Cover story: Alpine Buildings –­­ Tauherenikau

By: Ross Miller, Photography by: Harry Chrisp


Undertaking a retirement project designed to cater for all of a couple’s diverse interests and passions, Tauherenikau farmer Blair Stout has started with the heart of his property, shaping it around two Alpine Buildings sheds

After all, if you’re going to the trouble of building a modern shed on the farm, you might as well build two, right? And what better way to solve any potential problems than creating a ‘his and hers’ shed block.

While Blair’s current farm is in the middle of a greenfields development, with much careful planning and consideration, he’s getting his retirement property ready a couple of kilometres up the road. The new project is a 32-hectare block, where he’ll ‘run a few sheep and cattle and play with his machinery’.

While completion of the full development is a couple of years away yet (and that’s if he can get a builder on-board in these challenging times), in the meantime, he’s working the 248-hectare family sheep/beef farm he purchased off his father.

"I’ve got a few things to finish on the big farm before we sell and settle into the other property," he says.

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Double the shed power as part of a retirement property project near Wellington

Looking towards what he would like on the retirement property, Blair was struck with inspiration after having a look over a new shed his wife’s cousin had built. It was an Alpine Buildings construction and that was as far as he got in his shed investigations, needing no further convincing – it was love at first sight.       

Blair has opted for two 30x12 metre sheds placed approximately in an L-shape. One shed is designed to cater for his various pieces of machinery, as well as housing a workshop, office, toilet, kitchen, etc.

The second shed will take care of storage for wool and hay, as well as a covered yard and stables for his wife’s miniature horses.

"As we’re retiring, she thought she’d get back into riding and new stables are part of all that," Blair says.

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Blair’s main shed will house his workshop, machinery, and office

With a soft (gravel) floor and no front wall in the ‘horse’ shed, when the stables eventuate, this design may be modified to part hard floor and front wall, but that’s still under consideration.

Also inside the L-shape block will eventually be stockyards, water tanks, and all the paraphernalia required to keep stock. And then the addition of a new house nearby.

Making a statement

Clad in solid black, and sitting near SH2, the two sheds make a strong visual statement.

"You can choose whatever colour you like, but the wife liked black. And actually, if you look around at neighbouring properties, the various houses and sheds are all very obvious, but the black sort of merges."

Until Blair mentioned it, I had never taken any notice of how much black there is in the Wairarapa landscape, with all the shaded bits of the many pine and macracapa wind-breaks.

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The good-looking Alpine sheds form the basis for Blair’s retirement property

One aspect in particular that immediately attracted Blair to the Alpine Buildings design was the total freedom inside the structure – no internal walls.

"You can work  lengthways if you like, and there’s an almost endless selection of shed configurations to choose from."

This versatility is a major drawcard of Alpine Buildings, often chosen for its adaptability of design. The Alpine in-house design team can produce a truly one-off shed for a variety of conditions, including sloping or challenging sections, with complete flexibility around decisions such as the number of bays, height, natural roof lighting, etc.

"Pretty much, it’s a case of you describe exactly what you want, and they’ll make it happen, with no design or quality shortcuts." 

On both of Blair’s builds, the large steel roof beams are cleverly designed to prevent birds nesting; the bane of a farmer’s life, as well as providing for freedom of movement below.

Having a shed where birdproof features are an integral part of the design is a definite asset, particularly when it comes to protecting valuable equipment and protecting against acidic bird droppings. Alpine’s Zero-Bird-Perch® steel rafter is a popular drawcard for this New Zealand-owned and operated business.

Standout results

Being so close to the highway, the build attracted a lot of attention from passing local farmers, with a steady stream arriving for a look around.

Like his unexpected guests, Blair was most impressed with the build and the ease of the process from helping design the ideal shed size and shape through to the finished product.

After confirming his plans, a four-axle truck with a five-axle trailer turned up at the front gate with both sheds aboard: each pack clearly identified as to which was what.

"It only took an hour to unload and start the actual building of the shed," says Blair, who is still a little bemused at how smoothly the process has been.

"We enlisted accredited builders, T.C Shed Builders of Matamata for the main build, while Stevensons of Palmerston North handled the roller doors.

"The sheds went up in just 15 days – that’s both sheds!

"The crew was very professional, friendly, and clearly experienced at the jigsaw of putting them together. The T.C Shed/Alpine relationship is obviously very good; the whole process was stressless.

"They didn’t even blink when I asked for an extra (a back door to one shed) at the very last minute. We even did a detailed walk around both sheds before they were signed off."

With some internal work remaining to be done to personalise the sheds for their end use, Blair is delighted at the results so far and enjoying the process of continuing his long term project.

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