The Biggest Fear of Building Pole Barns – Setting Posts

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Come on now, be honest, we all have our fears and phobias. One of the most interesting ones I have found over the years with clients is “postsetaphobia”, or fear of setting posts. This particular phobia is defined as, “the fear of being able to properly set posts for a pole building”.

Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. 99% of all fear is not about the “here and now”, or the reason you think it may be.  It is not justified and is not “real” unless you focus on it and attract it.

Setting the poles is a snapExamining the realities of the situation….most pole building foundation systems are based upon rectangular or square sawn pressure treated timbers, embedded into holes augered into the ground. Sounds scary when defined like this, isn’t it?

These augered holes are going to range from an 18 inch diameter on a very small building, to 24, 30 or even 36 inch diameters on a large structure. Assuming a very small building, the columns will probably be 4×6 inches. Now a 4×6 actually measures 3-1/2” x 5-1/2” (topic for a future blog posting), or 6-1/2 inches across the diagonal. Even with the least hole diameter of 18 inches, this leaves almost a foot of “slop” to play with!

So, what is the worst thing which can happen so far? A hole is drilled a few inches off center and the very small “peg” (4×6 post) gets shifted in a very large round hole. By moving the posts back and forth at the top of the hole, the columns can be shifted as needed to end up in a straight line.

But, “what if I can’t get them plumb (straight up and down)? By adjusting the “temporary braces”, which temporarily support the columns prior to concrete being poured, the tops of the poles can be moved to being fairly plumb quite easily. While the ideal scenario is to have the tops of the columns leaning slightly outward, pole buildings are amazingly forgiving and the tops of the poles can be adjusted laterally by even several inches later in the construction process.

Like many fears, this is one in which the anticipation of the event, is far worse than the real thing.

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