The Search for Building Steel Trusses

In my several years of being involved in the metal plate connected wood truss industry only twice times did we ever fabricate trusses which were over 80 foot in length. As the forces which have to be carried by a truss are increased by the square of the span, say a 120 foot span truss has to withstand 225% of force than an 80 foot span! Not only do the costs of wide span wood trusses increase dramatically beyond 80 feet, most fabricators do not have the equipment to build or deliver them.

The requirements for independent bracing design and inspection for prefabricated wood trusses of 60 foot span and greater also increases the associated challenges. (Read related article here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/12/wide-span-trusses/).

Because of this I have been keeping my eyes peeled for a fabricator of webbed steel trusses who could fill the niche of providing post frame building trusses which could span 80 to even 150 feet with a high degree of quality and a realistic price.

I recently saw a Facebook page for a company which builds steel trusses, so I commented on their page asking if they could produce wider spans. While I never got a reply from the company (obviously they do not keep up with their own social media), I did get an interesting message from one of their not too happily satisfied clients:

“Good morning Mike, you don’t know me but I wanted to express my concern to you about a post I saw you wrote on Sxxxxxxx Pole Barns Facebook page about large span trusses. I myself ordered an 80x100ft clear span kit from Matt Sxxxxxx. After the incomplete project of Matt and his 2 workers he left me with an incomplete kit and trusses that look good but aren’t strong. I am fixing a completely broken truss now and out of 11 trusses 8 are cracked at welds. He used too small of steel and welding and fabrication work is less than impressive. He has cost me over $30,000 so far and I’m still left with installing this building myself. I do not recommend him to anybody for anything. I will be pursuing him legally. I really just wanted to make you aware of my situation because I myself am dealing with the clear span kit as well.”

Certainly appears this company is not one which we will ever be doing business. Maybe somewhere in the future it will be Hansen Pole Buildings in the steel truss business, where we can control the quality of the product with a high degree of certainty!

My words of caution for anyone considering a webbed steel truss – ask for engineer sealed drawings to match the loading conditions of your particular site. Confirm the trusses are being welded by certified welders, and ask for documentation of passing independent third party inspections on no greater than a quarterly basis as a verification of quality control.

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