A "shell" is just what it sounds like, the roof, walls, and lumber of a building. This excludes any inside work such as insulation or liner panel and is factored using only lumber and metal. OSB sheathing, shingles, vinyl siding, etc would be an addition. As of summer 2021 (with major volatility in metal and lumber) we are seeing small buildings (1000 SF or under) cost around $22 - $25 per square foot and larger buildings (2000 SF+) cost $18 to $21 per square foot. That price usually includes a few windows and 1 or 2 overhead doors.
Concrete will vary from county to county. The closer you live to a major city with unionized work, the higher the price will be. If we do your excavation (removal of topsoil and compacting a nice building pad) then install a 4" slab - you should budget a minimum of $7 per square foot for your building. That cost decreases on larger buildings. Sometimes working with a local excavator to prep your build pad, then come back after your barn is erected can save you money. We always use 1/2 rebar in our concrete work for longevity and strength, and we only contract concrete work closer to our home location.
That all depends on why you need a new building. There are no guarantees in life and some people who waited last fall to build paid more money as prices went up. As lumber looks to come down in cost nearing the fall / winter of 2021, we have seen metal costs increase consecutively since Nov 2020. Wall and roof metal, overhead doors, and walk doors are steadily increasing. If you need a building for storing precious items during winter, you may spend an extra $1000 in lumber to build now, but preserve your items from the snow. If you are borrowing money on a home equity loan, as interest rates look to increase, you may pay more to borrow later and pay more in the long run. We encourage people to weigh all the options.
As big as you can afford when you build it. This is a repeated statement from people who have built barns over the years. You do not have to "finish" all of the space, and you can separate the inside if you want an office, or a smaller portion heated. But, we have never once heard anyone tell us their barn was "too big".
The big names in the Barn world are regional or national companies with salesmen who get paid commission on your barn. Just like other products, you pay for the name brand. These companies work with local suppliers and subcontract with crews in your area to build your barn according to their specs. Some mom and pop barn builders shop around for the cheapest metal, lumber, and trusses and purchase from multiple sources to get the best deal. Each company has different expenses for overhead and operations, and one big cost difference is what people use, and how they build your barn. If "company A" uses 4"X6" block posts, a single 2x10 truss carrier, one 2x8 skirt board with 8' spaced trusses, compared to "company B" using 3-ply 2x6 laminated posts, double 2x12 truss carriers, 4' spaced trusses, and tongue and groove skirt boards, the cost will be different by a several thousand dollars. So although in the end you are getting a barn, you are not getting the same barn.
If you build with a reputable company who is registered in your state, has history, and is not "fly by night" than yes. Indiana law requires that your building be free from reasonable defects pertaining to the construction for two years after completion. Your trusses and some other components will have longer warranties from those individual manufacturers. Sometimes if you work with a local who does not have a public presence, you run the risk of them changing addresses, phone numbers, or going out of business. This happens often when people contract with a single builder who offers the "best" price but changes their phone number months later. Our contracts state upfront the warranty we offer in compliance with Indiana State law, and our materials are purchased from reputable companies.
The simple answer is: not really. If you want to build a "barndaminium" or a "barn-house" - the question is, Do you want a barn to live in, or do you want a house that looks like a barn? What makes a barn a barn, is they are usually constructed with metal walls and metal roofs and attached to the ground using poles spaced every 8 feet. Another key difference is the roof trusses are pre-engineered and span the whole distance from the outside walls. When building a home to live in, most reputable builders will suggest building on top of a solid foundation with concrete as opposed to using posts. Any home can use metal siding and a metal roof and build with full spanning roof trusses. These trusses allow for all interior walls to be non-load-bearing. Therefore, you can easily remove or move walls in the future without affecting the roof. There are definite advantages to building a barn-style home, but in the end, all homes require HVAC, insulation, electric, plumbing, drywall, paint, flooring, trim-work, and utilities. The BEST way for a person to save money when building a new home is to do as much work themselves as possible. Paying for labor is half the expense of any project.