DIY Pole Building Piecemealers

Pole Barn Guru Blog

Whether a DIYer, or a building contractor, there are two primary methods for acquisition of materials for a pole building kit.

There is the “old fashioned way”….

hand drawn planSomeone roughs out a building plan, generally without the ability to do structural engineering calculations to determine if what is in “the plan” will actually carry the climactic loads or not. This is also referred to as “winging it” or “seat of the pants engineering”. Personally, I wouldn’t feel overly confident about this method, but who am I to say, as I have only been involved in 15,000 or so pole buildings…give or take a few.

From this roughed out “plan” the piecemealer sets out to put together a list of all of the materials needed to assemble the building. This material count may vary, depending upon who is directly involved.

If I am the DIY pole building person, my list is probably going to not have enough pieces on it. Same goes for if I am a builder and am being paid for just my labor, or by the hour.

In the first case, it is lack of knowledge and experience. In the second case, it is making the “package” look as inexpensive as possible.

The next step for the DIY pole building piecemealer is to run around like a decapitated chicken to suppliers of every imaginable piece, trying to get the best deals. This often involves really getting local lumber yards torqued, as the “cherry picking” begins.

Cherry picking usually involves three or more lumber yards – where only the least expensive items are picked from each one.  A smart lumberyard will either increase the price because the entire lot was not purchased, or they will get even by shipping the worst possible product on hand.

Now the piecemealer has not accounted for any time burned so far, and will carry the same mindset forward when making repeated trips to suppliers to pick up materials which were left off the list, or to “save” a few dollars of delivery charge.

BUT….there is the way which guarantees professional plans, quality instructions and all of the pieces needed to assemble…..buying a complete post frame building package from a quality supplier.

Not all “complete” suppliers are the same. If you are presented with a materials list only – don’t walk away – RUN.

A list is only as good as the person who made the list. A smart list maker purposefully leaves things off the list to lower the price. They know this means a trip (or trips) back to pick up the pieces it takes to complete the building. They don’t care about the extra trips, just the extra dollars through the till.  Because once you are in the store – you tend to pick up a few “other things” – and it gets you coming back time after time.

A quality supplier will be able to provide full sized 24” x 36” blueprints which are specific to your building and can be third-party engineer sealed without structural changes having to be made.

I hate to say it – but I know of a supplier who has two “tiers” of buildings – and if you buy the non-engineer sealed plans kit initially – then after purchase decide to have them sealed, oh man – the changes that have to be made.  This would not make me feel comfortable – knowing their buildings (if not sealed) are designed to some “minimum” not in any code book I’ve ever read!

A reputable pole building kit supplier will provide complete instructions of the entire assembly process including diagrams and actual photos.

Their quotes specify they will provide all of the materials necessary, as well as the design Code information (what version of the Code as well as design snow, wind and seismic loads).

There aren’t many who can and will do it right, who are actually looking out for the best interests of all involved. While up front it may appear to cost more, when time, effort, energy and angst get factored in, the quality complete kit package supply route is the only way to go.

It happens all too often – I have a customer defer to another supplier, only to come back later and tell me the horrors of what he/she purchased, thinking they were “saving money”…with the caveat, “I wish I had bought from you.”  Me too.  Call me a softie at heart, but I want every customer to get…what I would want.  A good quality building – at a decent price.

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