Mega Building Clearspans; Just Put a Post in It

Mega Clearspan Buildings…Just Put a Post in It

In my first managerial position in the roof truss industry, we worked out of an 80 foot wide by 120 foot long concrete tilt up building. This building had a row of interior columns down the middle, 30 feet on center.

These three columns posed no challenge for us, even moving large units of lumber in and out of the building, or for fabricating trusses. We never gave it a second thought.

Large Clearspan Riding Arena Building

Wide Clearspan Riding Facility

Yesterday, one of our Building Designers asked me about an inquiry they received from a client. The client was looking for a pole building approaching 100 feet in width.

It turns out the building is to be used for dry storage, and was going to be loaded through an open long eave sidewall.

I suggested a solution – place a row of poles down the center of the building. As the building is being loaded from a side, and materials are being driven straight in on a forklift, the columns in the center should not pose an issue for the overall design solution.

Rarely are large clearspans required inside buildings. Think about all of the columns inside popular retail store chains – such as The Home Depot, Wal-Mart or Lowe’s. Posts everywhere, but you really don’t notice unless you really are looking for them!

One instance where large clearspans are important is in horse riding arenas. Rather than incorporating stall spaces within the main span – moving the stalls into an attached side shed, keeps the truss spans down to only what is required to ride.

While pole buildings can certainly be designed and built with clearspans up to and including 100 feet wide, the cost per square foot begins to ramp up gradually beginning at about 50 foot clearspan, with the price increasing exponentially beyond 80 feet.

Keeping the budget in mind, while you work through the design process of your building, and matching with the actual clearspan needed, can help you arrive at the most affordable and practical solution.  Putting posts in the middle may be not only affordable, but desirable in getting the most out of your new pole barn.

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