Tag Archives: design solution

When Less is More – Economical Buildings

When Less is More – Economical Buildings

The beauty of pole building construction includes being very affordable and being relatively easy to build.

Roof Only Building

Roof Only Pole Building

In the affordability area – a common misconception is to construct the building as “just a roof”, with the idea of walls being installed at a later date. And this will result in a significant cost savings. In most cases – no, and in some cases, the roof only building will be even more expensive.

Huh? Why?

Pole buildings work like uni-body cars. The steel building skin (roof and wall sheathing), properly fastened to the interior framing, is doing the structural work. As siding is removed, the frame needs to carry progressively more load.

With a typically fully enclosed pole barn, the posts (wood columns) are designed as what is known as a propped cantilever. The very stiff roof transfers loads to very stiff endwalls, thence to the ground. In the calculations for structural design, the applied design loads are divided by eight.

The roof only – the columns act as a pure cantilever – like the end of a swimming pool diving board. In these calculations, the applied loads are divided by two (effectively the columns are carrying four times the load). In a pure roof only, the “slenderness” factor also comes into play, as there is no wall to brace the posts laterally (in the direction of the wall).

Greater loads carried by the columns, also mean the column embedments (the holes) are going to be larger in diameter and/or deeper. Plan on having to completely concrete backfill the holes, as opposed to just a small quantity of concrete around the base of the columns.

For very short buildings (10’ eave height and less), the structural differences between enclosed and roof only are negligible – some savings could be found in installing walls at a later date. As height increases, the issues become magnified, to a large part because in the design calculations the height of the column is squared.

While a 20’ tall wall is only twice the height of a 10’ tall wall, the applied loads are four times as great, due to the square of the heights.

Trying to find a balance in all of this? Leave the long (eave) sidewalls open, and the endwalls covered to the ground with siding. This will usually yield the best structural and least expensive design solution.

Fastest Pole Building Ever Constructed

The Pole Barn Guru - Americas Fastest Pole Barn BuilderProbably the highlight of my career as a pole barn builder came October 30, 1996. On live television, in the 30 minutes prior to Bob Villa, Momb Steel Buildings set a world speed record, as we constructed a fully featured, two car garage, in a client’s limited access back yard. This was a Sunday morning, and everyone went all out. The City of Millwood blocked off a 20 square block area for parking and equipment. Spokane County arranged for a Building Inspector to work on Sunday. The television people even erected bleachers in our client’s backyard. We printed up a gross of long sleeve T Shirts with “World’s Fastest Pole Builder” on them, and they were so popular I didn’t even get one! One of the most fun parts of the whole experience was pumping concrete OVER the house (I am sure to the shock of our clients).

Prior to the event, the building crews which helped us were positive we could not construct it in under an hour. After the event, we took all of those who participated out for lunch. Instead of eating the free food, they all were drawing on napkins with carpenter pencils figuring out how “next time” we could shave off 5 seconds here, and ten seconds there… by doing things differently!

For a short time in 2000, I was a manufacturer’s representative for a company which manufactures glu-laminated columns for the post frame industry. Great product, but seriously lacked in distribution, and soon found myself back in the pole building business working for another contractor. During this time, I became intrigued with products being offered over the internet and felt this would be a prime place for pole building kits.

In 2000 I made probably the smartest and happiest decision of my life, I married my “bride” of now eleven years.  With her background and mine, I quickly envisioned a business structure so “out there”, even my bride thought I was nuts.  I wanted to sell pole buildings completely off the internet.  No bricks and mortar sales office, no lumberyard, truss plant or even in-house sales staff.  Just she and I, and maybe a few others to handle some of the paperwork.  After talking about it for two years, my idea became an exciting reality.  In 2002, Hansen Pole Buildings was born.  It quickly became a huge success, and today, we remain predominantly an internet based business, heavy on automation, technology and cutting edge business savvy.

In my now over 30 years in the industry, I’ve had buildings delivered and built in all 50 states, over 14,000 of them. Recent innovations have been many. With CCA pressure preservative treating being pretty much eliminated due to a settlement between the EPA and the CCA chemical producers, some alternative preservative chemical formulas were found to react with steel, when water was present. To combat the negative effects of this reaction, we’ve added a protective barrier between the pressure treated skirt boards and the steel base trim. This also has necessitated the use of stainless steel screws to attach steel to pressure treated lumber.

For clients concerned about the chemicals being used in treating, plastic sleeves are available to isolate the treated wood from the surround soils. Steel brackets have been developed to allow pole buildings to be constructed on top of concrete piers, foundation walls and slabs.

We’ve replaced paint on screws with powder coating, offering a finish which will outlive the steel panels (https://lelandindustries.com/productpdfs/page%2048.pdf). The screws themselves are now coated with superior finishes to resist corrosion.

The advent of the International Building Codes in 2000, caused significant changes to the way code conforming buildings are designed. Deflection criteria has made girts (horizontal wall framing) attached wide face to the wall columns not meet the more stringent deflection criteria. In response to this, we’ve designed most of our buildings with wall girts installed flat (like book shelves) to resist deflecting.

We are constantly upgrading and innovating our design solutions. As better products are developed, we look for ways to make construction faster, easier to install and more reliable in performance.  More than ever, we look for ways to produce eye pleasing buildings which are not hard on the budget.

I look forward to sharing the journey with you.

Mike Momb ~ The Pole Barn Guru