Tag Archives: loafing shed

Should I Buy This Building?

Some Unsuspecting Person Will Buy This Building (or one like it)

The post frame (pole barn) building industry is relatively unfettered by needs for buildings to have structural plan reviews (In My Humble Opinion [IMHO] BAD), building inspections (again IMHO – BAD), and plans sealed by a registered design professional (architect or engineer – again BAD).

This tends to lead to building owners who are less than satisfied with the outcome of their new buildings either blowing away or collapsing under the weight of less than expected snow falls.

The photo above is of a nice little horse loafing shed, advertised by a company from Alvin, Texas who not only provides post frame building packages, but also constructs them. The building in question is 13’ deep (wide) by 36 feet in length.

Again (IMHO) the true problem here is not with this company providing post frame building kits or constructing them – it is they are also prefabricators of light gauge metal connector plated wood trusses (they are a truss manufacturer). It is pretty much impossible to be a certified truss company, without building all trusses from drawings which are sealed by a registered professional engineer.

It is one thing for Chuck in a Truck to be ignorant of the importance of engineering, but for a truss company?

Get real.

This, to me, makes them culpable for foisting off on the public buildings which will most certainly not meet the Building Codes to which I say, “Shame on you”.

So why is it I would declare this building to not be Code conforming just from a little bitty photo?

The endwalls of this building have columns only at the corners – meaning the wall girts are spanning at least 12’1” between the columns. On the enclosed sidewall, the columns are every 12 feet, making the distance between columns slightly smaller (generally plan upon it being 11’6.5”).

Long time readers of mine have read my railing against wall girts which do not meet Code requirements, with this being probably my most persuasive piece: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/03/girts/

From the article, a 12’ column spacing 2×6 wall girt, spaced 24 inches on center, with absolute minimal loading will deflect 3.226 inches, when the allowable is only 1.54”!!

This example building goes from bad to worse, as it is a three sided building which further multiplies the forces on the members! (read the horrors here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/03/three-sided-building/)

Even if the building would have been structurally adequate – which it isn’t, there is a lovely untreated piece of lumber across the open side of the building……again not Code conforming.

Moral of the story – if an engineer didn’t design it, who did?

Single Slope Roof

Single Slope Pole BarnAs a pole building “newbie” the first pole building I constructed back in the Spring of 1981 happened to be a 20 foot by 36 foot three sided loafing shed – with a single slope roof. As a builder, I didn’t make much money on it, as basically my head was still caught up in a stick framer’s mentality (studs and rafters go up and down, girts and purlins go left and right). Dealing with several feet of grade change was also something I was unaccustomed to, it was much different than having the level top of a concrete foundation to work from.

My second building was a 24 foot by 96 foot single slope roof, which was built over existing cattle pens! The pens were a challenge to work over, but at least the site was level.

Neither one of these experiences caused me to see single slope roofs as the less than ideal solution to most pole building needs.

In my humble opinion, in most cases, single slope roofs are neither aesthetically pleasing, nor the most cost effective solution. However, for small (say 12 foot in width by any multiple of 12 feet in length) run in sheds for horses or cattle, they may prove to be economically the best answer.

What are the most common reasons people select a single slope roof?

The top reason – the mistaken belief they will somehow be less expensive.

Most steel roofing manufacturer warrantees are void on roof slopes of less than 3/12. In order to keep the warranty in effect, this can quickly cause the “high” side of the building to become very tall.

Using the most common roof slope (4/12) a 24 foot wide building will be EIGHT FEET taller on one side than the other! From a structural aspect, building columns act as beams to resist wind loads. The formula for a simple span beam includes the square of the span – think of a 16 foot height having to carry FOUR TIMES the load of eight foot! The resultant is some potentially very large columns.

The resultant is paying to enclose a large area, in cubic feet, which cannot be practically or easily utilized.

The second most common reason for single slope roof, is so the weather (rain or snow) runoff will all travel to one eave side. This becomes more commonplace in snow country, where snow removal in front of sidewall doors can become a constant work in progress.

Rather than single sloping, it would be far less costly to use a pitched gable truss, with snow brakes to actually keep the snow on the roof and from sliding off in piles in front of doors. Having all of the snow slide in one direction could result in a crushing weight of snow piling up against the low side eave wall – buckling the siding, if not causing a catastrophic collapse.

Some single slope roof considerations:

Roof slope should be no less than 3/12 to maintain steel warrantees.

If desiring a clearspan, the overall height of the roof trusses should be no more than 12 feet. Many roof truss fabricators are limited to the ability to build trusses 12 feet in height, and for those who can, shipping becomes an issue as special permits must be acquired as well as pilot vehicles – adding to the expense.

In the event the single roof slope is fairly flat, and the clearspan width is greater than what can be supported by dimensional lumber or LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2013/01/lvl/) rafters, prefabricated trusses are going to require added heel height (truss depth) at the low sidewall. This can result in a decreased ability to utilize all interior aspects of the building, as truss members will be taking up several feet of space below the low eave height.

Interior columns may need to be added to reduce truss costs, or get spans down to dimensional lumber manageable distances. In many cases, interior columns can get in the way, especially if the building is ever re-purposed.

Lofts – while the numerous feet of added height along one eave might prove to be a wonderful space for a second floor, consider the loss of headroom as the tall wall is moved away from. In most cases, those single sloping trusses will not lend themselves well to supporting a usable attic space within the truss. If so, then interior columns will need to be added to support the loft floor.

Doors – be wary of placing doors on the tall sidewall which are equal to or greater than the height of the low sidewall. While tall things might be able to enter the doors, those very same tall things will eventually run into the roof. With prefabricated trussed roofs, the lateral bracing between bottom chords and webs will be in the way.

Considering a single slope roof? Carefully weigh all of the options to insure it is the correct design solution for your circumstances!