Tag Archives: hurricane

Roof Replacement, the next Steps, and Hurricane Codes

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about replacement of a roof damaged from snow loads, gravel and concrete steps, and what measures are taken in Florida to prepare for hurricanes.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We have a 24’Wx52’L pole barn in Northern California and the 2022 winter snow load compromised the roof structure. The roof structure needs to be replaced and we’re looking for builder/contractor recommendations, that serve Grass Valley, CA. RUSSELL in GRASS VALLEY

DEAR RUSSELL: Usually whomever insured your building can provide references for contactors in your area who do this type of work. I would reach out to them first. Most contractors, however, are not interested in partial rebuilds, due to them then becoming liable for structural integrity of entire structure. More often than not, it becomes less expensive to bulldoze what remains and rebuild from scratch. Best of success.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: This is my new pole barn wall on one side. It is smaller on the opposite side. What is the rule for gravel and concrete and where do I measure from? I am not planning on doing foam boards. Overwhelmed by the next steps, and a concrete plan…SEAN in CALIFORNIA

DEAR SEAN: Top of your concrete slab should be 3-1/2″ above bottom of pressure preservative treated splash plank. Measure downwards from this point for everything under slab.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: For residential builds in Florida are there additional steps need to be taken due to hurricanes? LESLIE in BLOUNTSTOWN

Close up image of Florida on a map with a pin over Tampa.DEAR LESLIE: We have provided close to a hundred fully engineered post frame buildings to our clients in Florida. All of these are designed to meet latest Florida Building Code requirements. We always encourage our clients to design to greater design wind speeds than minimum requirements (we want yours to be last house standing). All of our doors are wind load rated and most of our clients purchase their own windows, in order to meet Code loading.

The Disaster Solution

All too often we read, hear or see news of tragic events in our world – earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes….not to underscore the loss of human life, but property damages are huge – homes, barns, businesses are damaged or destroyed.

After the dust settles (or the waters recede), the first thoughts are how to “get back on one’s feet”. This usually brings about thoughts of how to repair damaged structures. Building repair can be a tricky undertaking. Truthfully, unless damages are minor, it can often be less expensive to knock the building to the ground and rebuild. Initial inspection of damaged buildings does not usually disclose the full extent of needed repairs. Even when repairs are completed, undamaged portions of buildings are often times left as not being compliant to current building codes.High winds damage a steel building

The essential keys to recovery from a catastrophic loss are time and budget.

Time – there is no permanent structure which can be erected in as short a time period as a pole building. From concept to delivery onsite is often a matter of weeks, not months. When I was a  building contractor, I had a four man crew who could leave the office Monday morning and return at noon on Friday with the final check from putting up a 7200 square foot building with 16 foot tall walls. It was not uncommon for experienced three person crews to construct two 1000 to 1500 square foot buildings in the same week. Pole buildings are so easy to build, the average “weekend warrior” who can and will read instructions can build a fairly good sized building in a few weekends.

Budget – even an all steel building cannot compete with the cost effectiveness of a pole building. During World War II, the U.S. government imposed a $1,500 limitation on the amount which could spend on constructing new barns. The pole-barn building method, which eliminated up to two-thirds of the lumber needed by other systems, made the government’s guidelines attainable. Unlike stick frame construction, every piece in a pole building has a direct structural function. Redundant and unnecessary members are eliminated (often still used on stick framed buildings).

Besides the efficiency of the pole building framework, footing and foundation costs are significantly reduced. Pole buildings eliminate the need for continuous footings and foundation walls. This results in savings in equipment for excavation, lumber for forms, significant amounts of concrete as well as manpower.

When life has been turned upside down by disaster, the building to turn to is a pole building. By the time the wreckage is cleared, your new building has been delivered.  Before your neighbors have even given thought to their solution, you and your loved ones are once again safe and protected from the elements.