Tag Archives: flood zone

a BONUS PBG for Friday, May 31st — Column Spacing, Raised Floors, and a Self-Build

a BONUS PBG for Friday, May 31st — Column Spacing, Raised Floors, and a Self-Build

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have spoken to my architect and he is saying to do my column spacing 8′ with truss every 4′. I have looked at your videos and several other videos. I noticed 10′ or 12′ Columns with double truss is more than enough. This is going to be my house for now and later turn into my garage when my actual house it built. The size is 30x60x12. Also I will be using shingles for my roof since my HOA doesn’t allow metal. I am wanting to be efficient and save money but also have this built safely. ANGEL in SEALY

DEAR ANGEL: In our country, there are several places where post frame standard is just as your architect describes, however this is not necessarily most efficient for use of materials, structural sufficiency or ease of construction. We have provided roughly a hundred fully engineered post-frame buildings to our clients in Texas and I can assure you, columns every 12 feet with double trusses works admirably. While shingled roofs do not have longevity like steel roofing, we have clients who opt for this option.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I read your article about raised floors in post frame homes. I live in a flood prone area an was considering something like this. Do you have any other information or details? https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/03/raised-floors-post-frame-homes/ SEAN in PRAIRIEVILLE

DEAR SEAN: Thank you for your interest. One of our team members will be reaching out to you shortly, as we do need some very specific information in regards to your building site. This will include actual elevation of site, as well as your potential flood data.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hey there! I’m wanting to self build a 50×70 or a 48×72 which is probably more cost savings. 16′ height and I’m leaning towards 10′ spacing. It’s a 3 sides equipment storage building. One of the 70′ sides being open. I need any help you can give on post spacing, 3ply or 4ply , truss spacing and a double header if I’m not locking into the post with the truss because the spacing won’t allow. I’m open to any suggestions. ERIK in SEYMOUR

DEAR ERIK: We do offer a 5% discount on buildings with multiples of 6′ in width and 12′ in length (read more here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2024/04/13-can-be-very-fortunate/). You will probably find columns every 12 feet on your open sidewall to be most ideal for equipment storage – as trying to maneuver even a full sized pickup or SUV through 9’8″ between posts can prove a good way to lose a mirror. Our typical engineered design is going to place trusses directly aligned with columns, so dealing with headers between columns becomes a non-issue. Your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer Cory will be working with you to make sure you get your best possible value for your investment.


Suitable Base, Insulation, and Building in Flood Zone

This week the Pole Barn Guru addresses questions about whether or not a base will be suitable for a slab, if a person HAS to insulate if they intend to heat the structure, and building 13′ above grade foundation in a flood zone.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Good morning, I’m getting ready to have a slab poured in my 30’x30′ pole barn, the slab will be 7 inches thick (was meant to be 6 but I failed to bring the base material up high enough) of 4000psi, with fiber mesh along with wire mesh. The pad site is level and compacted asphalt millings (compacted by a 14 ton vibrating roller). The base material I was advised to use is a “clean fill”, that is mined from below ground from a local quarry, its best described as similar to a baseball infield dirt. The base is approximately five inches thick. I personally put the base down, spraying it with water and compacting with a vibrating plate compacter as I went. My main question is based upon your knowledge, is it your opinion that this will provide a suitable base for the slab? I appreciate any input you may have. Thank you and thanks for a great site! ADAM in CLARKSBURG

DEAR ADAM: Thank you for your kind words. Concrete makes for very expensive fill and unless you are planning on some very heavy equipment being placed on your slab, more than four inches is probably unnecessary. As to your base, without having had a Geotechnical Engineer do a site analysis, it is impossible for me to confirm adequacy of your fill as described. Your “clean fill”, as described, has me somewhat concerned as baseball infield dirt is fairly fine and could prove a challenge in obtaining adequate compaction. Normally I would expect to see 3/4″ minus or similar crushed stone.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: If an individual builds a pole barn that he intends to fully heat does he HAVE to insulate it? Can’t find a definitive answer in the IBC or IECC. BOB in CROWN POINT

DEAR BOB: If your heating source requires a permit, your Building Department is going to expect appropriate insulation. From a practicality standpoint, it would be prudent to insulate.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, Our property is in a flood zone. We would need to build on a 13 foot above grade elevated foundation. Any ideas if this is feasible with a pole barn kit? Thank you ED in BOLIVIA

DEAR ED: Fully engineered post frame buildings are very adaptable to flood zones, they make excellent for excellent stilt houses. Our engineers will need some specifics on your property’s flood specifics. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/09/stilt-houses/

See Your New Barndominium Here

In our last episode, we were escaping odors produced by mushroom people – now let us move forward to getting a clearer vision and a view from your new post frame barndominium’s windows!

Once you have narrowed your choices down to a handful, ideally you can watch each site over a year’s time – as well as gathering more information about your area. Watch for ponding after rains, or Spring runoffs, you don’t want to wake up and find yourself in a slough. In snow country – what sort of drifting occurs?

Spend a few dollars and buy a beer or two for a local geotechnical engineer. You want to build upon stable soils – not prone to undue shifting and settling. One of our sons has a home high above the Missouri River East of Pierre, SD. Years of nearby river flow created a huge sand hill, upon where his now neighborhood is located. His home, and those of his neighbors, is constantly moving!

Make sure your potential site will not be in a habitat protected area. Don’t invest in land and find out some rare insect only lives or nests on what you thought was going to be your forever dream home site. Wetlands can prove problematic – get to know any possible restrictions.

Are wildfires a possibility? Is area a known fire hazard? Is your fire department supported solely by volunteers (if so, be prepared for higher insurance costs)? My Auntie Norma lost everything as 2018’s Camp Fire destroyed Paradise, California and surrounding areas. It can happen.

Avoid a site within a flood zone, unless you are prepared to invest extra to build above flood levels. Same goes for hurricane prone areas.

If not on a regularly maintained county road, who does maintain it? What might it cost you for your share to upkeep a private road? If access is across property of others, check for written easements. Investigate any easements across what could be your future property.

Order a preliminary title report, this will disclose easements and restrictive covenants or conditions. You might want to order a land survey as well, especially if property boundaries are loosely defined. Don’t count on fence lines to be accurate.

Water is important, and not all water is potable. Sometimes water rights don’t “run with the land,” this would mean you couldn’t dig a well.

If planning on a well, find out the depth of water table and determine difficulty of digging. 

It can be costly to bring electricity, telephone, or cable service to a property if they’re not already established nearby. Just because you can see a power pole, does not mean you can readily have affordable access to it. Will you need to install a propane tank? What will it cost to install a septic system?

If you’re not planning to finance a land purchase through a conventional lender—requiring a lender appraisal—obtain your own appraisal to determine an appropriate price before making an offer. Comparable sales are sometimes difficult to find when you’re buying rural land.

It’s common to pay cash for land because getting a loan for this type of purchase can be tricky. Raw land can’t be leveraged by a bank.

If you do get a loan—and there are a few lenders out there who specialize in and will touch this type of transaction—don’t expect to be approved for more than maybe 50 percent of the purchase price. You might have more success if your land has utility access and is reasonably accessible by roadway.

Once you do acquire a place to build – then and only then is it time to move to your next step – designing your own ideal dream custom barndominium!