Moving Pole Buildings – Tinker Toys or Lincoln Logs

“I’ve got a GREAT deal on a pole building for you. All you have to do is take it down, move it and reassemble”.

Even if the price is FREE, is it a bargain or not?

Let’s take a look at why this might not be such a great deal.

Better check out the building department first. Is the building more than a few years old?  If the free building was not designed using the same building code as what is now required by your local jurisdiction, you could be spending money to upgrade the building to match the new codes. Major code changes occurred as the International Codes have been adopted over the past few years.

In snow country? Even the new code updates, every three years, have resulted in changes to how drift loads are applied to roofs. The seemingly perfect roof trusses may not be able to be reused.

So….assuming the entire design portion works out…..

Most pole buildings have the bottom end of the columns embedded in concrete. This means having to cut the posts off and use brackets to mount the building to concrete piers or a foundation, or purchase new columns. Neither of these options will be a bargain, and if you opt to use a bracket solution, you should hire an engineer to do the foundation design.

As you take things apart, make sure to label each piece, so it all fits back together as closely as possible. If steel roofed and sided, and the panels are attached with screws, this will speed up disassembly as well as minimize panels being damaged. Don’t stack one sheet of steel on top of another though, as the screw holes will scratch the paint of the panel directly below. Any roof insulation/vapor barrier will probably not be able to be reused, due to the inability to perfectly align screw holes.

Down to the framework? You can pretty well assume the original building frame was assembled using screws, often ring shank, or threaded ones, which can be a challenge to remove, without damage to the lumber.

Provided a relatively successful tear down, now it is time to move, usually involving equipment to load onto a truck. If you don’t already have a truck, there is the hassle of having to schedule renting a truck, picking up the truck, as well as offloading at the other end. Then the real fun begins – trying to put the puzzle back together so everything fits.

Besides all of the challenges above, seen and unforeseen, the cost of labor has been overlooked. Labor costs to construct a building, usually run from 50-75% of the cost of materials. It will cost every bit as much to disassemble and reassemble.

When all is said and done, was it actually a worthwhile investment to have a brand new “free” used building?

One thought on “Moving Pole Buildings – Tinker Toys or Lincoln Logs

  1. Mike I have to reply to this and hope you dont get mad me
    I am in the middle of a project were we removed a 28X48X12 P/B
    Now to get the building down in 1 day 2 men
    frist off the poles were not in crete on this job and it was an amish built building ALL PALLET NAILS!! 2X6 grits on 16oc flat to 6×6 post 16ftoc
    2×6 chord truss on 48. 2×4 perlin on 16 .
    nails on roof pulled easy as you would expect 1hr roof off.2×4 perlin banged off from bottom easy 1hr maybe. trusses were toe nailed (you now how I feel about that)easy were taken down and load roof lumber and metal LUNCH TIME,wall metal nailed R/S nails easy came out, loaded metal. now to the PALLET NAILS 16d’S. we did not mess with them and took a chain saw down the post and loaded the 2×6 AND 2X12 beam. POLES lifted out with bob cat layed flat and diging bar was used to pull the bal of 2×6 and 12s’ from poll face, and loaded on truck.
    barn was move to Quakertown pa and rebuilt to 28×45 few weeks later. rusted roof metal and all reused as that was what the customer wanted,
    I can tell you this about project. You will be hard pressed to find tight grain lumber as was used in this barn. trusses were made on site by Amish.
    this is one of the best built P/b You will see .and was built far over todays std’s
    Original built in 1966 in Telford pa.
    I know you thinking the poles were rotted. But not. all were back filled with stone. concrete seems to rot poles here in PA
    As well keep in mind that all the steel was 24g 2 rib 30’coverage not 29g as most are today,
    I would like you to see my photos of this job,
    Now in this case it was well worth the time and expence.
    To get the same builing today would be $$$ to say the least. I have never seen lumber at any supply house this tight in grain The last of the old growth for sure,
    Keep in mind that PA is were pole barns began the amish were building them over 150yrs atleast.
    The Amish are the tru pioneers
    No crains,No elec tools,exct exct,
    My last name is (WIndfelder)pa dutch. Its just in my blood
    I will try to email a few pixs of this job,
    I look forward to more post on your blog.
    Thanks ‘
    Patrick ,W
    Quakertown PA


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