Tag Archives: buying a pole building

8 Questions to Ask When Investing in a Pole Barn

8 Quick Questions to Ask When Investing in a Pole Barn

  1. Will my building be fully-engineered?

Be sure all of your building’s components are engineered to work together and to last – this entails a complete building system, designed specifically for your site, with your openings and sealed by an RDP (Registered Design Professional – engineer or architect).  Don’t assume “a pole barn is a pole barn”. Often, the only engineered components are any pre-fabricated light gauge steel connector plated trusses. The truss relies on the rest of the building for support and bracing. If these are inadequate the truss may fail. An engineered truss, does not make for an engineered building.

All Hansen Pole Buildings are fully engineered structures, custom designed specifically for you.

  1. Where are the parts of my building sourced?

There’s a big difference between buying a building system versus a list of building materials. The components must be designed to work together as a system.

Considering purchasing a pole barn kit from a lumber yard? Chances are very good they will supply you only with a list of materials priced out. No guarantee is made as to completeness, or the ability to adequately carry the necessary loads.

When you invest in a Hansen Pole Building, you are guaranteed to receive all of the materials required to construct your new post frame building according to our engineered plans (other than concrete, rebar and any nails which would normally be driven by a nail gun).

  1. What type of lumber is used in my building?

Size, species and grade all have a meaningful impact on your building performance. Bigger is not necessarily better. (read more here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/08/lumber-bending/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/03/lumber-species/).

  1. Will my builder use multi-ply glu-laminated columns or solid wood posts?

Glu- laminated multi-ply columns provide higher design strengths than solid wood posts. Column consistency and straightness can be controlled by glu-laminating wood plies together. True glu-laminated columns do NOT have nails or wires through them to connect the plies.

With this said, glu-laminated columns are not readily available in all regions of the country. You may specify glu-laminated columns, if desired, however they may come at a premium.

In any case, all Hansen Pole Buildings’ columns will be pressure preservative treated to a UC-4B rating for structural in ground use. Lumber and timbers treated to lesser specifications (such as UC-4A or UC-3) are not allowable for use as columns for post frame buildings. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/building-code-3/.

  1. What type of structural framing will my building use?

It is important to compare structural framing details.

  1. Purlin to truss connection: Purlins in engineered steel hangers provide positive truss bracing (the truss cannot prematurely buckle) and eliminates places for birds to nest.
  2. Truss bottom chord bracing: It is essential for trusses to be adequately braced to prevent bottom chord buckling. Any braces over 10 feet in length need to be either two ply, an “L” or a “T” to prevent weak axis buckling.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 Hansen Buildings Tagline6. Can I help design my building, or do you only offer standard models?

Ask about options for building width, bay spacing, foundation type and framing choices. Some building suppliers offer little-to-no flexibility and will not provide a building outside of their standard cookie-cutter methods.

Hansen Pole Buildings can be designed to any method which meets sound engineering practice, the applicable climactic loads and the Building Codes.

  1. Is my quote a complete proposal or just an estimate?

An estimate is justan estimate. Its final value is determined at project completion. A complete proposal is a firm quote, subject to change only if the scope of the project changes. Review your quote to ensure it includes everything you want. The quote should clarify in writing what is included and what is excluded. Avoid unpleasant surprises by understanding the true scope of work before you sign a contract.

  1. What does the warranty cover?

Ask to read the warranties which cover treated lumber, steel paint and the structure itself. Be wary if a building provider is not willing to provide a written warranty covering the building’s long-term performance.


Pole Buildings: Buy Local?

Pole Buildings: Buy Local?

My friend Janine recently posted this on Facebook:

“I have always been big on shopping local, and when I recently was in the market for a new Garmin 910X, and intended to buy it at xxxxxx, I had several friends tell me “You can get it cheaper online”. Maybe so, but will the guys that you make this purchase from be racing the same races that you do, week after week, giving back to your local tri economy? Will they be staying at the same hotel that you do when you do leave town, and work on your bike, your Garmin, and anything else you need while you are there, because they know how important your race is to you, because they are racing too? Will they know your bike inside and out because they sold it to you, and because they ride the same bike, use the same power meter, the same wetsuit, and the same Garmin? Will they even care if something goes wrong with one of the above? I LOVE knowing that if I have a problem, I can run upstairs and with a simple knock on the door, and trust that someone who knows about bikes and all that they entail, will be there to help me be race ready…:) The next time you are considering where to send your money, think about this for a minute, because the website/guy in California will ask you to fill out a standard form to detail your problem, and then will get back to you next week, maybe.”

In Janine’s case, with the generic items she is purchasing – buying local may turn out just dandy.

When it comes to a custom designed pole building kit, chances of the local guy truly understanding all of the intricacies of a custom building – slim to none.

I talk to professionals who work at building materials service counters nearly every day. Many of these men and women are very knowledgable, they have been in industry, in many cases, for decades. Many of them are former building contractors. They are a likeable lot and are available to “swap building stories”, whenever the counter lines are not too long.

Lots of them tell me they have the ability, given time, to put together a list of materials for an average box pole building. Granted, they pretty well universally tell me, it often takes them days – due to constant interruptions, and they really cannot guarantee they have the right amounts of materials. The list should be close, but might need a few more pieces, might have a few extras.


There are no plans, they can kind of give a general idea of how it should go together, but there will be no plans – or, at best, a generic drawing.


Please…..this is all seat of the pants. There is no engineering involved.

Get in trouble putting things together? Something not going right?

There are no instructions and no one with the experience to walk through a solution to the challenge.

I am going to blatantly plug Hansen Pole Buildings here – there is a reason we have thousands of buildings in all 50 states.

When a building is ordered from us, we guarantee a client will receive all of the materials required to construct the building (excepting the obvious things like concrete, rebar and any nails which would most often be driven from a nail gun). Not having to make repeated trips to pick up (and pay for) the items which somehow got left off the list. How much do each of those trips cost in time, gas, wear and tear – on both vehicles and patience?

A complete itemized materials list is provided, matched to each building.

Building specific, full sized 24 inch by 36 building plans are drafted which show every single board. Not like house plans, where two lines are 1/8 inch apart and it is left to the imagination, experience or failed framing inspection to kno
w it takes three studs in a corner, and structural headers are best not just nailed between studs.

Instructions….I used to answer all of the technical support calls. I decided it was easier to write myself out of a job. Every chapter of the Hansen Buildings Construction Guide is very narrowly focused. Each begins with, “this is what the last guy screwed up”.  And this is followed by written instructions on how not to become, “the last guy”. Diagrams and actual photos reinforce the “how to”.

In the event a situation occurs which is beyond the information provided (do

esn’t happen often), real live people will assist you – who spend every day doing nothing other than pole buildings. People who have actually constructed n

ot a few garages or homes, but have actually been involved in the construction of tens of thousands of buildings.

Anyone who truly believes they can get this level of information, service and experience from their local lumberyard….let me know, I have some ocean front property in Nebraska for sale.