Tag Archives: buying pole barn plans

Shopping for Pole Barn Engineering

Shopping for Pole Barn Engineering
When most of us shop for a new computer or a new car, we don’t go shopping for the best deal on the design so we can go buy the pieces on our own – we shop for the finished product which best meets with our needs.
Getting a “great deal” on engineered plans only, doesn’t do the end user one iota of good, if the materials specified are not necessarily the best design solution from a cost or practicality standpoint. As a design professional – if you came to me looking for just plans, I am probably going to overkill your building, as my advance vision of you is of someone who is trying to cut corners and get by on the cheap. Chances are you will buy inferior, undersized or inadequate products and when your building doesn’t pass inspections, or fails, you will come blaming me for poor design!
Here is a recent inquiry which has triggered this article:
DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you offer pole building engineering as a stand alone service without a kit? Can you give me an estimate on this project?
I have an attached picture of the building I am wanting to build.
All the dimensions are to fit specific needs, irrespective of available building material dimensions. If material dimensions and costs dictate different dimensions I am open to hearing suggestions.
Likewise, I like the appearance of the Monitor style building for our property and neighborhood. But if there is another layout that is much less costly to build, I am open to suggestions.
I have a meeting with the city, hopefully next week, where I can learn more about the wind and snow loads. So I am not certain of those.
Hopefully you know what is called for, because I would prefer not to wait for the city meeting to move forward.
If possible, I would like to use beam construction on the roofs, instead of trusses to gain usable height inside the main bay in particular. But if this is a problem, or it adds a great amount to the construction costs, I would be open to suggestions about trusses.
The center and left bays will have a dirt/packed earth floor. The right bay will have a wood floor for a boat shop. There is a utility sink and toilet room in the right bay.
I am hoping the engineering plan you provide has dimensions of materials, and specify correct attachment techniques or hardware requirements.
So, can you let me know a cost to provide stamped engineered plans for this building that will pass code in Port Townsend? And what would be the timeline in which you could provide those?
Thanks for your time. GALEN in PORT TOWNSEND
DEAR GALEN: Thank you very much for your inquiry. No, we are not a plan’s service. We take great pride in providing the most economical and practical engineered custom post frame building designs, along with all of the materials which meet or exceed those structural requirements delivered to your jobsite.

This is the insurance all of the components meet with the specifications called out for by our engineers, who have experience in thousands of post frame building designs. You are going to make a serious investment in your new building, we only want you to have to make it one time.
Mike the Pole Barn Guru

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!

Can I Purchase Just Pole Barn Plans?

Welcome to Ask the Pole Barn Guru – where you can ask questions about building topics, with answers posted on Mondays.  With many questions to answer, please be patient to watch for yours to come up on a future Monday or Saturday segment.  If you want a quick answer, please be sure to answer with a “reply-able” email address.

Email all questions to: PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am very interested in pursuing a Hansen Pole Building for my horse barn.  However, since I believe I’ll need to go through a permit process, I would like to buy the pole barn plans, get my permit cleared, then buy the building kit.

The reason I would like to do it this way is in case there are issues with getting the permit that force me to “rethink” my desired approach.

Is buying just the plan an option?

Thank you for your consideration. SERENE IN SEABECK

Dear Seabeck: The first thing to do is visit your Planning Department, they will give you the answers as to how large a building you can construct, and where.

Here is more information: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2013/01/planning-department-3/

Once you have talked with them, contact your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer who can work with you to determine the best design solution.

Your Building Designer can further guide you through your Building Department requirements. With your confirmed Design Requirements and engineer sealed plans, we guarantee you will be able to obtain a structural Building Permit.

Many companies, such as ours, do not sell “just pole barn plans”.

Why? Many reasons.

1. We have streamlined our process for efficiency. This means by the time you get your plans, we are far into a ton of series of steps happening concurrently – and have done much of the “work”….which has a cost. People are willing to pay an architect several thousand dollars for house plans, but they are unwilling to pay an appropriate amount for the work involved to produce truly custom pole building plans.

2. You get the plans from us, but decide to purchase your materials “elsewhere” and then are disappointed because you paid a lot more than you thought it was going to cost.

3. Worst of all, you purchase materials that don’t match the pole barn plans from someone else and your building contractor does not build to our plans and blame us when the Building Department won’t sign off on your building.

Why do we know all of this? Been there. Done that. And we do guarantee if you do your homework and communicate clearly with your Planning Department and us, you WILL get a permit.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My contractor wants to put knee braces on the already constructed trusses due to shallow holes due to limestone. The holes are 18 to 20in across and 1 1/2 to 2ft deep. What’s your take? Thanks. LIMESTONE IN LOGANSPORT

DEAR LIMESTONE: Friends Don’t Let Friends Have Knee Braces – JUST SAY NO.

Here is some more reading on knee braces: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/01/post-frame-construction-knee-braces/

There are solutions based upon how far along construction is. If holes have been dug only – I’d be looking at renting whatever equipment would be needed to get the holes to the depth and diameter as specified on the engineered plans.

If further along in construction (columns concreted in) a Registered Design Professional (architect or engineer) should be consulted for a design solution.

Adequate column embedment is a serious issue, taking shortcuts can result in catastrophic issues.

Dear Guru: Can I Purchase Just Pole Barn Plans?

Welcome to Ask the Pole Barn Guru – where you can ask questions about building topics, with answers posted on Mondays.  With many questions to answer, please be patient to watch for yours to come up on a future Monday or Saturday segment.  If you want a quick answer, please be sure to answer with a “reply-able” email address.

Email all questions to: PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can I purchase pole barn plans from your company without purchasing the building? NEEDY IN NEOSHO

DEAR NEEDY: Technically, we do not sell pole barn plans only – however, you could order a pole building from us, paying 25% down to acquire the plans, and then never go further. As our materials are so affordable, it actually would not make much sense to not have them provided by us. Plus, we use some higher quality materials which have been tested to provide added strength, which are not available to the general public, other than with the investment in one of our pole building kit packages.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We recently received your quote on our new pole building. The price was close to budget, but a little high. We’d like to know how the price would change if we reduced the wind rating. HOPING IN HUNTERS

DEAR HUNTERS: The design wind speed for your building is the lowest which is possible anywhere in the country under the 2012 International Building Code (IBC). If your building site is protected from the wind in all four directions, then Exposure B could be used, rather than the more severe Exposure C. For more information on Wind Exposure please read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/03/wind-exposure-confusion/

There are probably other ways to get the cost “down” without sacrificing designing a building to code. We often have folks purchase a building the width they desire, but scale down the length a bit, and then add onto that building a year or two down the road.   We have a gal who boards horses who has added onto the length of her horse barn three times.  As her business grows, her barn grows with it!  This is easily done and spreads the “budget” out over time. Don’t skip on features – sacrifice “for now” those things you can “do without” and then add them on later on. Overhangs should be done at time of building, but windows and even additional doors can be added in at a later date. Get your “box” figured out, and then add to it as you can afford.

Buying Pole Barn Plans: I Can Buy Lumber at Cost

A client writes:

“Thank you for the expeditious quote. I was wondering if you could sell me just pole barn plans including an itemized list of materials and the step by step instructions. I have access to lumber at cost from a local mill here in the northwest. If so, I would like to edit my original design slightly and resubmit it to you. I would like to study the plans and directions over the winter and start my building first thing in the spring.”


Some good ideas, some bad ideas…..here is why….

Certainly we could provide the pole barn plans, itemized list of materials and instructions. All of our plans are drawn specifically to match the particular project, its location and the climactic conditions (wind, snow and seismic loads) for the site. They are 100% Building Code compliant. Producing these pole barn plans, as well as an exact material’s list which does not have too much or too little material, is not free either. As a general rule of thumb, this client’s request is going to cost about 25% of the value of the materials.

On an average project, the untreated dimensional lumber is about 10% of the total cost of materials. Even if the client could obtain the lumber for free, it is not going to result in the kind of cost savings which might be envisioned. Most of the costs are going to come from the steel roofing and siding, doors and windows, prefabricated roof trusses and pressure treated lumber.

There are also going to be items on the pole barn plans, which are not going to be available from any other supplier. We’ve found, in order to do the job right, there are some products which we had to just go out and have manufactured specifically for us – there is nowhere else they can be obtained.

In the end, my recommendation to this client was for us to deduct the lumber portion from his cost, and let him provide it himself. We will provide the balance. If he does take this route, my gut feeling is the mill will not be very happy with him.

Why? Mills are used to selling materials by the railcar or semi-load. Even providing full unit quantities doesn’t get them excited, unless those full units will fill a truck. There is not going to be any size and length of lumber on this (or most) pole building, which will add up to a full unit.

And getting the lumber from the mill to the site – isn’t free, plus – it is all going to have to be unloaded, once it gets to the building location. In the end, the “savings” might work out like the “almost free deer” hunters will spend thousands of dollars to shoot. Pole barn plans are just that: plans, without the cumulative experience and cost savings behind the materials to build….what you thought you wanted to build.

Here’s a little added anecdote.  A few years back – a builder who was hired by our clients to construct their pole building kits purchased from us decided he was going to do what we do…..gather all the materials, as he thought he’d get good discounts on lumber, with the relationships he had with lumberyards.   He didn’t need pole building plans, because he’d just erect the non-permitted ones.  It wasn’t long and he came back to us, again purchasing our kits, and reselling them along with his labor to clients.  He laughingly told me he chewed up way too much time, and it really wasn’t as cost affordable as he originally thought.  In fact, he wondered how in the world we do what we do, and make it look so easy.  After 15,000 buildings, I’ve had a few to practice on.