Moving a Building with a Kubota L3901 Compact Tractor

How do I move an 8 by 12 foot, 2,500 pound wood frame storage building with a compact tractor? That’s the problem I had to solve when we decided to build a new pool house and re-purpose the old one as a gargen tool shed.

This old building had served us well, but it was time for a pool house upgrade so we had to move this one to make room for building the new pool house.  After we emptied it out,  I just needed to remove the electrical panel and pump controls so it could be moved over near the raised bed garden to become tool shed.  It wouldn’t be easy, but I like a challenge.

The building is 8 feet wide by 12 feet long, is wood frame construction, and weight about 2,500 pounds according some online estimating guides.

The pictures below shows the “flight plan” for this move: 

The gray block indicates the temporary location for the building
The gray block in this picture shows the permanent location

I had to widen and grade out the road beside the pool area to ensure as smooth a ride as possible.  Once a concrete slab is poured, I’ll take the old building off its framed floor and move it to the slab.

Then came the question of exactly how to move the building. I settled on attaching skids made from 4×6 pressure treated lumber on the bottom of the building to create a sled for it so I could pull it with the tractor.

I removed the lattice and the siding from around the bottom of the building to be able to attach the sleds.  Fortunately, the underside of the building has 2x6s around the perimeter, giving me a great place to attach the sleds.

A bottle jack and an old car jack came in handy to lift up the ends of the building so I could move the cinder blocks in to make room for attaching the sleds.

Moving the cinder blocks inward allowed room to attach the sleds

The sleds were made out of 4×6 by 8 foot pressure treated lumber, two on each side with a 45 degree cut on the ends to help them slide on the ground.  Each 8 foot section was screwed to the bottom of the building frame with half inch lag screws and washers, counter sunk into the wood.  On the towing side are half inch eye bolts 12 inches long installed at a 45-degree angle for maximum strength and minimum chance of pulling out.  As an added precaution, I added a double 2×4 between the sleds on the towing end to spread the stress of towing between them.

I braced the building on the inside diagonally across the floor and from side to side to keep the building from being pulled out of square during the move.

I used a towing strap instead of chains so that it can slide through the loader bucket grab hooks and keep the pulling pressure evenly distributed on the sleds.

Having my Land Pride rotary cutter on the back of the tractor gave me a 600 lb counter balance to the building.

The old pool house was sitting on a slight hill so I was a little worried it could tip over as I started to pull the building away. The first 15 feet of the pull would be the most risky. Once I was past that, there was no worry of the building tipping over.

With the building safely pulled away from it old location, I had to turn it 180 degrees around to be able to pull it down the road along side the pool area. This required a good bit of repositioning. Part way through this maneuver, I had to get the sleds up over a huge rock that was protruding a few inches above the ground.

Trying to lift the sled over a rock while turning the building around

I had to lift the bucket up a bit to help get the skid over that rock.  Even with a 600 lb brush hog on the back of the tractor, the left rear wheel came off the ground, so I had to be careful not to tip the tractor over. Having a tractor start to tip on you is a very uncomfortable feeling! Maybe I should have had the 850 lb backhoe on there instead. The 4-wheel drive really helps when the back wheels aren’t in full contact with the ground. 

With that hurdle behind me I now had to get the building safely past the corner of the pool fence without hitting it. Getting that thing around that corner took a lot of patience and a lot of maneuvering.  At one point I thought I would have to circle around to the other side of the building and nudge it in line with the road. But I managed to get it in line without any mishaps.

Once I had it past the pool area I used the loader bucket to push the building to its temporary location until the concrete foundation and floor is ready.

The last thing I did was check to make sure the door wasn’t jammed, which would mean the building got knocked out of square.  All was good. Mission accomplished!

Picture Gallery

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