Tag Archives: construction manual

Converting a Stick Framer

Converting a Stick Framer

As my long term followers may remember, I grew up stick framing houses, apartments and commercial buildings working for my Father and his framing contractor brothers. While our (myself and my male cousins) education was focused far more on “do” as opposed to “why we were doing” we all got a pretty good grasp of things like walls are composed of 2×4 or 2×6 studs running vertically to support loads from subsequent floors and/or roofs.

Now when I built my very first ‘pole barn’ in South Salem, Oregon in early 1980 it would have been a step up for me to have considered myself as even having a clue as to how they went together:

Builder STEVE is erecting a barndominium for Hansen Pole Buildings’ clients in ROYSE CITY, Texas. He wrote to Bonnie (in our office, she prints and transmits plans, among other things, to our clients), and copied his client’s Project Coordinator, Justine:

“I have a couple of question about the girts…

I will be the first to admit this is a different type of building than what I’m used to.
We build houses, not pole barns. 

I’ve never seen Girts or this type of supporting walls so to speak in any of the houses I have built.

We typically use “sheer walls” or a totally different type of material when supporting “open portals” and bracing corners.

Can the engineer point to the locations, on the perimeter/outside walls that the girding is supposed to go. 

If they’re telling us that these only go in specific locations I would like to know what those specific locations are. 

Then after that please give me a detail of what runs between the Girts on the exterior wall where there are no Girts.

It was my understanding from previous emails that the Girts do not run continuously around the four exterior walls.

If they do, then please let me know that as well.

Thank you in advance.”

Even on a Sunday morning, Justine responded:

Good Morning Steve,

Bonnie is not tech support.  

I have CC’D tech support in on this email.  Also, please find the construction manual that shipped with the hardware. This book will help you on many levels in building this post frame building.

On previous conversations – it was the Girt blocking that I stated isn’t continuous which was 2×4.  The “girts” which are primarily 2x6s per materials list and plans are what go between the posts horizontally.”

While our Construction Manual clearly lays out proper contacts (saving emails having to be passed from team member to team member), it does require actually opening and reading said manual.

Here our Technical Support Department got to join it (yes, on a Sunday as well):
Mike the Pole Barn Guru;
Justine is correct in instructing you to go to your best resource for understanding post frame structural systems, our Construction Manual.

Post frame differs from stick frame, as roof loads are transferred downward through columns to ground – eliminating need (in most instances) for structural headers over door and window openings. I grew up stick framing and it wasn’t until I was able to ‘wrap my head’ around framing running left-to-right, rather than up-and-down I was able to make any money building post frame.

You will want to carefully review Sheets S-4.1, S-5.1 and S-5.2 of your engineered building plans, as they detail location, orientation and placement of all wall girts and associated framing members. Bookshelf wall girts run from column to column, not continuously around the building perimeter.

Please keep in mind, your entire roof surface should be finished prior to any wall framing. Last page of Construction Manual Chapter 3 gives an outline of installation processes and for best success you will want to follow it explicitly.

Do You, or Anyone Else You Trust, Build In or Near (fill in the blank)?

This question was put forth by reader TARILYNN in FREEDOM.

It (or a similar variant) also gets posted roughly 10 to 20 times daily in various social media groups.

I spent most of a decade as a registered General Contractor in multiple states. At times we would have as many as 35 crews erecting buildings in six states. We had some very, very good crews – among them ones I had do work for me personally. Even being best does not come without some potential pitfalls and pratfalls however. About once a year or so my best crew would, for whatever unexplained reason, totally struggle with a building. Maybe it was a bad planetary alignment, but it does happen.

An absolute best way to avoid unforeseen challenges with a builder is to do it yourself.

Here at Hansen Pole Buildings we provide fully engineered, custom designed post frame buildings, with multiple buildings in all 50 states. Our buildings are designed for average physically capable persons who can and will read instructions to successfully construct their own beautiful buildings (and many of our clients DIY). Our buildings come with full 24” x 36” blueprints detailing location and attachment of every piece, 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 time or inclination, we have an extensive independent Builder Network covering every state except Alaska and Hawaii (although some of these builders would probably volunteer to travel to them, depending upon time of year). We can assist you in getting erection labor pricing as well as introducing you to potential builders. We would appreciate an opportunity to participate in your new home, garage, shop or commercial building. Please email your building specifics (or barndominium plans), site address and best contact number to caleb@hansenpolebuildings.com (866)200-9657 .

Prior to contracting with any building contractor (even one proposed by us) we strongly encourage you to read this series of articles: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/11/a-contractor-for-your-new-barndominium/

How Important is Technical Support?

At least here at Hansen Pole Buildings, we feel it is pretty dayem importantish!!
And just how important, enough so the information on how to get unlimited free technical support is found on the second page of our over 500 page illustrated Construction Manual.

Here is the language from the manual:

“Technical Support:

No technical support is available through our Sales or Production Departments.

For questions regarding proper installation or for any additional information not outlined inthis guide, technical support is available via the following:

FREE (and fastest):

Send an Email to TechSupport@HansenPoleBuildings.com. Include in Email: Project number, an accurate description of challenge, as well as a photo or photos if applicable.

AVAILABLE for a nominal fee (may be pre-purchased via login):

Purchasers of a technical support plan will be given contact information for our Technical Support Department. In the event a technician is not available when you call, leave a detailed message – which includes your project number. NO PROJECT NUMBER MEANS NO RESPONSE! All requests are taken in order received. Answers will either be emailed back (quickest), texted to your cell phone (please leave cell phone number and name of cellular service provider),  or next available technician will return your call. Depending  upon  call  volume,   telephone  calls will normally be returned  the following business day.

Keep in mind pole buildings are highly complex structures, involving thousands upon thousands of components. Our technical support staff may not have a solution to a particular challenge immediately. However, they will research the situation and respond with answers as quickly as is reasonably possible.

Do not contact either component manufacturers or Engineer of Record for Technical Support as wrong information may be given. Large charges to you may apply (calls or Emails to engineer WILL result in you being charged hundreds of dollars, even if question was not answered).”

Why not just let anyone answer technical support questions? Shouldn’t my Building Designer or the person ordering my materials have all of the answers?

building-plansIn a word: NO! We have highly skilled people in place to most expertly handle their portion of your post frame building project. Even though they might know the right answer – when contacted for a technical support question, it takes them away from the tasks they are most proficient at – which slows down the process for not only you, but also the rest of our clients. Rather selfish, isn’t it?

Please let the people who have the expertise answer your questions.

Why not do all technical support by phone?

While you might fully understand your building and the particular challenge at hand, it is important to accurately convey what those challenges are – putting them in writing and including any relevant photos has proven to be best at avoiding miscommunications.

We want to be able to give you the correct answers first time and every time.

With Recent Improvements – Less Building Technical Support

I am not much different than probably most of my readers, when we get to the end of the work week, it is time to kick back and relax. It was on one of these “after the work week” evenings, that I met with a few friends to indulge in our favorite beverages, grab a bite to eat and swap stories. One of my friends, knowing I do technical support for people who are constructing their own pole building kits (or have hired a contractor to build for them), wanted to know how much building technical support I actually do.

The question sort of caught me off guard. While I am officially, “Technical Director”, most of my time and energy is spent in educating staff, researching new products and structural design work.

Truthfully, I had to say, “Not very much”. I only talk to one or maybe two clients a week about true technical support issues.

Much of this I have to attribute to the rewriting of our Construction Manual, which was completed earlier this year. Previous versions just had more material added to the old ones, as we strove to add the solution to any question which was posed to us. We hadn’t changed the format in several years, and the book became, well…cumbersome.

Hansen Buildings Construction Manual

The latest edition is a complete rewrite, from the table of contents to the glossary. It was made more user friendly by having numerous, very focused chapters, and hundreds of new drawings and photos were added. We also now have it posted online, where clients can login to view and chapters specific to their building are highlighted.

My experience is, rarely will a new pole building owner contact us with a question. Why? Because it is their building, they take pride of ownership. The plans are carefully followed and the instructions read.

By far the greatest majority of my support work ends up being done with contractors, building for others, who made assumptions about how things should be done, or failed to follow the plans. Many builders are experts at what they do, but “not all pole buildings are alike”.  And ours is truly a hybrid of just about any style of pole building out there.  These tech support questions are usually not as fun to take, as some builders can become overly defensive.  For some of them,  mistakes could “not possibly have been theirs”. The nice part is, I have yet to ever be presented with a problem, which did not have a solution – often times, without the client or builder having to order more materials.

For me, I am thankful and tip my hat to the wonderful clients and builders, who do their part, pay attention to the plans, use the instructions and in the end – have gorgeous brand new pole buildings they will enjoy for years!