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What is a Barndominium?

A barndominium, also known as a “barndo” or “shouse” (shop + house), is a post frame building that combines living quarters with a large garage, workshop, or recreational/work space under one roof. Post frame construction utilizes large, solid sawn posts or laminated columns instead of wood studs. These posts are typically embedded in the ground or surface-mounted to a concrete pier or masonry foundation, providing the structural support for the building. This allows barndominiums to have open floor plans and large, clear-span interior spaces.

Barndominiums are an increasingly popular housing option, especially for those living in rural areas of Alberta who want a spacious, customizable home that fits their lifestyle. The post frame construction method offers several advantages, including durability, versatility, and cost-effectiveness, making it an ideal choice for barndominiums.

Benefits of Post Frame Barndominiums

There are many benefits to choosing a post frame barndominium for your Alberta home. One of the biggest advantages is the flexibility in design. The open floor plans and clear-span interiors made possible by post frame construction allow you to customize your living space to suit your specific needs and preferences. This means you can combine your living area with space for hobbies, work, or storage, all under one roof.

Another benefit of post frame barndominiums is their durability. The large posts used in post frame construction are designed to withstand heavy loads and resist decay, providing a sturdy and long-lasting foundation for your home. When combined with high-quality metal roofing and siding, this creates a low-maintenance exterior that can stand up to Alberta’s harsh climate.

30x80x18 Residential Shop/House, Gull Lake, Alberta

Post frame barndominiums are also known for their energy efficiency. The post frame construction method creates a tight building envelope, which can be further enhanced with spray foam insulation and other energy-efficient features. This helps to regulate temperature and reduce energy costs, even in Alberta’s variable climate.

In addition to these benefits, post frame barndominiums can often be quicker and more affordable to build than traditional homes. The streamlined construction process and use of readily available materials can help to reduce labor costs and shorten construction timelines. This means you can move into your dream home sooner and with less stress on your budget.

Is a Barndominium Right For You?

Post frame barndominiums are an ideal choice for many people in Alberta, but they may not be right for everyone. Here are some factors to consider when deciding if a barndominium is the right fit for you:


Barndominiums are best suited for rural properties and acreages. If you have a spacious piece of land and want a home that takes advantage of the natural surroundings, a barndominium may be a great choice.


If you have hobbies or work that require dedicated space, such as woodworking, car restoration, or a home-based business, a barndominium can provide ample room for these activities. The open floor plans and high ceilings also create a sense of spaciousness that many people find appealing.


While the metal exterior of a post frame barndominium requires less maintenance than some other materials, it’s still important to keep up with regular cleaning and inspections. If you’re willing to put in the work to maintain your home’s exterior and other features, a barndominium can be a durable and long-lasting choice.


One of the biggest draws of barndominiums is the ability to customize the design to your specific needs and preferences. If you have a clear vision for your dream home and want to be involved in the design process, a barndominium may be the perfect fit.

Multigenerational living

Barndominiums can be designed to accommodate multiple generations living under one roof. With the ability to create separate living spaces within the same building, barndominiums can provide privacy and independence for family members while still keeping everyone close.

Why Choose Premium Built Structures?

If you’re considering a post frame barndominium in Alberta, look no further than Premium Built Structures. Our team of experienced professionals specializes in designing and constructing high-quality post frame buildings, including barndominiums, shops, garages, and more. We use only the best materials and construction techniques to ensure that your building will stand the test of time and provide a comfortable, durable living space for years to come.

At Premium Built Structures, we understand that every client has unique needs and preferences. That’s why we work closely with you through every stage of the process, from initial design to final construction. Our goal is to bring your vision to life and create a barndominium that exceeds your expectations.

When you choose Premium Built Structures, you can expect:

  • Customized design services to create a floor plan that suits your lifestyle
  • High-quality materials and construction techniques for a durable, long-lasting building
  • Experienced project management to ensure your barndominium is completed on time and on budget
  • Excellent customer service and communication throughout the entire process

If you’re ready to take the first step toward your dream barndominium, contact Premium Built Structures today. Our knowledgeable team is ready to answer your questions and help you get started on your post frame building project.

5 Steps to Build Your Dream Barndominium

If you’ve decided that a post frame barndominium is right for you, here are the steps you’ll need to take to make your dream a reality:

  1. Establish your budget:

    Before you start planning your barndominium, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your budget. Work with a qualified post frame builder to create a detailed budget that accounts for all of the necessary expenses, including land, materials, labor, and interior finishes.

  2. Secure your land:

    If you don’t already own the land where you want to build your barndominium, you’ll need to purchase a suitable property. Look for a piece of land that is zoned for residential construction and has access to utilities like electricity, water, and septic. Keep in mind that the characteristics of the land, such as slope and soil type, can impact the design and construction of your barndominium.

  3. Design your custom floor plan:

    One of the most exciting parts of building a barndominium is creating a custom floor plan that suits your specific needs and lifestyle. Work with an experienced post frame designer or architect to develop a layout that maximizes the space and incorporates all of the features you want in your home.

  4. Arrange appropriate financing:

    Financing a barndominium can be slightly different than a traditional home mortgage, especially if you are building on rural land. Look for lenders who have experience with post frame construction and understand the unique aspects of barndominium financing. If possible, consider purchasing your land outright before starting construction, as this can simplify the financing process.

  5. Select experienced post frame and general contractors:

    Choosing the right contractors is key to ensuring your barndominium is built to the highest standards of quality and safety. Look for a reputable post frame builder with experience constructing barndominiums and other post frame buildings in Alberta. You’ll also need to hire a general contractor to handle the interior finishes and any other specialized aspects of the build, such as electrical and plumbing work.

Projected Costs

The cost of building a post frame barndominium in Alberta can vary widely depending on factors like the size of the building, the complexity of the design, and the quality of materials and finishes. Here are some rough estimates of the costs you can expect:

  • Finished home: $225 – $350 per square foot
  • Finished shop: $60 – $80 per square foot
  • Driveway/groundwork: $1,000 – $100,000+ (depending on length, width, and terrain)
  • Septic system: $15,000 – $30,000
  • Water well: $8,000 – $15,000
  • Power service: $5,000 – $15,000
  • Natural gas: $6,000 – $10,000
  • Permits: $500 – $3,000

Keep in mind that these are just estimates, and your actual costs may be higher or lower depending on your specific project. It’s important to work with a qualified post frame builder to create a detailed budget that accounts for all of the necessary expenses.

Frequently asked questions Post Frame Barndominiums

How long does it take to build a barndominium?

The construction timeline for a barndominium can vary depending on factors like the size of the building, the complexity of the design, and the availability of materials and labor. In general, the post frame shell of a barndominium can be constructed relatively quickly, often in a matter of weeks. However, the total build time will depend on how long it takes to complete the interior living space, which can be affected by things like permit approvals, inspections, and weather conditions. On average, you can expect the entire process to take several months from start to finish.

Are barndominiums energy-efficient?

Yes, barndominiums can be very energy-efficient when designed and constructed properly. The post frame construction method creates a tight building envelope, which can be further enhanced with spray foam insulation and other energy-efficient features. By creating a well-insulated and sealed building, you can reduce your energy costs and maintain a comfortable living environment year-round.

Can I finance a barndominium?

Yes, it is possible to finance a barndominium, but the process can be slightly different than a traditional home mortgage. Because barndominiums are often built on rural land, some lenders may be hesitant to provide financing without a clear understanding of the project. To improve your chances of securing financing, it’s a good idea to work with a lender who has experience with post frame construction and understands the unique aspects of barndominium financing.

Do barndominiums hold their value?

While barndominiums are a relatively new concept in the housing market, there is evidence to suggest that they can hold their value well over time. The durability and low maintenance requirements of post frame construction mean that barndominiums are built to last, which can be attractive to potential buyers. Additionally, the growing popularity of barndominiums as a lifestyle choice means that there is likely to be ongoing demand for these types of properties.

40x80x22 Residential Shouse Building, Warburg, AB

Ready to start planning your dream barndominium in Alberta? Contact Premium Built Structures today to schedule a consultation with our experienced team. We’ll work with you to design and construct a post frame building that meets your unique needs and exceeds your expectations. Call or email us at (403) 786-2995 info@premiumbuilt.ca to learn more.

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