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Exciting Times for Post Frame Construction

Exciting Times for Post Frame Construction

Welcome to 2020!

My fifth decade of post frame buildings and I could not be more excited.

Pole Barn Guru Blog40 years ago today if you would have told me I was going to embark in an exciting career in post frame buildings I would have looked at you quizzically – and then asked what a post frame building was!

Now I realize 40 years is greater than a lifetime for many of you readers. Or, if you had arrived on this planet, you might have not yet been school aged even! A few of you may look upon me as being ancient. Trust me I know ancient –  probably 20 years ago my son (in all seriousness) asked me what it was like watching space aliens build the Great Pyramid!

 I have no qualms about being 62 years old – and am still excited to see what each new day will bring.

Well, back on task, if you would have told me a post frame building was a pole barn, at least I would have heard about them.

I had migrated from Northern Idaho to Oregon late summer of 1979, when home mortgage rates topped 10% and home loans were no longer available there due to a state mandated cap on interest rates. By January 1980, interest rate issues brought housing starts in Oregon to a screeching halt as well.

 My truss plant typically produced eight to 10 buildings worth of trusses a day. In January 1980 we had only four orders in an entire month! Not good – however there was a single common denominator among those four orders, they were all for pole barn trusses. I didn’t have the slightest idea what a pole barn really was, but it was time to find out. Long time pole barn builder George Evanovich allowed me to pick his brain and I was an apt student!

Frankly (knowing what I know now) these buildings were not very good. I suppose they do resemble some buildings I see people buy from their local lumberyards – a great price and not much else! At least I established quickly a firm policy of always supplying all materials to assemble a building. It might not have been much of a building, but it was all there.

Virtually every building 40 years ago was nothing more than a barn. Very few ever required building permits and if they did, engineer sealed truss drawings usually got a permit acquired!

Technology has changed our everyday lives. I grew up actually dialing a rotary phone! These same technologies allow us today to structurally design intricate post frame buildings for virtually any use – with walls up to 40 feet in height and three stories high (add 10 feet and another story for sprinklers).

True residential construction, not just a garage or shop out back, is becoming a driving growth force for post frame buildings. Today’s post frame homes (also known as barndominiums and shouses) are quickly becoming our business core. They can be erected quickly, even by DIYers, are more cost effective than any other Building Code conforming permanent structure and can meet exacting demands of energy efficiency.

Ready for your new building? Think no further than post frame construction. Call Hansen Buildings at 866-200-9657 and talk to a Building Designer today!

Pole Barn Economy of Scale

When building a pole barn, economy of scale can be your ally. Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer Doug passed along to me this message from a client of his: “The last quote was for a 45′ x 42′ building with 2 garage doors and one person door. The new quote was for a 18′ x 42′ building with one garage door and one personnel door. So the new building is 60% smaller with one less door but costs 50% of the larger building rather than 40%?”

When it comes to the costs of a new post frame building (as well as most any other building system) there exists an economy of scale.

For practical purposes, the “cost” of a new building is your decision to have a new building at all. Once you have made this leap – you might as well put the four corners as far apart as you can economically justify and have the space for.

Until very large clearspans are achieved, the price per square foot of space enclosed decreases as the footprint of the building increases.

Why is this?

Several reasons:

  • The cost of processing an order by us and our vendors is virtually the same whether there are 10 pieces or 1000 pieces;
  • Packaging costs – the cost of packaging a large order isn’t much more than a small order;
  • Shipping – the moment a key gets close to a truck the dollar signs begin to spin. Having owned semi-trucks myself, I can vouch for it being as expensive to run the truck with a small order as it is a large order.

This is going to hold true for hiring a contractor as well. When I was building, it didn’t take much longer to erect a 50 x 60 building, than 30 x 60. Only usually four more holes to dig and columns to set, same number of trusses, a few more purlins and roof screws, 14 more sheets of wall steel. My mobilization costs (getting all of my tools and crew to the jobsite) were the same regardless of the size of the building.

Want to get the most bang for your post frame building investment?

As was said in the 1999 Disney TV move Johnny Tsunami, “Go big or go home”!

2017 Architecture Awards

Hansen Pole Buildings, LLC has been nominated for BUILD News’ 2017 Architecture Awards. Pretty heady stuff, however it seems after 15 years of promoting building excellence and delivering “The Ultimate Post Frame Building Experience™”, our hard work and due diligence is paying off.

From BUILD News:

Engineer sealed pole barnShaping the built environment is a tough challenge for anyone, and the architects, designers and innovators across the architecture market have an important role to play in transforming the way we see the world. BUILD News has been spurred on by the success of last years’ awards, and again is looking to recognize only the best this incredible and expansive industry has to offer.

The 2017 Architecture Awards have been put in place to highlight the amazing work done by the talented designers, artists and visionaries whose talent and innovation have created talking points which will span generations.

Geography and business size are not a consideration in nominations; Build News ,https://www.build-news.com/2017-architecture-awards-2017-f55a  only wants the very best of the best, no matter whether they are a sole trader in a small town or a multinational corporation with offices in the world’s largest cities. It is not just architects who are eligible for the program. Everyone involved in the industry can be a possible participant, from architectural technologists, products suppliers, software developers and more. Only excellence is important.

BUILD News opened their voting form globally at the beginning of February and invited our 110,000 worldwide subscribers to nominate and circulate voting details. All nominees via the voting form are contacted to ask permission to continue to the research and judging phases.

All the candidates which have been nominated for the program have either been put forward by BUILD News (these tend to be firms they have worked with or profiled recently), or via a third party via their online voting form.

The Architecture Awards are judged by the highly experienced BUILD News panel. It consists of an international, multi-lingual collective of individuals, with backgrounds from a myriad of fields such as business, media, journalism, history and European languages. The panel is led by a veteran academic leader with international pedagogic & coaching experience who is well versed in research, fact-checking and mediation; allowing the panel to operate with efficacy and dependability.

Whether Hansen Buildings “wins” the award or not, there is pride and satisfaction in just being nominated.  Every single day we continue to strive for “the ultimate post frame experience”.

 

Dear Guru: Have You Used SIPs?

Welcome to Ask the Pole Barn Guru – where you can ask questions about building topics, with answers posted on Mondays.  With many questions to answer, please be patient to watch for yours to come up on a future Monday segment.  If you want a quick answer, please be sure to answer with a “reply-able” email address.

Email all questions to: PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com

 DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do you have any experience with SIPs? Would it be possible to construct a pole frame building with SIP panels for the roof and floor joists across the top of the building? This would create a full width storage area above without trusses. Matt in Coeur d’Alene, ID

DEAR MATT: I’ve actually never used SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) personally, however I’ve been researching them and their application to pole building frames over the past few months as I believe they may have some applications.

For those unfamiliar with SIPs, they are structural facing material (think oriented strand board – OSB or plywood) with a foam core.

Using SIPs is probably not for the faint of pocketbook. Much of the cost, like a new pole building to begin with, is deciding you are going to do it at all. Once you have made the leap, you might as well go all the way. An R-16 SIP is going to run $4 to $4.50 per square foot, while TRIPLING the R-value only adds about $1.50 per square foot.

A SIP wall will offer about twice the R-value as an equally thick stud framed wall with fiberglass batt insulation.

The higher R-value SIP is also going to be able to span greater distances, however the thickness is going to have to be considered. I would surmise a fairly thick SIP panel would span 12 feet between supports under the majority of wind and snow load conditions. This is not going to eliminate the need for trusses, or other beams being required to support the SIPs, albeit without the need to have wall girts or roof purlins!

SIP panels of other than minimal dimensions are going to be heavy and will require lifting equipment. They also cannot be left exposed to the elements and require the use of appropriate underlayment between the panels and roofing and siding materials.

Let me know if you go this direction and how it works out for you.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU:   I would like to know if you’re interested in building my new building?  I have the prints and need a quote.  I want r38 in ceiling and R19 in the walls.  Let me know?  I am attaching the plans.  I am in the process of getting quotes for a heating and air system, if you want to quote that I am open to your thoughts. SHERRY IN MITCHELL, IN

DEAR SHERRY: We are interested in doing the design and providing the materials for just about any pole building.

We are not contractors and do not construct buildings for anyone, anywhere. We do work with builders in nearly every state, who may be able to provide assembly, or we can assist you in finding a builder on your own. We do not ever recommend any particular builder – so it will be up to you to thoroughly vet them. (Read how to check out a contractor here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2013/07/contractor-6/)

One thing we do not do is to provide materials based upon structural designs provided by others. We most often find the plans to be either structurally under designed, or overkilled. Our services include complete structural drawings, where every member and connection is verified to be able to support the design loads. Our plans are always designed to Code and can be sealed by an engineer if you so choose.

We can most certainly design to meet the insulation R values you desire, and in many cases supply the insulation itself.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: On your blog you say the best post footings are achieved by supporting the post 8″ above the bottom of the hole and filling the hole 24″ or so with concrete. What is the method of supporting the pole while placing concrete until the concrete sets. GAYLA in MOUNDS,IL

DEAR GAYLA: Stand the post in the bottom of the hole (column depth below grade) specified on the building plans) and align the exterior face as if the column were going to be concreted in – then pull it upwards 8” (leaving an 8” space below the column) and temporarily nail it to a purlin or other piece of lumber laid across the hole to keep it in this “finished” position. Pour the concrete – you can shovel or push it in and around the column with another stick of lumber so the mono-pour encases the pole. Once the poles are “set”, hammer the temporary piece of lumber (like a purlin) off the column –to use where it is designated. Sometimes I use two pieces of temporary bracing to support the column to be concreted in – so the pole is basically suspended in mid-air within the hole…until the day after concrete is poured. Remove temporary braces and reuse them. You won’t “hurt” the lumber used as temporary bracing.

 

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

Dear Guru: Should I Use Road Base Gravel?

New!  The Pole Barn Guru’s mailbox is overflowing with questions.  Due to high demand, he is answering questions on Saturdays as well as Mondays.

Welcome to Ask the Pole Barn Guru – where you can ask questions about building topics, with answers posted on Mondays.  With many questions to answer, please be patient to watch for yours to come up on a future Monday or Saturday segment.  If you want a quick answer, please be sure to answer with a “reply-able” email address.

Email all questions to: PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com

DEAR POLE BARN GURU:Hello, I see you are head quartered in Browns Valley MN, but do not have any Certified Builders in your home state. Why is this?

Thanks. READY TO BUILD IN MN

DEAR READY: As Browns Valley is a border town, we are actually physically located in South Dakota – which is neither actually here nor there. Strangely enough, we provide more pole building kit packages the further we get away from our office – areas like Washington, Oregon, Colorado, New York and Pennsylvania have always been among the states where we seemingly deliver the most buildings.

The why? Most future building owners in Minnesota (and South Dakota) seem to be more than capable of constructing their own buildings and prefer to do the work themselves. Whether you hire a builder or do the work yourself varies greatly from region to region. Hansen Buildings designs custom kits for the average homeowner to construct their own building. Our expertise is in getting you exactly the building you want and need, and not a “standard” or “canned” kit. We are not contractors in any state. If you are not so inclined, and need a builder, your Hansen Building Designer can assist you in finding one.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU:I am now considering using road base gravel for the flooring, packing it tight with a plate compacter. I am told that our property taxes depend on flooring and if cement it is considered a “permanent” structure and taxed by its square footage, finished or not. If dirt or gravel it is simply an agricultural building and not taxed the same way.

Are there any recommendations for using road base gravel flooring like this ?? MEANDERING IN MONTANA

DEAR MEANDERING: I’d never make my choice of floor based upon whether or not I had to pay taxes on it or not. It should be based upon what is going to provide the most satisfactory surface – which is usually going to be a concrete slab on grade poured over a compacted base and a quality vapor barrier.

In the event the choice ends up being road base gravel, I’d recommend having the top of the gravel even with the bottom of the pressure treated splash plank – because odds are good the concrete slab is eventually going to be desired.

Dear Guru: Are Hansen Pole Buildings as Good as Lester Buildings?

Welcome to Ask the Pole Barn Guru – where you can ask questions about building topics, with answers posted on Mondays.  With many questions to answer, please be patient to watch for yours to come up on a future Monday segment.  If you want a quick answer, please be sure to answer with a “reply-able” email address.

Email all questions to: PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Are your buildings as good as a Lester Building? SLIVERS IN CEDAR RAPIDS

DEAR SLIVERS: I like to think of it as, “Is a Lester Building as good as a Hansen Pole Building”?

I personally know many of the management team of Lester Buildings, they are good folks and build a quality building. They do NOT specialize in providing easy to construct pole building kit packages for the average DIY consumer.

If you are looking to do some or all of the work yourself, our Construction Manual with its over 400 pages of descriptions, drawings and actual photos of every step of the construction process is nothing short of artwork.  No one else offers anything like it.

Many of the great features of Lester Buildings are going to be the same as what we offer. There are going to be some significant differences which, in my humble opinion, make our buildings superior, to any other pole building kit, Lester’s or otherwise.

All of our engineered non-commercial building kits come with a Limited Lifetime Warranty. You’ll not find this anywhere else.

We do not believe in the use of concrete cookies, for good reason.  Read why here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/08/hurl-yourconcrete-cookies/

Other than in very narrow column spacings, “barn girts” do not engineer out: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/03/girts/.

Hansen Pole Buildings uses “bookshelf” style girts in most instances.

We tested the industry “standard” painted screws for attaching steel roofing and siding and found, they didn’t work!  See why here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/08/this-is-a-test-steel-strength/

So we took the specially designed “diaphragm screw” and had them powder coated! This means no paint to chip off.

Lester Buildings are typically designed with sidewall columns every ten feet for non-engineered buildings and eight feet for engineered buildings. The Hansen Pole Buildings double truss system, allows for a standard sidewall column spacing of 12 feet with the ability to go even wider. This affords wider door openings, without the need for costly (or space consuming) structural door headers.

Hansen Pole Buildings utilizes 2×6 and larger roof purlins (for spans over eight feet), hung between the trusses using engineered Simpson hangers, not smaller purlins over the tops of single trusses, relying upon a six inch long screw driven the long direction through a 2×4 on edge and into the top of a truss.

In summary – if you like a Lester Building, you should love your new Hansen Pole Building.

Can You Buy Local from Hansen Buildings?

We’ve all seen the buy local campaigns, but what does it really mean to buy local and what are the benefits?

Hansen Pole Buildings, if anything, are logistical wizards. We source the best available products, at competitive prices, with the least amount of transportation possible. This allows you to get the most pole building for your investment.

Our relationships with lumber and truss suppliers who are within miles of your building site, allow us to support your local economy. These may be the very same people you have also talked to about your new pole building kit package. There are some differences – pole buildings are ALL WE DO. We are experts. The good people at your local lumber yard and truss plant have to know a little bit, about lots and lots of things. The reality of our economy is – they cannot afford to have a pole barn specialist on hand. In many cases, if you were to order a building kit package from your local lumber supplier, you might be surprised to find we supplied it and the people you bought from marked up our price. We produce third party pole building kits for others in nearly every state!

You may ask, “How is it you can be price competitive buying from the very same people”? Selling thousands upon thousands of buildings allows us to negotiate prices from suppliers which the average public never dreamed of paying. We also have relationships with nearly every major provider in the country. We know who is going to be able to meet with our rigid quality standards at an affordable price.

Many times, we can deliver product direct from wholesalers in your area. These are people who you could never possibly buy from to begin with.

When you invest in your new Hansen Pole Building, those dollars going to your local lumber yards and truss suppliers keep your money in your community. This helps to grow your community.

We support charities which make a difference in local communities, such as the Rotary Foundation. Hansen Buildings gives discounts to qualified local charities all over the country.

Our team of Building Designers, as well as AutoCAD drafters and engineers, work from virtual office locations scattered across the country. These dollars are reinvested in local economies.

Let’s face reality, when you order from a “local” supplier, based in or near your town, the components they use were not all manufactured in your town. They were shipped in. Our advantage is we can reduce overall shipping by consolidating smaller items and hardware. This reduces freight costs, which would have added to your price at the bottom line, and conserves fuel and packaging, besides reducing pollution.

Because our staff are experts in what they do, we have more specific product expertise for better customer service.  We don’t ship the bulk of your building kit from our home office (lumber, trusses, siding and roofing materials), but from locations within your “local” area.  Bottom line is giving you the best price, and the best buy local service.