Open Bay Sheds

Open Bay Sheds: Pros, Cons & Prices

Open bay sheds are the most popular farm shed designs and for several good reasons. 

That’s not to say the configuration doesn’t have disadvantages, though – it may not be the right fit for your requirements. 

In this article, we discuss the good and the potentially not-so-good details of open bay sheds. We also provide some handy size ideas, price guides and plenty of project inspiration! 

What Is An Open Bay Shed? 

An open bay shed is also known as an open-front shed and is typically a three-sided configuration with one long side unclad.  

This gives open access to each bay – hence the name.

The Advantages

There are four overarching advantages of choosing an open bay shed configuration: versatility, customisation options, price and effectiveness. 

1. Versatility  

Firstly, open bay sheds are incredibly versatile. 

Building an open bay shed guarantees a multi-use asset, being suited to hay storage, machinery storage, commodity storage, general farm storage and calf sheds. 

Taking some extra time in the planning stages to address details like bay spacings, and shed height and considering additional design features helps ensure your shed can be used for a variety of purposes in the future if required.  

This is a great way to future-proof your shed and to get the best value for money. 

Open Bay Sheds

2. Cost-Efficient 

Open bay sheds are also often one of the most cost-effective options available for general farm storage and hay storage, particularly when using standard size spans.  

Popular standard size spans include 18 metres, 24 metres and 27 metres. The advantage of choosing a standard size span is that your shed moves quickly through the manufacturing process, reducing the production cost.  

3. Effective 

Thirdly, this is the recommended configuration for hay storage because it provides excellent weather protection, sufficient airflow and easy access – ticking all the boxes. For the same reasons, open bay sheds are ideal for calf sheds.  

4. Customisable  

Finally, in addition to being versatile, cost-efficient and effective, an open bay shed is easily customised.  

Customisation options include cantilevered canopies, double bay openings, concrete panels and sliding doors – to name just a few. These options all further enhance the versatility and effectiveness of the design. 

With these points in mind, let’s look at some of the reasons why open bay sheds aren’t always the right choice. 

The Disadvantages

There are no real “cons” to building open bay sheds – this is evidenced by the fact that we build hundreds of them every year! 

It is more that they may not always be the best option – and there are other options available to utilise.  

Here are some examples of when this might be the case.

1. Cost-Prohibitive For Wide Storage 

As we mentioned above, there are so many ways that you can customise open bay sheds.  

One of these is to create double-bay openings with a girder truss. This is a really handy option if you have a piece of wide machinery to store.  

However, it is not the most cost-effective way to achieve this.  

The most cost-effective way to store wide (and long!) machinery is to choose an open gable end or drive-through configuration. This typically provides much better value, particularly if you have a lot of large machinery to store.  

Drive through machinery shed at Narrandera

One way to get the best of both worlds though is to build an open bay shed with an open gable end. This provides access to the bays, and wide access at the gable end and is a popular option for hay sheds and machinery sheds.  

2. Not Always The Recommended Option 

Secondly, while open bay sheds are versatile and cost-effective they aren’t always the most effective storage option.  

If complete weather protection, a controlled storage environment and good shed hygiene are essential, then a fully enclosed shed is likely to be the right choice. Fertiliser storage and grain storage are two examples of where this would apply.  

You can learn about options for fertiliser shed designs, here. 

3. Low Security 

Finally, if highly secure and lockable storage is a requirement for you, then the open side of an open bay shed clearly won’t provide this. 

Instead, a fully enclosed shed is likely to be the best fit. For example, this would be ideal if you are building a large machinery storage shed for your headers. 

Similarly, a lock-up area is recommended for farm workshops to keep machinery and valuable tools safe and secure.  

This can be achieved with an open bay shed, by choosing to enclose one or more bays with sliding doors – and this can be a cost-effective workshop design. 

So, that’s an overview of open bay sheds – when to use them, how to use them and some potential workarounds to the drawbacks.  

Next up, we provide some indicative price guides, resources and project inspiration! 

Open Bay Sheds Sizes & Price List 

We have collated a price list of some of the most popular sizes for open bay sheds.  

This list includes options suited to hay storage, machinery storage, calf sheds – and general, multipurpose farm storage sheds. 

We hope this helps you with your project budgeting! 

  • 18m (W) x 32m (L) x 6m (H) costs approx. $90,000 – $120,000 including GST
  • 24m (W) x 42.5m (L) x 7.5m (H) costs approx. $160,000 – $190,000 including GST
  • 24m (W) x 48m (L) x 7.5m (H) costs approx. $180,000 – $210,000 including GST
  • 24m (W) x 64m (L) x 7.5m (H) costs approx. $230,000 – $270,000 including GST
  • 27m (W) x 59.5m (L) x 7.5m (H) costs approx. $245,000 – $285,000 including GST
  • 27m (W) x 72m (L) x 7.5m (H) costs approx. $295,000 – $335,000 including GST
  • 30m (W) x 68m (L) x 8m (H) costs approx. $310,000 – $350,000 including GST
Please note:
Prices are for a three-sided configuration and include GST, delivery, footing concrete and installation.
The prices in this article are approximate only and are subject to change. They are intended only as a budgeting tool. For a more accurate costing, please request a formal quote.

Here are some additional price articles that might be relevant to your project: 

Project Inspiration 

What better way to find inspiration for your project than to check out what other farmers have been doing? 

Here’s a mix of recent project photos and videos to get you thinking!

Col’s Open Bay Shed 

Learn all about the textbook open bay shed built for Col Gilby. 

Ben’s Open Bay Shed 

Watch and listen to Ben Seamer explain how he tweaked the shed design to work for their project.  

Jarrod’s Open Bay Sheds 

Jarrod doesn’t just have one open bay shed – he has five! Watch the video to learn about his experience building sheds with Action.

That’s a wrap on open bay sheds! We hope this has been a helpful discussion for you.

Listed below are some other articles that may be helpful: 

For more articles and resources, check out the Learning Hub. 

Or, to talk to one of our building consultants, call us on 1800 687 888 – we would love to help you!

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