An Engineer Didn’t Design This Building

If an Engineer Didn’t Structurally Design This Building, Then Who Did?

Many of you have been reading the ongoing and sad saga of Jimmy’s building… is the next installment:

Jimmy: “You should go buy a lottery ticket, I asked the builder, he told me only on industrial buildings do they use engineering plans. There is the concrete discs the post sit on, but other than that….it’s just sandy dirt mix supporting the posts.

 Can I take pics or take measurements…and send them or is there somewhere I can tell someone what I’ve got material wise and see if it would work. I think what they’re doing is using the minimum requirements. I originally ordered and paid for the trusses to be built on 2×8 top and bottom chords (on a gentleman’s agreement), when they arrived they were built on 2×6 top and bottom chords, when I contacted the guy he said the truss company made a revision since the attic was going to be for storage and not hay that 2x6s would be suffice for the top and chords. Well that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so I said either get me the trusses I paid for or give me the difference between the 2×6 and 2×8 trusses, he said I’m not giving you any money. And because it was on a gentleman’s agreement I don’t have a leg to stand on (everything from now on will always be in writing). I asked the builder what he honestly thought, he said the 4×6’s will be fine, but if my father would have went wider than 30 foot he definitely would have gone with 6×6’s. I’m going to follow through on what I added to the original build, but if there’s a way I can prove this guy is building a structurally unsound building I will take him to court.

 What’s your thoughts on concrete? We are planning to insulate the underneath with foam (250 psi) was recommended, and the concrete will be reinforced with fiber, but not with metal screen.”

Dear Jimmy: Please feel free to send any photos or measurements to me for review and I will give you my best honest opinion. My question always is – if an engineer didn’t structurally design this building, then who did?

truss-drawing-150x150The 2×6 top and bottom chords may very well be sufficient, as it will depend as much on the grade of the material used, than just the size. There should have been a sealed truss drawing delivered with the trusses – scan it and send it to me. I spent many years in the truss industry, so if something is amiss, chances are good I will catch it.

Sadly, you already have a building which is structurally unsound. There is no way those “concrete discs” are going to be adequate to prevent your building from settling. It might not happen immediately, but it will happen. A good building, takes a good foundation, it is just this simple.

As to your concrete floor, the best way to get a great floor, is with great site preparation. I’ve written extensively on this topic in the past: Fibermesh is a product I have used in my own floors and have been pleased with the results. Unless you or someone in the future is going to climate control the building, there is no reason to put insulation under the slab. If you are considering a future with climate control then you should also be reading this article:
For all you gentle readers I implore you to take to heart the following advice – regardless of whom you invest in a building with:

  1. Never, ever invest in a building which does not have the seal of a Registered Design Professional (RDP – engineer or architect) on the plans. Unless your builder happens to be a RDP, he is just winging it.
  2. Make sure the plans are specific to YOUR building, with exactly the dimensions you ordered, showing your doors. The plans should have your name and the site address on them.

2 thoughts on “An Engineer Didn’t Design This Building

  1. Hey,
    I always get asked for pole barn house design plans, do you guys offer design services, and do you have certain layout design to look through that you can share with potential clients. I would like to know more.

    1. We offer the ability to custom design the home shell. We do not design any interior layouts or interior walls. We focus on custom designed buildings. We have a variety of exterior building photos that can be found at Mainly these photos are used to brainstorm and get an idea of what you may be looking for. You can speak directly with a designer by calling us at 1-866-200-9657!


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