Tag Archives: machine shop

Nightmare From a Local Pole Building Contractor

Nightmare From a Local Pole Building Contractor

Reader RICK in OOLTEWAH writes:

Regrettably, after going with a local “pole building” contractor I find myself with a semi-completed building and a number of issues (I believe) to work through. The attached photos will hopefully help complete the picture. I was mostly ignorant of the pole building process, best practices, etc., instead just trusting the builder. I’m less ignorant now, thanks to your blog, but my timing could have been much better. I contracted to have a 30x40x12, to be used as a garage/machine shop, built on a leveled dirt pad, to be concreted later. After two months of waiting with said dirt pad ready, through several rainstorms, the contractor sent materials and a crew. They moved quickly, mostly getting the building up in a day. So quickly that no one noticed the standard trusses, not scissor as agreed upon. A 12′ overhead door (again stipulated) was not possible, and a 10’6″ went up in its place. This was a distraction until another hard rain showed water flow directly under the wall, highlighting what I think is the bigger issue. The splash plank has, in places, large gaps underneath (3-6″). By itself not so concerning, but for the fact there is no exposed splash plank on the exterior. The siding and edge trim is run to absolute bottom (nearly to grade). Meanwhile the doors float roughly 8 inches above grade/bottom edge of the trim/splash plank. This leaves a monstrous gap between the overhead when fully down and the highest the grade can go without backfilling against metal. Measurement inside shows exactly 12′ from the TOP of the splash plank to the bottom of the truss. They apparently zeroed out the build from the top of the plank, not the bottom, leaving the better part of 8 inches to make up for in the approach, fill and concrete, and a number of other areas. At this point the contractor has not called in a month, leaving off at “having a guy come install the cupola”. The silver lining for me thus far is I only have 1/3 of the money paid in. Given the way things have gone, I’m in no rush to give him any more, at least without being able to spell out what the problems and solutions are. I keep hoping Im still misunderstanding the process, and am seeing problems where there are none. But if that isn’t the case, what can be corrected and how?”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru says:

You are not alone, thousands of people, just like you, contract to have new buildings erected by “professional” building contractors, only to find what they thought they were getting and what they have received are two different animals. This is just one of many reasons why I encourage people to consider DIY instead – as an average physically able person who will read instructions often ends up with a much nicer finished product than what they would have paid for. If one lacks either time or ability to self-build, it is imperative to know fully what one has ordered and to literally camp out on site to verify work is done as agreed upon.

Hold on to your money tight until all issues are rectified. You do hold the ‘upper hand’ as your building has not been built as stipulated in your contract agreement – it does not have scissor trusses, nor a 12 foot tall overhead door. Rightfully, you could demand and it is likely a court would agree, for said building to be taken down and replaced with what you had ordered.

In order to reach a compromise solution, and provided you can get by with 11’3″ of height going through your overhead door, I would propose this:

Builder to add a 2×4 Pressure Preservative treated to UC-4A or better, below current splash plank.

Overhead door to be changed out to 11’3″ tall (as I can tell from your photos, it appears there is six inches from bottom of your building’s current splash plank to bottom of door).

Builder to fine grade interior to be even with bottom of newly installed treated 2×4.

Builder to grade exterior for 10 feet around building to slope at 5% from bottom of treated 2×4 outward away from building.

While this is not what you agreed upon, it may afford a practical solution to a nightmare you never should have had.

P.S. While crew is onsite, they should replace trim to right of your overhead door opening. Having a splice at this location is both unsightly and dangerous. They should also place a screw on both sides of every high rib of steel siding and roofing at both bottom and top ends of every panel (you will find this will then match manufacturer’s installation instructions).

Dear Pole Barn Guru: How Should I Move My Shop?

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. 

Email all questions to: PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’ve decided I’m going to build a new shop building and to do so I’ll need to remove the old shop as it’s in most desireable location.  I cleaned nearly 40 years of accumulated stuff and temporarily moved the shop tools to a machine shed.
I’ve got most of the steel siding loose and stripped the inside wall sheeting.  There are some rotten wall girts around the walk-in door and below the windows, but isn’t as bad as I was expecting.

This building is 34′ wide x 32′ deep with 12′ sides.

How difficult would it be to move it about 50-75′ and turn it into a garage?  I’d be sawing off the poles and anchoring them to concrete footings, repairing a few wall girts and putting on new steel….no insulation and maybe just a gravel floor unless I decide to put in concrete later on.

I was trying to decide if I could pull a loader tractor inside, brace up to loader and forks on 3-point, lift it up and move it.
Also considered if it could be skidded on planks attached to bottom of poles. INQUISITIVE IN IOWA

DEAR INQUISITIVE: Moving a pole building is something I have never even personally considered.

In approaching this situation, I believe I would have left all of the wall steel intact. Pole buildings work much like unibody cars – the steel siding and roofing are doing the work of holding everything together.

Provided the ground between the existing location and where the building is being moved to is extremely flat, I’d probably be inclined to try to skid the building.

If the slide is successful, the fun part will be attaching the building to the ground. Holes should be augured into the ground at the column locations, before the move. Once the building is in place, it can be leveled up with jacks.

The previously augured holes can then be poured with concrete and wet set Permacolumn brackets can be placed into the fresh concrete and bolted to the columns.

Good Luck and let me know how it all turns out!  Pictures are great too as you go through the process…moving…digging…attaching. And of course you enjoying the fruit of your labor once you are done!

Designing a Woodworking Shop

A popular use for many of our pole buildings is for woodworking. Bob, one of our Building Designers, suggested some hints as to how to set up a woodworking shop might be a good idea for a blog.

Some of our clients have the space and budget to be able to construct elaborate workspaces in sprawling buildings. While most would love to have a huge 2000 square foot building devoted to woodcraft, the reality is, for most woodworking is a hobby practiced by ordinary people and very few really have the means or need to set up such palatial workshops.

Therefore think in terms of a more modest approach. For most people it means fitting the pastime of woodworking into a more practical and affordable space. While some suggest woodworking can be practically accomplished in a building as small as 10’ x 20’, most feel the size of a standard two car garage (24’ square) is about the least amount of space practical.

There are perhaps an infinite number of ways one can create his or her woodworking shop, and entire books devoted to the subject. Here are some helpful tips to make your shop setup more efficient. With some wise choices and a bit of ingenuity, you can pull off a decent shop in a minimum of space.

What kinds of work will be performed in this shop? Building large cabinets or pieces of furniture? Or smaller projects, like small crafts such as turning wood for pens? (Yes, the ink kind) The size of the things being created, coupled with the tools necessary to make them, will have a direct impact on the needed space.

Provided your property has adequate space and is not restricted by zoning, constructing a dedicated building is normally the best answer. Think hard about the available space in terms of the things which will be done there. If, for example, only a single car garage worth of buildable area exists and the goal is to build furniture, some creativity will be needed as to how to operate in such a cramped space. It might be achievable, but only with some compromises.

What kinds of tools and accessories are planned for this space? A few large stationary tools, such as table saws, jointers, band saws, etc., can fill up space fast. Same for workbenches.

Don’t own these tools yet? Visualize the available space as it will play a crucial role in deciding what power tools to buy. If space is tight, consider a smaller number of more versatile tools, as opposed to a bunch of specialized ones.

Own lots of tools now? Layout a plan to be able to set them up in your allotted space.

Get a sheet of graph paper and sketch out to scale the boundaries of the available space. Take another sheet of graph paper and sketch (to the same scale) the footprint of each stationary tool and work bench. Cut out the pieces with a scissors. Lay these pieces out on top of the building sketch and see how they fit. Don’t forget to allow for infeed and outfeed spaces at tools. It may be everything won’t fit well into the space – or perhaps not at all. Time to get creative.

Hopefully I have inspired you to get your “thinking cap” on – so come back tomorrow for Part II of a three part series on how to design your woodworking shop.