Post Frame Apartment Buildings

Post Frame Apartment Buildings

I have thought about the possibilities of constructing apartments using post frame construction for years, however a recent query from reader DERRICK in CINCINNATI brought it to the forefront of my thoughts. Dave writes: “Can you build apartment buildings out of your products? Nothing fancy. Just affordable living in a rural area. If yes, have any of your customers done anything like this or similar?

Keep in mind, post frame construction is applicable in any circumstance where stick frame construction could be used. Although roll formed steel roofing and siding is going to be the most cost effective and durable – any choice of covering materials can be used.

Apartment buildings are something I have not done personally, nor have I had a client construct one. Come to think of it, I have yet to have seen any post frame apartments done by anyone.

So why use post frame construction for an apartment building?

Cost savings would obviously have to be a factor. Assuming the same siding and roofing materials the largest cost savings (as well as time savings) is going to come from the foundation. The investment into continuous footings and foundations of poured concrete are immense. These costs accelerate as foundation walls become deeper due to having to get footings below frost lines in colder climates.

Speed of construction. Construction financing can get to be expensive. Every day a project lags before being able to be occupied is reducing profits for the project. Short of using prefabricated wall panels, post frame construction is going to assemble far quicker than stick frame.

And wall panels are not cheap.

Post frame construction can easily accommodate high R value insulation systems. Certainly there is going to be an investment into more insulation, however tenants show a willingness to pay extra in rent, to see a lower monthly utility cost.

Looking to construct an apartment building or buildings? If the end result will be three or fewer floors with a wall height of 40 feet or less (add one more story and 10 more feet of wall height with sprinklers), then post frame should most certainly be considered as a design solution

5 thoughts on “Post Frame Apartment Buildings

  1. I found your company because I am looking for a more affordable way of building a small 3 story 18 unit Micro apartment building in my City. Did anything come of the question about apartments? The idea interests me, because the hard cost is about $240 per square foot. I am wanting to see if something like this might work.

    1. admin Post author

      It is certainly doable and I would expect fully engineered post frame, modest tastes, totally DIY, budget roughly $70-80 per sft of floor space for living areas. Does not include land, site prep, utilities, permits. Hiring a contractor to turnkey will double this.

  2. Could you explain this comment “If the end result will be three or fewer floors with a wall height of 40 feet or less (add one more story and 10 more feet of wall height with sprinklers)” Alittle better? I am looking to build a 2 story post frame aparment building. This line is alittle confusing for me.

    1. You can build 3 stories with a wall height up to 40′ without fire suppression sprinklers, or 4 stories with a wall height of 50′ with fire suppression sprinklers. Two stories, easily done.


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