Tag Archives: pole barn construction

5 Places or Spaces Perfect for Pole Buildings

Gambrel Concessions BuildingWe took a look at some of America’s most wide open spaces and thought hard about how climate, severe weather, wind, and seasonal changes affect the ability of a sturdy pole building to provide housing, commercial office space, and industrial warehouse storage.

It may come as no surprise that the majority of the locations we selected were part of the American South. That doesn’t mean that our great northern states aren’t wonderful places to experience life, but it does mean that the bounty of land and the relative calm of the southern warmth make for some unbeatable pole barn conditions.


One of the most spacious states also happens to be one of the calmest when it comes to natural disasters. A pole barn suits Texas quite well. Although the coastline falls into the Gulf of Mexico, inland Texas only sees an occasional flood. It lies just outside of tornado alley, which means storms from the north and south typically weaken before they hit the heart of Texas.

On top of that, snow in Texas is rare. You may see an inch or two of snow in most parts of the state once every 5-10 years. That means you don’t have to worry about load-bearing for heavy snow or complex heating systems. You will, however, probably need to consider serious insulation and an efficient air conditioning system.

Still, the countless acres of ranch land that are constantly up for grabs rest outside the city limits of most major cities, which means it’s easier for you to get the permits you need to build and your restrictions will be, well, less strict. We’d still recommend some quality grading for wind, however, for the occasional storm that has a hard time dissipating.


Georgia may not have the same massive tracts of land that Texas does, but it still has gorgeous weather and has about the same propensity for natural disasters that Texas does. Floods are its most frequent trouble, but planning your pole building accordingly should negate any severe damage.

Northern Georgia does see the occasional winter storm, most of which are quick to knock out power. If you want to build your pole barn in the northern part of the state, make sure you prepare your roof to handle large amounts of snow that build up rapidly.

Other than that, Georgia enjoys four distinct seasons in most of the state. That means with proper ventilation, you can save money on heating and cooling your pole building. Plus, you can build outside of the city limits of cities like Atlanta and still commute to and from work!


What’s unique about Oregon is its topography, which lends itself to a climate that changes depending on where you are in the state. While pole barns in Oregon need lots of support for snow and top-quality heating systems, there’s also lots of rolling land on which smart homeowners can build affordable pole buildings.

Its proximity to the Pacific Ocean doesn’t open the state up to many disasters. More than floods and tsunamis, Oregon contends with landslides and earthquakes. However, major occurrences are extremely rare and most pole buildings can be built to withstand minor jolts and impacts.


Drought and dust storms are nature’s claim to fame in the dry lands of Arizona. What’s cool about the state, though, is that its sandy and rocky terrain make it easy for builders to quickly assemble pole buildings that are graded for wind-resistance.

Land in Arizona is relatively inexpensive, and when you combine the cost of land purchase with the construction of a pole building, you’ll find that the total cost of putting together a workspace or a home in Arizona is incredibly low. Though you may need a combination air conditioning and heating system to contend with fluctuating temperatures, you’ll save plenty in pole barn construction and maintenance to purchase one.


Though parts of central Nebraska are prone to tornadoes, we recommend placing a pole building on the east or west side of the state. In the east, you can build a home or office space just outside of Omaha and stay within arm’s reach of the big city.

Lincoln also isn’t far off in the East, and there’s land to the North and South between the two cities that’s likely more lenient when it comes to building pole buildings. Nebraska also sees some rough winters and summers, but only in the depth of each. The rest of the seasons are fairly mild, so conditions stay ideal for pole buildings for most of the calendar year.

How to Prep Your Site for a Pole Barn

Pole building construction prepDeciding to add a pole barn to your property can be exciting, and you may already be envisioning how you’ll use this new space. However, before you get too carried away planning your pole barn’s layout and features, you’ll need to choose a building site and prep the site for your pole barn. While pole barns are designed to be durable, being strategic when choosing your location will help ensure the building will stay in great condition for years to come and that you are able to fully enjoy the space.

Questions to Ask When Selecting a Site

When deciding where to build your pole barn, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can I build on my preferred site and stay in compliance with county and local zoning requirements?
  • How easy will it be to get to this site from my home or the road?
  • Will I be able to easily transport materials and any necessary construction equipment to this site?
  • Do I have enough space if I decide to expand my pole building later?
  • Are there any weather conditions (e.g. high wind on the top of a hill, potential flooding of a low site) that could be an issue?

Answering these questions will help you rule out any problematic pole barn building sites and narrow down your choices to the best fits.

Tips for Choosing and Preparing Your Pole Barn Site

One of the most important things to think about when selecting a pole barn building site is water drainage—you don’t want to choose a site to which water will flow, or you’ll have to deal with muddy treks to your pole barn, a breeding ground for insects, and possible flood damage. If you’re not sure where water flows on your property, walk around the next time it rains and take note. You’ll ideally want to find a flat space that is elevated enough to drain well.

If the only land available to you is uneven or sloped, you’ll have to increase the grade so that water can drain away from the site. You may need to add a compactable fill, such as crushed stone, in order to raise or level the site before you add the building pad. For Hansen Pole building kits, the ground will need to be within eight inches of level to use our standard pole lengths. If you’re dealing with a steep slope, you may need to hire an excavator to cut into the bank.

When clearing your site to prepare for leveling, you’ll need to remove top soil and vegetation up to four feet beyond the pole building dimensions. As you begin construction on your pole barn, plan to leave space around the perimeter so that you’ll easily be able to access the building from all sides and have space to clear snow (if you live somewhere with harsh winters).

To get more tips on preparation for your pole building site and constructing a pole barn from a Hansen Pole customizable kit, visit our Pole Building Learning Center. If you have a specific question, you can ask the Pole Barn Guru or contact us directly at 1-866-200-9657.

Is Hansen a Pole Building Contractor?

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.  If you want a quick answer, please be sure to answer with a “reply-able” email address.

Email all questions to: PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How are the pre-engineered pole barns set up.. does Hansen provide the delivery and installation? Is the slab included in the installation? Or would the slab be by “others”? Question from Ashley in Austin, TX

DEAR ASHLEY: Hansen Pole Buildings delivers custom designed pole (post frame) buildings to building sites everywhere in the continental United States, or to the docks if shipping to Alaska or Hawaii. The buildings are designed for the average person who can and will read instructions to successfully construct their own beautiful buildings.

We are not a pole building contractor, so we do not build or install anything for anyone anywhere. If you are not interested in building yourself, we can assist you in finding a contractor who can assemble some, or all, of your building kit package for you. Many of these same contractors may be qualified to provide the labor to finish a concrete slab as well.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a 40’x80′ metal sided pole barn that is insulated in the ceiling and walls with double bubble reflective insulation and no venting system. Don’t have any condensation issues but it gets really hot in our Okie summers. Would some sort of vents or vent fans in the ends of the building be an effective way to mitigate the heat? Thanks in advance, just found your site and really like the access to good info. Mike in Blackwell, OK

DEAR MIKE: Thank you very much for your kind words and for becoming a reader! While you might start with trying just gable vents located as high up in the endwalls as possible, it is very probable you will need to use powered fans in order to move enough air out to make a difference. Whichever choice you pick, make some provision to close them off in the winter if you are intending any sort of heating in the cooler months.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: How would a rebar cage for a base plate be constructed in the right way for a horse barn? I am interested in the step by step method once you have the hole, of implementing a rebar cage in the right position, pouring the concrete and then placing the base plate. ALMOST IN AUSTIN

DEAR ALMOST: My best guess is you are actually considering constructing a steel framed barn of some sort. Historically steel framed barns are not the ideal design solution when it comes to stabling horses. The steel framework makes it difficult to attach wood stall components to, and the concrete required at ground level poses a hazard to horses.

I’d strongly urge you to consider a pole building instead. One of the wonderful thing about pole buildings is they do not require complicated, expensive and time consuming rebar cages to be poured into significantly large concrete piers. By utilizing properly pressure preservative treated wood columns, embedded into augered holes in the ground, it eliminates the need for perfectly placed base plates (or base plates at all).

Mike the Pole Barn Guru


Last summer my friend Shelean and I were visiting my favorite biker watering hole Stateline Cruisers (read more about Cruisers at: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2013/05/pole-building-13/). I was enjoying a tall cold one, when a fellow patron of the establishment approached me and asked if I remembered him.

Turns out, I did. Back in the early 1990’s, when I was building pole buildings, I drove my restored 1950 Chevy 5-window pickup to make a sales call on Thad, who lives in the Spokane Valley. Thad and I immediately hit it off, as he also owned an old Chevy pickup and we spent far more time talking trucks than the new building for his truck.

Now Thad did end up ordering a building from us. Assigned to construct his building was one of our newer building crews (they had only done one previous building for us). Twenty years later, this particular builder has become relatively successful – at the time, not so much.

After the building was completed, Thad asked me to swing by and take a look at it, before he made the final payment. Being as we had hit it off so well, and he was nearby, I told him no problem.

From the street, the building looked great, nice trim work and straight screw lines on the walls. Thad took me inside of the building, closed the doors and had me look up.

OMSIWhen I lived in Oregon in the 1980’s one of the sights to see in the Portland metro area was the OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) planetarium. Then located at Washington Park, the blue and green 32-foot geodesic dome, the Planetarium seated 160 people and featured a 400 pound star projector creating almost 1000 stars using 32 giant lenses.

Let me tell you OMSI had nothing over the view of the inside of Thad’s roof. I’ve never seen so many pinholes of light – all I could think of was that someone had let loose with a buck shot blast.

There was no apology large enough for me to offer Thad – I told him his roof steel would be replaced, which it was.

Twenty years later – Thad had nothing but kind words for how his building was handled.

The moral of good construction, it isn’t how well you do it initially, it is how you solve the problems which inevitably come up.

Twilight Zone Contractor

50 shades of The Twilight Zone, is The Ghost of Rod Serling Somewhere Nearby?

twighlight zoneFrom 1951 to 1955, more than 70 of Rod Serling’s television scripts were produced, garnering both critical and public acclaim. Full-scale success came on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 1955, with the live airing of his Kraft Television Theatre script “Patterns.” Deemed a “creative triumph” by critics, and the winner of the first of Serling’s six Emmy awards, the acclaimed production was actually remounted live to air a second time on Feb. 9, 1955 — an unprecedented event.

Serling went to work on screenplays for MGM and as a writer for CBS’ illustrious Playhouse 90, for which he crafted 90-minute dramas — including both the series’ 1956 debut, “Forbidden Area,” starring Charlton Heston, Vincent Price, Jackie Coogan and Tab Hunter; and the multiple-Emmy Award-winning “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” starring Jack Palance and Keenan Wynn which later was turned into both a feature film and a Broadway play. Remarkably, in a milieu which included such writing legends as Paddy Chayefsky and Reginald Rose, Serling took the writing Emmy again the following year for his Playhouse 90 script “The Comedian,” starring Mickey Rooney.

A critical and financial success, Serling shocked many of his fans in 1957 when he left Playhouse 90 to create a science-fiction series he called The Twilight Zone.

CBS would air 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone, an astonishing 92 of which were written by Serling, over the next five years. His writing earned him two more Emmy Awards. The show went on to become one of television’s most widely recognized and beloved series, and it has achieved a permanent place in American popular culture with its instantly recognizable opening, its theme music and its charismatic host, Serling himself. With early appearances by such performers as Robert Redford, Burt Reynolds, Dennis Hopper and many others, The Twilight Zone became a launching pad for some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

Many of us grew up with either the original The Twilight Zone or have watched in in reruns. The story below, befits a script written by Serling!

This message actually came from one of our Building Designers, to me at 5:21 on a Friday afternoon:

“His contractors (or concrete people) were looking for a stick framed building which would be bolted to the concrete.  He thought at first this may be what we provided.  I explained the benefits of a post framed building and also the benefits of having the poles in the ground.  The concrete guy keeps telling him to attach to the concrete.  On a side note, he asked the concrete guys for an estimated and they came and started excavating without giving him an estimate.  That being said…the customer is wondering if he could get a pole layout ASAP. (Like this weekend?)  His plan is to dig the holes before they come back and they would have to listen to him.  His worry is that they will come before he has the chance to dig the holes and pour the concrete.  So his question is…if that happens, would he be able to change and attach to concrete (which he does not want due to cost and because he likes the idea of NOT uplifting)”

Now my advice and caution to any client or potential client….

Never, ever let someone start to perform labor or services on your property without an agreement signed by you.

Why not?

Lots of reasons….

Your allowing them to begin work, could be construed in court as your tacit approval. You could easily end up with a huge bill, for work other than what you actually wanted to have done! Or, for work which is so poorly done it has to be redone (and you still have to pay the bill).

If the contractor happens to be unregistered – and while digging damages a power line or worse, you could be held liable. Always call before digging! Read more at: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2013/06/call-811/

In the event the contractor or one of his workers is injured, you and your home owner’s insurance could end up footing the bill!

Do not be bullied by a contractor.

Do protect yourself by thoroughly vetting any contractor:


That a client would be afraid he’d wake up to find his lot being dug up without his consent – to force the construction of a building in a way he does not want….made me think of the twilight zone….where anything could happen…. without any warning….

Pole Building Pictures: Say Cheese!

Happy CustomerTaking frequent pictures of a new pole building under construction on is something which just does not happen on a routine basis. These pictures could easily save a world of grief.  I personally believe building owners and contractors should be taking pictures more often than what I usually find is being done.

A picture does say a thousand words if not more and I feel all would benefit as a result of routine picture taking.  It’s amazing what is seen when photos are reviewed.

Just today I was looking at photos posted on an online forum by a proud new pole building owner. From the photos, I was able to determine the contractor had installed the reflective roof insulation the “wrong” direction. The reflective aluminum side should have been up towards the roof steel, the white facing down, but he installed it the other way around. So much for the sun being reflected off the roof by the now “white” side of what should have been the silver “reflective” vapor barrier. On the 24 foot width building with prefabricated wood roof trusses spaced every four feet, the lateral bottom chord bracing is entirely missing. For this span, with single trusses, there should have been at least two rows of bracing installed.

For DIY clients, sharing daily progress photos with the pole building kit package provider may allow what might otherwise become a crucial error to be discovered, before it is too late to be easily corrected.

Hiring a builder? Take lots of photos. In the event something goes wrong, whether structural (as in the case of the bracing above) or functional, the pole building pictures give evidence, if needed.

What kind of camera should be used?

First off, a camera which zooms, is durable, weatherproof and has a built in flash is tops in my opinion.  The new digital age has given us the ability to take as many photos as we want to without the expense and delays of film.  In addition, the point and shoot cameras with at least 16 megapixels provide fantastic detail.

I find myself taking pole building pictures with my phone but smart phones simply lack the power and capability of a point and shoot or DSLR.  Don’t take me wrong, there are plenty of great phones out there with outstanding cameras.  But a “real” camera gives better clarity when used and offers more options for flash.  Many people take pole building pictures with their phones and the pictures just stay there until they get deleted.

Despite giving “how to take a good photo” instructions to many clients, it’s amazing the number of poor pictures we get.  Most of what it takes to get a decent picture, is very simple.  First, don’t take pictures on a sunny day.  People see the sun out and instantly run to grab their camera and take photos of their pole building.  If it has steel siding and/or roofing, the sun glints off the steel and casts shadows which “color” the steel in unbecoming shades of gray and black.  Piles of garbage or construction scraps often sit around the building or at best, in a garbage can…smack in the middle of the picture.  Move those vehicles out of the way!  You may love your pickup, but it’s blocking the view of the building. Finally, take several pictures from all angles.  You never know by adjusting where you stand to take the photo, might get that immoveable tree or power pole out of the picture enough so the true beauty of your new pole building can be seen.

Most importantly, for people like me, we live vicariously through our clients. I so enjoy seeing the progress being made.  And the absolute best is seeing the smiling faces in front of the newly completed pole building!

Pole Building Construction: Off to the Races

Pole Building Construction

We’ve spent the last few days in the capitol city of Quito, Ecuador. If it wasn’t for our daughter having spent her sophomore year of high school here as a Rotary Exchange Student, we probably never would have visited Ecuador.  Once we were here, we were hooked however. The scenery is breathtaking and amazingly diverse, but it is the people and their culture which makes the country a true treasure.

Quito is an interesting city, at 9350 feet above sea level, I huff and puff pretty quickly, but the over two million residents get along just fine with it. What really amazes me is – every building seems to be under construction. Many have occupied first or lower floors, with rebar “fingers” projecting towards the sky, in preparation for the next level, which might be added soon, or decades in the future.

Our friend Wolf is an engineer and building contractor in Crucita, a small fishing village on the Pacific coast. In his experience, his crews will construct an average new home in about ten months. With an average wage scale of just over $300 per month, labor is inexpensive, so man power often trumps the use of equipment.

Wolf explained the “do-it-yourself” construction process of the average Ecuadorian.

In his words, it starts off like a horse race, with a huge flurry of activity. After some time and lots of hours of labor, the building gets to where a portion of it is able to be utilized. This is where the thoroughbred horse becomes a mule, things start to plod along. The Ecuadorian D.I.Y. guy has lost interest, or run out of money (or both), and the project stagnates – oftentimes for years.

pole building constructionHow does this apply to building one’s own pole building in the U.S.? An average pole barn of about 1500 square feet can be erected by a typical weekend warrior in about 200 man hours (with good plans and complete instructions). Get together a couple of buddies (or recruit relatives) and in a month of weekends or less, it is done!

The ease and speed of pole building construction allows the race horse to stay in the race to the finish line – before hitting the “mule phase”.

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