Barns & Structures

J. A. Barker Engineering was founded in 1998 to provide engineering design and inspection services with a specialization in historic preservation and structural rehabilitation. We also provide environmental permitting and historic review (“Section106”) services, historic research, evaluations of paint, mortar, stone and other materials, and other preservation tasks related to our designs.

Our goal on preservation and rehabilitation projects is to provide technically and aesthetically superior work, to produce designs that are strong and affordable, historically sensitive and contextually appropriate. We have successfully teamed with architects, preservation planners, blacksmiths and historians when needed to produce the best result for our clients.

We are best known for our extensive work on covered wooden and wrought iron bridges. However, our expertise encompasses a broad range of historic structures. Recent historic building projects in Indiana include structural and condition evaluations of the Smallwood-Pike Building in Bloomington and St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Greencastle, and restoration designs for Washington County Courthouse’s 168 windows and the Leavenworth-Lang-Cole Haypress Barn.

One of our strengths is in rehabilitation of heavy timber structures, a natural outgrowth of our expertise in covered bridge restoration. We have completed barn work for contractors and landowners and designed the adaptive rehabilitation of a timber frame bank barn for the Hamilton County, Indiana School District.

Our work on the reconstruction of the Leavenworth-Lang-Cole Haypress Barn reconstructed at Wyandotte Woods in Harrison-Crawford State Forest) included

  • Inspection of all barn timbers and design of both generic and piece-specific timber repairs.

  • Complete structural evaluation of the barn and, finding inadequate strength against wind loads, design of extra bracing compatible with the historic building.

  • Investigation of whether the original trusses were still capable of resisting impact forces generated by operating the haypress.

  • Direction of load testing and development of relatively inconspicuous truss-rod reinforcement that enabled continued use of massive (32′) but deteriorated original beech floor joists.

  • Design of new footings and rough stone foundation walls.

  • Plans, specifications, and cost estimate for the barn reconstruction that ensured it met the building code and could safely accommodate the public.

  • Coordination between owner and contractor throughout the rebuilding process and assisted INDOT (the contract manager) with construction inspection.