Tag Archives: builders

Builder or DIY? In ground or Brackets? and Remodel or Rebuild?

Today’s Pole Barn Guru discusses finding a builder or DIY, posts in the ground or use wet set brackets, and whether or not to remodel or to rebuild a new structure.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Thank you for this great website.
I have learned so much reviewing the blog articles.
I will definitely buy one of your kits (I have submitted an initial request today)
My only concern is finding a qualified builder to put it up.
Thank you again for sharing all your knowledge
Looking forward to working with you all :). TODD in MONERA

DEAR TODD: Thank you for your very kind words.

Keep in mind, all of our buildings are designed for the average person who can and will read English to successfully erect their own beautiful building. Most of our clients do build their own and frankly do beautiful work – better than what they can pay for in most instances. Your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer can assist you in finding one or more possible builders, should you not have the time or inclination to assemble yourself. You will want to properly vet them out and follow this guide: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/04/vetting-building-contractor/.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Posts in the ground versus above grade or on the slab – After inquiring about mortgages for a “Pole Barn” house I was informed that if I put the posts in the ground the interest rate would be higher (approx 2%) versus having the posts on top of the slab or above grade by using something like the Perma Columns with Sturdi-Wall Brackets or using the Sturdi-Wall Brackets (wet set or placed after the concrete is poured). My question is — If I pour a 24″ column say 4 foot deep(of course engineer designed) and Wet Set the Sturdi-Wall brackets into the concrete column – How do I install 2″ styrofoam insulation vertically 2 foot down the side of the slab? STEVE in WHEATFIELD

DEAR STEVE: It is unfortunate lenders just do not understand longevity of properly pressure preservative treated wood. Moving forward, most economical solution for above ground is poured piers with wet set brackets. This is a regularly used option we offer. You can install insulation boards on exterior of splash plank, from below base trim down. Your foam insulation does not have to be in direct contact with your slab on grade – you just need to create an adequate thermal break.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Just bought a property with an old pole barn and I want a workshop and storage and assume restoring the barn is my best bet, partially because I am not sure of what I would be getting into if I built a new barn dealing with the local planning people who seem not to be able to give straight answers. The existing building seems to have good structure and the poles seem to be similar to telephone poles. The siding is old metal that was nailed on. There are sliding doors that are in bad shape, one half gone, and they seem stuck. I would like to make a second floor inside the barn and assume I could do something like an interior deck. Also want to concrete the floor. Any suggestions? DOUG in LOUISVILLE

DEAR DOUG: Before making a decision, I would ask to meet face-to-face with your Planning Department Director and get some clear answers (and in writing). My guess is worst case will be you can replace your old pole barn with a comparably sized new post frame building.

In regards to what you have – rarely will an old pole barn be adequate in design to meet current Building Code standards. If you do decide (or have no other option) to restore the barn, you should invest in a Registered Professional Engineer to do a thorough inspection of what you have and provide any structural modifications needing to be done to insure you are not throwing good money after bad.

Having been involved in several remodels, unless work to be done is minor, you are normally best to dig a big hole and push your old barn into it.

 

 

Why Post Frame Construction is So Efficient vs. Stick-Built

I recently had this comment from a client, “In normal construction projects I would order at least 5% overage and it looks like closer to 1% here, I have like 20 extra screws total, a foot of extra eave trim, two whole extra pieces of vinyl soffit.”
Obviously this client didn’t grow up being the cutoff man for the framing projects of my father and uncles – where at the end of a project our cutoffs had better not cover the top of a card table. It was all about no waste and was one of the reasons they were paid top dollar, their clients saved it in material costs.
Post frame construction, at least as we practice it, is about shipping exactly what it takes to get the job done. After all, what do you do with a pile of random leftover pieces? And do you want to pay extra, just for those random pieces (not to mention what do you want extra of – a column? Or, how about a truss?).
But just how true is the wastefulness of stick frame construction?
From a recent article in the Journal of Light Construction:
“Clark Ellis, CEO and founder of Continuum Advisory Group, a management consultancy based in Raleigh, N.C, says his team analyzed hundreds of house plans from several divisions of the nation’s top builders.

building-plansEllis found that many builders were spending $2,000 to $4,000 more per home than necessary. “Material takeoffs are rounded up to the next highest number, then padded with generous waste factors. Inaccurate deliveries aren’t identified as such and materials get used inefficiently, so the builder has to order more to make up the shortfall,” he says. While these numbers include all materials, he sees the most waste in framing and siding. The causes include the following:

Sloppy takeoffs. “Most builders don’t know exactly how much of what materials go into their homes,” says Ellis. In particular, relying on suppliers for takeoffs often results in inaccurate shipments that have to be augmented later, making it difficult for the builder to get an accurate handle on costs.

Waste acceptance. Some trade contractors routinely add a 10% or 15% waste factor after rounding the takeoff up to the next highest number.

Stressed superintendents. With skilled job supervisors in short supply, those who are employed have more responsibilities than ever. They lack the time to verify deliveries or the experience to question field purchase orders from trade contractors who failed to do accurate takeoffs.

Lumber poaching. Framers who run short on sticks will often “borrow” from the next house in the development, leaving that one short. The practice can have a domino effect as the community is built out.

Poor tracking. “Many builders lack a system for ensuring that unused materials get returned and credited,” Ellis says. Field supervisors may see this as an accounting issue, but the accountants can track down a missing credit only if someone notifies them of the return.”

It is pretty easy to sort out the post frame building erectors who fall into the category of those mentioned by Mr. Ellis. They want to quote a flat price for labor to assemble, then have the client open an account at the local lumber yard, so they can charge whatever they want to the assembly of a building.

Seriously? And folks actually buy into giving builders an open line of credit to spend as they see fit!
Want some cost control on your new post frame building? Go with the material supplier who can provide plans produced specifically for your building at your site and who will guarantee they will deliver all of the components necessary to assemble.

Pole Building Kits: A Pat on the Back

If there is one thing I have learned in three decades plus of providing pole building kits, it is this – the hardest people to please, are builders.

This pat on the back, from a builder, was so good we felt the need to share the bruises we have from it.

Rachel, our most senior Building Designer related to me in an email:

I just got off the phone with John King who had purchased a pole building kit from us and put a building up for Mark in Plymouth Meeting, PA.  I had called him to ask if he would be interested in bidding labor on some other jobs in the area and this is what he said…..

Are you kidding…of course I would.  You have the best building I have ever seen.   The plans were easy to read and were absolutely fantastic.  The construction manual was right on key and there was NOTHING left out of that manual.  If I had to teach a class on putting up pole buildings, I would use your manual and teach it from there. The materials came on time and without a hitch.  The customer service was ABSOLUTELY fantastic.  This was the easiest building I have ever constructed and I would be happy to deal with your company anytime!!”

And this, my friends, is what motivates me to roll out of bed in the dark and be in the office at six a.m.