Tag Archives: builders

Can I Correctly DIY My Pole Building?

I Have Limited Experience, Can I Correctly DIY My Pole Building?

Reader MIKE in WISE writes:
“I have been reading a lot of your posts, trying to gain as much knowledge as I can. You are truly the Guru. I have a couple questions that I hope you can answer for me. The first is, how hard is it for someone with limited experience to build a pole barn themselves and do it correctly? Sinking the holes for the poles in the right spots, setting the trusses, and putting on the metal without leaks? The second is, how does one go about framing out the interior? Would I have to build walls along the exterior walls like in a traditional build? Sounds like ridiculous questions, but I guess it’s the only way to learn.”
Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

Thank you for your kind words Mike, they are greatly appreciated.

With a Hansen Pole Building, your limited experience is a benefit, as you have no preconceived notion of how to do it ‘wrong’. Included with your building is our now approaching 600 page Construction Manual, walking you through every step of assembling your new building shell. You also get unlimited free Technical Support, in an event you run across any challenges.

Most of our clients do DIY their builds. I manage our Technical Support Department and 90% or more of our work is due to clients who hired builders, who did not follow plans and directions, and now have problems!

A major fear is setting poles correctly. Given a diagonal measure of a 6×6 is under eight inches and you are placing it in an 18 inch or larger diameter hole – you are shooting at a large target and have flexibility to move it to exactly where you want it. Our Construction Manual shares some great tips and tricks for not only settling columns, but also raising trusses and installing steel leak-free. All are much easier than one might suspect.

In all reality any average physically capable person, who can and will read and follow instructions, can successfully construct their own beautiful building shell, without extensive prior construction knowledge. We have hundreds and hundreds of clients, every year, who have done exactly this. In most instances, our DIY clients end up with a far better finished product than anything they could have paid to have assembled.

By utilizing commercial bookshelf wall girts, there is no extra framing required in order to have exterior walls drywall ready. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/04/creating-extra-work-in-barndominium-framing/

There are no ridiculous questions – so please continue to ask them all until you are satisfied you are making correct decisions for your new building.

How Tall Are Barn Homes?


“How tall are barn homes? I didn’t know what height to put in…I like tall ceilings …also do u build the homes also?”

Fully engineered post frame homes and barndominiums (barn homes) are beautiful because they only limit your heights under Building Codes to three stories and a 40 foot wall height (add another story and 10 feet for having fire suppression sprinklers – a good idea anyhow). My lovely bride and I live in a post frame home with a 44 foot overall height (and a cupola on top of it). Although this article is written for two story homes it may prove helpful: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/05/how-tall-should-my-eave-height-be-for-two-stories/.

Ideally ceiling height measures when framed should be an extra 1-1/8″ taller than your actual finished ceiling (e.g. 10′ 1-1/8″ for 10′ finished). 10′ ceilings have become very popular as well – “my” Vikings bathroom (yes has Vikings’ colors and stuff all over it). 10′ is also cost effective if batt wall insulation is used and drywall can be often purchased in 4′ x 10′ sheets. Our living room ceiling is 16′ as my wife likes her tall Christmas tree, she leaves it up all year long!

This article may also prove helpful to you https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2021/02/a-shortlist-for-smooth-barndominium-sailing/.

www.HansenPoleBuildings.com provides fully engineered, custom designed post frame buildings, with multiple buildings in all 50 states. We ship from over 4000 locations – so chances are we are ‘close’ to you! Your new building will be designed for an average physically capable person who can and will read instructions to successfully construct your own beautiful building (and many of our clients do DIY).

Your building will come with full 24” x 36” structural blueprints detailing the location and attachment of every piece (suitable for obtaining Building Permits), a 500 page fully illustrated step-by-step installation manual, as well as unlimited technical support from people who have actually built buildings.

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

We would appreciate the opportunity to participate in your new home. Once you have them, please email your building plans, site address and best contact number to our Design Studio Manager caleb@hansenpolebuildings.com (866)200-9657 Thank you.

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.