Tag Archives: pole barn comparisons

Post Frame Building Saga

A Day Which Will Live in Infamy

Most United States citizens who have at least taken a high school U.S. History class will recognize this line from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Dec. 8, 1941 speech given to a joint session of Congress. For those of you who need a quick refresher: https://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=UTF-8&fr=crmas&p=dec.+7+1941+roosevelt%27s+speech

FDRI know I have baffled many a loyal reader, over the years, who has wondered where it is I am going with my writing about post frame buildings – although the answers to this one are going to require more than just a single day’s worth of reading.

You may ask, “How the H is he going to tie this one into a tidy package”?

Well, it appears as though my article posted June 17, 2015 – has very well struck a nerve. A nerve which I will share with you tomorrow.

I do not profess to be a journalist. Indeed – under the rules set down by U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez, I am not (you can read David Coursey’s Forbes article here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidcoursey/2012/01/02/you-be-the-judge-are-bloggers-journalists/).

However non-journalistic I may be, there are goals to my articles – I want to be both entertaining and informative. While not every article attains both of these goals, more than a few do. Many articles have been viewed upwards of 50,000 times, with one article (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2011/06/pole-barn-truss-spacing/) reaching a readership of over 100,000 viewers in the four years since it was posted. This happens to work out to nearly 70 views per day, every day or once every 20 or so minutes!

I’ve learned a lot over the past four plus years of writing, much in part to questions and concerns posed by readers. I also make mistakes – and lots of them, you’ve had the opportunity to read many of them within the pages of my blogs. I am pretty well certain when I quit making mistakes, I will have died (or expired for those of gentler linguistic persuasions).

For those who are searching for building design solutions, my mission has remained constant since I was in architecture school at the University of Idaho – to assist people in getting the absolute best post frame building value for their investment. Even if this means the client gets a building from another provider, or doesn’t construct a post frame building, the goal remains the same.

Stay tuned in – as the saga continues tomorrow!

I Am Going to Defend Morton Buildings

What? Have I gone out of my mind?

No, not at all. We’ve always had a good relationship with Morton Buildings. They are the largest post frame (pole) builder in America, but all they do is build. We’ve had them refer clients to us who are looking only for building kits.

I ‘net surf a lot – I am by nature a curious guy and I want to know what is going on in the world. And I am not the only one!

One of the Hansen Pole Buildings Designers, Rick, sent me a link to on online forum he came across: https://www.dieselplace.com/forum/4-other-topics/69-shop-talk/101469-whats-most-affordable-type-brand-building.html

Here was what a poster wrote (spelling/grammar uncorrected from original post):

“Oh …. Morton Buildings rock……….. We have had one since 91…. it still looks like new. We had to replace a piece of steel do to a snowmobile trailer flying into it during a wind storm, and the new piece of steel matched the 10 year old piece exactly when the fly crap was taken into consideration.

Mortons rock there build qualty, materials, and efficency seem 1st rate. Dad said if he ever had to do it again, or put on an addition, (like we have talked about) he would have morton come back and do it.

they may or may not be the most affordable, but they did an awesome job on ours and I would highly recomend them to anyone.”

My thought was, “Cool, someone who really loves their building!”

The next poster wrote:

Snow LoadIve seen two many of their rooves collapse under snow becuse they only use half the trusses they should and half the roof perlins which also means their metal only gets half as many screws as it needs….. o wait they are still stuck in the 18’th century as they still nail their steelfast.”

The second poster is the one I will take Morton’s defense on. The poster may very well be suffering from the Dunning Kruger Effect (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2015/01/dunning-kruger-effect/)

With currently nearly 100,000 people having read the article, it is by far the most read of any I have written:   https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2011/06/pole-barn-truss-spacing/ You might also want to read my article in Structural Building Components magazine: https://www.sbcmag.info/article/2011/it-isnt-your-grandpas-barn-tips-technicians-designing-post-frame-trusses

The quantity of trusses being provided for any given pole building have absolutely nothing to do with the ability of a building to support a given snow load. Morton’s designs incorporate larger, stronger trusses – spaced further apart!

Knowing the engineering staff at Morton Buildings, with a high degree of certainty, I can assure any reader the load carrying capacity is equal to, or better, than the loads the trusses were designed to carry. And the quantity of screws (or, forbid) or nail fasteners in a roof have nothing to do with snow load capacity! (Read why not to nail on steel here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2014/05/nailing-steel-roofing/)

More often than not, roof collapses from snow are due to snowfalls which are greater than the Building Code requirements. This becomes even a greater concern with agriculturally exempt buildings: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2011/12/exempt-agricultural-buildings/

Decide for yourself, but I am still in support of Morton Buildings, if someone wants a turnkey operation and is willing to pay for it.

Missouri – the Show Me State on a Pole Building

Show me state - Missour Pole BuildingsWell, gentle reader, if my occasional rants make good reading, or are otherwise entertaining, today should be a treat indeed.

A client (from Missouri) sent us the quote he received from a lumberyard in his area for a new 30’ x 40’ x 12’ pole building. Great price – if I was going to purchase a pole barn kit package and all I cared about was a screaming great price, I’d take two of these.

Now – time to have fun…..as I dissect their quote, which happens to list all of the pieces they propose to provide.

#1-Painted steel – sounds like a good start, until I read, “Figured in 10 year metal”. 10 year metal? Come on now….a good pole building should last a lifetime, and they propose steel with a 10 year warranty? This steel is what is known as “liner panel”. They are designed to be used on the inside of buildings, not exposed to the elements!

#2-Ridge vent. They are quoting a universal ridge vent – strips of square material which is to compress to conform to the ribs of the steel. All well and good, but these products rarely seem to fit 100% snug against the base of the high ribs of the roof steel panels. But, it is something.

#3-Truth in advertising time – “Single Bubble Reflective Insulation R-14.1”.  Hansen Buildings sells literally millions of square feet of reflective insulation. To promote any reflective insulation as being R-14.1, without qualifying how the R rating was calculated, is stepping way out on a limb. A limb the future building owner may not like to stand on.

#4-2×10 #2 Yellow Pine truss carriers. The proposed building has columns every eight feet, with trusses attached to them. What in the heck are the “truss carriers” carrying?

#5-2×6 Treated (no grade mentioned)….can only assume this to be a very undersized splash plank at the base of the building.

#6-2x4x10’ #2 SPF (Spruce-Pine-Fir) – these are wall girts placed barn style every two feet across the endwalls. Obviously meeting the building code criteria for deflection is not a concern.

And now it gets even more interesting. Some things seemed to be completely missing from the pole building quote…steel trims for around the base (rat guard) and at the top of the eave. No stitch screws to attach the ridge cap and rake trims. Inside closure strips for the edge of the roof.

I just have to question their providing “sinkers” to attach framing to pressure treated lumber. Maybe not the best possible choice.

The wonder of the internet allows me to check out what could only be thought of as a rudimentary website. Where I find their mission statement, “To bring our Customers quality products at a great price” great in theory, somehow I have missed it so far based upon their quote.

One click on the “Agricultural Pole Barns” link and I find, “Our contractors build anywhere from 300 to 500 pole barns per year, and we sell an additional 150 to 200 material packages to farmers and “Do-it-yourselfer’s” annually.”

If indeed they do provide this many buildings, surely some sort of even minimal quality standards must exist.  I clicked to view pictures of their pole barns…and was reminded quality comes in many levels – great quality, as well as poor.

Remember my questioning the “truss carriers”, sure enough, they are installed and carrying absolutely nothing!

Base trim/rat guard and the 2×6 pressure treated? The solution is to run the wall steel all the way down to the ground! Any sort of manufacturer’s warranty on the steel just evaporated. If you want to see what happens to steel siding which comes in contact with the ground, I most heartily invite you to visit the Hansen Productions building.  It was built approximately 30 years ago by some previous company (we purchased it about 6 years ago), and has everything you do not want to see happen with a pole building.  The bottom edges of the steel all the way around the building are rusted up from half to over an inch!  Folks, you do not want steel in contact with the ground.

What took the cake for me was….photos of trusses in completed pole buildings with absolutely no truss bracing what-so-ever!! No bottom chord bracing (with single trusses, the absolute maximum spacing for bracing would be every 10’)!!  Truth be told, I would be scared to stand in a building like this on a calm day.

My summation – ignorance is bliss. If these people can sleep at night, it is only because they must be entirely oblivious as to how buildings should be put together. In the event they happen to read this article, I am offering my services, for free, to educate them – before one (or more) of their buildings collapses and someone is injured, or worse yet, killed.


Pole Building Construction Advantages: Audience Participation

For those of you who have ever taken a DiSC profile, you will understand when I tell you I am a high “I” personality. We high “I” people, we love a show – I love magicians. I don’t know how they do it, but I love the show. I will watch them over and over and over.

When I was in architecture school at the University of Idaho, The Amazing Randi put on a magic show to a packed house. A volunteer from the audience was asked to loan them a jacket to be part of the show. I was wearing my favorite denim sport coat, and I volunteered it, not realizing Randi was going to cut it in half with scissors in front of us!!

One part of the jacket went off the stage to the left, the other part off the stage to the right. I have no idea how it was done, but after the show, I was given back my intact sport coat.

Back to the case at hand…..today’s blog post will offer the opportunity for readers to participate in the end.

Recently a client wrote: “After talking with the building inspector he does not like the idea of post 12ft apart with double rafters. Can you quote a standard setup so I can compare apple to apples, post 8ft on center with double 2×12 header and trusses every 4ft, no joist hangers needed for perlins?”

I responded: While the building inspector may not “like the idea” it is not only a tried and true method, but it is also one which our engineers recognize as being structurally superior and will engineer seal. We have tens of thousands of buildings in all 50 states done with the exact same pole building construction design. It affords the benefits of fewer holes to dig, fewer pieces to handle and install, engineered connections and the reliability of true doubled trusses. Given the correct loading criteria and an engineered building, we will guarantee the ability to obtain a structural permit from our plans. The posts every 8′, single trusses every 4′ resting upon headers is a system our engineers are not interested in risking their careers on. In the event of a single truss failure, this system will result in a domino effect and the collapse of the entire roof system.

Ultimately, both the inspector and the client were satisfied and a permit to build was issued.

We get the requests for abnormal (for us) truss spacings or post spacings every once in a while. Here are a few of the advantages of the doubled truss, widely spaced columns, as would be typical of a Hansen Pole Building kit – (1) Fewer holes to dig, digging is always the worst part of any pole barn project, and the one which is outside of anyone’s control. Hit a Smart Car sized rock on the next to last hole and what is one to do, move the building? (2) Fewer posts to set, fewer trusses to raise, fewer purlins and girts to handle. The real advantage of pole building construction is having the least number of pieces, in order to do the job structurally. By using slightly larger pieces (generally 2×6 instead of 2×4, where it takes only 50% more wood, to be 246% stronger) we are being material efficient. (3) Wider door openings without the need for structural headers. In the event someone wants to add a door or window at a later date, they have far more flexibility to do so. (4) Does anyone REALLY want to stand on a 2×4 roof purlin 12′ or more up in the air? That purlin snaps and it is a long drop to the ground. It isn’t the fall; it is the sudden stop at the bottom that will kill you. (5) Most building collapses come from connection failures. In our case the purlins connect to the trusses with engineered steel hangers (not just nails); the double trusses bear directly on the posts (not on the sides of the posts, or nailed onto a header).

Audience participation time….what other advantages can you name for pole building construction?  Respond in the comments section please!

P.S. If you have never taken a DiSC personality profile test (it is quite fascinating) and would like to do it at a reasonable price ($27.50 for the DiSC Classic 2.0 online), here is the link:  https://www.intesiresources.com/catalog/disc-classic-profiles-35-1.html