Tag Archives: ICF’s

Full Size Elevator for Judy

Raising Judy

Disclaimer: This article has nothing to do with Coen Brothers’ 1987 film Raising Arizona (starring my lovely bride’s favorite Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter).

Yesterday’s story left Judy crammed into a pneumatic elevator tube on an airplane transfer chair. It wasn’t long before we had to arrive at a better (and safer) solution.

Our better solution was a full sized elevator. A “real” elevator which would allow Judy to drive her power chair into the elevator, turn completely around and drive out on the other floor. There is a weight capacity of over 1000 pounds which allows another adult (or two grandchildren) to ride with her. This entailed having to erect an elevator shaft along with an accompanying mechanical room. We also ended up gaining a storage room (on level two) and a walk in pantry on level three.

Here are photos from August 2016 detailing our exterior build.

Our excavation had to be five feet deep in order to have an adequate pit for the elevator and to get to the frost line. 12 inch ICFs were used for our foundation.


11 ply 2×6 glulam columns from Gruenwald Engineered Laminates in Tea, South Dakota were placed for elevator to run up and down along.


Exterior walls were two sets of 2×6 stud walls. We built them on the West side of the house and then lifted them into place, as there was not room enough to frame them on each floor.

I got to utilize some of my truss building skills.


Stay tuned for a later article, where I will give my literal two cents worth on how to finish an elevator floor!

Solving a Massive Pole Building Grade Change

Solving Massive Post Frame Building Grade Change

Most everything about post frame building construction is predicated upon “your clear, level site”. But, what happens when (like most of our planet) there is not a flat level place to start with – instead there exists massive amounts of grade change?

Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer Doug ran into one of these situations recently and shot up a distress flare looking for some advice:

“Anybody have an opinion on what be the most cost effective or least painful
course of action for this soon to be-I hope-client?”

Here is information from Doug’s client:

“Attached are pictures of the dig to the right of my driveway cutting into
the hillside. On the left side in front of the Bobcat appears to be close to
finished grade. The cut at that point is nearly 7 feet tall. The soil type
is decomposed granite. With a few spots of stubborn rock.

My options at this point are to build a engineered retaining wall to hold
back the soil before building a pole barn on the flat spot, with drainage
coming from around the back to the front. The other option is to just do a
spread footing with a foundation wall. and then a curb wall of a 2 x 6 on
top of that.

The most creative thought would be to do both in the same wall. The wall
would be supported in and by itself, and the building would stand next to the
wall, supported on posts with loads at the post, and not on top of the wall.
Is that even possible?

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

Well, luckily or unluckily, I have a similar situation on one of my own personal post frame buildings at Newman Lake, Washington. Here was what we came up with as a best solution: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/02/grade-change/. In this scenario, our post frame wall columns are mounted to ICFs on “cut” sides and traditionally embedded on flat or low sides.

Post frame construction is moving pedal to floor into residential markets where these types of scenarios are going to appear more and more.

I can see these types of scenarios being eventually added as options to Hansen Pole Buildings’ “Instant Pricing™” system where we could not only design and price but also provide blocks, connectors and needed rebar.

Just more moves in providing “The Ultimate Post-Frame Building Experience™”

Considering constructing on a less than ideal site? Call 1(866)200-9657 and discuss your situation with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer today.