In the fall of 2008, our design-build company took on the job of converting an 1810 barn to living space. The barn was being used for storage and was in rough shape; in fact, other contractors looking at the job advised tearing it down and starting over. But since the building stands in a prominent location in a historic district, the owners feared a public protest and thus a long, contentious approval process for demolition. So instead, we proposed going forward with the job as a repair under an engineer’s supervision — an approach that got us the permit.

By the time we completed the structural revisions, we’d replaced approximately 70 percent of the building, preserving the original roof framing and some of the walls. But because we never actually leveled the barn, the process was relatively quick and we created a lot of good will in the community.

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