HOUSING                                           PIH-117


            Planning Considerations for the Construction

                       Of a New Swine Building

Arthur J. Muehling, University of Illinois
Les L. Christianson, University of Illinois
Gary L. Riskowski, University of Illinois
Larry E. Christenson, Kalona, Iowa
Neil F. Meador, University of Missouri

Sid and Peg Burkey, Dorchester, Nebraska
Stephen and Darleen Burkholder, Albustis, Pennsylvania
John A. George, Uniontown, Kansas
Dennis L. Jones, Ames, Iowa
John W. Parker, North Carolina State University
David and Joyce Sharp, Visalia, California

     When you decide to buy a new car, you do not start thinking,
``I can buy some tires at a good price from the co-op tire dealer
in the next town; the local auto  dealer  has  a  good  price  on
engines;  and  I remember seeing an ad for a new type of car seat
in last week's paper.'' You don't call up the local auto mechanic
telling  him you need a new car and ask him how much it will cost
to build one and when he can have it ready.

     Yet the majority of swine buildings  whether building new or
doing  major  remodeling  are designed piecemeal by the farmer, a
feed salesman, an equipment supplier, a local  building  contrac-
tor,  or  local veterinarian. The costs of these buildings can be
many times the cost of a new car. Most painful is the realization
that  the  piecemeal  approach  to  designing  and building swine
buildings often costs more in the long run than  a  well  planned
and engineered building.

     This fact sheet lists a number of points that should be con-
sidered  when  planning  and  managing  the construction of a new
swine building. More detailed information on these topics  is  in
the  Midwest  Plan  Service  Swine Housing and Equipment Handbook


     Proper choice of a site for your new swine unit will not  in
itself  ensure  a  successful operation. However, if you choose a
poor location, you will be saddled with serious  problems  for  a
long time.

     Locate downwind (of summer winds)  from  any  residences  to
minimize  odor  problems.  When  possible, choose a location with
protection from cold winter winds and snow accumulations.  Natur-
ally  ventilated  buildings  need  an open area to allow adequate
natural air movement. Allow a minimum of 50 feet  between  build-
ings.  A  larger  spacing  would  be better for fire control. The
Reinsurance Association of Minnesota recommends a spacing of  100
ft. for fire control.

     All-weather roads are  essential  to  move  feed  and  hogs.
Locate  near  an  adequate  electric supply. Many power companies
charge for running new electric lines to your new buildings. If a
high  electricity  demand  is  expected, check for 3-phase power.
Water should be of drinking quality. Your source should  be  able
to supply the daily requirements plus other demands such as spil-
lage, cooling sprays, cleaning, fire protection, and expansion.

     Provide access to all sides of new and  existing  buildings.
The fire department must have room to move its equipment close to
any fire source.  Enclosed walkways should not  block  access  to
adjacent buildings, and should be designed and managed to prevent
the spread of fire. Provide a path for vehicle passage around  or
through any walkways.

     Locate new facilities  adjacent  to  existing  buildings  or
extensively  remodel  existing  facilities only if these existing
facilities are located properly, are in good condition,  and  fit
your plans. Frequently, producers lock themselves into a location
because of an existing building and it often is in a  poor  loca-
tion or is otherwise unsuitable.

     Surface and subsurface drainage is necessary for all  build-
ings.  Do  not locate in a low area that can result in wet condi-
tions in and around the buildings. Use adequate gravel fill under
the  floor  to  ensure good drainage and help prevent cracking of
the concrete.

     Check out local zoning and environmental  laws  and  regula-
tions for a proposed location. If the location is zoned for other
than agriculture,  check  with  legal  council  before  building.
Locate  your  hog  production  unit away from the residence, away
from the water well and back from major highways. Isolation is an
economic  concern  that  merits serious attention when locating a
new unit. In a hog-dense location, consider an  electrical  secu-
rity  fence  to prevent stray animals from coming in contact with
your unit.

     When purchasing a farm or establishing a new  swine  produc-
tion  unit,  a  location with easy access to a point of marketing
can be an important factor.  Also, make sure a new  location  has
adequate  land  for  manure  disposal. Develop a plan for how and
where you could expand the facilities in the future.


     You should have a complete set of plans  and  specifications
prepared  before beginning construction on any new or major remo-
deling project. Detailed  plans,  specifications,  and  contracts
help  provide  the needed communication and understanding between
owner and builder so that you get what you want. A  complete  set
of plans should include the following:
Floor Plan and Cross Section
Foundation Plan
Ventilation Plan
Electrical and Lighting Plan
Structural Details
Water System
Waste Management System
Feed Handling System
Flooring and General Equipment
Building Material Specifications
Fire Protection Planning
Animal Handling Facilities


Cooperative Extension Service

     Most counties have an agricultural Extension agent  who  can
provide  planning  material including general plans. These Exten-
sion agents can also call in Extension specialists from your land
grant  university.  Extension  personnel  can  help  with general
recommended information on system planning,  building  materials,
ventilation  and  waste  management systems. They are not able to
prepare detailed construction plans for you and your builder.

Soil Conservation Service

     Each county has a district conservationist who  is  able  to
help  with drainage and some waste management problems. They also
have area and state engineers to back  them  up  with  additional
engineering help when necessary.

Equipment Dealers

     Equipment dealers have seen many  different  operations  and
may  offer  suggestions  as to what works best. Equipment dealers
can  be  helpful  in  planning  how  their  equipment  should  be
installed  and  used  in your operation. Some equipment companies
have engineering help to adapt their equipment to your needs.  It
is  the  first  goal  of  the dealer to sell equipment, so remain
objective and carefully choose the type and amount  of  equipment
that  best  suits your needs. An unbiased, experienced planner is

Building Company

     Building companies that specialize in swine  facilities  can
be  a help in planning your operation. Their experiences with the
construction of similar facilities can  be  helpful  in  planning
what  will work the best. They usually also have a number of con-
tacts with equipment dealers who they have  worked  with  in  the
past. Recognize, though, that most builders are not engineers and
may not have an engineer on their staff.

     Choose a building contractor  who  will  consider  all  your
needs. Be wary of company representatives who provide a ``cheap''
building but furnish inadequate assistance concerning long  range
planning  for  expansion,  best use of existing space and facili-
ties, and total  system  evaluation  including  manure  handling,
animal flow and management input.

Consulting Engineer

     With the intensified building systems being  used  today,  a
consulting  engineer  can contribute an important service to pro-
ducers. Industries would not think of constructing a new plant or
office  building  without  first  hiring  an engineer to plan and
supervise construction, yet many large swine operations of  equal
or higher cost are built with very little engineering help.

     A consulting engineer  can  make  a  major  contribution  by
evaluating  the many options for livestock equipment and the mul-
titude of concepts concerning waste management,  building  struc-
tures, and ventilation systems. These items should be adapted and
tailored to the management skills, abilities, and  present  needs
of  the  producer. An engineer can make sure that the building is
structurally sound and that all the different  systems  within  a
building work together without one interfering with the other.

     Consulting engineers usually complete  a  project  in  three
phases:  preliminary  planning, engineering design, and construc-
tion monitoring. They may be retained to help with one or more of
these phases. Select a consulting engineer based upon the follow-
ing factors:

     Practicing consulting engineers must be  registered  profes-
sional  engineers  in  their  state of residence and qualified to
obtain registration in other  states  where  their  services  are
Technical qualifications.
Reputation with previous clients.
Experience on similar projects.
Availability for the project.

     Consulting engineers can provide the following services:

o    Personal consultationproviding technical advice  or  evalua-
     tion of proposed plans and designs.

o    Planning studiesevaluation of  future  expansion  goals  and
     animal flow together with existing facilities.

o    Feasibility studiesincluding economic comparisons of prelim-
     inary plans and alternatives.

o    Approvals and permitsassisting with procurement  of  regula-
     tory approvals or permits.

o    Designincluding  preliminary   and   complete   construction

o    Specifications and  bid  documentspreparing  for  equipment,
     structure and services.

o    Cost  estimationsestimating  for  proposed  facilities   and

o    Construction servicesmonitoring  construction,  advising  on
     building acceptance.

     Be sure to enter a contract with the consulting engineer  to
establish what duties are expected of the engineer.


     The lowest total project cost or lowest individual component
price  should  not  always be the only determining factor for the
selection of the component or total project.  Too  many  existing
agricultural buildings have been selected on that basis and exhi-
bit poor design, short service life, inadequate  flexibility  and
overall  poor  performance.  The total project cost and component
pricing must be within budget guidelines, but the  key  selection
criteria  should  include  proper  design, quality materials, and
adaptation to management goals.


     The two major tasks involved in the successful completion of
a new building is developing a good building plan and selecting a
good contractor to build it. When looking for a builder  or  con-
tractor, consider the following:

     Check with friends and neighbors who have  had  construction
done  recently.   They  will have recommendations that you should
consider. Also check with your county Extension agent.

     Check local advertising media such as newspapers,  telephone
yellow pages, and local radio stations.

     Look in farm magazines for both local builders  and  region-
ally based companies that do business in your area.

     Ask for references. Any good builder or contractor  will  be
happy  to  provide  potential customers with a list of references
and previous customers.  Check thoroughly with a number of refer-
ences  concerning  workmanship, timeliness and completion of con-
tract items.

     Another place to check is with your lending agency for their
evaluation of contractors you are considering.

     Ask for competitive  bidding.  A  comprehensive  design  and
specification  package  can be used in conjunction with good con-
tract and bid documents to select the most competitive  from  the
available qualified builders.


     A contract is an  agreement  between  the  builder  and  the
owner.  To  promote  better  understanding and reduce problems, a
contract should be prepared with all items discussed  and  agreed
upon  in  writing.  Points that should be covered in the contract

     Bid Alternatives. In some cases it may be desirable to  have
bids  on portions of the construction as well as the entire proj-
ect.  When funds are limited, a farmer may  want  the  option  of
using his own labor to do site preparation or equipment installa-
tion work to keep costs down. Alternative bids  provide  a  basis
for selecting those jobs which can save the most money.

     Duties of the Contractor. On most  projects  the  contractor
supplies  all  labor,  equipment,  and  materials to complete the

     Duties of the Owner.  If  any  of  the  work,  equipment  or
materials  is  to  be supplied by the farmer, it should be speci-
fied. Usual inclusions are providing electrical power,  telephone
service,  restroom facilities and water required during construc-
tion. The owner or his representative also should be available at
specified  times  for consultation or interpretation of plans and

     Drawings and Specifications.  No  building  should  be  con-
structed  without  a  complete set of scaled drawings and written
specifications.  These may be supplied by either the owner or the
contractor  and  should  be  included as part of the written con-

     Provide Owner Shop Drawings for Fabricated  Equipment.  Many
swine  buildings  contain  equipment  that  is designed and built
specifically for that particular building. To facilitate  service
at a later date, the owner should be provided with a set of plans
for any nonstandard items of this type.

     Laws,  Permits  and  Regulations.  Design  and  construction
should  conform to all applicable laws and regulations. Make sure
you know whether the contractor or the owner is  responsible  for
obtaining  and paying for required permits. Permits are typically
required from Environmental Protection Agency, county, etc.

     Changes. Nearly every building constructed will involve some
changes  from  original  plans and specifications. Both owner and
contractor need to agree on procedures to be followed  in  accom-
plishing changes.

     Substitutions. Delivery schedules, equipment  model  changes
and  price changes are all factors that can require substitutions
during construction.  Substitutions  should  be  subject  to  the
approval  of  the owner before being incorporated into the struc-

     Insurance. There are four general types of insurance  cover-
age  required  to afford complete protection during construction.
State in the contract whether you or the contractor is  responsi-
ble for securing adequate risk protection.

A    Workmen's Compensation Insurance. Covers injury to employees
     working  at  the  construction site. Usually provided by the

B    Public Liability and Property  Damage  Insurance.   Provides
     protection for the contractor and subcontractors from claims
     for personal injury, including death,  and  from  claims  of
     property damage. Usually provided by contractor.

C    Owner's Protective Liability. Protects  owner  in  event  of
     liability claims arising from the construction project.  May
     be provided by owner or contractor.

D    Builder's Risk Insurance. Protects labor and on-site materi-
     als  in the event of loss or damage by fire or other casual-
     ties. Usually provided by the contractor. May  be  an  owner
     responsibility in ``cost plus'' types of contracts.

     Payment. The written contract should specify the method  and
time  of payment for the project. It is common for large projects
to require payment of portions of the contract price at  specific
points  during  the  construction process, with the final payment
due on completion.  Make  sure  the  contract  specifies  who  is
responsible for payment of subcontractors on the project.  Obtain
lien wavers from suppliers before final payment is  made  to  the
contractor.  Otherwise  you  may  be  forced to pay twice or face
litigation even if you have paid for your equipment and materials
through your contractor.

     Storage of Materials. Weatherproof onsite  storage  of  con-
struction  materials (if needed) may be either a contractor or an
owner responsibility.  The responsible party should be  indicated
in the contract.

     Cleanup. Upon completion of the construction, the contractor
is  usually required to clear the site of all construction debris
and to clean up building  surfaces.  Responsibility  for  cleanup
should be stated in the contract.

     Utility Connections. Responsibility for connection to  elec-
tric, water, sewer and gas lines as required should be specified.
Extension of utility lines to the building site  should  also  be

     Warranties. Terms of the contractor-supplied warranty should
be  spelled  out  in the contract. Provisions should also be made
for transferring to the owner any warranties provided by manufac-
turers or suppliers of component parts.

     Service Manuals and Operation  Instruction.  The  contractor
should  be  responsible  for providing the owner with operational
and service manuals for component equipment. He should also  pro-
vide  instruction in proper operation of any equipment unfamiliar
to the owner.

     Time Schedule for Completion  Date.  For  many  construction
projects  it is essential that a completion date be known well in
advance. Make sure both you and the  contractor  understand  when
the  building is to be ready for owner acceptance and if the con-
tractor should pay a penalty if construction extends beyond  that

     Reliability of Equipment. It should be the responsibility of
the  contractor  for  all  equipment to operate properly when the
building is accepted by the owner. If there is a need to go  back
to  the equipment company for repairs or replacing something, the
contractor is responsible until the building is accepted.


     It is important to go over  a  checklist  with  the  builder
before  making  the  final  payment  and  accepting the building.
Points that should be covered are:

o    Check working drawings to  see  if  building  conforms  with
     drawings  and  that  all  details  are included. Was all the
     equipment cited in the contract installed?

o    Operate all mechanical equipment (motors, engines, feed con-
     veyers,  emergency  power units, and air inlets) to see that
     they all operate properly.

o    See that doors, gates and windows work smoothly.

o    Check to see if you received service manuals  and  operating
     instructions for all equipment.

o    Check the overall appearance of the building. Are there  any
     flaws  or  irregularities in the materials used that you are
     unhappy with? Inspect the building and site for cleanup.

Pork Industry Handbook

     A handbook of more than 100 fact sheets on  pork  production
available from your state Extension swine specialist.
Midwest Plan Service and other Plan Services

     General plans and  planning  information  available  through
your  county  agricultural  Extension  office  or from your state
Extension agricultural  engineer.  Planning  handbooks  available
MWPS-2 Farmstead Planning Handbook
MWPS-8 Swine Housing and Equipment Handbook
MWPS-13 Grain Drying, Handling, and Storage Handbook
MWPS-14 Private Water Systems Handbook
MWPS-18 Livestock Waste Facilities Handbook
MWPS-28 Farm Buildings Wiring Handbook

Cooperative Extension Publications

     Planning information available from your county agricultural
Extension office.

Building and Equipment Sales Leaflets

     Sales leaflets are available from individual companies. Many
references are available from the popular swine magazines.

Popular Magazines

     Several swine magazines are available to pork producers free
of  charge.   Articles on producer experiences and planning ideas
are often included. The common publications are:
     National Hog Farmer
     Webb Publishing Co.
     1999 Shepard Rd.
     St. Paul, MN 55116
     Hog Farm Management
     The Miller Publishing Co.
     P. O. Box 2400
     Minnetonka, MN 55343
     Pork '88
     Vance Publishing Co.
     P. O. Box 2939
     Shawnee Mission, KS 66201
     Hogs Today
     A Farm Journal Publication
     Farm Journal, Inc.
     230 W. Washington Square
     Philadelphia, PA 19105
     List of Independent Consulting Agricultural Engineers
     Rural Builders Buyers Guide
     (``Rural Builder'' supplement each October)
     American Farm Building Services, Inc.
     260 Regency Court
     Waukesha, WI 53186
     Phone (414) 782-0604
     Annual Agricultural Engineers Guide to Products
     -and Services
     American Society of Agricultural Engineers
     2950 Niles Road
     St. Joseph, MI 49085
     Phone (616) 429-0300

The mention of trade names doesn't constitute an  endorsement  by
the  Cooperative  Extension  Service  nor  discrimination against
those omitted.
NEW 12/88 (5M)

Cooperative Extension Work in  Agriculture  and  Home  Economics,
State  of Indiana, Purdue University and U.S. Department of Agri-
culture Cooperating. H.A. Wadsworth,  Director,  West  Lafayette,
IN. Issued in furtherance of the Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914.
It is the policy of the Cooperative Extension Service  of  Purdue
University  that  all  persons  shall  have equal opportunity and
             access to our programs and facilities.