“I don’t think you know how we do it up here”
We supply all of the pole building kit packages for a popular national company.
One of their locations in Michigan called wanting to know pole building prices comparison between their quote (the way they used to do it) and our quote. It seems their store manager is wondering why they haven’t sold a building and believes it to be we are too high on our prices.
They sent over “their” price on a 30’ wide by 40’ long building with 12’ eaves. Their price – $7995 and change; ours $9144. Quite a difference, and left me wondering if we were “too high” – until we started to pick things apart.
Here were the real pole building price differences:
We were furnishing an insulated commercial steel entry door in steel jambs, factory finish painted. Their entry door – a “builder grade” primed steel door in bare wood jambs. Found over $400 of the price difference right there. What is the difference between the doors? First you have to paint the “builder’s grade”, and How often do you want to have to replace a door because the wood jambs have swollen and have holes where it’s rotted out? Steel jambs – you should not have to replace it in your lifetime, and you didn’t have to start out by having to paint it.
They have included no inside or outside closures for the roof steel. Meaning critters, birds and snow are going to be getting into the building at the eaves, as well as beneath the ridge cap. I don’t know about you, but I put my vehicles and prized possessions in a garage because I want to keep the bird “stuff” off them, not invite them to roost over “targets”.
We furnish precut soffit panels, they were providing 12 foot long panels which need to each be cut into a dozen pieces in the field. Easily saving hours of labor.
Our powder coated screws are not only several hundred dollars more expensive, but they also stay colored during installation! Take a look at steel buildings where they have colored steel and the screw lines stand out like a sore thumb – all silver. Why? Regular painted screws tend to easily flick off the paint when applied with a screw gun. Not so with powder coated screws. We also included metal-to-metal stitch screws to apply trims, which they had none.
“Their” building did not have enough J Channel to trim all of the tops of the walls and around the entry door, and was missing the one piece integrated trims for the overhead door opening. This left them with unfinished door and wall edges, keeping with a “builder’s grade” level of a pole building kit.
Based upon their version of the building, with 2×4 standard grade wall girts and roof purlins, there was not a sufficient quantity to provide any roof truss bottom chord bracing or X bracing for the end trusses. If this customer didn’t want to watch his building sway or buckle, he’d be buying those extra sticks of lumber…”extra”.
Now the fun part…..structural design. This building is to be built in an area of 70 psf (pounds per square foot) ground snow load, and a 90 mph (miles per hour) design wind speed. It has columns every eight feet, with single trusses every four feet, set on top of truss carriers (headers).
Remember the 2×4 from above? Using it at two foot on center for the walls, flatwise on the outside of the posts, it is more than 40% overstressed (beyond the point of failure under wind load)! This is why the building we were quoting had 2×6 #2 and better graded wall girts, which are over 366% stronger in bending.
And how about those 2x4s as roof purlins? If they are to be laid flat on top of the trusses (which I am afraid they had in mind), they are about 240% overstressed! Stand them on edge, not as bad, but still beyond their load carrying capability.
And those truss carriers? Provided the trusses were designed right, the truss carriers fail while carrying only 80% of the load.
Yes, we could under design and under feature our buildings to match “how we do it up here” and have far lower prices. When the client is either upset due to poor quality or poor performance, or worse yet a building fails damaging valuable property or someone is injured or killed – it just isn’t worth the potential grief. We prefer to sleep well at night knowing our pole buildings are designed to meet the climactic load conditions. We never claim to have the lowest price building based on “size”, but we do claim to have the best price when your pole building prices comparison matches the features, materials and structural design. Apples to apples – because no matter how you want to shake it down…. it just isn’t the “same” building.