Tag Archives: NFBA

Introduction to Post-Frame Buildings

Introduction to Post-Frame Buildings

Rather than me chewing up a portion of your life you will never get back, I am deferring to Chapter 1 of NFBA’s (National Frame Builders Association) Post Frame Design Manual. Here is my overview when it was first published: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/03/post-frame-building-3/

Please take a few moments to read this first chapter, if you are considering building, as it will put you a leg up on most providers and builders, as they are unlikely to have read it and know this terminology. https://associationdatabase.com/aws/NFBA/asset_manager/get_file/371354

How Much is the White Gambrel Barn?

How Much is the White Gambrel Barn?

Reader ALLISON in SALIDA writes:

“I’m wondering what it would cost to build the large white gambrel style barn that’s on your website.  Thanks!”

This building has been featured in places like covers of NFBA’s post frame building design manual and Rural Builder magazine. It is truly a monument to what fully engineered post frame buildings can do.

My lovely bride Judy and I happen to live in this building. We put it up 15 years ago for just under $400,000 (turnkey) and have since added features such as a full sized elevator, custom cabinets, granite countertops, hardwood flooring and tile. We recently had it reassessed for insurance and it came back with a replacement cost right at a million dollars for roughly 8000 finished square feet.

Now not every barndominium has all of our home’s features. All windows are triple-pane low-E gas filled. Primary heat is geothermal radiant in-floor. CHI overhead doors are highest R value available, with openers. Lower level begins with a 48′ x 60′ half court for basketball, with 16′ ceilings. It is clearspanned with floor trusses (yes, 48′) so there are no interior columns. On one side are two 18′ x 24′ offices with built in oak desks, drawers, cabinets. Front office has a vaulted ceiling (slopes from 17 to 11 feet). Opposite side has garage space for my 1950 Chevy pickup and motorcycle, a sauna, bathroom, kitchenette and utility room for hot water heater and water conditioner. There is a finished storage area above this of nearly 500 square feet. Besides our full sized elevator, opposite it is a tube elevator. Also on this level is a mechanical room for a big elevator and directly above it a huge storage closet.

Upstairs we have a 40′ x 60′ living area with my ideal dream kitchen (roughly 20′ x 25′) open to our great room. (Read more about this kitchen here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/05/not-your-average-kitchen-in-a-barndominium/) Master suite is in one corner 20′ x 32′ including an ADA bathroom, laundry and a roll in closet. Above is my wife’s sewing loft. (photos of loft in this article: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/03/a-mezzanine-for-your-barndominium/)  All of this level also has 16 foot ceilings. Besides elevators, there is a four foot width oak stairs to access this level from below. We also have a pantry on this floor, large enough for a refrigerator and an upright freezer, plus two foot deep shelves on two walls. There are gas fireplaces in both master suite and the great room.

This is what one does with a 16 foot tall great room wall:

If you ever get to Northeast South Dakota, drop us a note and we will give you a tour.

Builder Says

Builder Says, “These designs are the Worse”!

Like all good stories begin…..

“It was a dark and stormy night”

Oops, wrong beginning!

Once upon a time I was a post frame building contractor. From 1991 until 1999 my construction company could only have been described as being prolific – at one time we had as many as 35 crews erecting buildings in six states.

I had a few advantages going into being a post frame building contractor – architecture school, managing several (and later owning) prefabricated metal connector plated roof truss plants, and having provided nearly 7000 post frame building kit packages from my lumberyard.

mr owl tootsie roll popMy most important advantage was a thirst for knowledge. One of my favorite childhood books was 1967’s “The Way Things Work” by Neil Ardley and David McCaulay. I read it cover-to-cover repeatedly. This same thirst for wanting to know how things work led me to Dr. Frank Woeste at Virginia Tech. He challenged me with learning structural calculations involved in what made post frame (pole barn) buildings work.

This, in turn, led me to join ASAE (American Society of Agricultural Engineers) where I was a member of their structures committee. It also led me to be humble as I learned as I knew more, there was so much more to learn. I became an NFBA member – and found there was more than a single ‘right way’ to build post frame buildings.

Now it seems every small town in America has one or more post frame ‘builders’ and I will use this term ‘builder’ lightly as owning a jacked up 4×4, having a big dog and a loud stereo are not necessarily qualifiers for being a good builder. While there are actually some good builders (and a few great ones), far more a rule than an exception is “Chuck-in-a-truck” who believes he (or she) is Builder Bob – a legend in their own mind!

A Hansen Pole Buildings’ Do-It-Yourself client recently posted photos of their framed post frame building with commercial bookshelf girts.

Before being banned from the Facebook group for use of colorful language, builder Jason had this to say about this client’s photo:

“These designs are the worse! I don’t understand why anyone would do it this way. I really don’t understand why any company would promote such a design to a DIY. Book shelve wall girts are the weakest way to build building. All seams in wood is stacked. Not staggered. Toe nailed also is week. And if any system requires you to “hide” something or “never see it”, It’s a bad design! Just run wall girts on out side of post and stagger seams. Simple!”

Well Jason, not everyone has your narrow view of structural design solutions (or your grasp of English composition).

People (both builders and DIYers) do bookshelf girts because they are, at a minimum, over 300% stronger in supporting wind loads than externally mounted girts (based upon 2×6 material of same grade at same spacing). They are also more resistant to deflection by more than 1300%. Moreover, with proper dimensional sizing, they allow for creation of an insulation cavity where clients can do interior finishes without having to add more framing.

Jason appears to have a belief staggering joints on externally mounted wall girts somehow makes a building stiffer! It is the use of diaphragm design to create a stiff roof plane to support column tops making a building more rigid, not some close to insignificant contribution from girts. Our ‘builder’ went off on his rant before noticing the ends of each girt are solid blocked to columns at each end and no toe nails are involved in their fully engineered connection (nor was anything required to be hidden).

Thinking of hiring a builder to erect your new post frame building? Look for one who is open to considering multiple design considerations rather than “this is how we have always done it and always will”.

For extended reading on bookshelf girts please read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/04/creating-extra-work-in-barndominium-framing/

Pondering a Cabin Dilemma

Pondering a Cabin Dilemma

With barndominiums, shouses (shed/houses) and post frame homes becoming increasingly popular, there are many who gaze fondly at existing pole barns and consider converting some or all of these spaces into living areas.

Reader MATT writes:

“Hi, I’ve been following your links and comments on different pages and trust your opinion on a dilemma I’ve been pondering. I have some recreational/hunting ground in IL and it has a 40×60 loafing shed open to the south. It’s a Bonanza building from maybe the 80’s. Great for equipment and parking a camper in but it’s dark and dreary in the camper and my wife doesn’t like it, lol. My dilemma, convert one 15’ bay into a nice one or two room living area with windows in front and on one side wall for weekend use or…..build a small cabin in the barn lot and forget about using the shed. I’m not sure if there is any value in building inside of the old shed since I have plenty of land to spot a cabin. It’s off grid so utilities are not a factor. One plus is the shed doesn’t look like anything from the road and in effect offers camouflage from break-ins. A basic thumbs up or down will be appreciated! Thanks and keep posting the helpful info on pole barns.”

Thank you for placing your faith in me. I do make a concerted effort to give best possible answers – even when it is not what people want to hear. Whether it makes money for Hansen Pole Buildings or not, our desire is to see people get into buildings they love and feel they have gotten a great value.

My friend, I am sure you have heard this adage before, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” It sounds like your ground may become less recreated unless some upgrading is done.

In order to convert some or all of your existing building you would need to have it reviewed for structural adequacy by a Registered Professional Engineer, ideally one with a fair amount of post frame (pole barn) building design experience. There are very few of these engineers around and you want to do it right. Ideally an engineer who is a NFBA member (www.NFBA.org National Frame Building Association). It is  just not worth risking life or limb, damage to one’s valuables, or having other unexpected issues. Chances are good your footings are inadequate, columns may require adding members, wall girts are certainly over stressed, if you intend to support an attic off trusses, they will require an engineered repair. This is just a partial list. 

You can probably build a nice post frame cabin for less than using your existing building. Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer Rick Car is currently erecting his own hunting cabin in Wisconsin. You can find his story in my blog articles over recent months. Go to www.HansenPoleBuildings.com click on SEARCH in upper right corner of page. Type in a search term and relevant articles will be brought up. To find Rick’s story, type in his name.

Typical Wall Bracing Details for Pole Barns

There are many ways to permanently brace walls of pole barn (post frame) buildings. Most of these methods are utilized in buildings not designed by a Registered Professional Engineer (RDP). A RDP who has a great deal of experience with post frame building intricacies would first be looking at a structural design to utilize steel siding and roofing’s shear strength.

Hansen Pole Buildings’ independent third-party engineers use values obtained from actual full scale testing of steel panels done under supervision and auspices of engineer Merl Townsend: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/08/this-is-a-test-steel-strength/. These test results, and those of other tests, are published in the NFBA (National Frame Building Association) Post-Frame Building Design Manual https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/03/post-frame-building-3/.

Recently reader JOSE from GONZALEZ asked:
“What are the typical wall bracing details for pole barns? Best locations?”

In utilizing steel skin strength, in many cases, needs for other wall bracing is eliminated. This makes for no extra expenses and ease of assembly. When wall bracing is needed, it is usually added closest to corners, where shear load forces are greatest.

For cases where strength of steel skin is not adequate to support loads, the International Building Code (IBC) provides for wall panels to be braced by adding either Oriented Strand Board (OSB) or plywood. This most often occurs when a wall (or walls) have large amounts of openings (doors and windows) or in cases where buildings are tall and narrow, or very long (usually width of three to four times building length). An engineer can determine the applicability of this as a design solution. Installation of added sheathing is generally fairly simple and requires (in most cases) minimal extra framing materials.

X bracing is often found in non-engineered buildings and can be either of dimensional lumber or steel strapping. Actual effectiveness of either of these is limited by an ability to add enough fasteners to resist loading: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/03/diagonal-bracing/.

Rural Renovators recently constructed a very tall post frame building where they utilized a triple set of 2×6 X bracing at building corners: https://www.facebook.com/ruralrenovators/videos/2089528207814164/

In any case, my recommendation for proper post frame building correct structural design is to only use plans designed by a RDP (engineer).

Free Post Frame Foundation Building Calculator

Free Post-Frame Building Foundation Engineering Calculator

No, such a thing as a free post-frame building foundation engineering calculator does not exist. However there always seems to be someone out there who is in search of “engineering for free”.

Reader KELLY writes:


Do you have a link to a pole foundation engineering calculator?

Looking for column depth / diameter for:


10 ft column spacing

35 PFS load

115 wind load.

No floor for constraint.


Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

There is no such thing as a “pole foundation engineering calculator” therefore, there is also no link to one. The design of post frame (pole) building foundations is one which is best left in the hands of RDPs (Registered Design Professionals – architects or engineers). When provided with all the pertinent information about your proposed building, they can design not only a structurally sound column embedment, but also your entire structure (which I whole heartedly recommend).

You’ve provided some of the information a RDP would require, but I will expand upon it:

Will the building have adequate sheathing (which could be roll formed steel roofing and siding) to transfer wind loads from roof to ground through endwalls? And will the sheathing be adequately fastened to underlying frame to take advantage of sheathing stiffness? If yes, diaphragm design can be utilized in your building design.

The difference in forces carried by sidewall columns with and without an adequate diaphragm is a factor of 4! If diaphragm design cannot be utilized, expect significantly larger columns, deeper holes and more concrete around columns.

What type of soil is at building site? Strength and stiffness of your soil will impact both depth and diameter of holes.

How are you measuring your 14′? It should be from bottom of pressure preservative treated splash plank, to underside of roofing at sidewalls. It does make a difference.

Does your building have overhangs?

What is the roof slope?

What is wind exposure at your site? The difference in force against columns between Exposure B and Exposure C is roughly 20%.

In the event you are not interested in procuring services of a RDP, the NFBA (National Frame Building Association) has available a Post-Frame Design Manual and you could attempt to do calculations yourself. For more information please see: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/03/post-frame-building-3/.

Of course you could always invest in a fully engineered post frame building kit package. Besides engineer sealed blueprints and calculations, you would also get materials delivered to your site and a multi-hundred page Construction Manual to guide you through to a successful completion.


To Learn More, A Roof Steel Replacement, and Ideal Height

An Engineer wants to Learn More, Roof Steel Replacement, and the ideal Building Height to Accommodate an RV!

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m a licensed engineer in KY. I would like to learn more about pole barn design. Do you have any references that you would recommend? James in KY

DEAR JAMES: The NFBA Post Frame Building Design manual is probably your best structural reference. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/03/post-frame-building-3/


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello. I have a Hansen building I bought in 2005 as a kit. I am planning on installing a new roof on the higher 18′ 40×35 long section. The original roof over the vaulted ceiling has leaked since day one, as the contractor did a very poor job. I’m thinking of doing a snap lock standing seam type with no exposed fasteners. To my surprise two contractors have suggested pulling the existing sheeting and replacing the standing seam( 24 ga), but no underlayment.

I thought the screwed down panels provided shear strength and rigidity to the structure.


Construction MistakeDEAR BRYAN: Indeed, standing seam steel has no shear carrying capacity, as such it should always be installed over 5/8″ or thicker CDX plywood (not OSB). However, chances are your trusses are not designed to support the added weight of the plywood. Depending upon what the exact nature of the poor installation is, the solution might be as simple as replacing offending screws with longer, larger diameter parts (if original screws were merely poorly seated). If the screws were not predrilled (therefore causing screws to either barely hit or miss roof purlins entirely), then new 29 gauge through screwed steel with properly installed screws should solve the challenges (and be phenomenally less expensive).


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Looking to build a pole barn with 14ft height door for a RV. What would the overall height of the building be? Thanks JON in PERRYSBURG

DEAR JON: With a sliding door (not my recommendation) if your building has no endwall overhangs, then 15 foot eave height will work; with end overhangs 15’6” or 15’8” depending upon the dimension of the roof purlins.

Going to a sectional overhead door, allowing for an electric opener your eave height is most likely going to be 16’6”.

If you are planning on climate controlling the building and having a ceiling (smart choices), then the eave height will need to be further increased by the amount of roof truss heel height greater than the most common six inches.



Eave height is relatively inexpensive, don’t scrimp to try to save a few bucks and be sorry because you end up with a design solution which is less than ideal (aka a sliding door) or an overhead sectional door which will not accept an opener.

Moving Pole Barns

Moving a Pole Barn
Most of us American adults have, at some time in our lives, visited a county or state fair. Adjunct to these events is the inevitable midway – where carnies (those wonderful and frequently interesting folks) hock their wares and try to interest one and all in a game of chance. Amongst these games is typically one where a rifle of some sorts spews water, air or corks at moving targets allowing the joyous winner to recoup his or her investment into a wonderous prize which is usually worth far less than the price of admission to the game.

Well, I hate to break the news, but the chances of coming out ahead at the midway are better than the chances of coming out ahead on moving a pole barn (aka post frame building).

Reader GEOFF in SNOHOMISH writes:
“I have a pole barn that I want to move. I had plans drawn by an engineer to erect it after I moved it. (required by the county) he looked at the original building, but drew the plans with a full footing and foundation. When I told him that this is a pole building and all the weight is carried on the posts he didn’t get it. Does a pole barn have to have footing and a foundation?”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:
Well Geoff, there are issues going on here much larger than just your question, which I will address first.

Post frame buildings typically have a footing (most usually a concrete pad poured at the bottom of an augured hole) and the foundation is the pressure preservative treated wood column which is typically all or partially encased in concrete. There is most generally no structural reason to have a continuous concrete footing and foundation wall, such as one might see supporting a stick framed building.

I would encourage your engineer to make a modest financial investment into the NFBA (National Frame Building Association) Post-Frame Building Design Manual (read more about it here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/03/post-frame-building-3/).

Now the big picture:
You were lucky to have found a registered professional engineer who was willing to put his career on the line to seal plans for a post frame building which has been taken apart and moved, unless he placed some extreme caveats as to potential damaged materials. Besides this, chances are good the building in question was not built to the current Building Code requirements, and some significant modifications would need to be made in order to upgrade it to currently accepted standards.

The biggest changes involve wind design – where buildings are now required to be designed using Vult for wind speeds, rather than the lower Vasd values. The trusses, if undamaged, should be checked for structural adequacy using the most recent Code.

You have already made some financial investments, you might as well help to educate your engineer, as well as get your moving building up to the modern version of the Code.

Proposed Building Code Change to Add to Construction Costs

During each 3-year-cycle of the International Building Code (IBC) and International Residential Code (IRC), there exists an opportunity to propose modifications and improve the codes to recognize new and innovative construction.  During the final two weeks in April, the code proposal hearings were held in Louisville, Kentucky where several hundred proposals were discussed and considered for inclusion in the code.

large-span-trusses-150x150While post-frame construction is typically used in agricultural applications which are often (and in my humble opinion sadly) considered exempt from code compliance, more and more post-frame construction is either residential housing (IRC) or commercial (IBC) in nature.  In these cases, changes which impact the code may have an effect on how post-frame buildings are constructed.

Eight proposals were identified by NFBA (National Frame Building Association) staff as having a potential impact on post-frame construction.  While the majority of these proposals were defeated, the following action should be noted:

S138-16: Submitted by the Structural Engineers Association, this proposal was approved and will require special inspection for wood trusses with a clear span of 60 feet or greater or an overall height of 60 inches or greater.  While the clear span is not a major issue, the 60 inch height may impact a number of projects creating new cost/scheduling issues.  This change is scheduled to be included in the 2018 IBC.

Having spent my entire adult life installing, designing, selling, building, delivering and purchasing wood trusses, it would seem ludicrous to require a special inspection for wood trusses with an overall height of 60 inches or greater. This would add an extra layer of inspection to nearly every building (not only post frame) project, with seemingly no apparent rationale other than the employment of a large number of people to perform these inspections (most likely the same structural engineers who made this proposal).

Trusses spanning 60 feet or more, are already required to have special inspections, under the IBC: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/12/wide-span-trusses/.

What can you do? Contact your local Building Official today and ask them to vote to repeal this costly measure which does little or nothing to improve the safety of buildings.

Minimum Wind And Snow Loads

Hansen Pole Buildings is a proud member of the NFBA (National Frame Building Association https://www.nfba.org). Pretty much every Monday the Association sends out a newsletter, via email, to its members.

In today’s newsletter was a link to an article written by Stephen Szoke and published in Construction Executive, May 5, “Building Codes: One Size Does Not Fit All”. (The entire article can be read here: https://enewsletters.constructionexec.com/managingyourbusiness/2015/05/building-codes-one-size-does-not-fit-all/).

International Building CodeI got a different takeaway than most people probably did from the article. In my humble opinion, the Building Codes themselves should be consistent, however local jurisdictions should establish their own minimum climactic loading requirements (snow and wind loads) – but not tamper with the Code itself. The Code is the product of the collective minds of some of the most brilliant engineers, designers and Building Officials on the planet – they have more than a small clue as to what they are doing.

With over 7,000 Building Permit issuing jurisdictions in the United States, if each of them even altered a few words (which is not uncommon) the resultant is RDPs (Registered Design Professionals – architects and engineers) pulling out their hair trying to meet local quirks.

Getting back on track – here is what truly struck me from the article: “The rise in property losses seems to correlate well with information about a cultural/societal trend reported at the 2014 Concrete Sustainability Conference by Michael D. Lepech, Ph.D., an assistant professor in Stanford’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He reported that business models with an emphasis on maximum return on investment have driven or even forced businesses toward least initial cost. In construction, this appears to have resulted in a trend toward minimum code, which is synonymous with least initial cost.

Clearly, one option is to wait for the cultural-societal pendulum to swing back toward more quality and value in lieu of least initial cost.” 

In layperson’s terms – too many buildings are designed penny wise and pound foolish. It makes absolutely no sense, at least in my head, to save a thousand dollars of initial investment, if the result is spending tens of thousands of dollars in repair and maintenance costs!

The Building Codes are for design to “minimum” standards. I know, for a fact, most pole builders and pole building kit suppliers are not going to ever discuss an increase in wind and snow loads beyond bare minimums. In many cases, due to lack of Code enforcement or exemptions from structural plan reviews – the bare minimums are not even being met!

How do I know this for a fact?

Because the great majority of other people who do something similar to what we do (I won’t even lift them up to the level of calling them competitors) don’t even list the design loads on their pole building quotes!


Don’t ever be shy about asking how much of an added investment it would be to increase the design wind and snow loads for your soon to be new building. I want you to have the last building standing in the event of a catastrophic event

The Theory of Adequate Building Connectors

I was blessed to have been a member of the then American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE) Structural Committee back in the latter half of the 1980s. Blessed because there were many brilliant engineers on the committee who were very focused on moving what had been “pole barns” into the Code conforming “post frame” buildings.

One of the engineers I had the pleasure of working with was Patrick McGuire who, at the time, was chief engineer for Borkholder Buildings in Napanee, Indiana. How good is Patrick? Good enough to receive the NFBA’s (National Frame Building Association) highest honor, the Bernon Perkins Award, in March 2006.

Patrick McGuire was chair of the NFBA Technical and Research Committee for over a decade. It was Patrick’s vision which led the way for acceptance of post frame design into the International Building Codes.

I’ve always respected Patrick for not just being “in the know”, but also because he has worked in the industry, rather than being an academic. When I wanted to know more about the workings of post frame buildings with sidewall columns spaced every eight feet, and trusses every four feet on top of “carriers” (headers) – Patrick McGuire was the man I contacted.

Patrick’s concerns were in the lack of adequate fasteners between truss carriers and columns, especially since many of this style pole building are constructed with not only no engineer’s review, but even worse – most had no drafted building plans!

The interactions between myself and Patrick have led me to really think about all of the crucial building connectors necessary to create a properly designed pole building.

It matters not if the best and strongest individual components are utilized in the design and construction of a new post frame building, if the pieces are not adequately fastened together. What good is a bunch of pieces if the “glue” is no good?

Pole Barn ConnectionsThe cleanest and safest designs are ones in which members directly bear upon each other, as well as those which rely upon engineered building connectors (such as hangers and brackets manufactured by companies such as Simpson Strong-Tie®). Pole buildings which have fewer pieces (albeit possibly larger) also have far fewer connection points, reducing the probability of a failure due to either under design or under (or incorrect) installation.

Proper post frame design is best done when each connection is calculated to be able to withstand the climactic conditions (wind, snow and seismic forces) as well as weights of materials which will be applied. Well detailed plans will spell out every connection – so the designer’s intent is fully clear. The person(s) constructing the building and the Building Inspector should work together to ensure building connectors are adequate to meet the plans.

Nationwide®Top Three Reasons Pole Buildings Fail

Nationwide® Insurance and Common Pole Building Failures

As my loyal readers know, I recently attended the NFBA (National Frame Building Association) 2014 Expo in Nashville, TN.  The NFBA (https://www.nfba.org) is the only national trade association which represents post-frame industry professionals. The association is the country’s primary source of post-frame building resources, research, networking, news and education.

While the NFBA Expo highlights for me are typically being able to interact with the hundreds of vendors who are displaying the latest pole building innovations and products on the trade show floor, this year the National Frame Building Association had a surprise in store for me.

The daily NFBA Expo “breakout” sessions included the fields of Sales and Marketing, Management and Technical Knowledge.

The surprise session for me was, “Avoiding Common Building Failures in the Post-Frame Industry”. The presenter was Ryan Michalek, a Registered Professional Engineer, who is one of several engineers employed by Nationwide® Insurance to help its policy holders avoid catastrophic structural building failures.

Let me begin by saying I am NOT a paid spokesperson for Nationwide® Insurance. In fact, I am not, nor have I ever had a policy issued by Nationwide®. Given their presenter’s informative presentation as an indicator, this could change in the future.

Nationwide® is one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the world, focusing on domestic property and casualty insurance, life insurance and retirement savings, asset management, and strategic investments.  On December 17, 1925, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation incorporated the Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company in Columbus, Ohio and In 1955, Farm Bureau Mutual changed its name to Nationwide® Insurance, a name by which it is commonly known today.

Truss-FramingThe “trailer” for this session was, “Would you find it surprising that Nationwide Insurance’s loss experience with post-frame buildings is disproportionately represented by newly constructed facilities? The company’s loss history is full of buildings that are less than 5 years old and that fail when subjected to their first moderate wind or snow loading event or to a modest commodity-loading cycle. This presentation discusses the common oversights in post-frame building design and construction which lead to building loss and offers strategies to eliminate these oversights.”

I quizzed Mr. Michalek myself as to how many of these failures were subjected to a structural plan review by a Building Official. His opinion was few, if any, of the buildings which failed were designed by a registered design professional RDP (registered engineer or architect), as they are nearly exclusively “agricultural” structures, which are exempted from the Building Permit process in many states.

My personal belief is every building should be designed by an RDP, (engineer) as well as being subjected to structural review by a Building Official. Knowing the size of the Insurance Industry, I questioned why it was Nationwide® and other insurance companies were not lobbying for stricter rules for these now permit exempt buildings. Mr. Michalek minced no words in stating the Agricultural lobby in the United States is far more powerful than the insurance industry.

Myself, I am just not understanding the thought processes of those who would invest in buildings which will underperform or fail structurally, all in the name of saving a few dollars. Considering many of the failures come from the poultry industry, it seems the cost and cleanup of a million dead chickens would trump the few dollars saved on construction.

What was surprising to me, was the actual most prevalent failures – although column size and embedment always seem to be big concerns from informed purchasers, it wasn’t a contributor to the three major causes of failures: lateral bracing of trusses; purlin to truss connections and unbalanced and snow drift loads on trusses.

Roof trusses function very well when loaded in the manner in which they are designed to be strong – vertically. I’ve discussed truss bracing before in this forum: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2013/10/bottom-chord-bracing/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2013/09/truss-bracing/

Come back tomorrow and I will give you examples of just how easily the wrong bracing can help a building to fail.

Frame Building Expo

The National Frame Building Association (NFBA) began 45 years ago when a group of Midwestern post-frame (pole) builders gathered in Chicago to mount a challenge to pending changes in the Indiana building code which would have threatened the post-frame industry. This group, along with interested engineers and architects, was able to prove the structural reliability of pole building construction, and the rest is history.

NFBA LogoI first heard of the NFBA in the mid-1980’s and joined as the association’s first and only western member. The first NFBA Expo I attended was at Hershey, PA in 1987 and just a few years later, at the Expo at Hilton Head, SC I was elected to the association’s board of directors.

Early NFBA events were often poorly attended.  However, over the years, the association gradually has built its membership, as well as value to its members.

The 2014 Frame Building Expo is being held at the Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, TN; March 5-7. This year’s event promises to be a blockbuster, as exhibitor booth space for the trade show was sold out in mid-October 2013 – exceeding the sold space of both of the most recent prior Expos (2013 in Memphis and 2012 in St. Louis). As a result of the early sell out, more space was added to meet the needs of vendors.

Most certainly potential pole building owners are not going to be attending an event such as this. The 2014 Frame Building Expo affords me the ability to meet face-to-face with the hundreds of manufacturers and suppliers who exhibit. I will be finding out the industry’s latest and greatest innovations, as well as gathering more in depth information on existing products. As a result, I (as well as my fellow Hansen Pole Buildings’ team mates) will be able to evaluate products, and if we find “the better mousetrap”, will be able to integrate it into our offerings . We do the homework, so our clients don’t have to.

Look for future articles here on products from the Frame Building Expo. For more information on the National Frame Building Association, visit: www.nfba.org

Post Frame Prices: Knowing the Competition

Knowing the Competition Better Than They Know Themselves

Hansen Pole Buildings provides post frame building kit packages. Lots of them and in all 50 states! As such, we have lots of clients provide quotes from our competitors, with the idea we will meet or beat the pricing – of lesser featured or poorer quality buildings.

Besides the obvious features, there are some not so obvious things which clients do not always realize. The better providers and builders of pole buildings, pay good money to belong to associations and organizations which promote quality standards as well as reasonable levels of service. Many of these providers, us included, proudly display the logos of the organizations we belong to.

There are other companies, which display the logos, but are actually not members, nor do they pay dues to the organizations. These businesses are cheaters – pure and simple. They cheat the organizations they fraudulently claim to belong to, the members of the organizations who are honest and pay dues, as well as the consumer – who unwittingly believes no business would possibly do such a thing.

Hansen Buildings BBB RatingThe most prevalent case I see is alleged membership in the Better Business Bureau. On the home page for Hansen Pole Buildings is the BBB logo which says we are an accredited business. Click on this logo and it takes you directly to the BBB website, and gives you a report on our business. If this logo is found on any other website – click on it. If it does nothing, or is a “dead link”, you are probably dealing with a cheat. I would encourage the immediate reporting of any such business to the appropriate Better Business Bureau, as they are most likely fraudulently using the BBB logo.

Question any provider of either post frame building kits, or construction services as to why they are not BBB members. While the BBB is not the “end all”, it is a starting point for determining the legitimacy of a business.

The National Frame Building Association (www.NFBA.org) represents the post frame industry. Every legitimate post frame building kit provider, or contractor should be a member. Just today, I came across a company based in Ohio with the NFBA logo on their website. A call to the NFBA at (800)557-6957 confirmed the company is not an association member, even with the logo proudly displayed!

On the home page for the company in question, is a link to a video leading one to believe the plant shown to be “our” (as in their) manufacturing plant. With “our” lumber under roof, all of the steel coils in “our” warehouse, etc., etc. The problem is – the video is not of this business’ facility!

Their website proudly touts, “By eliminating the middle-man, you save!” however they ARE the middle man – they are reselling someone else’s post frame building and making a profit (nothing wrong with making a legitimate profit).

As a consumer, you can either do due diligence and actually check a company out, or take the risks.

Consider the old adage, “The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory”.