Tag Archives: drill set brackets

Full Foundation, Hurricane Proof, and Drill-Set Brackets on Slab

This Wednesday the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about a village or township requiring you to put a full foundation in for a pole building, whether a pole building is “hurricane proof,” and the potential use of drill-set brackets to set 6×6 columns on an existing slab with thickened edge.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can a village or township require you to put a full foundation in for a pole building? CHRISSY in CHANNAHON

DEAR CHRISSY: Our country has two model Building Codes – IRC (International Residential Code) for one and two family dwellings and their accessory structures, and IBC (International Building Code) for all other buildings. Neither code has a requirement for full foundation to support pole (post frame) buildings. I would encourage you to reach out to your local Building Official to ask for further information – it is possible your village or township may have enacted a specific ordinance, to this case, if so – request a written copy of the approved document and please forward it to me for review. In most instances, no such ordinance exists and, if so, this ‘requirement’ cannot be legally enforced.



DEAR LINDA: I don’t know of any structural system other than maybe a reinforced concrete building underground and above any flood stage affording 100% hurricane protection. We can engineer to design wind speeds in excess of 200mph.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a new monoslab with 20″ footer all around. Slab is also reinforced with 1/2″ rebar. I want to build a 40’x46′ pole barn. Walls are 14′, roof trusses are 5/12 pitch. Can I use Simpson brackets and place 6″x6″ posts on top of the concrete every 8′ with 2″x6″ girts? Or should I have builder put posts in the ground around the slab? Thanks-ERIC in REXFORD

DEAR ERIC: There is no dry set (bolted down) anchor (including those from Simpson) capable of handling even minimal moment (bending) loads. So no – you should not use any type of bracket on top of your slab. Your best bet will be to build around slab with posts properly embedded in ground.



Wall Height, What’s Included? and Drill Set Bracket Usage

Today the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about customizing the wall height to best “utilize sheet goods” on interior walls, what Hansen includes in a pole barn kit, and the practicality of using a drill set bracket for columns into an existing slab.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Once I save up the funds, I plan to have you guys design me a 28′ x 48′ pole barn with 12′ walls and 6/12 roof. Due to various reasons I will be foregoing metal siding and utilizing wood sheathing and siding for the exterior. I know you measure wall height from the bottom of skirt board, but is it possible to have 12′ walls from top of concrete floor to bottom of truss so as to efficiently utilize sheet goods on the interior walls? Also is 12′ post spacing possible? Thanks TROY in HONEOYE FALLS

DEAR TROY: Yes, we can design to give you a 12′ finished ceiling. Typically, your Building Designer will plan upon 12′ 1-1/8″ from top of slab to bottom of trusses. This allows for finished ceiling thickness (drywall, steel, etc.) and to be able to utilize 12′ drywall panels run vertically and be 1/2″ above your concrete. In most instances sidewall columns every 12 feet will be your most economical design solution (and minimizes number of holes having to be dug).


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I was wondering what is including a pole barn kit? JOSHUA in LEBANON

DEAR JOSHUA: Our fully engineered post frame (pole barn) kits include: Mutli-page full size (24″ x 36″) engineer sealed structural plans, specific to your building, on your site, detailing location and connection of every structural member. Includes foundation design. Engineer sealed calculations to verify adequacy of each member and connection. The industry’s best fully illustrated Construction Manual. Unlimited Technical Support from a team who has actually built post frame buildings. All columns, pressure treated splash planks, wall girts, blocking, headers, jambs, roof trusses (and floor trusses where applicable), truss bracing, roof purlins, joist hangers, specialty connectors for trusses to columns, steel roofing and siding (or alternative claddings), steel trims, UV resistant closures for eaves and ridge, powder coated diaphragm screws to attach steel, doors and windows. In a nut shell – everything you need to successfully erect your own beautiful new building other than concrete, rebar and any nails normally driven from a nail gun.

Our Limited Lifetime Structural Warranty.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have an existing concrete slab with extra thick edges that once housed a quonset before a tornado in the 1980s destroyed it. I have bolted on brackets intending to use the glued columns that I purchased for a 12′ sidewall building. I have since been reading your posts in multiple forums regarding moment force etc., is there any mitigation that can be done with the construction that would still accommodate my original plan? Corner shear walls etc? Thank you Mr. Guru. TOM in STREETER

DEAR TOM: While shear walls (and/or bracing) can make your building shell stiffer, they do not eliminate moment (bending) loads having to be transferred through those brackets and bolt connectors. Your best bets are to either build with columns outside perimeter of existing slab, or cut out squares at each column location for either embedded columns (best design solution) or to pour wet-set brackets into piers.

Engineered Plans, P-Bex Through Posts, and Drill Set Brackets

This Wednesday the Pole Barn Guru tackles reader questions about drawing up engineered plans to match some non-engineered plans reader currently has, if it is possible to run p-bex through columns, and whether of not a person can set a building on an existing slab with use of drill set brackets.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am currently in the process of getting my plans drawn up for a hybrid metal frame home. The plans are drawn up but are not engineered plans. Can I get a cost to have engineered plans drawn up by you if I send you the plans that I currently have. Also, I am located in California, Riverside County to be exact.

Thank You.

Forgot to mention. I am leaning towards post frame construction versus the metal frame. CODY in RIVERSIDE

DEAR CODY: Thank you for reaching out to us. We provide engineer sealed structural plans and verifying calculations with every custom post frame building package. Due to proprietary nature of some materials, our engineers are unable to draw and stamp plans when we do not provide materials.

A member of our Building Design team will be reaching out to you shortly to discuss your building needs.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Good morning sir, I am building a shop/house and have a question about running wire and PEX water lines through the posts. I have read your threads about this yet still not 100%. I do not have the gap between the metal and the posts like you spoke of so drilling the posts seems like the easiest way for me to accomplish the routing of the wire. So what is the right answer, can I drill the posts or not per code? Who do I have to convince of this, the county inspector or the engineer? I am getting so many answers it’s frustrating. The ability to drill through the posts of my pole building would be the easiest and economical way to run all wiring and PEX.  Thanks SAM in KENNEWICK

DEAR SAM: Think of a hole being drilled through as being an “open knot”. Lumber grading rules refer to these as being “Unsound or Loose Knots and Holes” due to any cause. Most structural framing – like wall girts and roof purlins or posts and timbers are graded as Number 2.
For practical purposes, a hole up to just less than ¼ of board face being drilled through will be within grade in #2 lumber. Example: 5-1/2” face of a 6×6 a hole up to 1-1/4” may be drilled through, as often as every two feet. Allowable hole sizes are reduced and spacing increased for higher grades of lumber.
You should engineer who sealed your plans approval. His or her seal will quash any concerns your inspector may have.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have already had a monolithic slab poured on my site. 40×60. rebar top and bottom of thickened area 12×12 with 6″ slab. Also rebar both sides of the cut lines at 10′ intervals. The concrete is 6 sack with fiber. Can I put a pole building on top of this slab and secure it with a bracket that is anchored by drilling holes and using a fastener. Building will be 40x60x16. Thank you for your consideration. DAVID in HELMVILLE

DEAR DAVID: Can and should are not often a same answer (or result).

Dry (drill) set column brackets (from any manufacturer) are not designed to resist moment (bending) loads. While they may work just fine, it only takes one good wind event to turn your beautiful new building upside down. Even worse – a smart insurance company will hire someone like me to testify what you used was not a structurally adequate design solution and deny your claim!

There are some options:

You could use a concrete saw to cut out column locations from your existing slab, or (and probably more practical) increase dimensions of your proposed building to 42′ by 62′ and place embedded (structurally best) or wet-set bracket mounted columns on concrete piers outside of your current slab.

Vinyl Backed Insulation, Post Brackets, and Rebar Hairpins

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about the availability of a tool for installation of vinyl backed insulation, pouring concrete prior to use of brackets and the limitations of “dry set” brackets, as well as setting vapor barrier once rebar hairpins have been installed.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Is there a tool out there that I can clip on the end of my vinyl back installation to pull it tight other than my hands. If so what would that tool be called and where can I buy it. I was hoping that there would be some type of alligator vice grips or something like that that we can attach and pull. MARK in OKLAHOMA

DEAR MARK: You are now finding one of many “joys” of using vinyl backed metal building insulation. You will want to read my personal metal building insulation story: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/metal-building-insulation-in-pole-buildings-part-i/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/11/metal-building-insulation/
In answer to your question – there is not such a commercially available product.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I plan to build a workshop with a concrete floor. a 24×40 x10ft building. Seems like it would be easier to just poor the concrete slab first and then just drill into the concrete and bolt the post brackets in place,,, rather than dig a bunch of holes and pour concrete piers for the post with wet set brackets…what are the advantages of setting all the posts first, then pouring a concrete floor later? Are there any disadvantages to bolting brackets to the concrete rather than using a wet set bracket? Ii am in a high wind area, (120 mph) and seismic area ‘e”. RON in HILO

DEAR RON: Problem #1 is dry set (bolted) brackets are not rated for moment (bending) forces, unlike wet set brackets. This becomes problematic, especially in areas of high wind.

Problem #2 – you can’t just pour a flat slab on grade, you would have to thicken slab edges to probably 18″

With wet set brackets, you can monolithic pour a slab with deeper excavation points at bracket locations, however I typically recommend waiting to pour slabs until after a roof is on to avoid heavy objects from falling and chipping your freshly poured concrete.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How do I install the concrete vapor barrier after the rebar hairpins in the columns have been placed?

Rebar Hairpins


DEAR REID: Vapor barrier will go under rebar hairpins, so either block up one hairpin end or have someone lift it for you (this will cause other end of hairpin to raise) – slide vapor barrier under hairpin and up around sides of column. Seal vapor barrier to column and you are all good.


A House on a Hill, Slab on Grade, and Post Brackets

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about building a house on a hill lakeside, building a slab on grade instead or embedded posts due to rocky soil, and use of dry set brackets.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hey. We have a lot on the lake that is on a hill (not super steep but does have a decent slope). Is a post frame house an option and if so how would be the best way to build it as far as ‘foundation’. ASHLEY in BOWLING GREEN

DEAR ASHLEY: A post frame home is certainly an excellent design solution for a slope building site. You do have some options (both of these I used on a personal building site of my own) – you can cut to create a ‘daylight’ or ‘walk-out’, or build on stilts.

Here is how I handled cutting into a hillside: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/02/grade-change/ as well as a little reading on stilt houses: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/09/stilt-houses/.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m finding it prohibitive with local excavators to set poles in this part of rocky NH. It makes a slab on grade look better than ‘poles’. However – I assume I lose lateral support if I build on a slab will horizontal girts provide enough stiffness to the building or would bottom sills/sheathing be required. I’m looking at a 30×20 shed and would like 10′ bays and metal roofing, local green lumber vertical b&b siding. DAVID in GRANTHAM

DEAR DAVID: Even building with a slab on grade is going to require excavation, as you need to have footings either extending below frost line, or thermally isolated to prevent frost heaving. Horizontal girts, by themself, provide little or no resistance to racking. Properly engineered, your steel roofing and board and batten siding can provide adequate shear resistance.

If it were my own building, I would probably consider excavating holes, place and properly backfill sonotubes, and use ICC-ESR approved wet set brackets to mount columns. I would avoid use of green lumber, in any circumstance: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/09/499green-lumber-vs-dry-lumber/.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have an existing 35′ x 50′ slab with 16″ beams around the perimeter. Is it possible to construct a pole barn on it that meets windstorm qualifications for my area? ALAN in LAKE JACKSON

DEAR ALAN: There are plenty of folks out there who would gladly be willing to use dry set brackets to mount pole barn columns to your slab. In most instances, this is a less than adequate design solution as these brackets are not designed to withstand moment (bending) loads. (For extended reading, please visit https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/12/dry-set-column-anchors/).

My preference would be to use embedded columns – either by placing them outside of your existing slab perimeter, or by saw cutting through edges of your existing slab.