Tag Archives: HIring a Contractor

Dear Guru: Does Spray Foam Insulation Need a Vapor Barrier?

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 need a vapor barrier between steel and spray foam insulation? BUILDING IN BEMIDJI

 DEAR BEMIDJI: Properly installed, spray foam insulation should act as a more than adequate vapor barrier.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: would like a ballpark figure on a pole 100 long 40 wide 1 double door 2 man doors texture 1-11 all walls. JUST JOHN

 DEAR JUST: Hansen Pole Buildings is happy to provide pole building quotes for you, or anyone for this matter in the 48 United States.  On the Hansen Pole Buildings website, is the ability to request a quote, all you need to do is provide the specifics of your building, as in where it will be constructed geographically. Click on the Free Quote button on the left of the home page – and you are there!  All buildings are priced according to your local design criteria. You can fill out as much or as little of it you want, but without your location, any price I give you will be “out of the ballpark”. Ten to fifteen minutes, and you can have an exact price!

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: When ordering directly from you, do you have references for contractors to assemble in our area?  Thanks. PONDERING IN PUEBLO

DEAR PONDERING: Just to make sure we are on the same page, Hansen Pole Buildings is not a contractor in any sense of the word. We do not construct or build buildings (or portions of buildings) anywhere for anyone. Should you need a builder, we do have a list of builders for nearly everywhere in the country.

This is not an endorsement on our part of any particular builder’s skills or lack thereof. As none of them work directly for us, we can’t guarantee the quality of their work. We do have a “one strike and you’re out” rule. Simply, if we receive even one verifiable and legitimate negative complaint about any particular builder, we will no longer give out their name to our clients. While this is not a fail-safe method, it does afford some degree of protection. It is always a good idea to speak with other customers the builder has done work for in the past, to get an idea of the builder’s professionalism. At any time a contractor can hire a crew member unbeknownst to him (or us) who will be “less than expected”.  Even “good” contractors have “bad” days, so whether you hire one of your own choosing or use one from our list, make sure you do your homework BEFORE you hire them.

Do You Need a General Contractor?

The goal of post frame (pole building) construction is to be able to get the most building, for the dollars invested.

When a general contractor is hired to provide a constructed building, normally about 25% of the cost is going to the general contractor, who never lifts a tool or picks up a board at your building site.  This is not the same as a regular building contractor, who heads up a team of builders, but who also drives nails along with his crew.  A “general contractor” could be someone who drives nails, but usually doesn’t.  They often sit in an office and act as coordinator. Sometimes they visit the building site, and often do not. They may have a salesman who actually visits the jobsite.

If you are not a “hands on” person or one who is willing to invest a few hours of your own time to save thousands of dollars, then maybe hiring a general contractor is your answer.

When people start thinking of “General contractors” visions of dollar signs, disappointment and reality TV shows start floating through their minds.

In most cases, you don’t need or can’t afford a general contractor to be involved in your new pole building. If you have a very complex project, which involves numerous different trades it could be worthwhile to hire one.

Remember those hours the general contractor will save you on the jobsite? Plan on spending twice the amount of time to find a good general contractor. Do your due diligence and hire someone with excellent references and the professionalism to do what he was hired to do.

What exactly is due diligence?

Before even picking up the phone to call a contractor (both general contractors and those who drive nails) – check online to verify they are registered to do business in your state and to verify their contractor’s registration is current. Check their rating with the Better Business Bureau, as well as on Angie’s List. Google them, by looking for, “Phreds Construction complaints” (obviously Phred is a made up name, but you get the picture). If they have complaints, read through them, as sadly people are quick to complain about minor, or even imagined incidents.

Once you have narrowed your potential contractor choices down to no less than three, have them meet with you in person, at your building site to discuss your new pole building. Unless you are absolutely 100% certain as to the dimensions and features of the building you want, you are best to tell the contractor your needs (what problems is the building going to solve) and ask for recommendations as to the best design solution.

Each contractor is going to have different recommendations, so be prepared, after round one, to go back to each one of them, with your final design.

By now, you should have started to form relationships with these general contractors. Time to start asking for documentation from your “leading” candidate. You want a copy of their contractor’s registration, a certificate of liability insurance with you named as additional insured, all warranties in writing, three written references, and the names and phone numbers of their accountant, banker, and at least three major suppliers. It is up to YOU to call all of these people and verify they are financially stable, they do not bounce checks, they pay their bills on time, etc. If the “little voice” inside of your head starts to whisper bad things to you – move on to the next candidate.

The general contractor is supposed to be your lifeline to everything you need done. He supposedly knows the right people to hire, the best places to get supplies, and he is the one who will coordinate all the tiny jobs which need to be done so you aren’t on the phone constantly trying to coordinate what should be happening.

If I sound completely negative on this subject, remember, I was a General Contractor at one time.  I ran 35 crews in 6 states and I had really good crews….and I had those who had no business pounding nails.  What I am saying here is to be careful – and check out everything you can on a General Contractor, before you hire him.  I appreciated every client who did due diligence and  checked me out from top to bottom before they hired me.  I knew they would treat me with the same professionalism as I treated them.

If you begin without unrealistic expectations and do your homework, you can have a satisfactory experience when hiring a general contractor. Just remember, it isn’t free.