What is the cost to build a shearing shed? How can I save money on my shearing shed project? How do I budget for a new shearing shed?
If you are planning a new shearing shed build and are asking any of these questions, then this is the article for you.
With the AWI safe shed program being widely promoted and an increased industry focus on safety, sheep farmers across Australia are being encouraged to find ways to improve their shearing sheds and facilities – whether that is making an existing shed safer or building a new shed.
This focus on safety combined with general overall positivity in the wool industry, has seen some impressive new shearing sheds built – like the shearing shed and covered yards complex built for Wirrinourt Pastoral.
We know that a new shearing shed is a significant investment and requires careful planning and budgeting, which is why have written this article.
However, if you are wondering about current shearing shed prices and how much it costs to build a new shearing shed, then this article is a helpful guide and budgeting tool.
Keep reading to get an idea of how much a new shearing shed will cost and what influences the cost.
How much does it cost to build a shearing shed?
On average a new shearing shed build costs between $150,000 – $170,000 including erection, footing concrete and GST – but not including the cost of the fit-out component (you will find information on budgeting for a fit-out further on in this article).
It is worth noting that this price range is based on the average cost of shearing sheds over the past twelve months, so it does cover a wide range of shearing shed projects including large scale projects with covered yards.
To give you a better idea of how prices vary from project to project and an indication of how much you can expect to pay for the shed component of your shearing shed project, here are some popular sizes and their approximate prices.
Popular shearing shed sizes and prices
The price estimates for the project examples listed below include footing concrete, erection and GST – they do not include the cost of the shed fit-out.
- A 16m x 12m x 4.5m shearing shed (suitable for a 3-stand fit-out and around 110 sheep undercover) would cost approx. $65,000 – $90,000.
- A 24m x 15m x 4.2m shearing shed (suitable for a 3-stand fit-out and around 230 sheep undercover) would cost approx. $100,000 – $130,000.
- A 32m x 12m x 4.2m shearing shed (suitable for a 3-stand fit-out and around 350 sheep undercover) would cost approx. $105,000 – $135,000.
- A 32m x 24m x 5m shearing shed (suitable for a 5-stand fit-out and around 500 sheep undercover) would cost approx. $165,000 – $205,000.
- A 25m x 15m x 4.5m shearing shed with an adjoining yard cover (suitable for a 3-stand fit-out and around 230 sheep on grating plus what can be fitted under the yard cover) would cost approx. $165,000 – $205,000.
- An 88m x 24m x 5.5m single gable shearing shed and covered yards (suitable for a 5-stand fit-out and around 500 sheep undercover and another 2,500+ under the sheep yard cover) would cost approx. $345,000 – $415,000.
- A 68m x 27m x 5.2m single gable shearing shed and covered yards (suitable for 6-stand fit-out and around 530 sheep undercover and another 2,500+ under the yard cover) would cost approx. $320,000 – $385,000.
As you can see from these examples, the prices for a new shearing shed do depend on factors like size and design features.
If you found these price ranges helpful, keep reading to find out how you can estimate the cost of a fit out to help with your budgeting, and give you an idea of the total project cost.
How to budget for a new shearing shed fit-out
The board design, the fit-out suppliers and flooring are some of the key things to consider when budgeting for a shearing shed fit-out.
1. The fit-out supplier
To deliver a complete, turnkey shearing shed facility for our customers, we work in with a number leading fit-out suppliers for the fit-out component.
Our building consultants are in regular conversation with these suppliers, so we can provide advice on popular designs, as well as an idea of price for common fit-outs and board designs.
For a high-quality fit-out (like a ProWay Livestock fit-out), we generally recommend allowing $40,000/stand – depending on how much grating area you require.
You can expect a modular-style shearing shed fit out (like the Commander modules) to cost less, though – these usually cost around $20,000/stand (excluding install).
Engaging a local builder? The cost of using a local builder for your shed fit-out is generally on-par with a ProWay-type fit-out – unless you purchase the materials yourself and then just get a carpenter to just do the labour component. If you do choose to work with a local builder, it is important to ensure they have had experience doing shearing shed fit-outs, because although they may do a very neat job, if the fit-out isn’t designed properly you will have issues – like poor sheep flow when loading the shed.
2. The board design
As a quick overview, straight boards are the most cost-effective option whereas a curved board design would be the most expensive.
Having said that, curved boards are still the most popular board design because the shearers can see each other, and they are very convenient for the roustabouts as less walking is required.
L-shaped saw tooth boards are also very common – like the one pictured – as they are also convenient for the rousies, and the set-up means less twisting for the shearers. So, keep these points in mind when choosing the board design for your project.
A concrete slab through a shearing shed is the most common flooring option, however, wooden flooring is popular in working areas to reduce the strain on rousies and wool classers.
A timber wool room floor still has a concrete slab underneath it but it is usually only 100mm thick to make it 50mm lower than the rest of the shed – the joists and tongue and groove flooring will then bring it up the 50mm so that it is level with main shed slab.
To give you an idea of how much the slab and flooring may cost for your shearing shed, a concrete slab usually costs approx. $120/m². A wooden floor for the working areas will cost approx. $275/m².
We hope these points help you with your fit-out budgeting. It is also a good idea to keep in mind that the majority of the fit-out cost is in the grating area, so we normally recommend doing the minimum grating area required, and then covering some external yards for more dry sheep cover.
How much will it cost to include covered yards?
As a guide, the average sheep yard cover costs approx. $100,000 – $130,000 including erection, footing concrete and GST.
Factors that influence how much your shearing shed will cost
To understand shearing shed prices, it is important understand the different factors that will influence how much your shearing shed will cost. These factors include shed size and design, the fit-out supplier you choose and the complexity of the project – amongst others.
We discuss three of the main factors below:
The size of the shearing shed that you choose to build directly impacts the amount of materials and the labour that is required for the project, therefore impacting the price.
However, this is not necessarily the only way that the shed size influences the price of the project. For example, in Victoria, a shearing shed may have some additional requirements that will have to be satisfied for the project to receive council approval to go ahead i.e., allowing for fire tanks which can cost approximately $25,000. Amenities such as toilets can also be required if there aren’t any existing ones nearby. These design changes result in extra costs for your project.
The team at Action Steel are able to manage the complete permit process on your behalf, and we are more than happy to advise you on permit requirements for your project in the initial design and planning stages.
You can also find out how much permits cost in this article – How much do farm shed permits cost? Or watch the video below.
2. Project Complexity and Customisation
How complex the project is and how you choose to customise your shearing shed will also directly influence the cost of the shed.
For example, designing your shed to work in with existing infrastructure may incur extra engineering costs. Or, if the access to the site is restricted, it will take longer for the shed to be built meaning erection costs may be higher than usual.
When it comes to customising your shearing shed, additions like a customer gutter system or covered yards will increase the price that you pay for your shearing shed – but remember, on the flip side, these additions make your shearing shed design much more useful and practical. It is often said that bad design costs money which is certainly true – and the opposite is true, too. A good shearing shed design can save you money in the long run by increasing safety and productivity. So, keep this in mind before deciding whether to cut costs on design.
That leads us to our third factor to consider; materials.
Materials are clearly a key component to any construction project, and therefore they make a significant impact on price. When it comes to shearing sheds, the current steel prices, the cladding you choose for your product and hot-dip galvanising costs, will all influence the price
Shearing sheds built by Action Steel include heavy-duty UB columns and open-web trusses manufactured from Australian-made steel.
This means that cost to build a shearing shed is influenced by rise and fall of steel prices.
You can learn about the price of steel in 2023, here – Are Steel Prices Decreasing?
In the case of steel price rises there are some ways we can reduce the impact on your project. This includes negotiating with our suppliers, holding higher levels of stock and forward planning so that we can pass savings onto our customers.
The cladding you choose for your shed (either Colorbond or zinc) will also have an impact on the project cost. Zinc cladding is the more cost-effective option of the two and is used for the majority of farm shed builds. You may want to use Colorbond cladding if your shed is near the coast, though, for extra corrosion protection.
Speaking of corrosion protection, this also needs to be considered in the price of a shearing shed. An Action Steel shearing shed is fully hot-dip galvanised after manufacture – both the columns and trusses. While this provides the most effective corrosion protection possible, it is also the more expensive option compared to painted or pre-galv coatings – as the saying goes, you generally get what you pay for. Corrosion protection is something we don’t recommend compromising on – you can read why we don’t use alternative coatings in the articles listed below:
So, we suggest that you look at other ways to save money on your shearing shed project – which, incidentally, is what we discuss next!
How can I save money on my shearing shed project? What is a cost-effective shearing shed design?
There are a number of decisions that can be made in the design stage of a shearing shed project that could potentially save you money.
Some of these cost savings include choosing a standard span size (keep reading to find out what these are), incorporating machinery storage, covering yards and installing skylights.
Working to a strict budget? We discuss each of the ways that you could potentially save money on your shearing shed project, below.
- Choosing a standard shed span, where practical, can be a significant cost saving.
What are standard spans?
In our factory we have a range of jigs that we use to fabricate our roof trusses in – these jigs are designed to fabricate trusses in 3 metre increments from 12 metres and upward. Although we can do spans outside of this standard range, we do have to allow time for altering our jigs to accommodate this, so it is usually best to select with one of our standard spans where possible. Our standard spans are the result of years of research and the sizes have been chosen to suit a range of agricultural sheds such as shearing sheds – these spans include 18 metres, 21 metres, 24 metres, 27 metres, 30 metres and 36 metres and go through to 60 metres clear span.
- Using the wool room for machinery storage when not in use, makes your shearing shed a versatile investment and could potentially save you from building a separate machinery shed.
- As we have already mentioned, grating is expensive. It is generally more cost-effective to cover your yards than it is to have more sheep on grating. Covering your yards is also the more practical option because you have the benefit of being able to drench or draft sheep out of the weather too.
- Installing skylights to take advantage of the available natural light can help reduce electricity costs. However, we generally recommend using a combination of both natural and artificial light in shearing sheds – particularly over the board and in working areas. Tasks like wool classing, for example, are best done in a well-lit area.
Watch the video below to learn more about your lighting options.
YOUR TRUSTED FARM SHED COMPANY
As your trusted farm shed company, we hope this article helps you understand what influences the cost to build a shearing shed. If you have any further questions about shearing shed prices or shearing shed designs, call us on 1800 68 78 88 to chat with one of our building consultants.
For more information on shed prices, design and materials, check out our Learning Hub which has the latest articles, videos and brochures.
Disclaimer: The prices included in this article are approximates and are indicative costs only – and are subject to change. This article is only to be used as a budgeting tool, for a more accurate costing, please request a formal quote.