Old grain bins make great homes

grain bins 2

If you have a redundant outdoor circular grain bin in a village location, a Warwickshire firm would like to hear from you. It says these structures could be turned into starter homes and sold off to those wanting to get a foot on the housing ladder.

There are thousands of them around the UK, outdoor grain silos made from corrugated steel panels.

Most are still fully used for storing grain, but a proportion find themselves unused and unloved because grain storage on that farm has moved on-floor in a barn or simply gone somewhere else.

But Steve Taylor from Warks firm Howland UK says such structures could have a more worthwhile future as houses, offices or workshops.

It completed its first conversion of a standard outdoor grain silo to housing use at Long Compton, Warwickshire in 2004 and reckons there is scope for other bins to be used in the same way.

Grain bins on farms in the middle of the countryside are unlikely to ever get planning permission for housing use, but those on the edge of villages are. They ideally need to be 5m diameter but a clutch of smaller ones would do. 

The Warwickshire silo (above) was converted to form part of an adjacent house. Two floors were created with a circular stairs connecting them, the whole structure was bricked and insulated internally and a glazed roof added. 

Planning was more involved than normal because of the sheer novelty of the project. However the structure undeniably retains its agricultural and utilitarian look while adding a modern element to a conversion scheme.

Typically, one silo would make a one-bedroomed house, though a pair would provide something more substantial. Mr Taylor says his firm (07971-076 071) is interested in converting other silos.

It can deal with the whole project from gaining planning permission to actual conversion.

Conversion costs are anywhere between £50,000 and £60,000 and he reckons the finished house would sell for £120,000. Equally the silos could be converted to offices or workshops.


See more