Tag Archives: builder

Why it is Essential to Supervise Professional Installers

Why It Is Essential to Supervise Professional Installers

In an ideal dream world, one would be able to hire a professional installer and know the job would be done right, without the need for hands on supervision.

RYAN in ELLENSBURG recently contracted out the roof steel installation of his new Hansen Pole Building kit package and this was his report:

“My roofer finally showed up yesterday and I wasn’t able to supervise the installation, so several mistakes were made but the one I’m most uncertain of is that the ridge cap was installed with diaphragm screws instead of stitch screws. He also left off all of the closures so the ridge cap has to come off anyway. My question is whether or not it can be reinstalled with stitch screws because of the difference in screw profile.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru says:

It is a shame to have invested in a professional for installation and not be able to leave them alone and expect the job to be done correctly. The diameter of the diaphragm screws is larger than a #12 stitch screw (which was provided to attach the ridge cap). In the event the roofer placed the diaphragm screws so as they were driven into the solid wood of the ridge purlins, then you could do the same once again. Otherwise you are probably going to need to invest in some #14 diameter stitch screws.

Well, it turns out it was worse than originally imagined, as Ryan wrote back:

“Yes, I agree. That’s just the beginning of the list of issues with the installation. On top of that none of the insulation seams were taped together, screws that missed the purlins were just left in place with no wood block placed behind them so they will leak at some point, the insulation was placed over the peak of the roof so the ridge cap that is supposed to be vented can’t flow any air, and none of the closures (vented closures and eave closures) were installed. It’s really disappointing because he did the roof on my house 3 years ago and I thought he’d done a good job on that, now it makes me wonder what corners were cut on that job, too.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru:

There are ways to avoid being sadly disappointed by a contractor:

(1) Do it yourself. Hansen Pole Buildings are designed with the Do-It-Yourselfer in mind. The step-by-step construction manual covers every aspect of assembly. If you can and will read the instructions, chances are you will have a better finished product than what any builder will construct for you.

(2) Still want to hire a “professional”? Require a performance bond. (read more here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/07/contractor-bonding/).

(3) If you hire a contractor, familiarize yourself with the Hansen Pole Buildings’ Construction Manual and be onsite during construction to make certain the contractor does the work correctly.


The Contractor Factor! When Plans Go Awry!

The Contractor Factor

I hear too many stories where well-intentioned folks hire a contractor to erect a pole barn (post frame building) and end up with less than they bargained for.

This is avoidable, with an ounce of prevention.

Reader DONNA in REMSEN writes:

“I had a pole barn put up in Sept this year, contract said contractor would fill area with gravel to raise the grade as it was being built on a slope. So instead the builder just dumped 4 loads of sand on top of the grass, pushed it around with a bobcat till fairly level, and built the pole barn on top. I live in an area that calls for pole to be 4 feet in virgin soil, the builder put some down 2 feet, in the sand and some 3 feet, in the sand. Now the whole thing has huge pits around the poles and the doors won’t shut any longer, it’s been a month!! Builder says it is normal. I am afraid of what else it will do with the posts not down too deep, any suggestions.”

Hopefully you have not paid the builder. It sounds like you have a plethora of potential challenges going on. This is the order in which I would address them:

First – contact the Building Inspector who signed off on the building inspections. He or she should be asked to prepare a list of corrections which must be completed in order to obtain an occupancy permit.

Second – have the Engineer of Record who sealed the original building plans do a field inspection of the building and prepare a list of deficiencies which need to be corrected.

Third – take the two lists from above and the contract between you and your contractor to an attorney who specializes in construction law. The attorney can then prepare the appropriate documents to be sent to the contractor giving the builder a set time frame (which may be spelled out in the contract documents) in which to correct the deficiencies.

There is a strong possibility the contractor will ignore your attorney, hopefully the contractor has sufficient assets for you to attach in the event you are the prevailing party in legal action. This is one of the reasons I strongly encourage anyone who is hiring a building contractor to require the posting of a performance bond as a guarantee the work to be performed is actually completed in accordance with the contract documents.

More about contractor bonding can be read here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/07/contractor-bonding/.


Sharing the Pole Barn Blame

Sharing the Blame

Welcome to 2017!

As you may recall, 2016 ended with me sharing an email from a builder who is constructing a new Hansen Pole Building and may possibly be a legend in his own mind.

Our company policy, when a challenge arrives, has always been to begin by looking to see what, if anything did we do wrong. In this particular case, we (and yours truly) share in some of the blame.

For you, gentle reader, I will paint a picture of the building in question, so you may get a better feel for the entire process.

The building is a 40 foot clearspan in width, 100 feet long with an eave height of 16 feet and five inches. It is designed under the 8th edition of the Massachusetts State Building Code, with a 90 mph (mile per hour) design wind speed and a 50 psf (pounds per square foot) design flat roof snow load.

It features 12 inch enclosed overhangs on all four sides, as well as three 14 foot wide by 14 foot tall overhead doors on one sidewall.

The most practical design solution actually (which is a rare case) turned out to be based upon the traditional “East coast” style of post frame construction, with a single truss spaced every four feet on top of “truss carriers” (beams) spanning sidewall columns generally every eight feet (other than at the overhead door locations).

This building happens to be narrow in width in relationship to length (1 to 2.5 ratio) and is fairly tall. As such, the wind load was great enough to exceed the shear resisting capacity of the steel roofing in the eight feet closest to each endwall.

In order to carry the load, the building was designed so the trusses in the affected areas would have a traditional ¼ inch butt cut (educate yourself on what a butt cut is here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/05/truss-butt-cuts/), while the balance of the trusses would have 11/16 inch butt cuts. This would allow for the top of all truss carriers to be placed at the same height, and 7/16” OSB (Oriented Strand Board – https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/10/osb-versus-plywood/) to be installed on top of the lower heel height trusses.

Pretty darn skippy sounding ……. Until we get to tomorrow!!

Yep – yet another cliff hanger!!

Secret to A Successful Relationship

Whether a building contractor, pole building kit supplier or someone considering investing in a pole building, this is going to be important to you. Important enough so if you are a competitor you should consider adding it to your agreements with your future clients to ensure a successful relationship.

“GENERAL: This Agreement constitutes the only agreement between Hansen Pole Buildings, LLC (herein known as Seller) and Purchaser and supersedes all previous Agreements, conditions, contracts, designs, discussions, negotiations, quotations, plans, promises, representations, and/or terms on this sale either written or verbal. It is understood there are no oral or other agreements between Seller and Purchaser with regard to the subject of this Agreement which are not incorporated herein. The extent of Seller’s obligation is covered in this Agreement and this Agreement only. This clause is not a mere recitation of fact, but is intended to be an absolute and binding acknowledgment of legal consequences. ”

If you are unsure of why this is important, let me explain.

Find A Professional Contractor

There are three keys to any successful relationship – whether personal or business. They are communication, communication and communication. Unless both parties are able to clearly express their wants and needs, the relationship is going to be headed for struggles at best, or failure at worst.

Most people, when shopping for a new pole building, will discuss their wants and needs with multiple different potential providers. Each supplier will relate differently with you and most will provide a plethora of features which they will attempt to influence you to pick them as “the one”. Trying to sell on features alone makes the end result a commodity. Commodities are great and wonderful if shopping for the best price on an exactly identical item (e.g. getting the best deal on a new car), however it is the benefits which make the difference. It does not matter if the price is wonderful, if the end result does not meet the needs.

Confusion can occur when the discussions between providers begins to blur – who said what to whom?

This is why the ONLY things which apply are those which are actually stated on the actual contract document(s). At a bare minimum what should be included is: all building dimensions (width, length and eave height) and roof slope; all design loads and Code information (Code and Code version, Ground and Flat roof snow loads, Wind Speed and Exposure, Seismic Category and Soil bearing capacity); as well as all included features.

As a consumer, don’t sign or approve any document without fully understanding what it is you are investing in. It will save a world of disappointment and hurt feelings later!

Fire Your Building Contractor

One of our clients has been speaking with Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer Rick about a new post frame building.

Building Designer Rick CarrRick related to me this from the client:

“Talked to a client Saturday that is going to walk away from the $1,900.00 he put down to get plans from this guy, for a lot of reasons.”

I just cringe every time I hear of someone getting nothing for something in our industry. It makes it so much more difficult for the majority of those who do really care about the clients.

I asked Rick, “For what reasons?”

“Oh, I heard them. Takes a week to get on phone, asked to borrow client’s f-350 to move equipment to site, requested that an additional 4 feet be cleared behind the pad to allow for scaffolding for a 10 foot building, after the work has already been done.  Wants more money to have his friend come and do it.  I think there were more, but that’s enough.

Client is in stage four cancer and wants to be sure the building goes in before the snow to be used this winter, has no confidence in this guy at this point.”

I’ve related over and over how to find a reliable contractor, in the event one is not doing their own work. You can find several of these articles at:


Red Flag #1 – can’t get prompt responses to calls, texts, faxes, emails – whatever the communication method of choice is…..if it takes over 24 hours, more than once, there is a problem.

I’ve spoken with far too many folks who are just shopping for a new building – and can’t get a response for a week or more!! Communication is the key to any good relationship, and crucial to successful construction.

Red Flag #2 – contractor wants to borrow anything from the customer! I was a registered contractor for years, and in several states. As a builder, never ask to borrow anything from a client. Not only is it unprofessional, but it is a near guarantee of whatever is being borrowed – will be returned broken.

Red Flag #3 – wants more money for a “friend” to do extra work! If extra work actually is needed, it should be up to the client’s discretion of who to pick, and what to pay them.

Please – if considering purchasing an entire building (materials and labor) from a contractor, start with a visit to their website. If the website looks cheap or unprofessional, it is a pretty good indicator of the work which will be done on your new building.

If they are not a member of the Better Business Bureau (just because the BBB logo is on their website, does not mean they are a member – click on the logo to confirm it links to the BBB) and the National Frame Building Association (www.NFBA.org), my humble opinion is to run (do not walk) away from them as quickly as possible.

As the sage Benjamin Franklin once said, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”