Tag Archives: concrete foundation

Pouring Concrete into Holes With a High Water Table

Back in my general contractor days we would run into building sites where water would fill up some or all of our hole depth. While this seemed highly problematic then it was actually far less of an issue than originally presumed.

Reader RACHEL in CLARK writes:

“We are looking to put up a 24′ X 32′ pole building in my backyard to be used as a garage/wood shop. We are located in a lower spot in town and have been told our water table is fairly high. I am wondering what type of foundation is going to be the best to use? (Floating Slab vs Sinking Poles vs Sinking Concrete Piers under a slab?). We are hoping to do most of the work ourselves.”

Embedded columns for post frame buildings are almost always both a best and least expensive design solution. Auger holes to depth and diameter indicated on your engineered building plans (always build from engineered plans). If water appears in your hole, it is not a problem, as you can pour concrete into water, professionals do it often. Order pre-mix concrete for your footings and bottom collars with a minimum amount of water content (a W/CM ratio of 0.33 would be ideal).

After about two hours your concrete will have transitioned from a plastic to solid state. Ground water will become your concrete’s friend as it will aid curing processes. Chemical reaction of hydration allows microscopic crystals of Portland cement to grow and interlock as sand and gravel together continues to happen for days, weeks and months after concrete has been poured and it needs water to complete this chemical reaction.

Provided you have available space, you may consider going to a 36 foot length – it takes no greater number of columns, trusses, girts or purlins and will reduce your investment per square foot.

How to Obtain a Post Frame Home Mortgage

How to Obtain a Post Frame Home Mortgage

Post frame (pole barn) buildings are becoming more and more popular as homes. Savvy home owners have realized benefits of post frame construction – they can build it themselves, post frame buildings are readily adaptable to a plethora of possible building sites, huge foundation cost savings, energy efficiency, and a veritable endless list of other reasons.

One stumbling block some have encountered – obtaining long term low interest mortgages on their completed pole barn homes.

Reader LOGAN recently wrote:

“Good morning sir, my wife and I have purchased 20 acres and are currently making payments on it. I built a pole barn home on the property. I spent my own money and built it. I am trying to put the house and land into a home mortgage. Do you have any advice or lenders I could talk to. My land is at 9% interest so I’m really trying to get this rolled into a home mortgage ASAP. Hate paying that much on interest. Thank you for your time.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

I happen to live in a post frame (pole building) home myself, so I know of what I speak.

Although I have a friend who works for Wick Buildings who will dispute this, to follow will be how to get best home mortgage rates for your post frame (pole) building home. You can apply with any mortgage lender offering a competitive rate. I’ve used Quicken Loans® (www.QuickenLoans.com) myself (no endorsement intended).

Hansen Pole Buildings GuesthouseUtterly important will be to remember this mantra – your home has a permanent pressure preservative treated wood and concrete foundation and is a wood framed building with steel (unless your building has something different) siding. You are presenting only absolute truths (unless you neglected to have concrete below or around your building’s columns) – I would never encourage anyone to fib, however success comes from proper presentation.

Make sure your appraiser uses identical terminology. Sadly, under no circumstance use any of these terms to describe your home – pole barn, pole building or post frame building. Any of these will merely muddle things and result in a less than satisfactory outcome.



Call a Geotechnical Engineer

When is it time to bring in a Geotechnical Engineer?

Reader WES in RAVENNA writes:
“I am building a 36×48 pole barn w/ attic trusses on a piece of property were the water table is quite high. The wettest hole contained about 3 feet of water and caved in to about 5 or 6 feet in diameter before we filled it back in. The bottom of the driest hole jiggled like gramma’s jello mold when we tamped it flat. Obviously I am worried that my barn will sink.

We plan to use sonotubes and a trash pump to get a hole clean enough to drop our 20×6 round footing cookies and 6×6 posts in before filling the hole in with sand. We also plan to double up on the grade board (2×8 on the outside and 2×8 on the inside) to help transfer any load down the line if a post starts to sink.

I am also thinking of running re-bar through the grade board and across the floor to help tie the walls to the slab in hopes that it will help the barn float. Is that a good idea? Do you have any advice on building a pole building on soft, wet ground?

I don’t want to wait till you put your answer in a blog. Please email. Thank you.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

Back in the olden days (the 1980’s) we encountered a site in Western Washington where we were going to be literally constructing a building on top of a peat bog. The soil was so weak, one could take a 12 foot long 2×6 and push it vertically into the ground by hand until it disappeared. It is surprising none of the jobsite workers got lost in it! The solution was to set the columns and hurriedly pour a concrete slab on grade which was tied into the columns with rebar. The slab was literally floating on top of the peat. Not the ideal site to build upon.

Okay – you have some challenges going on – high water table and the inability of your soil to support a load. I would highly recommend your next call be to a competent soils (geotechnical) engineer who can do a site investigation to best advise how to solve your problems. You are going to have to do something to remove the water from beneath your proposed building site – as it stands currently I can see nothing but potential problems with frost heaves. You will want to read more on preventing frost heaves here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/10/pole-building-structure-what-causes-frost-heaves/.

Even with good soil, your proposed 20 inch diameter concrete cookie is not adequate to properly distribute the weight of your building across the soil. Added to the challenge is the use of attic trusses which is going to further increase the loads on the footings. From the sound of it, a registered design professional (RDP – architect or engineer) has not been involved in the structural design of your building itself, as not only is your footing inadequate, but there is no provision made to prevent uplift issues.

Do me a favor and do it right away – call the geotechnical engineer. If you do not, you are going to end up investing a lot of money in a building which will do nothing but sink and heave, until such time as it becomes structurally unusable, or collapses of its own accord.


Concrete Cookies

Client calls into my office at the end of the day Friday and says his Building Official will only accept his new pole building construction with holes 48 inches deep, with six inch thick concrete cookies in the bottom of the hole, and no concrete backfill around the columns.

Here is some background….
The building is a commercial pole building 40’ x 60’ x 14’. The client purchased engineered plans for the building, which includes all of the supporting calculations for the design.

While a hole for a pole building post might seem to be just a hole in the ground, lots of things are happening below the ground. The embedment has to be deep enough to put the bottom of the footing below the frost line. The footing beneath the column has to be large enough in diameter to keep the building from settling. The design must also provide for the resistance for uplift.In this particular building, the downward load on the footing is just over 5400 pounds. The uplift force is 1120 pounds.

Now it is 4:50 on Friday afternoon, so I ask for the phone number for the Building Department, and I quickly set my fingers to dialing, not expecting to find someone this late on a Friday….
Happily, I was immediately connected to a Building Official. The issue turned out to have absolutely nothing to do with any local requirements, and instead came from the client’s builder.

Concrete CookieThe builder insists upon digging the holes with the 12-inch diameter auger he has mounted on the back of his farm tractor. He refuses to set the posts in concrete, because if he doesn’t get a post in the right place, he wants to be able to move it around in the hole. His idea is to dig a four foot deep hole, and drop 12-inch diameter concrete cookies in the bottom of the hole!

I can foresee a myriad of potential problems coming up, even without breaking out my trusty stack of Tarot cards or my crystal ball. Assuming somehow these holes are able to pass the hole inspection (contrary to the engineer sealed plans) – a 12 inch diameter concrete cookie covers roughly 0.76 square feet of surface. Applying a load of 5400 pounds to it, means the soil bearing capacity would need to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 7000 pounds per square foot (psf). Table 1804.2 of the International Building Code gives a value of 4000 psf for sedimentary and foliated rock and 12,000 psf for crystalline bedrock. Neither of these types of soil would be touched by the 12-inch farm tractor auger. The probability of settling issues on one or more of these columns – right darn close to 100%.

The diagonal distance across a 6×6 (actual dimensions 5-1/2” x 5-1/2”) is nearly eight inches. Those 12-inch diameter holes better be pretty much spot on and perfectly plumb, or there are going to be some very interesting looking walls (as in not very straight at the ground line).

This builder does not want to backfill any of the holes with concrete to prevent uplift. With a hole this tiny, there is no way to even begin to attach an uplift cleat to the sides of the columns. There is also no way to adequately tamp compactable materials into the space between the column and the sides of the hole.
A registered design professional has designed this pole building. He has years of experience and has designed literally thousands of successful buildings. At his fingertips are the most powerful computer design programs. This design is nothing short of a work of art. His seal means “you can trust this building to be safe….and sound.”  Ditch the concrete cookies – they are just not going to begin to do what is required by your new pole building.

Dear Pole Barn Guru: Pole Building Basement Foundation

DEAR POLE BARN GURU:  Can these pole barn kits be placed on a basement foundation? MOTIVATED IN MEXICO MISSOURI

DEAR MOTIVATED: I happen to live on a lake, which is nestled into a mountain valley. For the most part, the parcels of land around the lake tend to be very narrow and very steep (only so much lake frontage exists, therefore the narrow lots). In my case, the lot gains well over 100 feet of elevation from lake to back, over the 250 feet of depth.

 With the lake as my “front” yard, on the back of my lot is a pole building upon which the site had 12 feet of grade change in 40 feet. The solution was to excavate to the lowest point, then construct a foundation on the “high” sides. In my case, we used eight inch insulated Styrofoam blocks, poured with concrete – one wall being 12 feet tall, and the other sides appropriately steeped to match the land contours. Steel brackets engineered to withstand moment (bending) forces were poured into the top of the walls to attach the pole building columns.

 The direct answer to your question is – yes. Whether a full basement, partial basement, or daylight basement (the last being closest to my particular case), pole buildings can be attached to any adequately designed foundation wall. We prefer to use wet set brackets (those embedded in the concrete wall at time of pour) as opposed to dry set brackets (those attached to the concrete wall with bolts) for a sturdier connection, but either one can be used.  Stay motivated and good luck! 


DEAR POLE BARN GURU:  Do you have or know of plans for a pole “cabin”?  I am thinking of something small, 16×16, with four outside poles and one center pole.  The center pole would have a circular stair and have a lookout poach at the very top.  maybe 3 stories. LOOKING FOR A SWEETER HOME IN ALABAMA

DEAR SWEET HOME: There are numerous pole cabin plans available on the internet with prices ranging from free to highly affordable. With building plans, you get what you pay for. I would encourage you to use NONE of them, as they are not Code conforming structures. Why anyone would invest thousands of dollars in materials, plus all of their time, to construct a new building which has a high risk of failure – is totally baffling to me.

What you need is a custom designed pole building plan. This means hiring a RDP (Registered Design Professional – an architect or engineer) to design your building, or to deal with a pole building kit package producer, who can provide engineered plans for your project.

In regards to your particular building, the circular (or spiral) stairs in the center could pose some challenges. From the 2012 IBC (International Building Code) Section 1009.12:

Spiral stairways are permitted to be used as a component in the means of egress only within dwelling units or from a space not more than 250 square feet in area and serving not more than five occupants, or from technical production areas in accordance with Section 410.6. 

A spiral stairway shall have a 71/2-inch minimum clear tread depth at a point 12 inches from the narrow edge. The risers shall be sufficient to provide a headroom of 78 inches minimum, but riser height shall not be more than 91/2 inches. The minimum stairway clear width at and below the handrail shall be 26 inches.”

 From a practicality standpoint, the stairs are going to chew up a space in the center of the proposed cabin of about five feet across. Allowing for the thickness of the exterior walls, this leaves about five feet of usable space between the walls and the stairs. The central stair location might not be the ideal place to put it.

 Given the area of each of the three stories is over 250 square feet, another set of stairs (which is not spiral) would also be required. Which is a good thing…..considering the impossibility of getting a bed, desk, dresser, couch, or most any other piece of furniture up a spiral staircase.

 There is nothing wrong with your basic plan – I’d just suggest you have a company who can do a custom designed pole building give you a quote on what both meets code, and gives you the building of your dreams. 

Concrete Footing: How Thick Should it Be?

Alan was a post frame building contractor for years, prior to becoming a Building Designer for Hansen Pole Buildings. If I had to estimate, I’d venture Alan constructed well over 200 of our buildings.

Recently, Alan had a client question the thickness of the concrete footings, beneath the columns, used to support the pressure preservative treated columns. It seems Alan’s client had engaged a local engineer to do the site design and she had put some ideas in client’s mind of our footings being inadequate.

15,000 buildings – I suppose I was due for the first client to question this one!

Concrete Pole Barn FootingThroughout the industry, a nominal six inch thickness of concrete (actual thickness is 5-1/2 inches) poured beneath columns is pretty well accepted as being adequate. Many individual Building Departments provide handouts for non-engineered post frame buildings, none of which I have ever seen as providing for a footing of greater than six inches of thickness. Personally, I have never heard a report of a column supporting a post frame building having “punched” through the footing beneath it.

In the case of the engineers for Hansen Buildings, they are using a design with a full eight inches of concrete under each column – over 45% thicker than would be the common industry standard.

But – is this actually adequate? Good question, so I started doing the Google thing.

From decks.com…”This footing type involves pouring a pad or “cookie” footing at least 12” thick at the bottom of your hole below the frost line.” No basis, in their website, for where this thickness came from.

Fao.org (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) … Isolated piers or columns are normally carried on independent concrete footings sometimes called pad foundations with the pier or column bearing on the centre point of the footing. The area of footing is determined by dividing the column load by the safe bearing capacity of the soil. Its shape is usually square and its thickness is governed by the same considerations as for foundation footings. They are made not less than 1 1/2 times the projection of the slab beyond the face of the pier or column or the edge of the baseplate of a steel column. It should in no case be less than 150mm thick. As in the case of strip footings, when a column base is very wide, a reduction in thickness may be effected by reinforcing the concrete.” For those of us who have forgotten everything we were ever taught about the metric system, this would be a minimum of 5.9 inches thick.

Now if this was a stick framed building, a nominal eight inch wide concrete foundation wall will support a two story structure, with a 16 inch wide by eight inch thick continuous footing below.

From ConcreteNetwork.com…. (in reference to footings under framed walls)…When a footing must be widened to boost bearing ability, it should also be reinforced or deepened. An unreinforced footing that is too wide may crack close to the wall, overloading the soil beneath. Without reinforcement, codes say the thickness of the footing should be at least as great as the distance it projects next to the wall.

If you increase the footing width, the code requires an increased thickness as well. That’s because a footing that’s too wide and not thick enough will experience a bending force that could crack the concrete. The projection of the footing on either side of the wall is supposed to be no greater than the depth of the footing. So, for example, a 32-inch-wide footing under an 8-inch wall would need to be at least 12 inches thick. Instead, however, you could rein-force the footing with transverse steel (running in the crosswise direction, not along the footing). In most residential situations, #4 rod at 12 inches o.c. will be plenty for 8-inch-thick footings up to 4 feet wide. The steel should be placed about 3 inches up from the bottom of the footing.”

If the same was to be held true for a post frame building, the maximum diameter of an eight inch thick concrete pad, under a nominal six inch square column (5-1/2” square actual), would be 21.5 inches, without adding rebar.

At jjgarcia.com/webengineer/footing.html, an Individual ‘Pad Footing” Table is provided. Most jurisdictions accept a design maximum soil bearing pressure of 2000 psf (pounds per square foot). From the table using 3000 psi (pounds per square inch strength concrete) a ten inch thick footing (this happens to be the minimum footing thickness in the table) and three feet square with four Number three (3/8” diameter) rebars will support 17,000 pounds of load. This load is roughly the equivalent of a 60’ clearspan pole barn, with columns spaced every 12 feet and a roof load well in excess of 40 psf! For most post frame buildings, this would be a bit on the overkill side.

The same site’s recommendation for rebar placement: The placing of the rebars are to be a minimum of 3 inches from the dirt on the bottom of the Pad Footing and 3 inches clear of the side dirt walls. The bars are placed in a checker board pattern and tie together with bailing wire at the points where they intersect. The spacing between each rebar should be equal.”

 If all of this information left my readers as confused as it left me – then we are sailing on the same ship. For now – I’ll leave it in the good hands of our engineers.  They have the knowledge and experience from successfully designing thousands of post frame buildings.

Hurl Your…Concrete Cookies

I know none of us has ever experienced this condition, but we all know of someone who has had the hurling issue, often after a period of personal discussion with some of the friends of George Thorogood.

In this instance, I’m not thinking either of the example above, or the tasty oatmeal raisin cookies my grandma made for us when we were kids. I am making specific reference to the pre-cast chunks of concrete usually four to six inches in thickness and 12 to 18 inches in diameter which are sold or provided for footings in pole buildings.

The basic concept is to throw concrete cookies in the bottom of the augered holes and place the building columns directly upon them. The general idea is for the cookies to support the weight of the building, to prevent settling.

My recommendation – RUN, DO NOT WALK, away from this as a design solution.


They are a failure looking for a place to happen.

Let’s look at what a footing is supposed to do. The dead weight of the building PLUS all imposed live loads must be distributed to the soils beneath the building. Sounds pretty simple, eh?

Concrete Cookie

Concrete Cookie

To begin with, the International Building Codes require concrete footings to be a minimum of six inches in thickness. This eliminates immediately any concrtete cookies which are less than this thickness (most of them).

Examine a fairly small example – a 30’ wide building with columns spaced every eight feet. The actual weight of the building (dead load) will vary greatly depending upon the materials used. Steel roofing and siding will be lighter than shingles and wood sidings. For the sake of this example, we will use a fairly light 10 psf (pounds per square foot) building weight. The Code specifies a minimum roof live load of 20 psf. This means each footing must carry the weight of one-half of the width (15 feet) times the column spacing (8 feet) times 30 psf. Doing the math, 3600 pounds.

In many parts of the country soil bearing pressures are as little as 1500 or even 1000 psf. Basically – the easier it is to dig, the lower the capacity of the soil to support a vertical load.

For every foot of depth below grade, the soil capacity is increased by 20%. Other than with 1000 psf soils, for every foot of width over one foot, the capacity also gets a 20% increase.

With 1500 psf soil, and the bottom of the footing four feet below grade, a 12 inch footing will support 2700 pounds per square foot.

A 12 inch diameter footing covers 0.785 square feet, a 16 inch 1.4, 18 inch 1.77, 24 inch 3.14.

The 16 inch footing would support exactly the 3600 pounds from the example above. However – lots of places in the country have snow loads (which the footings must support) and many buildings are wider than 30 feet, or have columns placed over eight feet apart.

Trying a 40 foot span, with a 40 psf roof snow load, same eight foot column spacing, would mean resisting an 8000 pound load! With 1500 psf soils, even a two foot diameter footing would be inadequate.

In most cases, the use of concrete cookies as footing pads proves to be both inadequate and a waste of good money. To insure a building won’t settle, (from inadequate footings), look for a plan produced by a registered design professional who is proficient in post frame building design. He/She will have the history and training to design your building to withstand the loads…which begins with the foundation.

A How To: Pouring a Concrete Slab

I was talking with one of our clients yesterday. His builder was concerned because constructing the new pole building first, and then pouring the concrete slab seemed backwards to him.

Here is the information I shared with the client:

While the preference is to have the building shell completed prior to pouring concrete slabs, at the very least the roof should be installed.

Building columns tend to grow “bull’s-eyes” in the presence of pre-mix concrete trucks. A completed building shell is far more resistant to potential damage. Pouring slabs with columns only in place, adds to the risk of one inadvertently being knocked out of plumb.

This is not meant to provide the necessary instruction to pour a building slab. Not because the task is beyond a novice’s abilities, although many do contract out this job. Pouring a slab is within most people’s abilities. However, unlike wood framing, which can be corrected if improperly constructed, work on a slab is “set in stone”. Due to this, and the fact so many local codes and practices apply to concrete slabs, I am only touching on this subject. If deciding to personally undertake this task, I suggest talking with local professionals to find out exactly what you are getting into. Have the building inspector (usually a requirement in places requiring a building permit) or a professional inspect work before pouring concrete. If you are less than 100% confident, hire a professional to work alongside you during the concrete pour.

If in “frost country” a sub-base 6” or thicker should be first placed across the site. To maintain frost-free soils the sub-base should be such that no more than 5% (by weight) will pass through the No. 200 sieve, and it is further desired no more than 2% be finer than .02 mm.

Prior to pouring your concrete slab, 2” to 6” of clean and drained sand or sandy gravel is spread below where concrete is to be poured. Mechanically compact fill to at least 90% of a Modified Proctor Density, so as not to cause the slab to sink. Install a good vapor barrier (such as A2V reflective insulation, available through https://www.buyreflectiveinsulation.com ) below any interior pour, to stop moisture from traveling up into the slab through capillary action. Place 3” to 4” of clean and drained sand on top of the vapor barrier to decrease differential drying shrinkage and floor curling.  If not using fiber-mesh or similar reinforcement additives to the concrete mixture, place wire mesh or rebar (reinforcing steel rods) in slab center to add rigidity to the concrete to aid in minimizing cracking.

The best insulation product to use under concrete slabs is A2V reflective insulation. A2V is a double layer on air cells, sandwiched between a white vinyl facing on one side and a reflective aluminum facing on the other. Unroll reflective insulation over the prepared site sand or gravel, with aluminum side facing towards the ground (white side up). Overlap by 2” at seams. Run reflective insulation up the skirt board inside by 6”. Seal seams with reflective insulation white vinyl tape or white duct tape. Pour concrete on top of the reflective insulation.

Aluminum side faces away from the concrete because concrete’s high alkalinity attacks aluminum causing the facing to degrade.

Adding sand over reflective insulation will facilitate water drainage during curing time and accelerate installation.

Local building code will dictate such things as slab thickness (usually 4” nominal), wire mesh sizing, gravel or sand layer thickness, and size and rebar location. Many garage or shop slabs also have a center drain. In the event structural engineering for a concrete floor (or any concrete or other masonry footings, foundations, walls, or retaining walls) is required or requested by you, or a building official, a registered professional engineer should be consulted for the design.

On solid walls of building, the pressure treated 2×8 splash plank will serve as forms for pouring slab. In open wall areas, or across sliding or overhead doors, a 2×4 will need to be temporarily placed as a form.

Prior to pouring a nominal 4” (3-1/2” actual completed) thick concrete slab in building, finished, graded compacted fill TOP will be even with splash plank BOTTOM. If a thicker floor is desired, excavate below splash plank bottom, by any slab thickness greater than 4”. In no case will the concrete floor top be even with either the top or bottom of the splash plank. Using any other measure for the concrete slab top will result in wall steel and doors not properly fitting, as well as interior clear height loss.

In other terms – after the floor is poured, when standing inside the building, approximately 3-3/4” of the splash plank will be visible above the top of the slab.  

In the event a professional is hired to finish concrete, most often costs can be reduced by paying the local pre-mix company directly for the concrete. Many offer discounts for prompt payment, so do not be afraid to ask. On a properly leveled site, a pre-mix concrete yard will cover an 80 square feet area, nominally four inches thick.

It’s obviously a good idea to completely finish your building at time of construction by pouring your concrete slab.  However, I have known of several customers who chose to pour it “later”, thus spreading out costs of their project over time.  Whenever you add the concrete floor, carefully follow these introductory points to ensure a level concrete slab…at the correct height.

Grade Change: Part of the Building is Underground

I have a pole building in my backyard. Now I live on a lake, in the mountains. My lot is a parallelogram – 60’ x 225’ and 14 degrees out of square. From the lake, the back of my lot is probably 150 feet higher in elevation.

Hmmmm….grade change? Yes indeed, there is grade change and a lot of it.

My building is 40’ wide, in the direction the land slopes. Luckily, it is towards the crest of the hill, so the grade change there is only 12 feet. Yes, only 12 feet!

The solution was to excavate the hillside to create a level surface. 500 yards of earth removal later, we had this part handled.

Now – how to tackle placing a pole building on this site with a gigantic grade change? In our case, our engineer came up with using eight inch wide insulated foam blocks to form a 12 foot tall foundation on one side, and then stepping down across the 40 foot walls.

Made of expanded polystyrene (EPS), the foam blocks are an insulating, stay-in-place formwork which sped construction and yielded a superior finished wall. In the most basic use of concrete in construction, the foam blocks accomplished in one step what normally requires numerous steps.  It simultaneously acts as the forming system for placing concrete, the structural system for above and below grade walls, as superior stay-in-place insulation, sound suppression and as the substrate for exterior and interior finishing materials.

The building process is simple: stack the block, lay rebar, brace the wall and pour concrete.

In my case, the building was built to follow the 14 degree out of square property lines! The only tools required for this special design was a handsaw and a tape measure.

Stuccos, waterproofing, drywall, siding and other finishes can be applied directly to the foam surface, allowing the complete range of design options available with traditional building techniques.

As for the finished structure, the forms combine the strength and safety of concrete walls with the high quality insulation of EPS foam, yielding a pole building which is safer, sounder and stronger.

And just a word about the environment; these EPS blocks do not utilize CFCs (chlorofluoro-carbon) in any step of production. For those who wonder what CFC’s “do” – they create ozone depletion, which equates to an environmental hazard. Lumber use (and expense) during construction was dramatically reduced, and any lumber used for bracing was re-used on other parts of the job.

Poured into the top of the EPS block walls, are Sturdi-Wall Plus wet set brackets, to attach the building columns to the top of the wall.

Obviously, we could also have solved the grade change problem by using poured concrete walls. However we felt the EPS system provided advantages not offered by a solid concrete wall. Fifteen years later, and not a problem to be found, which convinces me I made the right choice in using foam blocks.

Pole buildings offer so many unique advantages to other forms of construction. The design solutions are often only limited by your imagination!

Attaching Pole Buildings with Concrete Brackets

Keeping It Above Ground….

Concrete is poured for a new building. Plans change – it is now going to be a pole building. Now what do we do? Or, for whatever reason, you just do not feel comfortable embedding pressure treated wood columns in the ground for your new pole barn. For both circumstances, there is an answer.

Concrete brackets are available which have been specially designed for the post frame industry. These provide solutions for already poured concrete, or concrete yet to be poured.

The brackets are made with a high strength, low alloy domestic steel. The 1/4” steel plate is robotically welded insuring the highest quality.

Most current generation pressure treated wood available today is designed to minimize corrosion. All concrete brackets are finished with a baked polyester powder coat to prevent corrosion, resist UV damage, and provide a professional look to your project. However, if you have a high moisture application or are concerned about possible corrosion, place a barrier between the treated wood and steel bracket, and use stainless steel fasteners.

Drill-set installation with steel concrete brackets is useful in situations where the concrete foundation has already been poured. One of the main advantages of this type of install is the reduction of placement errors when a concrete subcontractor is used.  5/8” x 5” screw type wedge bolts are preferred for the attachment of brackets to concrete, because of their optimal performance. Two other common fastener options which can be used are epoxy anchors and expansion anchors, either of which can be obtained from local suppliers.

Wet-set (poured into the concrete) brackets are the preferred installation method. They provide for maximum shear, uplift, and moment capacities when compared to the standard drill set brackets. The special grade ½” or 5/8” rebar used in the wet-set models is seismic rated.

Custom sized concrete brackets to fit odd sized columns, such as glue laminated, are not currently available. However, universal one sided drill set brackets are designed to be paired together to fit any sized column while still providing the shear and uplift values as the wet-set models.

While the brackets do not currently have an International Code Council (ICC) Evaluation Report, design values have been certified by a registered professional engineer.

If your vision of your ultimate dream building has columns which are to be mounted on top of concrete, Hansen Buildings has the design solution for you.