Hinge vs. Sliding Stall Front Doors

One of the major decisions that you will face when building or expanding your barn is selecting what style of horse stall is right for your barn. While there is plenty of variety between stall styles, stall doors come in just two styles – sliding and hinge doors. Unsure of which type of door is right for you? Here’s some information that might help in your decision!

sliding-horse-stallSliding Stall Doors

Sliding stalls doors are a popular option for many horse barns. Sliding doors have a major advantage in that they save room, since the door doesn’t swing outward into the barn aisle. For this reason, sliding stall doors are ideal for busy facilities where multiple horses are frequently coming and going. They also make a great choice if you are dealing with a narrow barn aisle in your facility.

Sliding stall doors do have less aesthetic appeal than hinged stall doors. Sliding doors must be supported by an overhead track. While the overhead track isn’t as appealing as the open appearance of a hinged stall door, you need to weigh whether the space saved by a sliding stall door is worth it for your facility.

Hinged Stall Doorshinged-horse-stall

Hinged stall doors need room to swing out into the barn aisle. This means that your barn aisle must be fairly wide, especially if you have two rows of stalls directly across from each other. You will also want your barn aisle to be free of items like tack boxes so that you can easily navigate the aisle with a horse.

If you are considering installing hinged stall doors, carefully evaluate your barn aisle. The aisle needs to be level, since the bottom of the stall door may get stuck on uneven flooring. Ideally, you should build your stall so that there are at least a few inches of clearance between the bottom of the stall door and the flooring of the barn aisle. If your barn aisle is full of hills and ruts, a hinged stall door might not be the best choice for your barn.

Hinged stall doors are aesthetically pleasing, because they make it possible to have a more open stall plan than a sliding stall door will allow. Hinged stall doors can make for an elegant appearance, such as that offered by the European Stall Series. They can truly transform the atmosphere of your barn!

If you’re still unsure about which type of style for stalls is right for your barn, please visit our website or contact Classic Equine Equipment.  We would be happy to talk about our different stall lines and can help you to find the best product for your barn.

photo credit:  Classic Equine Equipment

Retirement Option For Your Horse

IMG_0491Your horse has been your partner and your friend for many years.  But now, for whatever reason, you have to find a new home for him.  You may have outgrown him.  Or it may be for financial reasons.  Or his age is catching up to him.  But don’t despair.  There are a lot of great homes and options out there for your equine friend.  Here are a few you can consider.

  1. If your horse is still sound, you may want to consider leasing him, especially to someone at your barn.  They will take care of the expenses and care, but you still retain ownership and are the ultimate decision maker.  If you think you’ve found a good home for your horse, you can lease him out for six months or so to make sure that it’s a good fit all the way around.
  2. Of course you can sell him to another rider. It may be a pony you’ve outgrown who’ll make the perfect first horse for a child.  Or you may be switching disciplines and your hunter/jumper doesn’t share your interest in dressage.  He’ll be much happier with an owner who jumps.
  3. You can donate him to a therapeutic riding program. These programs help at risk kids or children with disabilities by introducing them to horses and riding.  Your horse must be sound and totally calm.  But if he makes it as a therapy horse, you can be assured that he will have lots of brushing and tons of carrots.
  4. You can move him to a lower rent section of your barn. Many stables have stalls and pasture board.  If you’ve had your horse in a stall, consider moving him to one of the pastures for board.  This will cost you less and will let him walk around and hang out with his horse friends.   Or if your barn has daily turnout and if you can afford it, you can leave him right where he is.  As long as he gets out on a regular basis, many horses are happy in stalls.
  5. You may want to consider boarding at a retirement facility. As horses are living longer lives, many boarding stables are seeing the benefit of offering boarding of retired horses – no matter what their age.   Most often, they will offer a pasture with shelters where several horses live.   In this case, the barn manager assumes the majority of the responsibility for the care of your horse.  They will make sure that they are groomed and that they are up-to-date on shots, dewormed and have their feet done.  All of this, of course, will be billed to you in addition to your monthly board and feed.   They can also provide additional services such as blanketing, bathing and giving supplements.  Be sure to check with the barn manager on the cost of everything.KellyBrennaChelsea 112010

Also discuss with the barn manager how involved you want to be in the care of your horse.   Do you plan come out weekly?  Are you comfortable with the barn’s vet and farrier or do you prefer someone you’ve had as a vet care for your horse.? These are all things that should be negotiated before moving your horse.

If it’s an older horse you are retiring, be sure that the retirement barn is prepared to take care of senior horses.  Often, barns buy hay and feed in bulk and they are usually geared towards younger or active horses.  Older horses can require special senior feed and hay may need to be soaked before feeding to help older horses chew.   

Older horses may have special medical need such as joint medicine or may need extra blanketing in the winter.  Be sure anyone taking care of your retired horse is aware of any special needs.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners has a great publication, “AAEP Care Guidelines for Equine Rescue and Retirement Facilities.” This will help  you know what questions to ask and what services you should expect. Click HERE to download a copy.

Photo credit: GreenGate Farm

Your Horse Called – Here’s How He Wants His Stall Designed

horse on phoneYour horse spends a lot of time in their stall.  Here are some things he wants you to know to keep him happy and safe.

  1. Take into account his size. While smaller horses or ponies can get by with a 10’x10’ stall, most horses need at least a 12’x12’ stall. Warmbloods or mares with foals may require larger stalls.  The “rule of thumb” is a stall length should be 1-1/2 times the length of the horse so he has room to turn around and lay down.
  2. At least an 8’ divider between his stall and his “neighbor.” A wall with an upper half grill at least part of the way across lets your horse see other horses without them annoying him. Open space at the top of the stall dividers help the air circulate within the stall interior.
  3. A stall made of strong materials so his neighbor’s hoof doesn’t come through if he decides to have a bout of kicking.
  4. A ceiling at least 11’ tall so he doesn’t have to worry about hitting his head if he should get the urge to rear in his stall.
  5. A stall with lots of light and fresh air. Windows and doors where he can see out will help keep him from being bored.  Plenty of fresh air will help eliminate respiratory problems. 
  6. Doors that are wide enough and open outward so he doesn’t get banged in the hip when he walks out. Doors with yokes or Dutch doors allow your horse to hang is head outside and watch what’s going on.
  7. Secure latches on the doors so he’s not tempted to play Houdini and escape.
  8. Sturdy hinges and hardware so that nothing in his stall breaks and becomes a danger.
  9. A floor that is comfortable to stand and lay on. Flooring with stall mats make for a happy horse.
  10. Plenty of clean water. While buckets may be fine, they require regular cleaning.  An automatic waterer ensures that you horse has plenty of fresh water.  Add a heater for warm water in the winter and your horse will be a happy camper.
  11. Easy feeding options – swing-out doors and hay racks so he can get his meals served quickly and easily.

Luckily, Classic Equine Equipment makes the Integrity Series that has all of the qualitieswood-barn-integrity your horse is looking for in his stall.  The Integrity Series is the ultimate component horse stall system. All grill sections and doors are solid welded, never any pieces to assemble. Constructed from heavy-duty galvanized steel tubing, the Integrity Series is available in any length. Mix and match door, feed or watering options to create the perfect horse stall. All components, including track and door hardware, sold separately.

The Integrity series is perfect for existing barn retrofits or new construction. Components are easy to install and virtually maintenance free. These products add value to your barn and security for your horses while being value engineered to fit all barn budgets.

For more information on the Integrity series and all stall options, visit the Classic Equine Equipment web site.

Photo credit: Mountain Rose Horsemanship Training, Classic Equine Equipment

Assessing Your Barn Roof For Heavy Snow


snow on roof FREE PHOTOIf you live in an area which receives significant snowfall each winter, it’s important know how much snow weight that your barn roof can support. Barn collapses can be devastating, but they’re also usually avoidable. These tips can help you determine if  your barn is up to the challenge.

Do you Know Your Local Snow-Load Requirements?

Do your research and find out your local snow-load requirements. These requirements are based on the climate and past snowfall, and can better inform you about the conditions that your barn will need to be able to withstand. While it’s a good idea for your barn to meet these requirements, it’s an even better idea to make your barn stronger and able to withstand more rigorous requirements, just in case.

Did You Communicate With Your Barn Builder?

If you are just building your barn, make sure that you have a conversation with your barn builder about the importance of the barn being able to withstand heavy snow loads. Many local builders should be aware of this issue and should be able to advise you on building techniques to use.  They may also have advice on how to “beef up” your roof if your barn has already been completed. 

Did You Use A Metal Roof?

If you want to avoid snow sitting on your barn’s roof for long periods, then opt for a metal roof instead of a shingled roof. Snow melts off of metal roofs faster, reducing the amount of time that your barn will need to support the full weight of a snowstorm. Additionally, make sure that your roof is properly pitched to encourage the snow to slide off.

Did You Use Machine Stress-Rated Lumber?

If you want to ensure that your barn is strong, then use machine stress-rated lumber in its construction. Whereas most lumber is visually rated, machine stress-rated lumber is machine tested to identify its true strength. By using machine stress-rated lumber, you can avoid weak spots and will know the actual strength of the materials that you are using.

Did You Add Additional Bracing?

Adding extra bracing can further strengthen your barn so that it is able to withstand a major storm, or a series of storms. Consult with an engineer to determine what types of bracing would be most beneficial for your barn. 

Did You Incorporate Drainage Around Your Barn?gutter and downspout WALTERS BUILDINGS

Including proper drainage around your barn to help direct snow runoff away from the foundation is important to your barn’s overall strength. If runoff water is allowed to pool around your barn, it can actually affect the stability of your barn’s foundation.  Be sure to use gutters and drain pipes to move water away.

Whether you’re just planning your barn, have already started building or are using a previously built barn, there is still time to make sure your barn roof can withstand a heavy winter snow.

Photo Credit: Walters Buildings

Technology For Your Barn

stall watch video surveillance 2Whether you are building a new barn or redesigning your current barn, adding technology components can make your barn safer and your work more convenient.  Consider adding these types of technology to your barn this year. 


If you have a large barn, you might want to consider installing an intercom system. An intercom can be useful for quickly reaching anyone in the barn with important messages. From asking grooms to bring out certain horses to reminding students that their lesson starts shortly, a barn intercom spreads information quickly and efficiently no matter how large your barn is!

Video Surveillance

Video surveillance is one of the most important technological investments that you should consider installing in your barn. Video surveillance can help to deter thieves, and may even reduce the cost of your property and business insurance. If you’re operating a boarding or training operation, the fact that your barn has video surveillance can be a reassurance to owners.

Stall video surveillance is another option.  Can’t remember if you blanketed that last horse?  Check via video.  Anticipating a new foal?  A video can keep an eye on the process until it’s time.  Worrying that your horse may colic?  Use a video to watch him through the night.

Hardwired Fire Alarm

If you’re not already planning to install a hardwired fire alarm in your barn, you should. The risk of fire in barns is significant, and you should absolutely invest in a quality fire alarm system. Additionally, contact your local fire department and find out if it’s possible to wire your fire alarm so that it sounds directly in the fire station itself. This feature can save valuable time in the event that a barn fire does break out.

Stereo Systems

Consider installing a stereo system in the viewing room so that anyone observing a lesson or training session in your indoor arena can hear the instructor’s comments. As long as the instructor uses a microphone, installing speakers in the viewing room can be a useful tool which allows everyone to clearly hear the session.

Many people enjoy riding to music.  A stereo system for the arena can allow for dressage freestyle competitions.  It is also useful if you are going to be holding shows at your facility.

Tack Room Alarm

Installing an alarm in your tack room is an excellent way to deter thieves. An alarm system offers your tack valuable protection, and provides you and any other horse owners with peace of mind each night. Installing a keyed alarm means that you can give the code to anyone who needs to access the tack room. With tack being one of the easier (and more valuable) items in a barn to steal and resell, the value of a tack room alarm can’t be overlooked.

white-horse-with-feederAutomatic Feeders

Making sure your horse has food throughout the day can sometimes be difficult.  Using automatic feeders can insure your horse always has something to nibble on throughout the day.


Installing wi-fi at your barn is a great option to keep your boarders happy.  Once they are done riding, they can keep up to date on emails and social media. 

Technology products keep getting better and better while the prices keep dropping.  You CAN afford to add technology to your barn!

photo credit:  Stall Watch, iFeed

A 5-Point Checklist If You’re Stabling Your Horse This Winter

ChelseaSnowHaving the option of having your horse on pasture board or turnout during the summer is great not only for your expenses, but for your horse as well.  Horses are happiest being able to graze all day, preferably in the company of other horses.

But if your horse is going to be in training or you want to ride during the winter, your best option is to keep your horse at a boarding stable.  Warm, indoor wash racks, cozy tack rooms, dry stalls and, of course, a covered arena are all attractive reasons to keep your horse in a boarding stable during the worst weather.

But there are some things to consider for your horse before you put him in the advantageous, but more structured environment of a stable.  Review our 5-point checklist to see what decisions you need to make.

checkbox 1. Loneliness – if your horse is used to being outside 24/7 with lots of other horses and things to look at, being kept in a stall for long hours can make him lonely and bored.  This can lead to bad habits such as cribbing or stall walking.  Coming up with distractions such as stall toys or treats like “Uncle Jimmy’s Hanging Balls” (and turnout when possible) can help keep him engaged.  If there’s room and the barn management doesn’t mind, having a “barn sitter” like a goat or chicken can also keep horses entertained.

checkbox 2. Exercise – If your horse has been turned out for long hours, most likely he’s gotten plenty of exercise just walking around and grazing all day.  And if he has other horses for company, most likely they all get a good gallop in every once in a while.  But in a stable, it will be more important than ever to regularly exercise him.  You can lunge him or even hand walk him around the facility.  As a trainer to ride him if you aren’t able or consider a lease with another horse lover.

checkbox 3. Feed – Horses do best on lots of forage, and when they are turned out all day it’s rarely a problem.  But inside a stall, your horse is restricted to what he can find to eat.  A good supply of quality hay given on a regular basis is a good way to satisfy his urge to graze.  There are a variety of hays available and your barn manager can help you choose the right one for your horse’s weight, age and activity level.  And, while most horses rarely need to be supplemented with grain, if your horse is now being ridden more frequently you may find that adding grain is a good idea.

checkbox 4. Blankets – When horses are turned out for most of the year, they develop a coat tosnow stabled horse S H DRESSAGE protect them through the seasons.  If your horse usually grows a good winter coat, he may be perfectly fine in stable that protects him from the cold and wet.  You still may want to consider a lightweight waterproof sheet if he will be turned out in rainy/snowy weather.  You may also want to consider whether to clip or not.  Clipped horses can be cooled much more quickly after a hard ride, but the downside is that he will need to be blanketed.  And sometimes double blanketed depending on your winter cold. I suggest several light layers instead of one heavy blanket so you can adapt his “wardrobe” to the temperature.

checkbox 5. Shoes – When horses are turned out in a pasture or ridden only on soft ground, it may be a good time to pull their shoes and let them go barefoot.  This can save you quite a bit of money in farrier expenses. If you plan on trail riding, you can use hoof protection like the Easyboot.  But when boarded at a stable, you may want to consider having your horse shod.  While many owners are part of the “barefoot” movement in all circumstances, some horses when ridden or in heavy training need the support of shoes to help with leg issues or to avoid stone bruises.

Depending on where you live, winter weather may only be a few short months or seem to last forever.  Use your best judgment when considering what is best for you and your horse for each of this items.

photo credits:  GreenGate Farm, S H Dressage



Keep Your Barn Environmentally Friendly

Making your barn more environmentally friendly makes good business sense.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture has Cooperative Extension programs across the country.  Congress created the Extension system nearly a century ago to address exclusively rural, agricultural issues. At that time, more than 50 percent of the U.S. population lived in rural areas, and 30 percent of the workforce was engaged in farming. Today, fewer than 2 percent of Americans farm for a living today, and only 17 percent of Americans now live in rural areas.  But Extension agents still serve a purpose by helping farmers grow crops and small farm owners plan and maintain their acreage.

mudd and manure HorsesForCleanWaterMany states have an Extension programs and can provide a wealth of information to barn managers.  Two of the ways that can help keep your farm environmentally friendly are through mud and manure management.  The first thing they suggested is to put gutters on your barn or any outbuildings.  Rain can make a waterfall off the sides and front and rapidly turn the openings into mud.  With this easy fix of gutters directing water away from the openings, going in and out of the barn is a much easier process.  Another option is to collect the water from the gutters and store it in a rain barrel to irrigate your garden or pasture in the summer.

Remember that Classic Equine Equipment’s collection of rubber stall mats and it innovative Stable-ity grid system can also options to keeping your farm mud-free.

The second suggestion is to establish a sacrifice area for the horses during the wet, winter months.  By keeping them off most of the pasture when the grass is easily destroyed by hoofs, it allows them to have much more useable pasture the following summer.   To keep pastures healthy during the summer, they also suggest rotational grazing.  Using simple temporary fencing, horses are moved around the pasture each week, never allowing them to graze down more than 4 inches.  Once the horses are moved off that pasture, it is given a chance to rest and regrow before the horses are put back on.  To keep the horses and pasture healthy, manure is picked up every day in the stalls, paddocks and sacrifice area, and the pastures are dragged weekly to break up and spread the manure for fertilizer. 

A horse can produce over 50 pounds of manure each day.  One of the best ways to turn manure after composting MillCreekSpreadersmanure into a valuable commodity is to compost it.  Compost, a combination of manure and other materials, is an excellent natural fertilizer.  Once composted, you can give it away to friends who want to naturally fertilize their gardens, sell it to nurseries, or keep it yourself for your own garden.   By taking what can be a nuisance around the farm and turning it into an income producing resource, you are literally “taking lemons and making lemonade!”

Photo credit: Horses for Clean Water, Mill Creek Spreader

Light Up Your Barn This Season

barn lightingAs the days start to get shorter with corresponding longer nights, now is a good time to start thinking of adding some additional lighting to your barn to chase away the gloom for both you and your horse.  Horse’s eyes are sensitive to weak light. They can see fairly well at dusk, but they don’t have the ability to adjust their eyes to darkness quickly, which is why they will often refuse to enter a dark building from bright sunshine. In addition, shadows and poorly lit areas make stall cleaning cumbersome and inhibit observation and care. A combination of individual stall and general aisle way lighting is preferred. Place fixtures where they won’t create shadows for the horse when he enters his stall.  

For natural lighting, provide a minimum of 4 square feet of window space in each stall.window with glass There are a variety of window styles from which you can select.  Many come with grills or yokes to help keep your horse’s nose out of where it shouldn’t be. Glass windows should be either out of reach (generally above 7 feet) or protected by sturdy bars or mesh. 

Big barn exteriors require big lights – standard residential type lights are typically too small and do not provide enough light. Dusk-to-Dawn Halogens are often installed over entryways for general lighting purposes and for safety. Select fixtures as to where they will be used as barns are dusty and in some areas (wash bays) very moist. Vapor tight fixtures are required in wet areas for safety and durability.  When selecting lighting bulbs, there are several options.  

Using lights in strategic places can also help with barn security. Install security lights at farm entrance and around barn doors. Either leave them on from dusk to dawn or install motion detection lights to alert you to intruders. Remember, however, that motion sensors can also be tripped by your barn cat or other animals.

In order for the lights (and other equipment) to work in the barn, you need adequate electricity.  All electrical wiring in the barn should be housed in metal or hard plastic conduit since rodents may chew unprotected wires, creating a fire hazard. Metal conduit can be used, but has the tendency to rust. Plan enough circuits, outlets and fixtures so switches are within easy reach.  Locate switches so lights can  be turned on and off at two convenience locations, usually at either end of the barn. Install outlets every 15 feet or so on both sides of the aisle.  Light switches should be four feet up from the floor and outlets should be 13-15 inches off the floor (or as required by code). 

Consider lighting in other areas of your barn as well. Common places are the wash/grooming areas, feed room and tack room. For wash bay lighting and other ideas from Classic Equine Equipment, click HERE

Classic Equine Equipment has a variety of lights for both indoor and outdoor use.  For a full listing of what is offered, check out Classic Equine Equipment’s catalog – click HERE.  

Look to lighting to help keep you and your horse safe and happy during the dark winter months.

photo credit:  Classic Equine Equipment

Classic Equine Equipment Is Made in America!

made in america 2In support of the White House’s proclaimed “Made in America” week, we wanted to celebrate Classic Equine Equipment’s long-time commitment to their own made-in-America products.  Their contribution to the long lifespan of products is a quality point you won’t see on the surface. All of the company’s steel products are made in Classic’s hometown of Fredericktown, MO, ensuring complete control over the quality of the process and the end result.

Classic Equine Equipment, located among the rolling hills and horse farms of Southern Missouri, was founded in 1991 on a love for horses and a commitment to their ultimate care and safety. Though a lot has changed since then, our mission remains the same: To provide quality stall systems, barn components and accessories to meet the needs of discriminating horse owners.

The company goes to great lengths to make sure their passion for quality and love for horses shows in the details of the products we produce – smoother edges that prevent scratches or scrapes; narrower spacing between grills to make sure that small hooves don’t get caught; galvanized hand-welded steel frames that can endure all the punishment and abuse your horse can throw at them and keep on shining.

The quality that distinguishes Classic Equine’s products is not always evident to the untrained eye. The rust prevention built into Classic stalls is a case in point. The aisle 7company uses only pre-galvanized steel in its grillwork, stall hardware, pasture gates and all other components. A thin coating of zinc is applied to the steel at the mill, which combines with the powder coating process to provide an additional layer of rust prevention. It’s one example of the many extra steps Classic takes to build longevity into great looking, highly functional equipment. This is the case in settings ranging from private, small facilities to large, heavy use public boarding operations and veterinary hospitals.

Classic Equine’s stall systems come in styles that suit several budgets, but they’ll never be the cheapest based on price tag alone. When economies over the products’ long life span are factored in, however, the upfront costs are a sound investment. Plus, Classic Equine Equipment promises the one thing nobody can put a price tag on: peace of mind.

For more information, contact Classic Equine Equipment:

sales@classic-equine.com   (800) 444-7430

Source material:  Ride magazine, Classic Equine Equipment

Cleaning Up After the Winter of 2017

barn in snow photography bloggerIt’s been a long, hard winter.  High winds, excessive snow, rain, ice and flooding have taken their toll on whole communities, including our farms and stables.  What are some things to look for when evaluating the safety and sturdiness of your barn for the rest of the year.

  • Have the wind or ice dumped tree branches on or around your barn?  These branches are a danger not only now, but in the summer when dry conditions can makes branches instant fire-starters. Clear debris, combustible material and weeds  at least 30 feet from structures for fire protection?
  • Check barn structure. Is there damage to posts, beams or walls? Is the roof in good condition?  End doors and paddock windows? These are key components to keeping your barn strong so repair or replace these as soon as possible.
  • Are the outside electrical outlets and switches safe to use?  Water and electricity never mix and can cause shock or fire.  In the future, consider waterproof covers for electric outlets.
  • Inspect all wiring. Older wiring may have damage from weather or rodents looking for a dry place to hand out. .
  • Check all electrical cords. Appliances and equipment should be unplugged when not in use.
  • Barn aisles are a common place to store things when bad weather causes havoc. wick buildings tree in barnAre you storing hay, farm equipment or jumps in the aisles? Make sure you clear aisles of unnecessary items. Any items remaining stored in the aisles should be placed on hooks high enough that a panicked horse will not injure himself. Tack boxes and other items on the floor should not prevent stall doors from opening.
  • Daily barn cleaning may have gone by the wayside during stormy weather.  Now’s a good time to check if there are  cobwebs and dust accumulating behind refrigerators and other appliance, around lights, near electrical sources.  If so, clean the area.
  • Horses stuck inside for extended periods of time can find destroying their stalls a great way to pass the time.  Also, horses afraid of thunder or strong wind can panic and break stall items.  It’s a good idea to:
    • Check stalls for damage to wood surfaces, broken or cracked feeders, protruding nails.
    • Check the floor for damage or uneven surfaces, especially if you use dirt stalls.
    • Look around the bottom of stalls for areas that may be hazardous when a horse rolls.
    • Check latches and door knobs. Are they in good working order? Do they pose a hazard? Will tack or horses be hung up on them?
    • Check floors for standing water, slick surfaces and uneven areas. Are your water pipes in good order? Freezing conditions can cause floors to “heave” up and become uneven.
  • Check your tack room to be sure that water isn’t dripping from a missing roof tile onto someone’s tack.
  • Your arena(s) should be checked for the same things are your barn – broken posts, damaged wiring, uneven footing and other safety issues.
  • Don’t forget to check your fencing all around your stable for loose or broken boards.

If you love your barn and your damage isn’t great, you should be able to be back to normal with alot of good riding time left.  However, if the damage is too great, now may be a good time to consider a new or renovated barn.  We’ll try to give you helpful hints for that in the next blog.

photo credits:  photography blogger, wick buildings