Tag Archives: floor plans

Barndominium Plans Before Land?

Barndominium Plans Before Land?

Unlike chicken or egg coming first, barndominium floor plans should come second, after a place to build has been determined.

Reader STEVE in MILWAUKEE writes:

I am interested in developing plans for the barndo-square with internal courtyard. I don’t have the land for it bought yet, so is it a waste of time to get started on the plans already? If the foundation will be a slab, can the specifics about the land it is going on be on be determined later? Maybe assume the land will simply be level to start? Or is the point of owning the land to make sure the building plans follow the local building code from the start?

As for making the property wheelchair accessible, I plan on having my parents move in with me eventually. They are not in wheelchairs yet, but my uncle is and I see what a hassle it is for him to get around normal houses when we have family gatherings. Plus I think one-level and wider doors and wider hallways are good things if the square footage allows.

My current situation is a ranch house with a large shed outbuilding on 13 acres, on its own well, septic, furnace fuel oil. This is just so you know I am not naively wanting the country life, it is how I grew up and how I prefer to live. I also plan to build in an area with a few good barndo-type builders, north of Milwaukee WI. So I think the entire plan is doable once I secure financing. It is my understanding that having plans in hand makes it more likely to get a construction loan.

This might be against your own interests, but do you think I should develop the plans directly with the builder I choose since I will choose a barndo-builder and not a traditional house builder? Each of their websites show that they can make the plans too. Or is it a good idea to approach the barndo-builder with general plans and fine-tune the plans with the barndo-builder?”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru advises:

I didn’t learn much in architecture school however one lesson was your site should be determined so room orientations can be appropriate in relationship to access from roadways, any possible views, north-south orientation, slope of site, etc. Other than minimum room dimensions and egress issues, your floor plans will have little to do with Code requirements. Your structural plans will need to be generated after you have developed a floor plan and will be relevant to climactic conditions specific to your site (most often overlooked is wind exposure).

You will need to have professionally produced floor plans and elevation drawings to secure financing. You do not need structural drawings. Very few builders have an architectural or structural background adequate to prepare or provide what will truly best meet your needs. An experienced professional Building Designer should be just the ticket. You can find ours here: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/post-frame-floor-plans/

Personal Storage, Additional Height, and Floor Plans

This week the Pole Barn Guru addresses a concern about personal items being ruined by storing them in an unfinished pole building, the need for an additional two feet of interior height, and floor plans for designing a post frame home.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello- not sure if you can answer this but hoping so. We have opportunity to rent a 20’x40′ portion of a pole barn building. The rent is very reasonable to we are considering moving all the contents of 3 storage units into this building, including small remodeling business with tools and materials. Question, it’s a brand new pole building, but the owner has not enclosed the soffit at the top. Will our stuff take get ruined in there? Moisture, hot and cold temperatures, mice, etc. Thinking it’s not an ideal place to put our furniture but wanted to ask a pole barn specialist. It’s such a good deal but I don’t want our belongings to get ruined. Thank you in advance for your opinion. DONNA in SUSSEX COUNTY

DEAR DONNA: Unless this unit is as close to completely sealed as possible (other than properly screened or very tiny openings venting) you should be prepared for all sorts of small critters and insects to be joining your valuable goods. My other concerns would be first as to if there is a well sealed vapor barrier under this building’s slab on grade. If not, there will be moisture coming through into your unit. Secondly – what sort of provision has been made to prevent condensation from occurring on underside of roof steel?

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a 40′ x 50′ x10′ pole barn, I need another 2′ in height, minimum. What is the best way to handle it? Thanks for your time JERRY in FRANKFORT

DEAR JERRY: There is only one correct way to achieve this – hire a Registered Professional Engineer who can design a structurally sound method to get to your end goal. Any other recommendation could likely result in a collapse.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hey Mike, we are planning to build a 40×60 pole barn home with the rear 20×60 portion being a second story. The main use of this space will be a 20×20 loft in the center of the building above the kitchen, with the remaining space being storage. We are trying to figure out what a necessary side wall/eave height will have to be for this second story loft with a 4/12 pitch roof. We don’t mind sacrificing a little bit of headroom upstairs since it will be a playroom for the kids. Could you help us with this? Also, this is assuming that we have an 8’ kitchen ceiling underneath. Thanks! NATE in TULSA

DEAR NATE: Thank you for reaching out to me. In most instances it will be less expensive to add more square footage on main level than to create a partial loft space (not to mention no space wasted due to stairs). Here is a guide to creating appropriate eave heights: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/05/how-tall-should-my-eave-height-be-for-two-stories/.

I would recommend you take advantage of our very affordable floor plan service in order to assist you in creation of your ideal dream floor plan: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/post-frame-floor-plans/

Hart and Home Youtube Episode II

Hart and Home YouTube – Episode II

If you missed our previous episode, please go to bottom of this article, on left, and click on arrow to go to Hart and Home YouTube – Episode I. Moving forward:

Planning and Consultation – our Building Design team will work with you, for as long as it takes and with as many revisions as are necessary to assist you in not making crucial errors you will regret forever. Whether it takes one quote or a hundred, we will get you there.

Since Kevin and Whitney ordered their building, I have penned this article: https://hansenpolebuildings.com/2021/02/a-shortlist-for-smooth-barndominium-sailing/. In a year it has (with nearly 100,000 reads) become my third most read blog article of all time!

We have also added an in-house Barndominium Floor Plan Specialist to our team. This service creates for you your ideal dream floor plan, as every barndominium Hansen Pole Buildings provides is 100% custom designed to best meet our clients and their loved ones wants and needs. Professional floor plans and elevation drawings can be yours for as little as $695 and should you happen to move forward and order your barndominium from us, we offer a credit back against your investment of $695 – effectively making this a free service for a one story barndominium!

You can find out more about this service here: https://hansenpolebuildings.com/post-frame-floor-plans/?fbclid=IwAR2ta5IFSxrltv5eAyBVmg-JUsoPfy9hbWtP86svOTPfG1q5pGmfhA7yd5Q

Shipping phase – unless you have hidden in a cave during the COVID-19 era, you have read, heard or seen on TV numerous supply chain challenges. Pre-COVID we could deliver most any building, anywhere in two to three weeks. Now we ask our clients to allow eight to 12 weeks, due to seemingly totally random unavailability of products. Special order items, most noticeably non-standard windows and doors, can take even longer.

You may have noticed fuel getting increasingly more expensive. Back in my early days in post frame, this was a different case – fuel was cheap and it made sense to have our vendors deliver to our yard, we would then custom package your building components and deliver on our fleet of trucks. Well, not only are fuel costs rising, those trucks are not inexpensive either. We have become logistical wizards and now rely primarily upon our partner suppliers and manufacturers to ship direct to your site (other than specialty items shipped from our warehouse). Many of these deliver on route trucks, making numerous deliveries allowing for shipping costs to be split amongst a plethora of orders. This process allows for us to hold costs of transportation to a minimum. As well, we do not tie up hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars in flooring huge inventories. It also reduces the number of times any given item is handled, minimizing possible damage.

One challenge we are brainstorming upon (and could use your input on) is getting all of these vendors to call our clients prior to delivery. Our Purchase Orders give explicit instructions to call 24 to 48 hours prior to anticipated deliveries. We have found our steel roofing and siding partners to be best at this, however for some other vendors this struggle is real, as making an actual phone call is seemingly near impossible.

Lumber quality – we deal with wholesale lumber providers all across America. In most instances, they go out of their way to deliver high quality materials to our clients. Because we are repeat, volume purchasers, our clients typically find they are getting better lumber than they would get as a one-time buyer (not to mention we can source product from vendors who will not sell direct to the public). 

Our Construction Manual does devote four pages to lumber delivery and quality. Our Materials Department also provides information via email, as we want each of our clients to receive materials within grade specifications. Prompt reporting of non-conforming lumber allows for us to have our providers make no charge replacements (as in Kevin’s case with his bad column).

Catch you soon for our next episode!

Footings, Mechanical Plans, and Hay Ventilation

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about concrete footings for a lean-to addition, how to incorporate plumbing, electrical, and HVAC plans into to process, and proper ventilation for a hay barn.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We are putting a 10′ Lean-to on a Steel Framed Building. We will be using 4×6 posts spaced 10′ with 18″ holes. My question is about footings. I was hoping to tamp the bottom of the hole, add a bit of gravel, place post, add quickrete, and back fill. I am hoping to avoid filling the entire hole with concrete to save some money. If there are better ways I am open to them just looking for cost effectiveness, if possible. Thank you! PETE in UNIONVILLE

DEAR PETE: Any building is only as strong as its foundation, so this is not a place to be penny wise and pound foolish. Code requires minimum six inch thick concrete footing, or a Code approved alternative (here is an example https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/footingpad/).

Subject to approval from your building’s engineer, I would recommend supporting your building columns up eight inches from bottom of hole, then monopouring with concrete to give at least an 18 inch total depth of concrete. Done in this fashion, you could pour roughly 10 holes with a yard of premix. Balance of hole above this bottom collar can then be backfilled with compactible material.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: When I order plans and the pole barn kit from Hansen and work as my own general contractor, how do people generally build HVAC, plumbing, electrical, etc. into the plans to take to the county to acquire permits? Do I have to get plans from those contractors and then take it to a drafter to get drawn up for approval for permits? JOHN in LAPINE

DEAR JOHN: Our floor plan team can add plumbing and electrical for a nominal fee – challenge is, your subcontractors will ignore this entirely. I have always had best results having these subcontract trades submit their own drawings when they apply for their permits (these permits are outside of your structural permit).

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Have a 24ft x48ft pole barn that we store hay in. The hay is always getting moldy, hay sits on OSB wood which sits on a steel grate platform, 1ft above concrete floor. Barn roof is OSB wood with felt and shingles with a ridge vent. Sides of barn are steel with OSB wood on inside. Am thinking of building a new barn with a hay loft, but was given a suggestion to contact you first for a possible solution. Barn is in northeastern Ohio, very humid in summer. We check the hay before we store it and the moisture level is fine. I even thought of enclosing hay area and putting in a dehumidifier. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thank you, STEVE in NORTH RIDGEVILLE

DEAR STEVE: A hay barn needs proper ventilation to expel moisture from hay respiration. Hay barns are typically dependent on natural ventilation to get air exchange, so proper orientation can be critical. Typically, a hay barn should be oriented so open eave sidewalls are perpendicular to predominant wind direction.

For barns with enclosed sidewalls, enclosed vented sidewall eaves and a vented ridge are critical design elements to allow for passive ventilation. Air enters through eaves and exits through ridge vent with excess moisture.

Choose a location away from swampy areas or at bottom of a hill, as it will require more costly drainage. Gutters or rocked ditches close to sidewalls should be included in planning costs. Hay barn floor should be at least six to eight inches higher than surrounding ground level.

With a concrete slab-on-grade floor, it is crucial to have a well-sealed under slab vapor barrier.

Post Frame Barndo-castle?

Post Frame Barndo-castle?

Reader STEVE in MILWAUKEE writes:

“I think it would be neat to have 4 rectangular structures placed such that each is the side of a larger square, so that there is a courtyard in the middle of it. I see plans that show 2 structures in an L or 3 structures in an H or U, but no big square. Is there an obvious reason people don’t want their own little barndo-castle? Maybe cost is too much to make it all connected? Maybe building codes don’t know how to deal with such a building? I think it would be great to be able to go from building to building without going outside. My plan would be to make one side of the square the home, one side the garage, one side a shop, one side a gymnasium. All one level and wheelchair accessible if not wheelchair optimized.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru says:

In my early days of selling roof trusses we had a client who was a production home builder – entire neighborhoods of basic entry level houses. His most popular floor plans were split entry or tri-level. One day he got it in his head to do something different, a home with a central courtyard (think of it as a donut). He only ever built it once, so apparently it did not catch on.

Over my 40 some decades of post frame buildings, I have been involved in many alphabet shaped buildings (C, E, F, H, I, J, K, L, S, T, U, V, and X coming to mind), however yours could be my first “O”!

Building Codes certainly do not prohibit such a structure, just keep in mind, any bedrooms must have egress to outside walls (other than your courtyard). From a cost standpoint, you will be creating some frame overs and valleys, adding somewhat to your investment, but certainly not an astronomical amount. As my lovely bride is a paraplegic, I applaud your looking ahead to design for accessibility.

About Hansen BuildingsWe can create your ideal dream floor plan with this look. Every barndominium Hansen Pole Buildings provides is 100% custom designed to best meet the wants and needs of our clients and their loved ones. Please see #3 here to assist in determining needed spaces and approximate sizes, and to have professional floor plans and elevation drawings produced affordably. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2021/02/a-shortlist-for-smooth-barndominium-sailing/

Building Over Existing Slab, Blueprints for House, and Pole Building Finance

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about building over or on an existing slab or concrete, whether of not Hansen sells “just the blueprints” for a pole barn/house, and lending for a pole building set on foundation/footing/wall.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: In Arkansas, I want to build a pole barn (or similar) on an existing 40×45 concrete 4” slab. I want the building to be tall enough for 14’ garage doors. Building will be used to store a motor home and tractors and trailers. What is the most cost efficient (but safe and lasting) way to build it- dig holes outside of the existing slab, saw cut the slab and dig holes for the poles, or do stick frame on top of the existing slab? STEVEN in EAGLE CREEK

DEAR STEVEN: Let’s begin by eliminating stick frame as there is no guarantee your existing slab is adequate to support perimeter walls and (more importantly) Code prohibits stud bearing walls tall enough for your overhead doors, as well as truss spans over 36′, without your building being engineered (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/08/stick-frame-and-some-limitations/). Stick frame is also very material inefficient.

I have done concrete saw cutting before and don’t plan upon a repeat performance – leaving digging holes as being easiest, most cost effective and structurally sound design solution. 42′ x 48′ would fit nicely and you could concrete infill areas between splash planks and existing slab with premix.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you sell just the blueprints for a pole barn/ house.

MICHAEL in LAKE PANASOFFKEE

DEAR MICHAEL: We can create your ideal dream floor plan whether you order your building from us or not. Every barndominium Hansen Pole Buildings provides is 100% custom designed to best meet the wants and needs of our clients and their loved ones, please see #3 here to assist in determining needed spaces and approximate sizes, and to have professional floor plans and elevation drawings produced affordably. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2021/02/a-shortlist-for-smooth-barndominium-sailing/
Structural, engineer sealed, plans are only available with your investment in a Hansen Pole Building. This is due to proprietary products specified by our engineers and available only through Hansen Pole Buildings.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello Guru! I’m currently researching the building of a post frame home/workshop/garage. I was looking at getting a construction loan. The bank will finance the purchase of a building kit but they want it to have a foundation footing and wall. I’ve looked at the Sturdi Wall brackets for an anchor system and the laminated 2×6 posts. My question is do you design buildings with foundation walls? Or do you have a better recommendation? Thanks for your help.- JEFF in PORT ORCHARD

DEAR JEFF: We provide many fully engineered post frame buildings using wet set Sturdi-wall plus brackets attached to concrete, block or even ICF foundation walls. Personally (if I was not allowed to do what I feel is a best route – embedded columns) my preference would be wet set brackets in poured concrete piers. If you have a chance, please forward to me your lender’s actual written policy requirements for review, as it may give me some better insights.

 

When Barndominium Batman Light Illuminates

When Barndominium Batman Light Illuminates Dark Sky

Loyal reader MARCO in EDINBURG brought a smile to my face when he wrote:

“*Batman light illuminates dark sky*

Pole barn guru! Help! I am building my pole barn house, Finally. This will be a DIY project with help of friends and family. I will more than likely be building in stages over time. I’d like to start with a 60x 40 hay barn tall enough for two stories, 20 feet maybe? Would I be able to buy plans we can build from off this site? Are DIY plans like that even sold? I see you provide detailed floor plan services and that kits do come with engineered detailed framing plans. We would love to have some plans with the Hansen seal of approval. We have grown to trust your expertise. The information you provide is very much appreciated. We first saw your posts on FB and have spent hours reading on this website. We are not ready to buy or finance an entire house/build but we do have land and are eager to start. Any help would be great. Thanks!”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru advises:

Now I know you are in Texas, where building permits are pretty much a “meh” issue. You are putting your hard earned dollars and lots of sweat equity into this and I want your barndominium to be still standing when a storm of the century sweeps everyone else’s homes out into the Gulf of Mexico (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/11/500-year-storm/).

Let’s start with your “hay barn” concept – when you invest in a roof only hay barn structure, it is designed for Risk Category I loads (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/08/minimum-design-loads-and-risk/). Residential (R-3) requires Risk Category II, effectively designing your home’s probability to last twice as long against climactic conditions. Hay barn design ignores any wind loads against walls – because there are no walls. You also end up with some fairly massive columns due to forces on a purely cantilevered column being four times greater than those of a building with enclosed walls and designed so loads can be transferred from roof to endwall sheeting. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/04/roof-only-pole-buildings/


This should help you with determining an appropriate eave height https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/05/how-tall-should-my-eave-height-be-for-two-stories/

This would be my encouragement and advice to you – start by having professional floor plans and elevation drawings produced.

Some plan tips to consider:

Direction of access – driveways are not cheap and shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

Curb appeal – what will people see when they drive up? This may not be important to you, however someday someone will try to resell your barndominium.

Is there an appealing view?

North-south alignment – place no or few windows on north walls, but lots of windows on south wall (in South reverse this). Roof overhangs on the south wall should provide shade to windows from mid-day summer sun.

Is there a slope on your building site?

Work from inside out – do not try to fit your wants and needs within a pre-ordained box just because someone said using a “standard” size might be cheaper. Differences in dimensions from “standard” are pennies per square foot, not dollars.

Popular home spaces and sizes need to be determined:  https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/09/room-in-a-barndominium/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/09/the-first-tool-to-construct-your-own-barndominium/.

With all of this in mind, order your custom designed floor plans here: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/post-frame-floor-plans/

Order your building shell including second floor from us – even if you have to finance a portion of it. This way you do not have to reinvent a structural wheel (so to speak) and you know everything is going to be engineered appropriate for what your final outcome is to be. Currently you can borrow money at below what real inflation rates are, so it does make sense, should you need to.

Your new building investment includes full multi-page 24” x 36” structural blueprints detailing location and attachment of every piece (as well as suitable for obtaining Building Permits), our industry’s best, fully illustrated, step-by-step installation manual, and unlimited technical support from people who have actually built post frame buildings.

Floor Plans, Spray Foam for Condensation, and a Sill Issue

Today the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about floor plans, adding spray foam to an existing structure for condensation control, and solutions for a sill at 18′ OHD opening.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What do you charge to take my floor plan and send me engineered drawings? SHANNON in JONESBOROUGH

DEAR SHANNON: We only furnish engineer sealed plans and verifying calculations with your investment in a new Hansen Pole Building. If you just need professionally done floor plans, please check this out: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/post-frame-floor-plans/?fbclid=IwAR2ta5IFSxrltv5eAyBVmg-JUsoPfy9hbWtP86svOTPfG1q5pGmfhA7yd5Q

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello! I have recently purchased a pole building that is not insulated & It does not have the vapor barrier/plastic installed between the wood framing and the sheet metal. We would like to insulate this building. We are thinking spray foam because I have heard you can apply it directly to the steel. Do we have any other options for insulating this? Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you!! KRYSTA in SPOKANE

DEAR KRYSTA: If it has no sort of condensation control between roof framing and roof steel then two inches of closed cell should be sprayed to underside of roof steel to control condensation. If your roof trusses are designed to support a ceiling, then install one and blow in R-60 fiberglass on top of it, ventilating the dead attic space appropriately.

For your walls, you can use rock wool insulation batts, completely filling wall cavity, with a well-sealed vapor barrier on interior face.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I need to pour a concrete sill at the 18’ wide entry to my pole shed in South central Wisconsin. The interior of shed is compacted crushed limestone, the apron leading up to it will be asphalt so a concrete sill seems like a good idea to protect asphalt edge. I can’t find any advice online so I hope you can help me out with your expert thoughts. First, good idea? Second, thickness. It would be about 12” wide. The base is 30 years old, thick and well compacted. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time. JAPH in WISCONSIN

DEAR JAPH: My concern would be possible frost heave of a concrete sill. I would probably excavate outside my building so top of asphalt and top of interior compacted crushed limestone were at same grade and call it good. Takes away possible heave of concrete and saves cost of concrete.

 

A Shortlist for Smooth Barndominium Sailing

Every builder worth his or her salt is busy right now – there is a far greater demand for builders, than there are builders to fill needs. This makes builder’s time extremely valuable. There are some things you can do to make for smooth sailing when shopping for and/or dealing with contractors.

#1 Have a realistic budget – fully engineered post frame, PEMB and weld up barndominiums CAN be more affordable than stick frame. But, they are not going to be 10-50% less. Think about it – your only differences are in structural systems, all of your electrical, plumbing, HVAC, insulation, interior finishes, fixtures, cabinets, floor coverings, etc., are going to be identical investments no matter what structural system is chosen.

Outside of land costs and bringing utilities to your site, you are simply not going to build a barndominium with 2000 square feet of living space for $100k turnkey (and unlikely to reach this even if you DIY absolutely everything).

This will help you to determine a budget: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/07/how-much-will-my-barndominium-cost/

#2 Have a place to build. If you do not ‘own the dirt’ you have no business burning a builder’s time.

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/08/a-place-for-a-post-frame-barndominium/

https://hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/08/see-your-new-barndominium-here/

Floor Plan#3 Have professional floor plans and elevation drawings done before pestering a builder. Very few builders are professional designers or architects – expecting them to be is unrealistic.

If you do not own the dirt, it is impossible to craft a barndominium plan to best fit with your building site.

Some plan tips to consider:

Direction of access – driveways are not cheap and shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

Curb appeal – what will people see when they drive up? This may not be important to you, however some day someone will try to resell your barndominium.

Is there an appealing view?

North-south alignment – place no or few windows on north walls, but lots of windows on south wall (in the South reverse this). Roof overhangs on south wall should provide shade to windows from mid-day summer sun.

Is there a slope on your building site?

Work from inside out – do not try to fit your wants and needs within a pre-ordained box just because someone said using a “standard” size might be cheaper. Differences in dimensions from “standard” are pennies per square foot, not dollars.

Popular home spaces and sizes need to be determined:  https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/09/room-in-a-barndominium/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/09/the-first-tool-to-construct-your-own-barndominium/.

With all of this in mind, order your custom designed floor plans here: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/post-frame-floor-plans/ 

#4 Determine if you are going to act as your own General Contractor, or hire it done (being your own General Contractor saves roughly 25%).

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/02/does-my-barndominium-need-a-turn-key-general-contractor/

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/11/a-contractor-for-your-new-barndominium/

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/11/a-contractor-for-your-barndominium-part-ii/

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/11/a-contractor-for-your-barndominium-part-iii/

Need a Building Erector? https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/find-a-builder/

#5 If needed, arrange financing:

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/06/things-to-complete-before-going-to-a-barndominium-lender/

Lender telling you a General Contractor must be involved? Our lenders understand DIYers:

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/financing/

#6 Select a Structural Building System

https://hansenpolebuildings.com/2022/01/why-your-new-barndominium-should-be-post-frame/

#7 To obtain a successful and happy outcome, do lots of reading and research. An informed barndominium owner is a happy one!

Shouse Dimensions, UK Plans, and Chance of Tear-out

Kicking off 2021 Mike answers reader questions about standard dimensions of a shouse, pole barn plans in the UK, and the chances a building official will force buyer of a converted building to remove non-permitted work.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Was wondering if there are standard lengths/widths, such as 30 x 40 vs 36 x 40, and if so is the cost difference significant? I have trying to send you a pic to show what we are going for. We want the garage doors on the side though. We are thinking 30 x 40 for garage and 30 x 50 for the house. 10’ sidewalls. JENNY in BARBOURVILLE


DEAR JENNY: In our case every building we provide is 100% custom and we encourage our clients to work from what fits their wants, needs and family, putting a box around it – rather than trying to fit your life into a stranger’s box. With this said, multiples of six feet in width and length usually result in your most economical dimensions. By economical I am talking about saving pennies per square foot, rather than dollars. As buildings approach being closer to square they also become slightly less per square foot, as you have less exterior wall surface. When homes become long and narrow they also tend to ‘grow’ hallways – more space to clean and not truly be able to use. My own shouse, as an example has a roughly 84′ x 60′ footprint and 8000 finished square feet. We have one hallway and it is less than 10 feet long.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello,

We are struggling to find anyone in the UK who can offer us plans for a pole barn. I’ve attached a sketch of our plan – a 24m x 14m barn, with 22 degree roof angle, fibre cement roof, stockwalling to 1.8m then space boarding of 2.5m (total eaves height of 4.3m).

Do you offer a service where we could pay for a set of technical drawings for this barn at all please?

Many thanks,

BECKY in THORPENESS, LEISTON, SUFFOLK, ENGLAND

DEAR BECKY: I have reached out to a third party engineer who provides many of our client’s engineer sealed plans and calculations. He will be in direct contact with you to assist with your project.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, we bought property that has a pole barn construction on it of 60×20 with a metal roof. The previous owner Poured a slab, framed it all in with 2×6, installed insulation, put in an electrical panel, wired it with lights and outlets, dry walled it all in and sided it, and put in toilets, showers, washer dryer hookups and water heater. The floor is still just cement and the metal roof has no venting. He did all this about eight years after pole barn was originally constructed and did it without permits. We need to get plans and permits to finish. What are your thoughts for possible problems and cost? Wondering if the county will make us pull of dry wall to look at framing and wiring? Thanks for any insight. CHRIS in HOODSPORT

DEAR CHRIS: Potentially you could be in for all sorts of challenges, as building departments frown on work done, but not permitted. I would recommend you invest in services of a good architectural/engineering firm. You might try reaching out to www.tse-aep.com as they are NFBA (National Frame Building Association) members in your region and should be able to provide assistance.

 

 

How a Realtor Can Participate With Post-frame Barndominiums

Reader (and Realtor) JIM in NEW PALISTINE writes:

“How can I participate in the post-frame industry as a Realtor?   How do people develop their custom residential interior designs?   How are residential pole barn projects coordinated A-Z?

Okay, that was three.  Can you help me, please?”


Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

Post frame construction generally flies ‘under the radar’ as a design solution. Few people realize our industry is a multi-billion dollar a year one just in our country. Post frame offers affordable and unique design solutions for virtually any low rise building. Low rise being defined as up to and including three stories above grade with a maximum of 40 foot sidewalls (add a floor and 10 feet if equipped with fire suppression sprinklers). Modern fully engineered post frame buildings have moved off farms and are seen everywhere (often without people realizing they are post frame). Commercial buildings, strip malls, retail establishments, restaurants, fire houses, schools, churches and yes homes are all being designed and built as post frame.

How to best participate? Become an expert and let people know you are one – put it on your website, business cards, any promotional literature or videos. Residential post frame construction is evolving rapidly as people want to leave cities and flee to low tax, less governmental intervention regions of our nation – bringing forth a rise in what are affectionately known as barndominiums. Post frame homes are most often steel sided and roofed as this presents your most cost effective and durable option. However any types of siding and roofing may be utilized. Be on your lookout for rural properties where people can build on anything from a large lot to multiple acres, as there are plenty of folks looking for these parcels.

Post frame homes are less expensive to erect than stick frame, primarily due to foundation savings. For those willing and able to DIY some or all, these savings multiply. Having clients with a realistic expectation of investment certainly is a starting point: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/07/how-much-will-my-barndominium-cost/

Before getting crazy over floor plans is where you play a huge part: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/08/a-place-for-a-post-frame-barndominium/

Done right, barndominium interior designs begin with clients doing a bit of homework on their own to determine what spaces best meet with their needs as well as how big those spaces should be https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/09/room-in-a-barndominium/ and 

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/09/the-first-tool-to-construct-your-own-barndominium/.

Only after land has been acquired and homework done, should floor plans be developed: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/post-frame-floor-plans/?fbclid=IwAR2ta5IFSxrltv5eAyBVmg-JUsoPfy9hbWtP86svOTPfG1q5pGmfhA7yd5Q

Processes for residential pole barns projects follow an identical path to stick frame, they just have building shells more quickly assembled.

To best participate, I would recommend you try to team with a General Contractor (or more than one) who is willing to embrace post frame construction as well as to work with clients who want to do some DIY work.

Post Rot Concerns, Floor Plan Adaptation, and a Net Zero House

This Monday the Guru answers questions about post rot due to pouring quickcrete below the posts, adapting post frame to floor plans, and running plumbing and electrical a super insulated post frame house.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I just got done building a pole barn. A task that’s a lot harder than I thought. My question is about a concrete collar I poured around the post. I used one bag of quickcrete but instead of pouring it at the bottom of the post I poured it about 6”- 12” below surface. Will this cause any rot on the poles? HEATH in NEW BOSTON
Photos: https://hansenpolebuildings.com/uploads/polebarnquestions/080c46220747e1ab736046782d778c94.png

DEAR HEATH: As long as your building’s embedded columns are rated to UC-4B it is unlikely to contribute to premature decay. I would question reliance upon a single bag of premix to resist overturning, uplift and settlement. In most cases I would expect column embedment to be holes entirely backfilled with concrete – however you should refer to your building’s engineer sealed plans and adhere to, or exceed their requirements.

Some of your building erection challenge could be due to lack of stability from minimal concrete in holes.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can your pole barn customs designs be adapted to this floor plan? https://www.eplans.com/plan/2720-square-feet-3-bedroom-2-50-bathroom-0-garage-sp166418 (cut and paste into your browser, you will see the plans by scrolling down) Thank you! LISA in SANTA ROSA BEACH

DEAR LISA: This is a fairly popular floor plan and is easily adapted for post frame construction (as are most floor plans). You can have dimensions adjusted for length, width or height to best fit your family’s wants and needs. One of our Building Designers will be reaching out to you shortly.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am interested in building a super insulated, possibly net zero, post frame house. I am intrigued by the wall construction proposed by the Barn Guru in this post: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/01/net-zero-post-frame-homes/

However, I am baffled by how the plumbing and particularly the electrical would be run. Would you rout out the rigid foam board for the junction boxes? If so, would they be attached to the girts or would the rigid foam board be their only support? I assume you would tape and seal around and in the box for air infiltration. Or are you just forgoing electrical outlets in the exterior walls all together? Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks. DAVID in ANN ARBOR

DEAR DAVID: Ideally you always want to avoid plumbing in exterior walls in any cooler climate. The fewer holes through the rigid insulation the better, as it leaves fewer points to be taped and sealed. Switch and outlet boxes vary in depth from 1-1/2 to 3-1/2″ inches. If you can find the deeper ones, you can screw them onto wall girts or columns. Old work boxes do not work because the screws are not long enough to allow their retention tabs to reach the inside of the rigid insulation.

Floor Plan Ideas, An “L” Shaped Building, and Floor Insulation

This Monday the Pole barn Guru answers questions about floor plan ideas for a monitor style building, plans for a “Zen Den” or “Party Barn” in an L shape, and whether or not it is worth adding reflective radian barrier under slab.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, I am wondering if you have any floor plan ideas for a monitor style pole barn home for 4/5 bedrooms? I am running into a wall trying to create one and can’t find many online. I have 1 friend who recently bought a kit from you with a usable upstairs area and that is something that I’m definitely interested in. I believe her plan was 48×50. Any info would be extremely helpful. Thank you! NATE in PEYTON

Hansen Pole Buildings GuesthouseDEAR NATE: Your friend happens to be one of my most favorite clients – they have been an absolute joy to work with. One beauty of post frame buildings is an broad adaptability to interior layouts. With a monitor style of these dimensions, you could easily have as much as 3600 square feet of floor space. For creating ideal floor plans, here are some tips:
Plan tips – consider these factors:

Direction of access (you don’t want to have to drive around your house to get to garage doors)

‘Curb appeal’ – what will people see as they drive up?
Any views?
North-south alignment – place no or few windows on north wall, lots on south wall

Overhang on south wall to shade windows from mid-day summer sun If your AC bill is far greater than your heating bill, reverse this and omit or minimize north overhangs.

Slope of site

Work from inside out – do not try to fit what you need within a pre-ordained box just because someone said using a “standard” size might be cheaper. Differences in dimensions from “standard” are pennies per square foot, not dollars.

Use the links in this article to assist with determining needed spaces, sizes and how to get expertly crafted floor plans and elevation drawings https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/10/show-me-your-barndominium-plans-please/

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We are considering building a “zen den” or “party barn” scenario in our backyard. I have sketched a L shaped scenario that would be perfect for our needs. Is it possible for you all to do L shaped custom? How do I get started? We don’t want to mortgage the house for this thing 🙂 CHRISTY in NASHVILLE

Hansen Buildings TaglineDEAR CHRISTY: Our oldest daughter happens to be the Midwest version of a neighbor to you (here in South Dakota anything under 100 miles is a neighbor LOL) – she is a very successful professional Walking Horse trainer in Shelbyville!

Every building provided by Hansen Pole Buildings is entirely 100% custom – designed to best fit wants and needs of our clients. Whether L, T, Y or U shaped, your only limitations are your imagination and available space. One of our Building Designers will be reaching out to you for more information, or you can email your ideas to caleb@hansenpolebuildings.com or dial (866)200-9657 (please include your site address and best contact phone number if you do).

 

slab edge insulationDEAR POLE BARN GURU: Going to have floor poured in 40×40 pole barn, the barn will be well insulated. My question is putting radiant barrier under floor help at all with losing heat and cold coming through the floor will not be heated be an overhead shop heater. Walls will be r30 and ceiling is roughly r50, or is it a waste of money? Thank you. SHANE in FOSTORIA

DEAR SHANE: A reflective radiant barrier under your slab will not make any appreciable difference. You would be money better spent to use two foot of rigid R-10 insulation vertically below your sidewall steel base trim and backfill it on both sides.

 

 

Insulation, Spray Foam Issues, and Floor Plans

Lets close out the week with a fifth installment of The Pole Barn Guru. Today he’ll answer questions about the best insulation for a building with steel roofing over a vapor barrier over plywood, potential issues installing spray foam, and a request for a floor plan example– we now have a third party provider of interior floor plans!

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My barn has metal roofing over a vapor barrier over plywood. How can I best insulate the ceiling if I want to keep the slope and not enclose it into an attic space? DARCY in TURNER

DEAR DARCY: Closed cell spray foam insulation between your purlins is really your only choice, as any other method requires venting from eave to ridge above the insulation layer. You can expect somewhere close to R-7 per inch. First inch should be roughly $1.30 per square foot, with 70 cents per square foot for each additional inch.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am thinking of spray foaming my steel pole building, have you heard of any issues? Thanks TOM in LINO LAKES

DEAR TOM: In a not too long ago addition to our home, as well as Hansen Pole Buildings’ Productions Building warehouse, we applied closed cell spray foam directly to steel panels with excellent results. You can read more here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/04/spray-foam-insulation-3/. You do have to protect interior spray foam surfaces from flame and make sure your installer is experienced and well trained to avoid potential issues with stink from a poor installation.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you have a floor plan example for model #08-0602 LORRIE in CLARKSDALE

Prefab pole barn cabin

DEAR LORRIE: We provide only the structural portion of most of our buildings, so do not have a floor plan for this particular building. You can have a floor plan custom designed for this particular building while best fitting your wants and needs via this link:  http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/post-frame-floor-plans/?fbclid=IwAR2ta5IFSxrltv5eAyBVmg-JUsoPfy9hbWtP86svOTPfG1q5pGmfhA7yd5Q

 

Searching for a Builder Embracing Hansen Building’s System

Loyal reader RUSS in PIPERSVILLE writes:

“We are in the process of having our floor plans and elevations done by Greg Hale. A pleasure to work with by the way. I’m wondering if you have any experience with pole frame builders in the east shore area of Maryland? We really want to purchase our building package from your company but it seems like all of the builders listed around that area are complete build companies only. None that I have seen offer stamped engineered drawings for the buildings and don’t want to use outside materials. I fear that I may not be able to find a builder that embraces the “Hansen” approach to building. Any help would be appreciated.”

For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, Hansen Pole Buildings offers an affordable (or even free) service to provide you with floor plans and building elevations crafted totally to best meet your wants and needs. For more information on this service, please visit: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/post-frame-floor-plans/?fbclid=IwAR2ta5IFSxrltv5eAyBVmg-JUsoPfy9hbWtP86svOTPfG1q5pGmfhA7yd5Q

Glad you are enjoying your experience with Greg, it has proven to be an extremely popular service for our clients.

Hansen Buildings Construction ManualOur buildings are designed for average physically capable person(s) who can and will read instructions to successfully construct their own beautiful buildings (and many of our clients do DIY). Our buildings come with full 24” x 36” blueprints detailing locations 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 post frame buildings. We have found those who DIY almost universally end up with a better finished building than any contractor will build for them (because you will actually follow plans and read directions, and not take ‘shortcuts’ in an attempt to squeeze out a few extra dollars of profit). We’ve even had couples in their 80s assemble our buildings!

For those without time or inclination, we have an extensive independent Builder Network covering the contiguous 48 states. Your Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer can assist you in getting erection labor pricing as well as introducing you to potential builders.

Monitor Style, Cost to Build a Floor Plan, and Adding OHD Openers

This Monday the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about the possibility of an open floor plan Monitor style building, what the costs of building s specific floor plan might be, as well advice on adding overhead door operators to a building.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can you design a truss system for a monitor style building that has a complete open floor plan. 50 Ft front x 40 Ft depth. RON in SANGER

Monitor Barn Interior

DEAR RON: Absolutely. My first one was about 25 years ago, when I was a post frame builder. It was not near this wide, but I have since been involved in many others, both lesser and greater in width.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How much would it cost to build this? I do not two RV doors. Can go with a smaller or shorter door on one side only. We would like it plumbed for sinks and showers ect but do not need to include the sinks, shower, toilet, cabinets ect. Just the walls. REBECCA in OLYMPIA

 

DEAR REBECCA: To some extent it will depend upon how you run rooflines. I would be inclined to recommend your garage area be 20’ x 42’ with a ridge line running front to back (peak gable end above where you show an RV door) with a 15’ eave height. For your living area, I would put a gable on your far right with ridgeline running towards garage area.

Other than rough-in for plumbing, you can probably safely budget $25-30 per square foot erected including a slab on grade. To get exact pricing of your building shell and discuss options, please reach out to a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer at 1(866)200-9657.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m considering purchasing a home that has a pole building with two overhead garage doors that never had openers installed. One of the doors is very high- for RV clearance. There doesn’t look like much structure above to hang them from. What would be the best way to do that or is there other opener alternatives? DAVID in WESTMINSTER

DEAR DAVID: You have stumbled upon one of my pet peeves – when sectional overhead garage doors are sold without openers. Let’s face it, almost every garage door truly should have one. It does not take much to hang an opener, should you purchase I would recommend you contact two or three of your local garage door installation companies to take a look at your building and provide a quote for openers and installation.

 

Plans Only? Moisture Barriers? and Two Story Houses?

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers questions about “plans only” purchases, proper use of moisture barriers when adding insulation to an existing building, as well as the possibility or building a two story post frame house.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you offer just the plans? I own a sawmill and would like to mill my own lumber for my project. With the exception of the trusses. I can also source the metal roofing locally. THERON in WALDEN

Engineer sealed pole barnDEAR THERON: Thank you for your inquiry.

We are unable to provide just plans as it becomes a liability issue for our engineers – it takes away insuring materials specified actually end up being delivered to your building site.

 

There are also issues with attempting to use home milled lumber: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/01/free-home-milled-lumber/

As an example, in sourcing your own metal roofing locally, even if steel quality was equivalent, they will not be able to provide powder coated diaphragm screws to attach it.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Purchased property with existing fairly new pole barn. Question is regarding wall insulation. Some installers say use double backed 6 inch glass rolls insulation under my drywall. Then I spoke with another & he says mandatory to spray closed cell foam or condition will ruin insulation…..there is no vapor barrier wrap on outside. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, DAN in GRANBURY

DEAR DAN: You should have some sort of barrier between wall framing and wall steel to prevent condensation within the wall cavity. Wall cavity moisture can lead to a plethora of challenges – premature rusting of steel siding, rot, mold and mildew on wood framing and lack of performance of fiberglass insulation.

 

You could remove wall steel and add a Weather Resistant Barrier (highly labor intensive and things never go back together as well as they were originally assembled), or do a two inch coating of closed cell spray foam, then use fiberglass inside of it.

Here is my Ultimate Guide to Post Frame Building Insulation: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/11/post-frame-building-insulation/

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi there! I was wondering if y’all do two story residential pole houses? Second question, if I sent you guys a rough sketch of a blue print would you guys be able to give me an estimate off of that? (with included trim choices and such)

Thank you! MAX

Gambrel roof pole barnDEAR MAX: I happen to live in a two story post frame shouse (shop/house) with a partial third story. Back in the great state of Washington, I also have a three story post frame building with roof top deck! We can provide any low rise building with up to 40 foot tall walls and three floors (or 50 feet and four floors with sprinklers).

 

Send us what you have and chances are very good we can get you an estimate from it (we might want to ask you a few questions about what you intend to build).

 

Floor Plans, Pressure Treated Posts, and Temperature Control

Today’s Pole Barn Guru discusses floor plans, pressure treated posts, and temperature control in an insulated pole barn.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am retiring from the Navy and moving to Knoxville TN. We are looking at land to purchase and home floor plans for our “dream” house. I have read some about pole barns and home use. My real question is can a pole barn be made to look more like a “traditional” farmhouse? These are the types of homes we like. And I have not seen many pole bars that end up looking like this. Is this or close to this possible?

Thanks, JOHN in KNOXVILLE


DEAR JOHN: You are moving to one of my favorite areas – my oldest son and his daughter lived in Maryville for many years and we built a post frame garage with an in-law apartment above it in their back yard.
Post frame (pole barn) buildings can be made to look like any type of layout, even your “traditional” farm house. As you get closer to your move, please call and discuss your project with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer at 1(866)200-9657.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My pressure treated poles have started to rot at ground level after only five years. The barn is built on clay. Posts are six feet in the ground. I am thinking I should get to cutting the posts above the rot, stitching steel angle to the posts and then pouring a pad underneath. I’m concerned that this will mean a really big pad though, which would obviously cancel out the reason for this method of construction. Any tips or can you point me to a past forum thread please?

Many thanks, PAUL in BRIGHTON

DEAR PAUL: Your pressure treated poles are starting to rot at ground level most likely because they came from a provider who did not sell you material with an adequate level of treatment (UC-4B). Most big box stores and lumberyards sadly do not inventory properly pressure preservative treated timbers (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/building-code-3/).

Building upon clay only contributes to your issues, as it should have been removed prior to construction (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/06/post-frame-construction-on-clay-soils/).

You should engaged services of a Registered Professional Engineer who can adequately design a concrete footing adequate to support your building against wind and snow loads, while being deep enough to prevent frost heave issues. A simple angle iron will not be enough to handle uplift or overturning, however your engineer might utilize a wet set anchor such as these: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/05/sturdi-wall-plus-concrete-brackets/.

This is not a place where you want to seat of your pants engineer a solution – only to end up with yet another failure.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I recently put up a pole barn, 15 inches of blown in insulation in the ceiling, walls are 1.5 foam spray, then R13 bat over that. The building is 54 x 36. An insulated overhead door, walk in door, and 4 2 x 3 windows. I recently put the epoxy garage 20 x floor paint (epoxy ) on the floor. when it’s completely closed up , and you go in it, It’s very cool in normal 80 degree temps outside. it stays cool, for awhile, and nothing to shade the building. After awhile it’s not cool, after the buildings been open awhile. My guess is because no humidity is getting in the pole barn, is why it’s so cool, am I correct, and do you see any problems from what I have said? RON in DANVILLE

DEAR RON: Your building is cool when it has been closed up due to temperature of soil being roughly 55 degrees F. where it cannot be affected by direct sunlight or frost. This same temperature is transmitted through your building’s concrete floor. Once you open your building’s doors, outside and inside air temperatures will try to equalize.

 

 

Ridge Cap Replacement, Floor Plans, and Pole Barn Pics

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: My poly ridge cap needs to be replaced because it was leaking due to cracks. I want to replace it with a metal ridge cap. The purlins spacing specified for a poly ridge seems to be a little too far apart for supporting a metal ridge cap. Is this going to be an issue? Do I need to add more purling for additional support. JOHN in SUMMERFIELD

DEAR JOHN: A good quality steel ridge cap (one with several small bends on each side of the peak) should be sufficiently strong to span across the distance. You will want to make certain to attach the ridge cap to each high rib of the roof steel with stitch screws so you do not have any buckling issues.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you have floor plans? TALLY in PORCUPINE

Engineer sealed pole barnDEAR TALLY: Yes, however they all look the same – an outline of the perimeter of the building. What we provide are the engineered plans and materials for the structural portions of your building, the parts which hold it up against climactic conditions like wind, rain, snow and seismic occurances. Unless asked for specifically (or for cases such as supporting multiple floors) post frame buildings are open clearspans. This allows for nonstructural interior walls to be placed wherever is most convenient for your use. The beauty of this is – you can always reposition a wall at a later date, without structurally compromising your building.

 

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Where can I see many pictures of pole barn homes? JAMES in FLAGSTAFF

Prefab pole barn cabinJAMES: Not to sound snarky – but anywhere. Since post frame (pole barn) buildings can be sided and roofed with any materials, there is really not practical way to tell the difference between a stick built and a post frame building without getting up close and personal to the building. Look online or at any book of house plans, any one of these could very well be a post frame building. Home shows, open houses, and driving through virtually any suburban American neighborhood will give a plethora of examples of what post frame can do for you.

 

 

 

Pole Building House Plans

It seems more and more people are looking towards pole buildings for their new homes. We have clients asking us nearly every day, if they can “see” the available floor plans we have for pole building houses.

Post Frame HomeUnlike typical residential “plan mills” or most ‘modern’ builders, we do not have a set list of house plans at our fingertips. We much rather prefer each of our clients develop their own floor plan, based upon what fits best with their particular needs – then “wrap” the pole building shell around where the future rooms will be.

If this task sounds daunting, don’t let it be – all it takes is a little thought on your part. Your pole building home is going to be where you live for many years, possibly the balance of your lifetime. Give thought to what your needs are today, as well as into the future, and you can have a design which will keep you satisfied for years to come.

Things to consider include room orientation. If the site has a view, face the most “lived in” spaces towards the view. For most families this would include the master bedroom, kitchen and family rooms.

Think about the future, while most of us are fairly spry when our children are young, do we really want to be making repeated trips up and down stairs to a second floor or basement at retirement age?

Minimization of steps is huge, so give thought as to how to reduce them and keep things convenient. Try to avoid having to walk through one room to reach another, and keep any hallways short. With an attached garage, keep the distance from it to the kitchen as short as possible, and on a direct route. Detached or no garage? Have an entry way nearby between parking areas and kitchen. Carrying groceries long distances becomes tedious quickly.

Eating areas should be incorporated into the kitchen. Large well planned kitchens are a plus, and islands are quite popular. Draw a triangle between sink, range and refrigerator. The three legs of the triangle should be no greater than 22 feet and the dishwasher should be along one of the legs (and next to the sink). Two dishwashers and two microwaves are very handy – seriously, once you have experienced it, there is no going back, you will be hooked. Islands should be 42 to 48 inches from any counter, and there should be at least three feet of counter between a refrigerator and the sink. If at all possible, incorporate a pantry into your plans.

Formal dining rooms are pretty much a thing of the past (along with living rooms and foyers), but if there is to be one, it should be adjacent to the kitchen as well.

Family rooms are exactly what they sound like – where the family gathers. Allocate 200 or more square feet here. Being adjacent or open to the kitchen is becoming increasingly popular.

Laundry rooms should be planned to be convenient to either the bedrooms, or the kitchen. Locating them in an attached garage, or on a different floor makes the task of doing the wash not nearly as enjoyable or practical. Consider if you want the laundry room to double as a mud room as well.

There should be a coat, boot, glove, umbrella, etc., closet located nearby any door to the outside world.

All bedrooms should be either close to, or have a bathroom attached.

Large master bedrooms are wonderful and chances are good most couples will spend a fair amount of time in them (easily over 1/3rd of your life). Consider room for a couch or love seat, to watch TV or read. Space for a desk or your favorite exercise equipment? Walk in closets and spacious bathrooms make for an inviting master suite.

With secondary bedrooms, I usually recommend keeping them as small as possible, if you have children, they grow up quickly and face it – they never want to hang out in their rooms anyhow. Plan on about 100 square feet, plus a good sized closet (should be at least two feet deep by six to eight feet long). Well planned closets also make for good sound barriers to adjacent rooms (think the master bedroom). Secondary/guest bathrooms can be about five by seven feet.

Plumbing costs are reduced by having bathrooms and laundry rooms close or adjacent to each other, or if on multiple levels, stacking them.

From this outline, consider how much space is ideally needed for each room. Which rooms need to be located next to which and draw a box around the rooms. Use grid paper and make cut-outs of every room – move them around on a table until it you feel the flow of the rooms and consider all options. Voila! You now have “YOUR” house plans! The nice thing about a pole building framework – none of the interior walls are “structural”. As kids grow up and leave home, you can move interior walls and combine kids’ rooms into a den or larger family room. You have the greatest potential to get your dream home…with a pole building!

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