Building An American Barn, Kiwi-Style | KiwiSpan


Building an American Barn, Kiwi-Style

Izzie | 12/04/19

Quality and professionalism make for a rewarding shed build.


If you are going to build a shed you will want to do it right. The owners of this stylish American-style barn are happy to recommend the team that put this together.

Shannon Jordan and Louise Simmons sold up in suburbia and bought a block of land in Ruakaka three years ago. They planned to live in a caravan while planning and saving for their house. From this magazine’s point of view, they had their priorities right and decided to build a shed first.

It would give them space to expand into and meet both current and future needs. They parked the caravan alongside, and put a bench, fridge, and small oven in the shed. It also gave them space to store all their furniture from their previous home and building materials for the next one.

The shed was designed to take their boat and the caravan which meant they needed oversized doors, even though both vehicles had to live outside in the meantime.

Finding the perfect shed

Shannon and Louise shopped around for the right steel frame building. “My background is in sales but frankly the attitude of some of the other companies put me off,” says Shannon. “One said come back when I knew what I wanted… I knew then what I wanted was to go somewhere else.”

They had already decided that an American-style barn would look much better in their spectacular setting than a plain steel box, and it would give them the height they needed in the middle, for the boat. They also had colours and materials in mind that would complement the house. Shannon went to KiwiSpan, and builder and Northland franchise operator Stephen Cross struck the right note straight away.

“He showed us a couple of options for door and window placements, and he pointed out that the higher door meant he could line up the angle of the roofs, which would look better.” 


Stephen Cross said aesthetics are important and, while KiwiSpan buildings are based on a range of standard plans using their own framing technology, it’s easy to customize them to meet individual requirements. But KiwiSpan also takes care to make sure the finished article looks right. “With American barns, the centre section can look a bit too high or too narrow. Getting them looking good is important,” Stephen says.


Thorough research

As his reputation would rest on customer recommendations, Stephen did due diligence into the integrity of the buildings before buying into the business. He highlights the extra quality in KiwiSpan’s fittings, such as the generous roof flashings, which are critical in preventing leaks.  

Brackets connecting the portal frames are also fully bolted, which gives the most secure connection. Other shed companies use self-drilling Tek screws, even in these critical joints. He also pointed to the overlap on the tophat purlins which create stronger and stiffer support for roof and wall cladding.  

Customers quickly decide if quality and durability and peace of mind matters to them. “That can become a real motivator,” he says.

Putting up any kind of a building is a journey, and when they have paid the deposit customers really start to pay close attention. He says it’s part of KiwiSpan’s ethos to work in partnership with the owners throughout that journey.


All the compliance handled

Shannon said they were building in a high-wind area which meant extra documentation and compliance certification and Stephen’s communication made that process easy.

Stephen likes to make sure new customers have talked to other KiwiSpan customers before committing to a new build. Shannon and Lousie are clearly happy with their barn so their comments were mostly about the building process. Stephen is not surprised.

“Customers really appreciate the strength and quality of the building — and the way the relationship has gone through the build,” Stephen says.

Shannon and Louise now have a shed that complements their rural lifestyle, and if they have any problems with their new house, they already know their shed is up to the job.


Written By: Ian Parkes, The Shed.

Photography By: The Shed.

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