Tag Archives: concrete piers

Busting Post Frame Barndominium Myths

Busting Post Frame Barndominium Myths

Yep, I have been web surfing again and I came across a stick frame building contractor’s website who obviously either doesn’t understand fully engineered post frame construction, or just frankly doesn’t care to add it to his arsenal of design solutions. My comments are in italics.

Many lenders refrain from offering traditional mortgages for pole barn homes. For example, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will not offer these loans at all.
The small percentage of entities that do offer mortgages for pole barn homes will typically have much higher requirements, because they’ll be using internal money to finance it.
They’ll likely require a 30% down payment (and oftentimes, more than this).

In reality, a fully engineered post frame building is no different than any other wood frame steel roofed and sided home and any lender will approve a mortgage for one as long as you do not use terms like “barndominium”, “pole barn house”, “post frame house”, etc. Apply the K-I-S-S method (Keep It Simple Stupid) and refer to it only as being a fully engineered, custom designed, wood frame home with steel roofing and siding. Period and 100% factual.

But won’t my lender send out engineers and inspectors who will “catch” me building a barndominium, shouse or post frame home? No. Your lender will be concerned about progress, not how you are getting there.

Before going to a lender you will need a place to build (land), blueprints (floor plans and elevations) and a budget (or contract subject to finance approval with a builder).

Without having footers to protect the concrete slab from freezing, there is the potential that the concrete slab can move or heave around the edges in cold weather. In turn, this can shift interior walls, resulting in damage to drywall finishes and trim.
If you do go with post frame construction, you will have to add footers to stay in code compliance of the IRC. This will add that cost back into the total price of the home.

Your fully engineered post frame home is 100% Building Code Compliant and most typically has pressure preservative treated columns embedded in ground with both concrete footings and bottom collars. Alternatively your home can be mounted to steel brackets set in concrete piers.

Either of these are designed to extend to or below frost lines or are frost protected by use of insulation. Footers themselves do not protect a concrete slab from freezing and heaving, using rigid insulation around slab perimeters is required for either stick frame or post frame. With fully engineered post frame, there is no need to incorporate thickened slab edges or continuous concrete footings and foundations.

This is an issue because they’ll have to be filled in before you can hang the drywall.

If you hang drywall “as is,” it will all sag over time, causing structural damage (and a pain in your wallet). Adding this extra framing after the fact will add to the total price tag again.

Most cost effectively your fully engineered post frame building will have double trusses every 10 to 12 feet. If you desire to insulate at ceiling lines, ceiling joists are placed every two feet to adequately support drywall. This combination of double trusses and ceiling joists will still be less expensive than conventional stick framing’s trusses every two feet with structural headers required in walls. By widely spacing trusses, it allows for greater flexibility in locating doors and windows in exterior walls.

As opposed to traditional wall building, you’ll have to build the walls between the posts after you build on the post frames. This is an added cost to the post frame structure that has already been built.

We can tell this builder has never built (or probably seen) a fully engineered post frame building with bookshelf girts every two feet. All exterior wall framing is taken care of at initial installation, you get a deeper insulation cavity and a better surface to drywall. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/09/11-reasons-post-frame-commercial-girted-walls-are-best-for-drywall/

Your pole barn home will require more insulation on a post frame wall because the walls are thicker than the typical two-by-four construction. Therefore, the cost of insulation will be higher to fill this cavity.

Would you really want an electric bill based off of R-13 insulation in a two-by-four exterior wall? Engineered post frame construction allows for thicker insulation cavities – reducing your energy costs for your barndominium’s lifespan.

Post frame construction is not very conducive when building on a basement, as the basement walls will be made from poured concrete. Trying to adapt a post frame construction to a basement will end up with higher costs than traditional home building techniques. The bottom line: If you want a home with a basement, post frame construction is not the best choice.

Your fully engineered post frame home can easily be engineered to attach to a concrete basement foundation, ICFs or even incorporated into a Permanent Wood Foundation, at similar or lower costs than stick frame.

Concrete Piers, RV Carport, a Wedding Venue

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about building with concrete piers, design of storage for an RV, and how wide a venue for weddings can be built.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I will start with the biggest question I have.
Can you design a Pole Barn building 40x60x14 Gable roof 5/12 to be on 10ft ground clearance concrete piers? Do your kits include subfloor for such as I described?
Please see attached picture as an example to Building.
We must be able to meet a 140mph hurricane rating.

I would really like your opinion on my question as you have given lots of good advice to others. RUSSELL in DEVERS

DEAR RUSSELL: Thank you for sending a photo.

I can only interpret your concrete piers as telling us you want to have your living area 10 feet above grade – a stilt house. If we are talking same language then yes, building could be mounted to concrete piers, however it would be far more economical to use properly pressure preservative treated wood columns. If you were to opt to go with concrete piers, our third party engineers could design them, and their attachment, however this would need to be contracted directly with our engineers by you. Wood column design would be included with your engineered building plans if wood columns were used.

Our building kit packages include all structural members needed to enclose your building, so you would have a floor system and 3/4″ sheathing .

We have provided buildings with up to 170 mph design wind speeds with Exposure D.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Any ideas on how to value engineer this down? I’ve streamlined the layout of the house as simply as I can, any other suggestions?

Maybe make garage and RV shed a carport like instead of totally enclosed? Maybe no concrete floor, instead gravel floor? Suggest anything.

Trying to get a price on this now locally, but difficult to get replies.

Can you pass along and get a quote from Hansen? GINGER in STARKSVILLE

DEAR GINGER: Your interest in a new Hansen Pole Building is appreciated. As I have not been privy to your discussions with your Building Designer, Tom and have not seen your floor plan, I can’t really speak to it.

With a 16 foot eave height, your building is not tall enough for two floors, so I would suggest stepping down the roof line in your home.

Tom will be reaching out to you shortly.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Wanting to design a wedding venue, main area 40′ x 90′, with 15′ lean to’s. What is the maximum span for a pole barn with a loft. Trying not to have any support poles in the middle of barn. MIKE in VIRGINIA BEACH

DEAR MIKE: Our own post frame shouse (shop/house) happens to have a 48 foot clearspan floor and we could have gone to 60. Some of your clearspan ability will be based upon your use of this second floor. Keep in mind, if this is to be an area with general public use or staff, you will need to provide handicap accessibility (an elevator) to it.




Yet Another Case for Engineered Buildings

Yet Another Case for Engineered Buildings

(The six photos at https://www.hudsonvalley360.com/article/construction-resumes-following-barn-collapse are essential to this story)

In case you are wondering why I rail so loudly about building permit agricultural exemptions for buildings, these photos (look at bases of columns) should quell any wonderment. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/12/exempt-agricultural-buildings/

From a September 2, 2019 article by Amanda Purcell at www.thedailymail.net  of Gallatin, NY:

“Construction will resume on a farm on Green Acres Road after the barn collapsed and injured a contractor two weeks ago.

A stop-work order was issued for Red Hook-based Bijou Contracting immediately after a barn collapse injured a contractor at 138 Green Acres Road on Aug. 16, according to documents obtained from the town.

A worker suffered non-life-threatening injuries and had to be airlifted to Albany Medical Center after he became trapped under the debris, New York State Police Sgt. Michael Comerford said Aug. 16.

Emergency crews were called to the scene at 9:55 a.m. The contractor, a man, was extricated from the debris by Northern Dutchess Paramedics before firefighters arrived on the scene, Livingston Fire Department Public Information Officer Dana Petty said.

Comerford declined to identify the man or state the extent and nature of his injuries out of concern for violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Building Inspector and Zoning Code Enforcement Officer Jake Exline declined to comment on the incident, investigation or what might have caused the collapse, but documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Law request showed a stop-work order was issued to Bijou Contracting the same day as the collapse.

The underlying 7,200 square-foot barn structure was mostly complete at the time of the collapse, according to photos. Photos obtained via Freedom of Information Law request show debris toppled over two scissor lifts. Photos show cement footings were released from shallow halls as a result of the collapse.

“Any and all work is to be stopped pertaining to the construction of permitted pole barn,” according to the notice signed by the zoning officer Aug. 16. “All debris is to be cleaned up and removed from the property. All construction equipment used during the construction process is to be stood back up, and removed. Once the site is clean, we can have a meeting to discuss going forward.”

The building permit was not revoked by the town, and work is expected to continue after all the materials are cleared from the site. As an agriculture building, the structure’s plans were not subject to review by the Gallatin Town Planning Board.

The building permit for the 48-foot-by-150-foot pole barn on the 89-acre farm was issued July 2 by the town to property owner Alex Fridlyard. The project was estimated to cost $70,000.”

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then those of this building’s woeful inadequate concrete piers and mounting brackets speak volumes. With an engineered building, those concrete piers would probably have been two foot or more in diameter, four feet deep (to meet frostline requirements in this area) and columns would have been mounted to engineered brackets adequate to resist imparted forces. Hopefully someone learned from this experience. However my fear is history will be sadly repeated.

Don’t let a situation like this become your mistake – for a fully engineered post frame building call us (866)200-9657