have chanced. Also this solution we wish to patent before it is shown because it has so many favorable qualities.

Demounting, moving and mounting.

If you are conscious on the movability during design of the outbuildings all the sections can simply be designed and made in such a way that they can be disconnected and connected again fast without being damaged. All the wiring and light system are built in modules after the plug in principle so it can be disconnected and connected and moved like everything else. In that way the outbuildings can be moved to another place or be sold and since the buildings and equipment don’t get damaged at all it will always be someone that sees their use in buying it and thus the values don’t get lost.

But such prefabricated houses, will they be ugly?

Everything prefabricated are reckon as ugly, not because they need to be, but because many of they that have delivered prefabricated houses and garages have to save money, made them with so low quality that they look ugly. But that is of course not necessary. In the contrary. When a building are built in accordance with such principles one can add extra cost in building them especially nice because they can be useful even longer. You can use wall modules with wood boarding if you prefer that or galvanized steel plates if you find that more ideal. No one would make an ugly car because it is movable or can be sold. Besides, when the buildings can be done even cheaper the farmer can afford to new and better buildings than now. It is sad, when we travel around different places in both Europe and elsewhere in the world to see so much poor outbuildings only because it not is good enough economy in the farming to afford useable outbuildings. And I am afraid that it doesn’t help to complain about the poor economy in the farming. Because even if one has done that for tens of years, it hasn’t helped. The farmers must find other solutions on these problems. For instance our proposals as parts of it.

Less working expenses and investments gives increased profit.

How much you could earn extra both in well-being and money if you got the opportunity to change to new and better outbuildings, you must evaluate yourself. But I think it can be considerably. And it is no reason to believe that the demands for adapting to new conditions will be reduced in the future.

Production of a new generation outbuildings.

In a not to long term, we will probably start production of this new generation outbuildings because we then can calculate how the solution should be (we have already done parts of it). We can then produce a more optimal design adjusted to the machines and build new efficient production from the bottom. This can happen if the interest, among your farmers, is so high that it is of any purpose. If you may be interested or have views we hope you will contact us on email:flagro@fladby.com so we can map the interest. The more that are interested the faster we will start the production. Flagros internet site is: http://flagro.fladby.com

Reflections

””People need houses and houses need people” you can hear in a song which was made some years ago. But what can you do when the prices for everything from work on foundations, carpenter work, painting work and electrician work increases far outside what the earnings in the farming allows the farmer to spend. The farmer will be stuck in a quagmire. Machines and equipment stands out door in the open and deteriorate because the farmer doesn’t have money to buy outbuildings. When the machine values depreciate the farmers get even more loss and they get even less resources to new investments in outbuildings. The farmers will get more troublesome and difficult working conditions which in its turn result in poorer working environment. While other occupational groups steadily get better buildings to do their work in, the working conditions for the farmers depreciate further. One of the contributions to spread new joy to farming work is as far as I can see that building of all sorts of outbuildings are increased in efficiency in all joints to quite another level than today. Then the farmers get much better economy to get the buildings they need and thus get much more pleasant indoor working conditions. Then it is possible to execute other income giving works for those who needs or wants that periodically, because it is impossible to ignore the fact that plant production is very seasonal work. If one therefore in calm seasons could produce other products in addition the economy could be much better. The farmers can perhaps even like in earlier days have employed on the farm and get a more living farm society and community again. In order to illustrate what kind of products I think of, I use products like the wall and roof sections to the outbuildings that I have described in this article as an example. To those that have space in a building and who like this type of work it would be a splendid additional work to the farm work to produce for example wall sections in wood materials to the company that need such modules as a part in their products. I have myself seen such a decentralized production in operation and it functioned actually quite excellent. Then it was welding steel parts for excavators. The parts was welded together in closed cow barns in cooperation with the manufacturer of the excavators the manufacturer collected the welded parts at the farms, controlled and painted them and mounted them into the excavators. The farmers had an additional income on the farm with all its vigorous growth and economic benefits. At the same time as it was crawling life at these farms, the excavator manufacturer got produced parts without the need of building large manufacturing plants and hiring people. Some of the farmers had several employed in addition to themselves. But this demand possibilities for flexible buildings on the farms. And then it is important that the buildings can be adjusted to the need and keeps the value if they have to be moved and that the moving is inexpensive. Maybe this is a method to reduce the leaving from the rural districts and increase the vigorous growth in the country?

© Tron-Halvard Fladby/ 15.2.2007