Tag Archives: blueprints

Searching for a Builder Embracing Hansen Building’s System

Loyal reader RUSS in PIPERSVILLE writes:

“We are in the process of having our floor plans and elevations done by Greg Hale. A pleasure to work with by the way. I’m wondering if you have any experience with pole frame builders in the east shore area of Maryland? We really want to purchase our building package from your company but it seems like all of the builders listed around that area are complete build companies only. None that I have seen offer stamped engineered drawings for the buildings and don’t want to use outside materials. I fear that I may not be able to find a builder that embraces the “Hansen” approach to building. Any help would be appreciated.”

For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, Hansen Pole Buildings offers an affordable (or even free) service to provide you with floor plans and building elevations crafted totally to best meet your wants and needs. For more information on this service, please visit: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/post-frame-floor-plans/?fbclid=IwAR2ta5IFSxrltv5eAyBVmg-JUsoPfy9hbWtP86svOTPfG1q5pGmfhA7yd5Q

Glad you are enjoying your experience with Greg, it has proven to be an extremely popular service for our clients.

Hansen Buildings Construction ManualOur buildings are designed for average physically capable person(s) who can and will read instructions to successfully construct their own beautiful buildings (and many of our clients do DIY). Our buildings come with full 24” x 36” blueprints detailing locations and attachment of every piece, a 500 page fully illustrated step-by-step installation manual, as well as unlimited technical support from people who have actually built post frame buildings. We have found those who DIY almost universally end up with a better finished building than any contractor will build for them (because you will actually follow plans and read directions, and not take ‘shortcuts’ in an attempt to squeeze out a few extra dollars of profit). We’ve even had couples in their 80s assemble our buildings!

For those without time or inclination, we have an extensive independent Builder Network covering the contiguous 48 states. Your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer can assist you in getting erection labor pricing as well as introducing you to potential builders.

Bonus Round 2– Backfill Compaction, Blueprints, and Insulation

Today’s BONUS Round of PBG discusses backfill compaction, finding an engineer to draw blueprints for a building of reclaimed wood, and the ins and outs of insulation.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have 18” diameter x 60” deep pits for 6×6 posts. My backfill material and method is ¾”less gravel with every 8” compacted. But how to compact inside of pit with 6×6 post located center of pit. HIRO in TUMWATER

DEAR HIRO: Tamp soil firmly every six inches of fill depth, or less, to achieve a minimum 2000 psf (pounds per square foot) compaction. To compact properly, use a hand operated 4×4 eight feet in length raising it four feet and dropping four or more times on each four inch square area. Compaction proof: when a 2×4 butt end will not penetrate over 1/8” under 170# of pressure.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am planning a post and beam self build. I do not want to use a kit. This will be a totally reclaimed wood build I need BLUEPRINTS not a floor plan. I have my basic floor plan. Located in 40353. Any suggestions for who can do this for me at an affordable price? DEE in MY STERLING

DEAR DEE: For engineered blueprints in Kentucky please try reaching out to Patrick McGuire, PE SE in Boston, KY. (574)367-8305 www.patmcguirepe.com.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am planning to build a 40 x 60 pole barn, my plan is to insulate it over time with metal panels on ceiling with blown insulation and batts on walls. My question is would bubble wrap or double bubble under roof panels and house wrap on walls be the best way to go for construction of building? (It was suggested to me to use OSB under roof but that seems like it would add a lot of cost if not needed) ROBERT in TIPP CITY

DEAR ROBERT: Thank you for reaching out to me. Here is my Ultimate Guide to Post Frame Building Insulation https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/11/post-frame-building-insulation/

Things to Complete Before Going to a Barndominium Lender

Folks who are contemplating building a barndominium come in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as financial positions. Some are at or near an end to their working careers and are downsizing, selling or have sold a long term family home and have equity to be used for their last home. Others are at an opposite end of life – young(er), working hard, have a few dollars squirreled away, but need assistance from a financial institution in order to put everything together.

Prior to delving deeper into this financial pond, I will give you my one most important piece of advice to successful barndominium financing (drum roll please)……

Do not EVER say, “I need a loan to build a barndominium”. (Barndominium can be replaced by shouse, pole barn (or post frame) home with equally bad results.

Should you choose to ignore this advice, it will result in eyes glazing over and most often hearing these dreaded words, “We do not do those types of loans”.

What you DO say is, “I need a loan to construct a fully engineered, custom designed, wood framed home with steel roofing and siding”. Period.

But won’t my lender send out engineers and inspectors who will “catch” me building a barndominium, shouse or post frame home?  No. Your lender will be concerned about progress, not how you are getting there.

Before going to a lender you will need a place to build (land), blueprints (floor plans and elevations) and a budget (or contract subject to finance approval with a builder).

Lenders for construction loans have to know a few things:

Your mortgage ceiling. No matter what you will not be approved for a construction loan higher than an amount you would be approved for a mortgage. Obviously this is because when construction is done this loan has to convert to a mortgage.

This is your top end budget.

Your lender needs to appraise both land and plans. Where you are going to build needs to be, at a minimum, under a purchase contract. It doesn’t matter if you owe on it, but it can’t be just “a place we’d like to get”. In addition they’ll need your blueprints with a fairly solid idea of finishes. These do NOT need to be structural drawings, but must include complete floor plans as well as elevation drawings.

You can get those floor plans and elevations done with a minimal investment here http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/post-frame-floor-plans/?fbclid=IwAR2ta5IFSxrltv5eAyBVmg-JUsoPfy9hbWtP86svOTPfG1q5pGmfhA7yd5Q

They need this because they need to appraise your land and your future house. They need to put a value on it so they can give you a funding total.

Normally they’ll fund 80% of their appraised value.

Your builder contract (or your budget). This lets them know how much you NEED to borrow to pay off  land (if you owe on it) and build whatever was in your plans they appraised.

You can use this to help develop a budget: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/07/how-much-will-my-barndominium-cost/

If your costs are below 80% of their appraised value you don’t need to pay them any money down. If it however is HIGHER than 80% of appraised value, you’ll need to put down money to cover this gap.

Basically no one can loan you money unless they have a very detailed idea of what you are going to build, how much you are approved for, and what it is going to cost. Pretty much every detailed aspect of budget, plan and approval need to be nicely put into a package and tied with a ribbon and a bow prior to heading to a lender.

Reviewing Your Building Plans

Every Hansen Pole Building Kit Package comes with building plans which are drafted by a real live human being! They are then reviewed not once, but twice, by upper level team members – who catch just about every errant line.

building-plansTo insure the final building plans are correct (usually it is an issue of “no, the other left”) before printing and sending the plans, we do ask our clients to view and approve (or request edits). All of this is done via login on our website.

Here is an example of a response from one of our clients, who actually did have a very sharp eye!

“I have a few questions regarding these building plans and would prefer asking first rather than declining, but you can advise which path to take.

 On Sheet S-Oa and S-Ob under Basic Wind Speed it is listed as 123 mph.. In my original request and all subsequent communications I needed to make sure that the wind load was listed the plan for Building Permit purposes that it was designed for “at least” 115 mph with a 3 second gust. This was listed on the quote sheets as “Wind Speed (3 sec gust): 123 mph”, but here on the plans it only says “Wind Speed: 123 mph”. It is very important to my Building Department that this be stated correctly on the plan themselves. So, I request this information be added in that manner. As for the 123mph versus 115mph, if we are overbuilding and using larger materials than required for 115mph 3-second gust, that was not at my request or approval, so please advise on this.

 Under #10 on General Notes on S-Oa and S-Ob, and on Sheet S-3, Building A Section and Building B Section, AA / S-3, the steel roofing and siding is listed as .0157 plus/minus, which isn’t consistent with 26 gauge steel. The initial drawings were for 29 gauge steel, however prior to final quotes we changed to 26 gauge steel for both roof and siding. This may be listed in other places as well, but this one caught my eye. Please make the necessary changes to ensure the correct product is shipped.

 Throughout the plans the Poles/Columns are listed as 6″x8” measurement where in all prior quotes I was shown that the columns were going to be 6”x6”. I know the price was quoted at 6×8 because the designer mentioned this dimension in our last conversations, but I wanted to ensure that this size post was required as it seems excessive based upon what I have seen in the area. Again, if we are using larger materials than required to withstand the 115mph 3-second gust required in my area, I’m sure we are also spending more than necessary and I would like to use only what is demanded (other than my request for 26 gauge steel).”

 And my response:

 Wind Speed:

Actually your initial request for a quote had 110 mph on it. Our data base shows your area to be in a 123 mph 3 second gust area, and every quote we provided for you AND the invoices you approved show 123 mph. Under the 2006 IBC the basic wind speed and 3 second gust are the same (https://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/icod/ibc/2006f2/icod_ibc_2006f2_16_sec009.htm). Our Drafting Department will happily add the term “3 second gust” on Page S-0 and S-0b of your building plans. Your price is the same for either wind speed.

Steel thickness on plans will be corrected.

Basic pole location diagrams provided by use do not specify a column size and are “placeholders” – used merely for discussion purposes. Our design program does a complete Code Conforming analysis of every component and connection for any given building. Just because you have seen something smaller in your area, does not mean those buildings actually would meet Code.

We do guarantee, however, your building (and every building Hansen Buildings designs) does meet your local code. We never under-design a building, and believe me, there are plenty of companies out there who do.

 As always – crisis averted!

Blueprint Reading

roof framing plansWhen I was a boy, I used to love it when my Dad would bring home fresh blueprints….I could smell the ammonia before I could see the roll of pages. The smell alone would trigger my senses to alert me to “something was going to get built”!

Yes, back in the day, plans graduated from being chipped in stone by monks with hammers and chisels, to actually being white lines on blue paper – hence “blueprints”.

Jobsite communication is done by pointing out portions of the drawings. Rough sketches get made on the reverse side of blueprints, or even on chunks of cutoff 2x4s to show what we’re trying to say. In order to advance a pole building construction project forward, learn to read the drawings and make rough sketches. While the language is simple, it does take some studying.

How does one learn to read blueprints? Just like eating an elephant, it is one bite at a time!

First time blueprint readers look at an entire page of words, lines, strange symbols and find it as overwhelming as my attempts at 56 years old to learn Spanish! It is all too easy for the brain to shut down and to say, “I can’t read blueprints.” Ever try to read a page of a book or newspaper all at one time? It can’t be done either. On a page of text, one starts at the upper left hand corner, reading one word at a time, which becomes one sentence at a time.

The difference between a page of text and the plans is blueprints don’t have an obvious place to start.

Think: Plan – Section – Elevation

The most basic concept about reading blueprints is, “Plan, Section and Elevation”. When looking at a drawing, first determine, “Is this a Plan, a Section or an Elevation?”

The Plan View is looking downward on the building (like a bird in the sky). Section is a cut through the building, usually showing how something will be built. Elevation is a view of the sides of the building….as if you are standing and looking at each of the 4 walls from the outside as you walk around the building.

The most important thing in understanding blueprints is to just do one thing at a time. Don’t try to understand everything at once, no one can do it! Take time, relax, look at each symbol and word and try to understand what it is there for. Most things on a blueprint are there for a reason, just take it slow and get the purpose for the words and symbols into your head.

I find it helpful to go over a new set of blueprints with a yellow highlighter – reading and highlighting every word. By the time a sheet is done, I have a fairly clear idea of what the designer and draftsperson were trying to convey.

The least interesting part of reading blueprints is always the General Conditions and Design Notes. Because of this, they tend to be easy to skip over. Besides specifying Code and loading information, important details such as types of fasteners to use or concrete requirements are often stated. These are the rules for the project and it is easier to win the game, when one knows the rules.

My focus here is going to be on construction plans.

A plan view is a view of an object or area as it would appear if projected onto a horizontal plane passed through or held above the object area – I like to think of this as being a “view from space”. The foundation plan (or pole layout) is a plan view of a pole building projected on an imaginary horizontal plane passing through at the level of the top of the ground, or grade.

The roof framing plan gives similar information with regard to roof trusses or rafters, purlins and other structural members in the roof.

Wall framing plans provide information for wall girts, headers and other structural members in the walls. They give important vertical dimensions, such as the distance from grade to eave height, as well as heights and widths of large door openings.

Section views are a view of a cross-section. The term is confined to views of cross sections cut by vertical planes. The most important sections are the wall sections. Starting at the bottom, column depths and hole diameters are specified. Exterior wall sections show dimensions and materials to be used. This section will also show the details of any second floor, showing if joists or trusses are to be used as well as dimensions and materials.

Detail drawings are on a larger scale than general drawings. They show features not appearing at all, or appearing on too small a scale in general drawings. The wall sections are details as well as sections, as they are sometimes drawn on a larger scale than the plans and elevations. Connection details, which are the most common types of details are often shown in the section drawings. Details are included whenever the information given in the plans, elevations and wall sections is not sufficiently detailed to guide assembly.

Understanding blueprints does not have to be a daunting experience – while it may feel like the street signs in Ecuador look to me (totally baffling at first), the language of plans is in English and with patience the road to success becomes easy.

Get your yellow hi-lighter out and get started!