Tag Archives: 2018 IBC

Adding a Slab, Code Requirements, and Getting Started

Today’s Ask the Guru takes on reader questions about adding a slab to a pole barn with a dirt floor, and how that might transfer pressure to the columns, whether or not Hansen Buildings packages meet “2018 International Building Code and all codes adopted by Pennsylvania for commercial construction,” and landowners looking to get started but not sure how.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have an existing 24ft by 32ft pole barn with dirt floor. I would like to poor a slab and I understand the need for construction joints in the concrete. I am concerned about expansion pressure from the concrete against the existing posts. Could the expansion of the floor slab put enough pressure on the posts to damage them? My posts are 4×6 treated pine. TIM in APEX

DEAR TIM: As far as actually damaging posts themselves, highly unlikely. If your 4×6 columns are not adequately anchored in ground by a concrete bottom collar, concrete encasement, or other properly compacted backfill, there is a potential for them to be shifted out of place when concrete is poured. Depending upon method of pressure treatment, ph of concrete against pressure treated pine can cause brown-rot fungi. If your columns were treated with ACQ-D or MCA, it might be prudent to isolate columns from concrete with a waterproof barrier. A barrier can be created as simply as running your under-slab vapor barrier (6mil or thicker black plastic) up and over top of your pressure treated splash planks and around sides of columns to top of slab.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do your pole building packages meet the 2018 International Building Code and all codes adopted by Pennsylvania for commercial construction? ANDREW in HOLLIDAYSBURG



DEAR ANDREW: Every Hansen Pole Building is fully engineered to meet all structural requirements of applicable Codes where building is to be erected. Besides your engineer sealed blueprints, our engineers also provide sealed verifying calculations.


About Hansen BuildingsDEAR POLE BARN GURU: We own the land however we don’t where to get started with this Process? TONY in FLORENCE

DEAR TONY: Your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer can be a great resource in assisting you with this process. Many of our clients have found resources in this article of prove helpful: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2021/02/a-shortlist-for-smooth-barndominium-sailing/

Framing for Sheetrock, Exterior Stairs, and Board & Batten Siding

This Wednesday, the Pole Barn Guru addresses hanging of sheetrock on horizontal girts compared to conventional framing, the best method to install or add stairs to a structure to comply with building codes, and proper installation for board and batten siding.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have read about the benefits of hanging sheetrock on horizontal members (exterior wall with bookshelf girts) that you wrote (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/09/11-reasons-post-frame-commercial-girted-walls-are-best-for-drywall/). Just recently I installed some on an existing wall which I had shimmed 2 ft. o.c. horizontally due to the wall not being level. I found that to be an easier install compared to 16″oc stud wall. My question is, when we get ready to frame our interior walls, non- load bearing, is it ok to frame 2 ft. o.c. horizontally with blocks? Any pros and cons would be appreciated. thanks for the wealth of knowledge that you provide on this website. ALLEN in CABOT

DEAR ALLEN: Thank you for your kind words sir, much appreciated. Excited you were able to take advantage of benefits of hanging sheetrock vertical on horizontal members. I would frame interior walls conventionally (vertical studs 24 inches on center), then add horizontal blocking for sheetrock. Should make door openings and wall intersections easier to frame.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, my building is recently completed and I am interested in adding concrete stairs in front of the four foot man-doors. Should I cut out the splash plank, drill and insert rebar in the slab to anchor, pour under the now exposed 1 1/2″ reveal under the door threshold? Or, Frame in the steps and pour concrete against the splash board? KEVIN in SILVERDALE

DEAR KEVIN: 2018 International Residential Code (IRC) Section R311.5 states exterior landings, decks, balconies, stairs, and similar facilities shall be positively anchored to primary structure to resist both vertical and lateral forces or shall be designed to be self-supporting. Attachment shall not be accomplished by use of toenails or nails subject to withdrawal. Due to possible differential settling of soils, we would recommend your stairs be designed as self-supporting. Leave splash plank intact and pour your stairs up to it.


DEAR POLE BAR NGURU: How would the bracing effect of full height 5/4 x10 wood siding (board & batten) attached directly to the girts compare to the bracing provided by metal siding on a pole barn? Thanks. KEVIN in WEST CALN

DEAR KEVIN: 5/4 x 10 board and batten should be able to be applied directly to 24 inch on center bookshelf wall girts and perform similarly to 29 gauge through screws steel panels. Boards should be dried to a 19% or less moisture content before installing. 2021 IBC Table 2304.10.2 provides appropriate fastening in Section 20: (3) 8d common nails (2-1/2″ x 0.131″); (4) 8d box nails (2-1/2″ x 0.113″); (3) 10d box nails (3″ x 0.128″) or (4) 1-3/4″ x 16 gauge staples with 1″ crown. It would be strongly recommend (and may be a local Code requirement) to apply a well-sealed Weather Resistant Barrier between wall girts and siding. Message:



A Mezzanine for Your Barndominium

A mezzanine is a common design feature found in all types of buildings- very possibly even your new barndominium, shouse or post frame home. Think of a mezzanine as being a lofted area above a room.

International Building Codes outline some basic rules for mezzanines to help determine if it is an intermediate level within the room it serves or if it is considered another story. 

A mezzanine is an intermediate level between floor and ceiling of any story. In regards to building codes, mezzanines must comply in accordance with IBC (International Building Code) Section 505.2. (Please note all references in this article are 2018 IBC)

Mezzanines can be great features within a building because they provide an additional floor level without being considered an additional story as long as they comply with IBC Section 505.2. Even though they don’t contribute to “building area” or number of “stories” regulated by IBC Section 503.1, they must still be included within “fire area” calculations when determining need for fire protection systems.

Another important piece of information is they should be constructed of consistent materials according to your building’s construction type per IBC Table 601. 

Clear height above and below a mezzanine shall not be less than seven feet.

Total area of a mezzanine within a room shall be not greater than 1/3 floor area of room it is located in (IBC 505.2.1)

Code has some exceptions allowing for a mezzanine to be larger given certain factors such as building’s type of construction and whether the building is equipped with an automatic sprinkler system. IBC 505.2.1 Exception 3 allows for an aggregate area of a mezzanine within a dwelling unit with an approved automatic sprinkler system which can be up to ½ floor area of the room it is located in.

Means of egress (exits) for mezzanines shall comply with applicable provisions of IBC Chapter 10.

A mezzanine acts like a room or space as it has an occupant load. This occupant load must have correct existing parameters per IBC Chapter 10 (egress chapter). IBC Table 1004.5 provides for maximum floor area allowances per occupant. For R-3 (residential) occupancy purposes, this occupant load factor would be 200 square feet per occupant.

A mezzanine shall be open to the room in which it is located, except for walls not more than 42 inches in height.

Code does also provide some exceptions related to mezzanine “openness”. If you meet these exceptions, your mezzanine would not be required to be open. One exception would be if the mezzanine occupant load is not more than 10 (IBC 505.2.3 Exception 1) and another is if it has at least two exits (IBC 505.2.3 Exception 2). In either case you could have an enclosed mezzanine space.

Photos are of the mezzanine within our barndominium. My wife wanted a space within our shouse (shop/house) which would be a totally dedicated space for her sewing and crafts. She has a sign in her sewing loft which clearly states “This is my happy place.” I can tell she is really happy up there as I often can hear her singing along with her favorite rock and roll tunes from the 70’s and 80’s. Lastly, access to her mezzanine is by a wheelchair accessible electric lift system.