Tag Archives: pole barn

Thinking Stick Frame Rather Than Post Frame

Thinking Stick Frame Rather Than Post Frame

Reader BRAD writes:“Real question…I’ve been doing lots of reading and love this site. I am building a 40x60x14 this spring. I originally thought I was going to go pole barn and now I am thinking stick frame. Reason….1. I am going to have insulated concrete foundation with in floor heating piping installed right away. (mono slab). 2. I am planning on fully finishing the inside insulation electrical, etc. in the future. What I’ve seen with post frame is that they are cheaper to build initially but if you are planning on finishing the inside there is substantial lumber and framing that needs to be done for interior walls and interior ceiling. It appears “at the end of the day” a finished pole barn is not much cheaper than a stick frame. I also question if it would be a lot more time trying to frame an interior post frame with 16” o/c studs and finishing a ceiling with 4’ or longer truss spacing vs 2’ with conventional stick frame. I am doing all metal exterior with 2’ o/c stud purlins on side walls vs osb sheathing. I know you can spray closed cell spray foam but again that is more than triple the price vs bats and vapor barrier that you can only do with 24”or16” o/c framing. 

Am I way off base on this theory or is there any truth to my thinking?”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:
I just don’t see reason number one as a reason at all. A plethora of post frame buildings (my own included) utilize radiant in-floor heat. In order to stick frame, you are going to have to thicken your slab edges, or pour a continuous footing and stem wall, in order to provide adequate support for your now load bearing walls. This is going to result in added expenses for forming, regardless of your choice (before even considering extra concrete required). While anchor bolts for stud walls are relatively inexpensive, they do require some effort to be properly placed in order to avoid hitting studs and plates need to be drilled to account for them.

In order to stick frame without added engineering, your wall heights are going to be limited by Building Codes. To attach steel siding, you will need to add horizontal framing outside of your studs (scarily, I did see a builder post photos of vertical steel siding, screwed to vertical studs), resulting in two sets of framing, extra pieces to handle, cut and install. By using commercial style bookshelf wall girts in post frame, no extra framing is required in order to attach exterior steel siding and wall finish of your choice. As post frame buildings transfer gravity loads from roof-to-ground via columns, eliminating (in most instances) any need for structural headers.

Using prefabricated metal connector plated wood trusses, in pairs, directly aligned with columns (most often placed every 12 feet), does require ceiling joists to be placed between truss pairs. This can all be done on the ground, then cranked into place using winch boxes, with no need for other heavy lifting equipment.

When all is said and done, fully engineered post frame construction will always be more cost effective than stick frame, more structurally sound and afford a greater ability to super insulate, regardless of one’s choice of insulation systems.

Updates to Make to Your Pole Barn in 2023

Updates to Make to Your Pole Barn in 2023

Entering the new year comes with resolutions, and while some may be personal, there are plenty that end up becoming a part of your to-do list. Starting with a clean slate means you can really hone in on what improvements you may need, or what you really want to take on over the next few months. Far too often, we think that resolutions need to be focused on health alone, but it’s important to note that these goals can be attached to your home, business, or family in the new year. If there are some renovations you have been meaning to make but have not been able to, consider adding them to your resolution list! In fact, here are a few updates you can plan to do in 2023 to make your pole barn project a successful one. 

Whether you’re building a new pole barn or updating an existing structure, structural integrity should always be a top priority. Items that may be great for fire resistance, insulation, or durability, are essential to the structure. But, make sure that these products are actually healthy for you to be around too! You’ll want to keep these tips for a barn build in mind to avoid common and potentially damaging mistakes people make when constructing or making updates to the building.

Insulation is worth adding in if you plan on making this space multi-use, recreational, or your home. Pole barns for hay or other items may not need insulation, but even a greenhouse facility will need insulation of some sort. We’ve stated before how important insulation is for a pole barn, so don’t go skipping this step if you want a long-lasting building. However, if your building is going through renovations, it’s vital to make sure that what you already have installed won’t be damaging to the building or your health. 

If you’re working with a contractor, it’s wise to double-check their work; don’t be afraid to ask questions when updating areas like insulation or new roofing. Sometimes, the cheaper option can hurt you along the way. In fact, there are plenty of older construction products that can harm your health, so taking the time to safely replace cheap materials with more durable options can be key to long-standing projects. 

Another thing to consider, as previously mentioned, is your roofing. Your roof is the first line of defense for your pole barn when it comes to mother nature, so it’s essential that you’re prepared for whatever may come your way, be it snow, wind, rain, or unpredictable natural disasters. The materials you choose for your pole barn roof are an important decision, so doing your research can make a considerable difference in future maintenance. For example, metal roofs will be able to withstand hail and snow, but knowing what thickness provides greater protection can be the difference in replacing it in the future. 

While the new year may bring new challenges, and a whole slew of different projects you may want to take on, make sure to take a step back and make sure that every update you make not only creates something solid for years to come but protects you along the way. After all, as the saying goes, it’s better to measure twice and cut once than the other way around!

Is a Two Story Barndominium Possible?

Is a Two Story Barndominium Possible?

Reader BROGEN from HOUGHTON LAKE writes:

“I’m looking to build a 40×60 pole barn dominium with the whole downstairs being a garage space except 10 foot off the back wall making the total garage space a 40×50 and having a 10×40 space walled in for stairs and a storage/mud room or possible bathroom. Then the whole upstairs be living quarters. For the garage height I was thinking 10-12 foot high and the upstairs being 8 foot with either a flat ceiling or have it be vaulted trusses so it could be 8 foot in the corners of the room to possibly 10 foot in the center of the building. I have a rough sketch I made to get an idea of what I want with each square representing 2 foot (I’m no artist these drafts are rough). Basically I’m wondering if this is possible or should I just go with stick built, and any sort of cost reference, because I haven’t seen many two story pole buildings of this sort. I will also be the one building and erecting everything. Unless the price is right and it’s cost efficient otherwise. Thank you for your time.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

I have been to Houghton Lake several times, calling on your local Home Depot (our post frame building kits are available through them), as well as being a guest presenter on post frame construction to a meeting of your area’s Building Officials. Having spent much of my life as a lake dweller, I can appreciate Houghton Lake’s scenic beauty.

Fully engineered post frame (pole barn) lends itself very well to multiple story buildings of nearly any type – especially homes (barndominiums and shouses – shop/house combinations). I built my first personal barndominium back in the mid 1990’s, three stories! Our current shouse has 8000 square feet of finished space on two stories plus a mezzanine (yes, we have not one, but two elevators).

Post frame is going to be more economical than stick frame – saving a boatload of concrete and being more material efficient than stick built. It also lends itself well to DIY, especially when engineered plans are accompanied by detailed step-by-step assembly instructions and unlimited Technical Support from those of us who have actually erected post frame buildings.

Your new Hansen Pole Building kit is designed for an average physically capable person, who can and will read and follow instructions, to successfully construct your own beautiful building shell, without extensive prior construction knowledge (and most of our clients do DIY – saving tens of thousands of dollars). We’ve had clients ranging from septuagenarians to fathers bonding with their teenage daughters erect their own buildings, so chances are – you can as well!

This may prove helpful in making your decision: https://hansenpolebuildings.com/2022/01/why-your-new-barndominium-should-be-post-frame/

Information on Codes and Shouses

Information on Codes and Shouses

I have to admit it was rather flattering to have Southwest Iowa’s Planning Council reach out to me regarding information on Codes and Shouses recently.

“Hello. My name is Ashley and I’m a community development specialist with Southwest Iowa Planning Council out of Atlantic, IA. I am currently working on some Zoning and Building codes for smaller towns and they want to include zones and/or building codes for shouses. Since this is relatively new to this area, within city limits at least, I was curious what issues your company has come across regarding codes and if you had any sample codes from communities that you would be willing to share with me?”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:

Thank you for reaching out to us. We have provided hundreds of post frame shouses and barndominiums in nearly every state. Good news for you (and these jurisdictions) is this project will involve very little extra efforts beyond what is currently in place.

Use of terms such as “pole barn”, “pole building” or “post frame” home, barndominium, shouse or shop/house oftentimes cause permitting waters to become clouded – yet they need not be.

From a Zoning/Planning standpoint – shouses (I will use this as an all encompassing term) should be treated no differently than any other code compliant structural system. Any existing requirements for setbacks, footprint requirements, heights, living area to garage/shop ratios, siding and/or roofing materials, color restrictions, etc., should remain the same as currently adopted. What is important is to not place restrictions upon shouses not existing for other dwellings, as this could end up leading to costly and protracted legal battles.

Currently adopted Building Codes (IRC, IBC, IECC) do not have to be amended for shouses.

In “Effective Use of the International Residential Code”:

Paragraph 4:

“It is important to understand that the IRC contains coverage for what is conventional and common in residential construction practice. While the IRC will provide all of the needed coverage for most residential construction, it might not address construction practices and systems that are atypical or rarely encountered in the industry.”

IRC R301.1.3 Engineered design.

“When a building of otherwise conventional construction contains structural elements exceeding the limits of Section R301 or otherwise not conforming to this code, these elements shall be designed in accordance with accepted engineering practice. The extent of such design need only demonstrate compliance of nonconventional elements with other applicable provisions and shall be compatible with the performance of the conventional framed system. Engineered design in accordance with the International Building Code is permitted for all buildings and structures, and parts thereof, included in the scope of this code.”

In summary (and in my humble opinion), any shouse outside of IRC prescriptive requirements, should be designed and have structural plans signed by a Registered Design Professional (architect or engineer) to meet or exceed jurisdictional climactic conditions.

Please feel free (or direct any jurisdiction) to reach out to me directly with any questions or concerns.

You Can’t Build it Here Part II

You Can’t Build It Here Part II

If you missed part I, go back two days to find it.

Continuing on…

Post frame homes can save thousands of dollars in excavation, footing and foundation forming and concrete costs inherent to stick framing. This is due to use of isolated widely spaced wood columns either embedded or placed into brackets on concrete piers.  Post frame construction allows greater flexibility of design for wide door and window openings without requiring structural headers. It has fewer framing members touching both exterior and interior surfaces, reducing thermal transference issues. Deep wall cavities and use of raised heel trusses provide for an ability to super insulate. Material use is minimized by elimination of redundant members so often found in stud walls. Add to this – an average physically capable person, who can and will read instructions, can successfully erect their own beautiful home!

Today’s fully engineered post frame homes are not your grandfather’s pole barn. Although steel siding and roofing will prove to be more cost effective and durable than any other cladding materials – any exterior surfacing is possible. As an example, one of our clients is building on Lake Havasu, Arizona with a concrete tile roof and stucco for exterior wall finishes.

There are jurisdictions sadly attempting to prevent ‘pole barn houses’ in their neighborhoods. Scenarios usually go something like this – a potential homeowner inquires to their local building permit issuing authority and asks, “Can I build a pole barn home here”? Too often (in my opinion one time is too often) they are told flatly no. Most of these who do move forward, automatically default to an easy route and stick frame.

What is not being asked by these potential post frame home owners is, “Can you provide your written ordinance prohibiting fully engineered post-frame homes”?

Use of terms such as “pole barn” or “pole building” home, barndominium, shouse or shop/house oftentimes cause permitting waters to become clouded. Presenting as a “fully engineered post-frame home” dramatically decreases initial resistance.

My personal experience is well over 90% of these jurisdictions have no such written ordinance. And if it is not in writing, and duly approved by an elected governing body, then it does not exist. When pointed out no written prohibiting ordinance exists, this has always resulted in approval.

In those rare instances where an adopted written statute does appear, I have often appealed to legal counsel for the jurisdiction. I kindly explain, in trying to rule out a 100% Code conforming structural building system, they are attempting unlawfully to restrict free trade and this could result in a protracted (and expensive) legal battle they cannot win. Municipalities do not want to have to explain to their constituents how good money was thrown after bad. For me, in all but a single instance, this has resulted in approval to move forward.

Other courses of action would include taking this issue to the jurisdiction’s governing body (City/town counsel or county commissioners) and requesting their statue be overturned or amended. This can prove to be a lengthy process as the wheel of progress moves slowly.

Now my one single (and ongoing) challenge – Madison County, Illinois. In their Ordinance #: 2020-02 “Ordinance authorizing a text amendment to Chapter 93 of the Madison County Code of Ordinances”:


(F) “R-1”, “R-2”, “R-3”, and “R-4” Permitted uses.

     (5) Single-family dwelling, frame construction only.

Madison County’s Planning and Zoning Department’s position is “frame” means stick frame only. I have reached out to Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office and as there is no pending actual permit application, they feel there is no compelling reason to address this issue.

Planning and Zoning Departments can regulate things such as setbacks, building footprints, heights, siding and roofing materials, even colors! However it is unlawful to preclude any Code approved, engineered structural building system.

In my humble opinion, we will see entire subdivisions filled with post-frame homes, as affordable housing becomes less and less affordable.

When the Problem is Not the Problem

When The Problem, Is Not The Problem

Captain Jack Sparrow’s quote is close in this instance. Please read on…..

RYAN in MISSOURI writes:

Hi Mike – I spoke with Brenda at your office and she said you may be willing to help me out. I don’t expect you to just give me free advice though, so if you were willing to provide me with some feedback on my “project”, I would like to pay you via Venmo or maybe your office could work up an invoice and I can pay you guys with a credit card. 

I built a 36×48 pole barn 5 years ago and didn’t account for adequate ventilation and now I want to fix the problem (I’m sure you’ve heard that line countless times before). I read one of your blog posts to get a head start on working up a plan of attack to keep it dry in there. I’m hoping you could check my work and either take a phone call from me or provide guidance via email (again, I can shoot you some money for this, please just let me know what sounds acceptable to you). 

Specs on the barn (I’ve included some older pics from before I installed the gutters and the electric below):

  • Location: central Missouri
  • Dimensions: 36′ wide (gable and door end) x 48′ long
  • No overhangs or soffit 
  • Two 8 ft ridge vents
  • Gutters down the eave/length sides to push water away from the “foundation” 
  • Currently no vents on the eave/length or gable sides or anywhere really… just some gaps around the trim and the base of the building where you can see daylight. 
  • The barn has electricity and the floor is just gravel. I have a junction box run to the gable on the south side (over the door ready to accommodate a vent fan). No animals inside. Just old tractors, some tools, and four wheelers. I don’t plan on putting in concrete or any HVAC. Things out there can get hot or cold, I just don’t want it raining from the ceiling anymore. 

Using your blog post, I tried to calculate what I would need as far as the CFM rating of the fan and the square inches of vent space (table of numbers below)


  • Before installing a fan, I should ask: is a fan even necessary? Seeing as I don’t care about HVAC, temperature or even critters getting in there, could I get by with just strategically placed vents and wind? 
  • If I do need a fan to generate enough circulation, does my math below look ok? 
  • Would the Airlift T16 with a 3060 CFM adjustable fan speed and a humidity detector or something like it work ok? 
  • Where would you recommend I place the vents (and I’m happy to go overkill on them if needed) in order to achieve the best results? 

Thank you so much for your time!”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:
Thank you for your generous offer of payment Ryan, however I answer all sorts of similar questions for free.

Now, the good news and bad news….

Good news is you do not have a ventilation problem, no reason to invest in any possibly expensive power ventilator fans.

Bad news – as you have found out, it rains from your ceiling. What you have is a condensation problem. Warm, moist air inside of your building is rising. It contacts with cooler roof steel, condenses and rains. This is much easier solved at time of construction than now (as well as less expensive). Roof steel ordered with an Integral Condensation Control factory applied would have been highly affordable, as well as easy to install.

Short of removing and reinstalling your roof steel to add a thermal break between purlins and steel (both costly and labor intensive), I would recommend having two inches of closed cell spray foam professionally applied to the underside of your roof steel.

When you do pour a concrete slab inside, be sure to add a well-sealed 6mil or thicker vapor barrier underneath.

Building Permit Makes It All OK? Think Again!

Building Permit Makes It All Okay? Think Again!

This article “Town of Rush orders woman to move barn it granted her permit to build” by Brett Davidson was published at www.WHEC.com February 24,2022

A woman from Rush has been ordered to tear down a brand new barn on her property because it violated the town’s zoning laws, but it was the town that approved the plans and issued the building permit.

Elizabeth DiStacio told News10NBC Anchor Brett Davidsen it has broken her financially and emotionally.

She thought she did everything right.

“I don’t sleep,” DiStacio said. “I cry every night. I sit there and cry and I’m still crying.”


In the fall of 2019, she decided to put up a large pole barn on the family’s property in Rush. She submitted a survey map to the town building inspector and marked with an “X” where she wanted to construct the barn.  

Davidsen: “You had a permit?”

DiStacio: “Yes, I did. A building inspector never came out, took a look at anything, just issued the permit.”

With this permit in hand, she hired a contractor. The cost of the job was about $25,000. Then, about a month into construction, the building inspector for the Town of Rush showed up for the first time and told her the barn was too close to the road and violated the town’s zoning law—which calls for a 110 foot setback. The barn was about 50 feet. The inspector ordered the construction crew to stop work, but by then, the framing for the 1,900 square foot barn had already gone up.

Davidsen: “So you didn’t alter the map?”

DiStacio: “No.”

Davidsen: “You didn’t misrepresent where you wanted to put the barn?”

DiStacio: “I was upfront and honest.”

Davidsen: “Did you know what the setback was?”

DiStacio: “No. Oh no I didn’t. I didn’t even know anything about a setback.”

It appears, while looking at the survey map, the inspector mistook the existing house’s setback distance of 117 feet for that of the proposed barn.

“It wasn’t Elizabeth’s fault the zoning officer misread the map,” said DiStacio’s attorney, John Vogel.

“She wasn’t misleading. She wasn’t engaged in any subterfuge or anything improper, and the town granted the permit, and now it seemed like they were pulling the rug out from under her,” Vogel added.

The Town of Rush also didn’t issue a written stop-work order—which its own bylaws require. When she didn’t get it after several months, DiStacio brought the contractor back.

“I didn’t hear anything from the town, so I’m like, ‘Finish it,'” DiStacio said.

Eventually, she applied for a variance with the Rush Zoning Board of Appeals but was denied.

So she took her fight to court. But a judge recently ruled against her, saying the board was thorough and rational when it rejected her request. The judge ordered her to take down or move the barn.

So we went to the Town of Rush to find out how this could have happened.

“It’s just a comedy of errors,” said Town Supervisor Gerald Kusse.

Rather than defend the town’s actions, he made this stunning admission.

“I would describe what happened as the very direct dereliction of duty on our building inspector at the time. Because all the investigation, as they’ve done proves that to be true,” Kusse said.

Kusse points out that the building inspector would have caught the mix-up much sooner had he visited the property earlier to ensure the layout was in compliance.

“Why he didn’t, I don’t know,” Kusse added.

Kusse said the inspector in question no longer works for the town.

Davidsen: “Given all of this, could the town have done something for her financially to move that barn?”

Kusse: “I’m one vote. I would have liked to proceed in that direction.”

But Kusse said members of the town board and the town attorney nixed the idea, concerned about setting a bad precedent.

“Why do I have to pay when I did everything the town asked me to do?” questioned DiStacio.

DiStacio said moving the barn will cost an additional $35,000. She has until mid-March to get it done.

Davidsen: “What has this done to you financially?”

DiStacio: “When this thing is done, I have zero in the bank. Zero. And that’s what I’ve got to show for it.”

Home improvement jobs can be very involved, and most of us don’t know all the pitfalls before launching into a project.

So Davidsen spoke with the Finger Lakes Building Officials Association President Jim Bailey about what you can do to avoid problems like Elizabeth DiStacio had. He shared this advice:

  1. Before you do anything, know your local zoning laws, things like setback requirements, and how they pertain to your property.
  2. Make sure you have detailed plans about your project, and hire professionals if you need to.
  3. Make sure you are getting inspections by town officials throughout the entire process.
  4. Most importantly, over-communicate with your local building inspectors and code officers.

“Through communication, you can utilize the education that all the municipal employees have for their profession and through that communication and dialog, then you can achieve compliance, which is really what everybody wants,” Bailey said.

Mistakes do happen, but ultimately, the responsibility lies on the homeowner.

How Much Will My New Pole Barn Cost?

How Much Will My New Pole Barn Cost?

Reader CLAUDIO in LEWIS writes:

“Hello, I would like to know what would be the cost to build a pole barn building 25’x50′ with loft? Are the interior partitions and insulated walls and floors included? Is the permit application included? Is delivery and construction included in your cost estimate? Thank you.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

If you are looking for the best bang for your building investment and a slightly different footprint will yet fit your needs, 24′ x 48′ will be a more efficient use of materials. Most often we are providing structural portions of your new pole barn (walls, roof system, siding, roofing, doors, windows, any elevated wood floors and stairs) delivered to your site. We can provide interior partition wall framing as well as fiberglass batt insulation. We do not include your permit application, however your new building investment includes full multi-page 24” x 36” engineer sealed structural blueprints detailing the location and attachment of every piece (as well as suitable for obtaining Building Permits).

Your new building kit is designed for an average physically capable person, who can and will read and follow instructions, to successfully construct your own beautiful building shell (and most of our clients do DIY – saving tens of thousands of dollars). We’ve had clients ranging from septuagenarians to fathers bonding with their teenage daughters erect their own buildings, so chances are – you can as well!

Currently (and for the foreseeable future) there is a nationwide shortage of building erectors. Many high quality erectors are booked out into 2023. We would strongly encourage you to consider erecting your own building shell.

For those without the time or inclination, we have an extensive independent Builder Network covering the contiguous 48 states (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/find-a-builder/). We can assist you in getting erection labor pricing as well as introducing you to potential builders.

A CAUTION in regards to ANY erector: If an erector tells you they can begin quickly it is generally either a big red flag, or you are being price gouged. ALWAYS THOROUGHLY VET ANY CONTRACTOR https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/04/vetting-building-contractor/

We would appreciate the opportunity to participate in your new pole building. Please email your building specifics, site address and best contact number to our Design Studio Manager caleb@hansenpolebuildings.com (866)200-9657 Thank you.

Repurpose – From Pole Barn to Barndominium

Reader LAUREN in THORNVILLE has an existing pole barn and writes:

“Hello! We have an existing 40×64 post frame construction pole barn that is 16′ high at the eaves/trusses and 20′ total height. It has siding and half of the space has 6 inch poured concrete. We would like to turn this into a one and a half story home. The one and a half would go on the part that does not have poured concrete. How far down would we have to dig to make that happen? I assume more than 2 ft to get to the 18 ft two story height  just to take into account the height of additional concrete pouring etc. I also wonder if half it already has poured concrete if it’s still possible to do water lines and electric in that area and then put additional flooring on top of the concrete so the space in between is running the necessary lines? we will not be doing this ourselves we will be hiring contractors but wanted to discuss the possibilities of what we can do with the structure. This is an agricultural pole barn, so do we need something different to make it into a habitable home since the wood poles etc are probably different than home grade? I appreciate your answers to these questions as well as any other advice or opinions that I did not think of that you can offer.”

Before you get overly deep into this, I would recommend you hire a Registered Professional Engineer to do a thorough evaluation of your existing building and give an opinion as to structural upgrades necessary in order to bring it into compliance with R-3 (residential) occupancy. This, alone, will likely curb your enthusiasm for trying to repurpose your structure. While either agricultural or residential columns should be pressure preservative treated to a minimum UC-4B specification, this is sadly not always what has been used. You are most likely to find your existing columns (wood poles) are not large enough, in dimension to safely support a residential use and their concrete footings are inadequate. In order to get to an adequate two story height (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/05/how-tall-should-my-eave-height-be-for-two-stories/) you would be not only doing a lot of digging, but also having to provide a continuous foundation of some sort between columns. In your existing slab area, should you need to run under slab utilities, it would probably be least expensive to rent a concrete saw – cut slots in slab and fill back in.

My recommendation is to build a brand new fully engineered post frame barndominium to best fit your family’s wants and needs.

A Hay Barn Challenge

Seemingly every small town in America has one or more pole barn ‘builders’. Many of them are more jack-of-all-trades and masters of none. They frame a few houses, do a deck or two, maybe some interior remodels in winter months and along with this – a handful of pole barns.

Sadly, in my humble opinion, many jurisdictions have minimal (or no) permitting requirements for pole barns. This practice is extended even further when it comes to pole barns deemed to be for agricultural purposes.

Combine lack of structural knowledge (plus pooh pooing any need for an engineer) by ‘builders’ as mentioned above with not needing a permit and situations arise rife with a potential for possible calamity.

Reader KATHY in KIMBALL writes:

“We have a ranch in western Nebraska. There are two hay barns on the ranch, each is 64’x44′ with 20 foot from ground to bottom of trusses. These are constructed with the trusses on 4 foot centers on double top plate and V bracing. The side walls are fully sheeted and the end walls are open. Both hay barns are level and in good shape. However, we were loading hay out of one of the barns recently, with wind gusts north of 40 MPH and we could see the trusses moving slightly with the wind, the bottom of the columns were stable as they are encased in concrete.

My questions are: Would it add significant support to build an end wall on one end of each of these barns. If so, can Hansen provide the materials and tech support to build these end walls?

Is there anything else we can do to add strength and stability to these hay barns?”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru replies:
Post frame (pole) buildings work much like unibody cars and jet aircraft, it is their skin’s strength holding everything together. Here is a home experiment you can do to get a better idea (as well as an extended read): https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/12/lateral-wind-loads/

Your hay barns happen to be a worst case scenario when it comes to sound structural design of a post frame building: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/03/ends-open-pole-barn-challenge/

What these buildings really need is to have both endwalls at least partially (if not fully) enclosed from eave to ground. If this is something you would entertain, we could connect you directly with one of our third-party independent engineers to determine if there is a practical solution to your situation.

Meanwhile, make sure your buildings have good replacement value insurance coverage and avoid being anywhere near them if wind speeds are at or beyond what you have already mentioned as causing your concerns.

Unseen Danger of Hiring a Building Contractor

Earlier this year I had written about a post frame building construction site incident: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/07/safely-erecting-post-frame-buildings/. As we live in an overly litigious society, there is yet more to this story:

A Theresa man injured when roof trusses at a construction site gave way in high winds in June has filed a lawsuit against the site’s owner and two contractors.

Lee Trickey filed state Supreme Court action Monday at the Jefferson County Clerk’s office against Black River Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning Inc., Wilcox Gravel and Excavating Inc., and Vaadi Construction.

Mr. Trickey was working June 24 on the construction of a large pole barn at Black River Plumbing, 24692 County Route 50, when the trusses gave way, causing Mr. Trickey to fall from a height, with falling trusses then landing on him, according to the suit. He suffered a broken femur, pelvis, sternum and hip, as well as other injuries.

It is alleged that the trusses had been improperly hoisted and secured by employees of the contractors, resulting in Mr. Trickey’s injuries, and that the property owner failed to provide him with a reasonably safe place to work.

The suit does not specify an amount sought in damages. Mr. Trickey is represented by Syracuse attorney Donald S. DiBenedetto.”

As a property owner hiring professional (we hope), insured (again hopefully) and safety conscious (we really hope) building contractors – one would like to believe they have insulated themselves from potential legal action should things go awry. In this case a property owner is being named in a lawsuit for failing to provide a reasonably safe place to work, even though trusses were being placed during a high wind event!

Construction is an industry fraught with potential hazards, even when hiring experienced contractors. My own Father perished in a construction fall in 1988, even with over four decades of actually swinging a hammer, so it does sadly happen.

How to avoid situations such as these?

If hiring a contractor to perform any sort of work on your property thoroughly vet them (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/04/vetting-building-contractor/). Item number three in this article on insurance is particularly critical – especially in dealing with worker’s compensation (industrial) insurance.

Yes, you are going to pay more up front for a licensed and insured builder, and it will seem like a bargain later on, if you are named in a lawsuit such as our property owner above.

Discuss with your own insurance agent what sort of coverage you have – depending upon your individual circumstances, it may be prudent to add to your policy, just in case.

Struggles to Define What a House Should Look Like

With barndominiums, shouses and post frame homes rising in popularity, jurisdictions are struggling to define what a house should look like.

To follow is an article by Arielle Breen in August 13, 2020’s Manistee, Michigan News Advocate detailing their city’s challenges.

“Does the building plan look like a pole barn or a house?

The answer is that it does not matter what it looks like since a new house in Manistee does not have a detailed design guideline to define what a house looks like — or what the city’s ordinance actually means when it refers to a house needing to fit into “the character of its neighborhood.”

But Manistee City Planning Commission may be looking at creating specific standards for the look of new houses built in the city in the future.

Mike Szokola, Manistee County planner, said if a person wants to build a house in the city and meets criteria such as minimum height and setback requirements, then zoning permits can not be declined as the current ordinance reads.

“At no point in time do I get to ask them ‘What’s it made out of’ (or) ‘How many windows does it have,’” Szokola said at the last Manistee City Planning Commission meeting while showing an example of a home proposed on Ninth Street.

He said there are no design standards within the city’s ordinance that would prevent that style of house.

Gable Pole BuildingThe topic was brought up at the Aug. 6 meeting after Szokola reported he had seen more than one house come through requesting permits in which the house didn’t quite fit with what a typical house in the area might look like.

Members stated that the house resembled a pole barn structure one might see in rural areas outside of the city.

Rob Carson, Manistee County Planning director, said at the meeting that a lot of communities have design guidelines that stipulate aspects such as how many windows a home needs to have and what types of siding are appropriate.

“This is the second building that we’ve received a permit for in less than a year that is going to strike up some controversy in these neighborhoods,” Carson said at the meeting. “When this came in and Mike brought it to me, I was concerned but I said ‘There’s nothing we can do to stop it right now.’ And that’s what the primary issue is.”

While planning commission members said there is a need to have some sort of guideline, they were also hesitant about being strict with appearance requirements in any ordinance they may pursue.

Planning commission member Shelly Memberto said as a property owner she tends to be careful about design.

“I live in probably one of the oldest houses in the city. And I’m sure that the owner, when the house submitted across the street from me which is probably now 80 years old today, they probably hated visually how it looked,” Memberto said. “It didn’t fit in with the character 140 years ago, but maybe it did 60 years after that.

“I don’t know that 20 years from now every house isn’t going to look like this (Ninth Street house example,)” she said.

Carson expressed concern that once approvals for houses go through that are not in character, they could “trigger” more cases as the city has “a whole lot of new visitors.”

“Somebody may say ‘Hey, look there is a pole barn someone let them put up. It’s got a loft in it, it’s separated from the vehicle space. That’s what we want because we’re only here two months of the year,’” Carson said.

He said the commission could find a “happy medium that doesn’t go overboard on regulation but would appease the public and the residents of the city.”

Carson said he would gather several examples of ordinances the commission could consider and discuss at an upcoming meeting that would show the less stringent and more strict options available if the commission wished to proceed with a design guideline ordinance.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru comments:

Pole Barn Guru BlogUltimately, Planning Departments have every right to enforce aesthetic ordinances – as long as they are applied universally to all types of structural systems within a given occupancy classification (such as R-3 residential). What they cannot do is to regulate whether a Code conforming structural system may or may not be used. Should your jurisdiction try to prevent you from constructing a fully engineered post frame home – send me a copy of their written ordinance (not just anecdotal evidence) and I will go wage war for you.

Exciting Times for Post Frame Construction

Exciting Times for Post Frame Construction

Welcome to 2020!

My fifth decade of post frame buildings and I could not be more excited.

Pole Barn Guru Blog40 years ago today if you would have told me I was going to embark in an exciting career in post frame buildings I would have looked at you quizzically – and then asked what a post frame building was!

Now I realize 40 years is greater than a lifetime for many of you readers. Or, if you had arrived on this planet, you might have not yet been school aged even! A few of you may look upon me as being ancient. Trust me I know ancient –  probably 20 years ago my son (in all seriousness) asked me what it was like watching space aliens build the Great Pyramid!

 I have no qualms about being 62 years old – and am still excited to see what each new day will bring.

Well, back on task, if you would have told me a post frame building was a pole barn, at least I would have heard about them.

I had migrated from Northern Idaho to Oregon late summer of 1979, when home mortgage rates topped 10% and home loans were no longer available there due to a state mandated cap on interest rates. By January 1980, interest rate issues brought housing starts in Oregon to a screeching halt as well.

 My truss plant typically produced eight to 10 buildings worth of trusses a day. In January 1980 we had only four orders in an entire month! Not good – however there was a single common denominator among those four orders, they were all for pole barn trusses. I didn’t have the slightest idea what a pole barn really was, but it was time to find out. Long time pole barn builder George Evanovich allowed me to pick his brain and I was an apt student!

Frankly (knowing what I know now) these buildings were not very good. I suppose they do resemble some buildings I see people buy from their local lumberyards – a great price and not much else! At least I established quickly a firm policy of always supplying all materials to assemble a building. It might not have been much of a building, but it was all there.

Virtually every building 40 years ago was nothing more than a barn. Very few ever required building permits and if they did, engineer sealed truss drawings usually got a permit acquired!

Technology has changed our everyday lives. I grew up actually dialing a rotary phone! These same technologies allow us today to structurally design intricate post frame buildings for virtually any use – with walls up to 40 feet in height and three stories high (add 10 feet and another story for sprinklers).

True residential construction, not just a garage or shop out back, is becoming a driving growth force for post frame buildings. Today’s post frame homes (also known as barndominiums and shouses) are quickly becoming our business core. They can be erected quickly, even by DIYers, are more cost effective than any other Building Code conforming permanent structure and can meet exacting demands of energy efficiency.

Ready for your new building? Think no further than post frame construction. Call Hansen Buildings at 866-200-9657 and talk to a Building Designer today!

Ignorance is Bliss and Sometimes Architects are Happy

Ignorance is Bliss and Sometimes Architects are Happy

Portions of this article (in italics) are from “County explores options for new Highway building” April 29, 2019 by Nathan Bowe at www.dl-online.com

A city plow truck goes by the main shop building at the Becker County Highway Department complex in Detroit Lakes. www.dl-online.com File photo

Dear Architect friends ~ I didn’t learn much in architecture school, however one nugget was, “It is all about presentation”. Before you need to give a presentation including a possible post frame building, please discuss it with me, or at least read a few of my pertaining articles. I want you to come across as being as knowledgeable as possible.

“Hoping to save money on a new Becker County Highway Department facility, made of precast concrete and estimated to cost about $8 million, commissioners are exploring other types of buildings.

They are considering options including precast concrete, steel, and pole barn, and will tour facilities in the area made of those materials.

The firm working on the project, Oertel Architects of St. Paul, said in a report that any type of material could essentially be made to work, but a pole barn-type building would have to include steel in places to support a 5-ton crane in the maintenance area, for example.”

Post frame (pole barn) buildings can easily be designed to support a 5-ton crane: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/07/overhead-crane/

“A less-expensive pole barn building also comes with a much shorter projected lifespan, and generally brings more problems with leaks and maintenance, unless a better grade of roof is used.”

Post frame buildings are permanent structures easily capable of generations of useful lifespan. Properly installed steel roofing will last decades without leaks or needs for maintenance.

“A pole barn is considered an agricultural type building in the industry, and is also referred to as timber frame. This is essentially like building a structure like an old-fashioned barn, with large timber columns and frames. It is typically made without a perimeter foundation. The wood frame structure is typically covered with a metal skin and the low-gable roof type is typically of metal. Its lifespan is projected at 15-30 years, depending on maintenance and other factors.”

Post frame and timber frame buildings are totally different animals. Post frame buildings have been used commercially longer than I have been in this industry (nearly 40 years). Very few buildings provided by Hansen Pole Buildings would be termed as being purely agricultural – nearly all are residential or commercial.  Isolated columns embedded below frost depth preclude needs for expensive and inefficient continuous concrete foundations. (Check out foundation costs here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/10/buildings-why-not-stick-frame-construction/). Most typically post frame buildings have 4/12 roof slopes (rather than “low” as in all steel buildings).

Amazingly, it appears my now 15 year-old million-dollar post frame home is due to expire any time now (like Windows 7)! In reality a properly engineer designed and constructed post frame building will outlive any of us who are reading this article.

“One way to meet the highway department needs and still meet code using pole barn construction would be to build three or four separate buildings, or build one building at different heights for vehicle maintenance, vehicle washing/storage, and office space, Oertel reported.”

Post frame buildings can be easily designed with a multitude of different wall/ceiling heights.

“Pole barns tend to be less energy efficient over time.”

As post frame buildings use exact same insulations as other similar construction types, if this is true it would be applicable across all construction spectrums. Post frame lends itself well to creation of deep insulation cavities and is far easier to insulate than all steel or precast concrete.

“Structural steel works better in a public works facility, with more salt and moisture in the air than usual, since these are made of heavy steel, just like a steel bridge. It is the less substantive metal materials that are a concern. A pole barn uses thin steel gusset plates and there is not much material to last over time if corrosion is present. Metal panels commonly used in pole barn buildings are also easily marred or dented by heavy duty operations.”

In highly corrosive atmospheres, steel can be isolated from corrosion (as in galvanized steel “gusset plates” used to connect roof truss members). Any type of siding – or even precast concrete or masonry, can be damaged by careless operations. Use of strategically placed bollards (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/05/lifesaving-bollard/) can eliminate possibilities of significant damages.

“However it’s constructed, the new public works building will need the same mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems, floor loading, earthwork and mechanical systems, Oertel said. Costs can vary, but all of that might add up to perhaps 60 percent of construction costs, with the actual building structural shell 20 to 25 percent of the total project cost. So cost savings from a cheaper type of building might not be all that commissioners might hope for, compared to the long-term drawbacks.

“More could be said about the differences between pole barn construction and a more heavy duty construction using precast concrete,” the report sums up. “It mostly comes down to a lower front-end cost with a pole barn, at the sacrifice of longevity…””

Post frame construction is going to provide a greater value, without being “cheap”. Post frame buildings will have a usable lifespan as great as any other permanent building.

And – have you ever tried to remodel a precast concrete building?

Customers Didn’t Care About Pole Barn Features

Customers Didn’t Care

When I originally dove into pole barn kit package sales in 1980 it appeared customers didn’t care about features or benefits of our buildings. If they did, they certainly were not asking me!

Garage Kit SketchAdvertising was simple – newsprint (regional farm paper and free shoppers). Our ads listed dimensions (width, length and eave height), along with prices for basic three sided barns.

Our only competition for barn kits was Gary Cornell’s Woodland Park Lumber, who had more than a five year head start.  I have never met Mr. Cornell, who is now approaching his 80th birthday, however he did appear to have developed a successful business model. Our efforts to expand upon this model were wildly successful.

My beginning pole barn mentor was George Evanovich, a builder who operated a company known as Metal Building Erectors (previously mentioned in this article: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/08/entry-door-2/). Willamette Valley Oregon lumberyards in 1980 made a business out of selling lots of low grade (#3 and utility) green lumber. My employer, Virgil Lucas – owner of Lucas Plywood and Lumber, being no exception to this rule.

A little side reading about green lumber here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/09/499green-lumber-vs-dry-lumber/

Although perhaps just a rumor, I had been told Virgil got his lumber business start while working in a plywood mill. As this story was told to me, apparently he could buy discounted non-certified plywood. Taking this plywood home to his garage, he used a belt sander to remove grade marks and resell it to home building contractors making a tidy profit. When I was hired to manage his prefabricated roof truss manufacturing plant in 1979, Lucas Plywood and Lumber had become a thriving multi-million dollar enterprise.

Combining George’s knowledge (or lack thereof) and Virgil’s seemingly unending supply of cheap, low grade lumber resulted in a very affordable pole barn – knowing what I know now, was amazing they stood up!

From a street side view they looked just fine and we were not being questioned about quality. As we share in this journey through features and benefits in articles following this blog, I will throw in what was or was not being included in this 1980 vintage pole barn.



Trump on Tariffs

Trump’s Tariffs Driving Up Pole Building Costs

(Includes information from an April 24, 2018 article at www.villages-news.com Florida by Marv Balousek)

Federal tariffs on steel and aluminum imposed several weeks ago by the Trump Administration already are having an impact in Wildwood.

The tariffs were blamed Monday night for increasing the cost of a steel pole barn for the Public Works Department by nearly $20,000. Separately, a Wildwood company is seeking a tariff exemption.

*******, of Wildwood was selected to build the pole barn with a low bid of $79,928.

******* was the lowest bidder, but the cost is about a third higher than the budgeted amount of $60,000, said public works director Gene Kornegay.

He blamed the tariffs for boosting the price of steel.

City Administrator Jason McHugh said Primus Pipe and Tube, a Wildwood pipe manufacturer, recently asked the city to write a letter of support to receive an exemption from the tariffs. McHugh said he supplied the letter.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru comments:

The reality is the tariffs which are taking the blame for the cost overrun are merely proposed at this point in time, they have not yet been enacted. On a prevailing wage project of this size, the steel roofing and siding for the structure probably amount to less than 10% of the total bid. In order for the price of steel to take the blame for an almost $20,000 overage, the tariffs would have to be 250%.

Building materials costs have skyrocketed over the past year – it is known as supply and demand. Our country went through nearly a decade of slow growth in the construction field, causing suppliers and manufacturers to either downsize or shutter their doors. Now, with a high demand for new buildings, the ability to fulfill needs is lagging far behind.

There are ways to help reduce the “bite” to the Public Works Department. The city should consider letting the engineered plans and materials out for bid, then purchase them direct. This would reduce the costs which contractors would typically be marking up.

Yet another solution might be to have a developer put up the new building and then lease it back to the city (for an example of how this works, read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/03/public-works-pole-barns/).


Construction Marketing Ideas

Construction Marketing Ideas Reviews This Column

Construction Marketing Ideas holds an annual competition for the best blog in the construction industry, world-wide. This column happens to be one of only 17 selected to compete – win or lose, it affirms the message is being shared effectively. My thanks to Mark Buckshon for his review, which I share below.

Hansen Buildings’ Pole Barn Guru: An example of how a solid blog provides useful content and effective marketing promotion

By Mark Buckshon

March 23, 2018

I like Hansen Buildings’ Pole Barn Guru blog because of its singular, comprehensive and effective focus: You’ll find the blog useful if you are considering or have interest in post frame (pole barn) structures. Not surprisingly that is this company’s business.

Ask The Pole Barn GuruThe blog provides “relevant education, information and entertainment regarding all things post frame buildings every day Tuesday through Friday PLUS on Mondays (and some bonus Saturdays) an “Ask the Pole Barn Guru” column where three questions from readers are addressed,” nominator Mike Momb wrote.

However with focus there is diversity, reflecting the fact that pole barn structures have a variety of applications, serving quite different markets, ranging from residential accessory buildings, to agriculture, to public works and institutional environments. You’ll almost certainly find a relevant post (bad pun here) on the topic when you search through the entries.

Here’s an example: Pubic Works Pole Barns, and Labor Costs

The blog post’s theme relates to the challenges many public organizations have in facing high labor costs under the  Davis-Bacon Act’s prevailing wage requirements.

I’ll stay out of the debate here about the merits of prevailing wage legislation, but respect blogs with a point of view and perspective — and ideas about how to work with and adapt to rules. It’s a great blog.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru comments:

Also a shout out thank you to the many loyal readers who voted for this column as the best construction blog this year – your approval helps to get my writing through the masses and in front of the eyes of the judges who will make the final decisions!


Agritourism and Pole Barns

Agricultural land has increasingly become overrun with a proliferation of event centers, wedding venues and bed-and-breakfast inns. This is due to a rise in the “farm-to-fork” movement which has seen a growing popularity of agritourism as more landowners open up their ranches to those who wish to experience the bucolic countryside views.

I’ve written in the past about post frame wedding venues/event centers:

We frankly have had a great deal of fun working with many folks who are making both their dreams, and those of their future clients, come true with some truly unique rural event centers.

There are some concerns, however. Some counties tend to lean too heavily in favor of intensification of land use in agricultural areas, in part due to an over appreciation of the revenue and taxes the businesses generate. Nonagricultural uses in rural areas which are incompatible with agriculture can interfere with farmers’ ability to farm. Increased traffic to narrow county roads can disrupt farming activities such as harvesting, pesticide applications and crop transport.

Being originally from the Spokane, Washington area, I was witness to what occurred in a nearby rural area known as Green Bluff. As a child, my grandparents would take us to the farms there to u-pick apples and pears. Today, things have expanded as thousands of people make the trip every fall weekend to enjoy the annual harvest festival and its hay rides, local apples, pumpkin picking, corn maze, craft booths and food. Traffic can easily back up for over a mile!

Successful agritourism destinations are those which make it work without harming area farms. Adequate highway access, appropriate parking and event hours and volumes which are appropriate to preserve the peace with nearby neighbors help to keep things in perspective.

Planning to enter into the world of agritourism? Or expanding upon what you already have? If so, a post frame building or three might very well be a fit with your property. Designs are immensely flexible, affordable and the time from concept to use can prove to be minimal.

Why Property Owners Should Obtain Their Own Building Permit

Why Property Owners Should Obtain Their Own Permit
Back in the day, when I was a post frame building contractor, we always required our clients to obtain their own buildings permit. It wasn’t due to us being lazy, it was because if the building needed to be relocated on the site, or the permit office believed there was some conflict with utilities, property lines or other structures, the client could resolve the issues right then and there.
Here is an extreme sad tale which would never have occurred had the client obtained the building permit. This is from a story by Howard Greninger in the Terre Haute Tribune-Star.
“After getting materials delivered to build a large pole barn, Louis Wildman discovered a city building permit had been issued for the wrong property.
On Wednesday, he sought a zoning variance to allow a 30-foot by 60-foot pole barn be built on a lot he owns in the 600 block of Heinl Drive near South Sixth Street.
The zoning variance was denied 3-1.
Building PermitWildman told the Terre Haute Board of Zoning Appeals he’s already spent $21,000 for materials for the pole barn. Wildman said he told a contractor it was up to the company to get a building permit. However, the contractor obtained a building permit for his home property on South 27th Street, not for the Heinl Drive property where he’d like to put the pole barn.
The board also discovered the property in question has other issues.
Ryan Wickens, with Vigo County Area Planning Department, said the property is 2,720-square-feet short of zoning requirements for a lot that would require a well. The lot, if submitted for a property subdivision and approved with property variances, can be developed, but at $150 per foot. It would require about $30,000 to extend a water line to the property, Wickens told the board.
Wickens said the department had an unfavorable recommendation. “A 30-by-60 pole barn will be out of character at this location,” Wickens told the board.
Wildman said he thinks the land has hardships that should be considered to allow him to build a pole barn, rather than a residential home as required under zoning.
“I feel it is an irregular lot. It is not a normal city lot,” Wildman said. “The water would cost so much to get there, and also the gas line runs down the center of Sixth Street, so I’d have to pay for gas to go over there, too. I don’t see where I financially can do that. If even someone wanted to build a house there, it would cost tens of thousands of dollars” to bring water, gas and sewer lines, he said.
Board member Jeff Ford asked how a “lot like that comes into existence.” Wickens said it is a “legal lot of record,” which has been on platted ground well before zoning was implemented. But because the lot is in the city limits of Terre Haute, it must conform to city zoning standards if further developed.
Vigo County Commissioner Brad Anderson said Heinl Drive is a dead-end street. “Most of that area is pretty much done with development. I don’t think anything like that [pole barn] would hurt that property,” Anderson told the board.
Wildman said he thinks the barn would increase property values.
However, adjacent property owners Wayne Jarvis and John Crowley disagreed.
Jarvis owns a rental home west of the property.
“The only thing it would be useful would be some type of commercial activity,” Jarvis said. “That pole barn would be big enough to run half a dozen plumbing vans out of or who knows what someone would do with it. I think it would be a high risk for a completely residential neighborhood.”
Crowley, who owns property to the southwest, said a building on his property is under investigation for arson, but he has plans to repair the building, which had been rental property.
“I talked to an appraiser who said this structure (pole barn) would be consider commercial and would greatly reduce the value of my property, substantially,” Crowley said.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru comments:
My other caution, to prospective new post frame building owners, is to not have materials delivered until after a permit to build is in hand.

School Bus Barn

Considering a Post Frame Building as a “Bus Barn.”

In Underwood, MN, school district chairperson Frank Fee recently toured the district’s new bus garage (aka school bus barn) and noted, “You’d never know it’s a pole barn”. Indeed though it is, with internal parking for 14 buses, it is heated, has an office and a wash bay.

As far as facilities go, new bus garages are often among school district’s biggest needs. The challenge being school district voters often vote against funding as they feel the proposed building plans are too expensive.

Overhead door pole barnThe costs of not having an appropriate bus garage will most usually be more than the cost of the structure. Buses deteriorate from weather and vandalism when stored in outdoor or unsecured areas. The lifespan of a regularly used route school bus varies from 10 to 16 years, depending upon weather and miles, with 20 years seemingly being on the extreme high end. With the price tag of a new bus being approximately $110,000 being able to squeeze an extra year or two of service out of each bus can result in some significant savings.

Smaller garages may contain the minimum engineering facilities, restricted to light servicing capabilities only. Garages may also contain recovery vehicles, often converted buses, although their incidence has declined with the use of contractors to recover break-downs, and the increase in reliability.

Overnight, the more valuable or regularly in-service buses will usually be stored in the interior of the garage, with less used or older service vehicles, and vehicles withdrawn for storage or awaiting disposal, stored externally.

Often bus garages will feature staff canteen/break rooms and rest rooms for drivers assigned to ‘as required’ duties, whereby they may be required to drive relief or replacement buses in the event of breakdown.

Post frame bus barns give an affordable solution to school districts on a budget. They are usually far less expensive than architecturally designed buildings. Architects are not cheap and an architect who does not understand post frame construction won’t design a building as optimally or cost effective as a company which specializes in post frame building kit packages.

While steel covered post frame buildings are the most durable and affordable, any material can be used for exterior finishes and roofing – keeping any review committees smiling.


Considering a Pole Barn, Roof Loads, and Proper Ventilation

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Good morning.

I am considering building a pole barn on our land in northwest Georgia and wanted to know the following:

1) On your website, you list links for residential, agricultural, and commercial buildings.  What is the difference between a those three types of buildings?  Are they different because of design or do they each involve different construction materials?  Do the commercial buildings use a lower gauge (thicker) sheet of metal for siding than a residential building?

2) Do you have any product comparison documentation between your kits and the other pole barn kits on the market (DIY, Menards, etc.)?  Interested specifically in design, material, and construction comparisons.

3) Would your pole barn kits be able to accommodate a chimney/stove pipe if I wanted to use a wood burning stove for heat?


About Hansen BuildingsDEAR CHRIS: The differences for residential, agricultural and commercial buildings shown on our website are for the convenience of those who are looking for a particular end use, it keeps from having to browse through a plethora of photos of buildings which may not be what one is looking for. The construction materials and methods used are going to be individually tailored to the ultimate end needs of each client, as well as the climactic conditions of a particular site.

Our goal is to custom design for you a building which best meets your wants, needs and budget. We are so confident in our ability to provide the best possible value for your post frame building investment, once this is done, we would happily shop this building for you with any other provider or providers you so desire. How easy is this?

(BTW – Menards might be a bit geographically challenging as their nearest location to you is in Owensboro, KY)

Actually any post frame building (not just a Hansen Pole Building) can accommodate a chimney/stove pipe with the use of a Dektite® (read more here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/09/dektite/).


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a 30 year old pole barn that is 30’ x 40’ x 9’ tall. It has a metal roof, trusses are 4’ on center. Can I tear off the metal on the roof and put down OSB and shingles? JIM in LAWTON

DEAR JIM: Chances are excellent your existing roof system is not designed to support the weight of OSB and shingles, as most pole barn (post frame) trusses are designed for a dead load of only 3 to 5 psf (pounds per square foot) which includes the weight of the trusses themselves plus the roof purlins. Steel roofing weighs in at under one pound per square foot. 7/16″ OSB comes in at roughly 1.5 psf, 15# felt and shingles 2.5 psf making the weight combination more than four times greater than the steel.

The big question is – why? Even “lifetime” shingles will usually last only about 15 years and you know the steel roofing you have had made it twice as long. Steel is far more impervious to weather (especially hail) and readily sheds snow, unlike shingles. For my money, if I had to re-roof I would invest in steel roofing with a high quality paint system like Kynar. Read more about Kynar here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/kynar/.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have a pole building with all metal sheeting. The interior walls are framed and insulated R13 batt. The ceiling is insulated with 1/2 foam a 3/4″ air gap then R19 on top. The underside of the roof is not insulated. I have eave ridge vent. Building is heated in winter. Can I exhaust fumes (paint,lawnmower,etc.) into the attic space and let it vent out the ridge or will I be causing a condensation problem? I will use a standard box fan to blow exhaust into the attic space. I’m also hoping to do this to help melt snow off the roof.

crash-test-dummy-symbolDEAR RICH: I’ve seriously struggled with your question for several weeks now. It lead me to spend hours researching the International Mechanical Code (I am proficient in the IRC and IBC, but not the IMC), looking for backup as to your scenario. In the end it all comes down to this – WHY would you want to dump toxic fumes and their waste into your attic? At some point this has got to be just plain unhealthy.

Whether you do or do not blow exhausts into your attic, your building has the strong potential for a condensation problem because there is no thermal break below the roof steel. You should look at having closed cell spray foam installed on the underside of the roof steel.

As to the heat from the exhaust helping to melt snow off the roof – do not count on it, by the time it gets into your attic, the heat generated will be minimal at best.

8 Questions to Ask When Investing in a Pole Barn

8 Quick Questions to Ask When Investing in a Pole Barn

  1. Will my building be fully-engineered?

Be sure all of your building’s components are engineered to work together and to last – this entails a complete building system, designed specifically for your site, with your openings and sealed by an RDP (Registered Design Professional – engineer or architect).  Don’t assume “a pole barn is a pole barn”. Often, the only engineered components are any pre-fabricated light gauge steel connector plated trusses. The truss relies on the rest of the building for support and bracing. If these are inadequate the truss may fail. An engineered truss, does not make for an engineered building.

All Hansen Pole Buildings are fully engineered structures, custom designed specifically for you.

  1. Where are the parts of my building sourced?

There’s a big difference between buying a building system versus a list of building materials. The components must be designed to work together as a system.

Considering purchasing a pole barn kit from a lumber yard? Chances are very good they will supply you only with a list of materials priced out. No guarantee is made as to completeness, or the ability to adequately carry the necessary loads.

When you invest in a Hansen Pole Building, you are guaranteed to receive all of the materials required to construct your new post frame building according to our engineered plans (other than concrete, rebar and any nails which would normally be driven by a nail gun).

  1. What type of lumber is used in my building?

Size, species and grade all have a meaningful impact on your building performance. Bigger is not necessarily better. (read more here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/08/lumber-bending/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/03/lumber-species/).

  1. Will my builder use multi-ply glu-laminated columns or solid wood posts?

Glu- laminated multi-ply columns provide higher design strengths than solid wood posts. Column consistency and straightness can be controlled by glu-laminating wood plies together. True glu-laminated columns do NOT have nails or wires through them to connect the plies.

With this said, glu-laminated columns are not readily available in all regions of the country. You may specify glu-laminated columns, if desired, however they may come at a premium.

In any case, all Hansen Pole Buildings’ columns will be pressure preservative treated to a UC-4B rating for structural in ground use. Lumber and timbers treated to lesser specifications (such as UC-4A or UC-3) are not allowable for use as columns for post frame buildings. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/building-code-3/.

  1. What type of structural framing will my building use?

It is important to compare structural framing details.

  1. Purlin to truss connection: Purlins in engineered steel hangers provide positive truss bracing (the truss cannot prematurely buckle) and eliminates places for birds to nest.
  2. Truss bottom chord bracing: It is essential for trusses to be adequately braced to prevent bottom chord buckling. Any braces over 10 feet in length need to be either two ply, an “L” or a “T” to prevent weak axis buckling.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

 Hansen Buildings Tagline6. Can I help design my building, or do you only offer standard models?

Ask about options for building width, bay spacing, foundation type and framing choices. Some building suppliers offer little-to-no flexibility and will not provide a building outside of their standard cookie-cutter methods.

Hansen Pole Buildings can be designed to any method which meets sound engineering practice, the applicable climactic loads and the Building Codes.

  1. Is my quote a complete proposal or just an estimate?

An estimate is justan estimate. Its final value is determined at project completion. A complete proposal is a firm quote, subject to change only if the scope of the project changes. Review your quote to ensure it includes everything you want. The quote should clarify in writing what is included and what is excluded. Avoid unpleasant surprises by understanding the true scope of work before you sign a contract.

  1. What does the warranty cover?

Ask to read the warranties which cover treated lumber, steel paint and the structure itself. Be wary if a building provider is not willing to provide a written warranty covering the building’s long-term performance.


Put the Architect in Charge?

Put the Architect in Charge?
I spent several years paying off my college student loans from Architecture school, so I do have a profound respect for architects who have been able to make a living practicing their trade. This, however, does not mean I feel the intervention of an architect is appropriate in all situations and circumstances.
Case in point, from a copyrighted article in the Greenfield, MA “The Recorder” of November 29, 2017:
“BUCKLAND — Accepting the recommendations of the Highway Garage Building Committee, the Selectboard is asking Wilbraham, Vt., architect Roy S. Brown for a price proposal on the design and cost estimates for building a 5,000-square-foot town highway garage and a 5,000-square-foot pole barn to store equipment.
The town bought the 4.7-acre former Mayhew Steel property in March 2016, but needs a municipal garage that meets state building code. The plan includes demolishing most of the old Mayhew Steel complex.”
There is a strong possibility Hansen Pole Buildings could have saved the 1902 residents of Buckland, MA some of their tax dollars. At absolutely no charge to municipalities and governmental agencies which are looking at new structures which could or should be post frame buildings, we will provide both a free cost estimate, as well as engineer sealed plans and specifications which can be utilized when sending the project out for bid.
We happen to be taxpayers as well and we care deeply about the squandering of our contributions on government projects. If we can help to hold down the costs and provide for the public true value for their investment, we sleep well at night.
Do you know of a town, city, state or even federal need for a new building? If so, let us know whom to contact.
Get A Free Quote! For more reading on this subject: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/11/free-engineered-pole-building-plans/.

Pole Barn Bid, A1V Barrier, and Definitions

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am bidding on a simple 80×140 pole barn with 12′ sides. I can’t come up with something reasonable. What would you bid. I need help. Last time I did it wrong and it hurt financially. Thanks. JASON in MINBURN

DEAR JASON: As you probably found out on your last post frame building project, they are far more than just simple barns, especially when they get to this sort of footprint. Our buildings will not be the least expensive, as there is always going to be someone out there who is willing to sacrifice quality for price. What you will get is the best possible building value for your investment. You will be hearing from one of the Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designers shortly.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: So I decided to put up a pole building for a garage. I bought a standing roof kit, 30×50 with 12″ eaves and steel trusses that are arched in the middle of the building, for future dreams of having a car lift. My trusses have brackets welded on them for my 10′ 2×6 purlins to run in. My question is, do I need some sort of vapor barrier in between my metal roof and my purlins? My purlins run horizontal, I plan to use vented soffit the whole way around the building, 2 gable vents, and it also has a ridge vent. I will frame inside underneath the lowest point of my truss and insulate above that. It will leave about a 16″ gap between my interior ceiling and the steel roof. Thanks for the help. BRYENT in OHIOVILLE

Reflective InsulationDEAR BRYENT: Yes – it is essential you have a vapor barrier between the roof purlins and the steel roofing. I would recommend using A1V (aluminum one side white vinyl inwards toward conditioned space. Hansen Pole Buildings has six foot net coverage rolls in stock for immediate shipment. These rolls have a tab on one edge which has an adhesive pull strip – so no rolls of tape to deal with.

Code does not allow for gable vents to be used in conjunction with eave and ridge vents. It is one or the other and I would pick eave and ridge for the most uniform ventilation.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What defines a pole barn? The last building I put up on my property is an all steel truss roof structure and the foundation has 3’x3’x3′ footings at each of the six columns. What is the foundation used? STEVE in PALMDALE

DEAR STEVE: Technically a “pole barn” is a post frame building. Below is the definition for a post-frame building system from ANSI/ASABE S618 Post-Frame Building System Nomenclature. This standard was written to establish uniformity of terminology used in building design, construction, marketing and regulation.

Lean BuildingA building characterized by primary structural frames of wood posts as columns and trusses or rafters as roof framing, Roof framing is attached to the posts either directly or indirectly through girders. Posts are embedded in the soil and supported on isolated footings, or are attached to the tops of piers, concrete or masonry walls, or slabs-on-grade. Secondary framing members, purlins in the roof and girts in the walls, are attached to the primary framing members to provide lateral support and to transfer sheathing loads, both in-plane and out-of-plane, to the posts and roof framing.”


Can I Build a Pole Barn on my Concrete Slab?

Can I Build a Pole Barn on My Concrete Slab?

I dove off from the turnip truck a long time ago, so I have seen a lot of strange things constructed over my nearly 60 year lifetime. Sometimes strange is good, usually not so good. What is remarkable are the structures which are constructed directly upon nothing more than a four inch thick concrete slab on grade. This includes post frame (pole barn) buildings.
Reader TIM in TYLER gets credit for triggering this article when he wrote:

“I have a newly poured 24 x 40 slab which I intended to build a convention style garage but budget restraints have rerouted me. I want to build a simply pole barn style carport with a metal roof. We have no snow to speak of in TX so weight should be no issue. I also want to do a storage area in the back like 12 feet x 24. Can I use the brackets and anchors I see to build on top of the slab? I’m thinking the loads points should be minimal due to a steel roof. I am in a rural area with no inspection requirements.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:
To begin with, in my humble opinion, just because one is going to build where there happen to be no inspection requirements does not mean one should exclude themselves from following the Building Codes. The Building Codes are only put into place after exhaustive discussions between construction professionals, Building Code officials, engineers, architects and product manufacturers. The Codes are perpetually changing, as new and better products arrive on the marketplace, practices are refined and more research is done into how buildings and materials perform.

While no snow may fall where your building will be located, one must still consider provisions for Code minimum loadings on the roof and the members below which carry them, including the concrete slab. Assuming a fairly standard roof overhang of say a foot, this leaves the perimeter of the slab being required to carry a load of over 13 tons! Using typical post frame construction, the point load at any one column could be over 4000 pounds, which could easily fracture just a slab on grade.

Standard post base brackets which you may see at your local hardware or big box store are not adequate to carry the loads to even an adequate concrete slab.

How I would do it?

I would use a concrete saw to cut out two foot by two foot squares at each column location, remove the concrete, auger holes as appropriately designed by the building engineer, set the columns in the hole per the plans then form and fill with premix around the top of the column to complete the slab.

If using brackets is your true desire, it may be possible to excavate under the floor at each column location and thicken the floor by pouring under the slab. It can be done, however it does take some effort.

What to do About a Leaking Cupola

What to do About a Leaking Cupola

Hansen Pole Buildings has always used prefabricated cupolas manufactured by MWI – I even have one on top of my own house, so they must be good stuff! Only once have I ever gotten feedback from a client to tell me their cupola was leaking. In their particular case, it was because their builder had installed the cupola and its flashing first directly on top of the roof purlins. The builder had then butted the steel roofing and the ridge cap up against the cupola!

I know, it sounds counter intuitive and it was. Most of the time the Law of Gravity says, “water runs down hill”.

One of my readers recently wrote to tell me the cupola on the roof of his Cleary Building leaks every time it rains and he was looking for a fix.

Here was my advice:

Now I am not your average pole barn owner – and I don’t like exposed caulking. I’d be replacing what is there with a brand new cupola with a universal base. Besides what comes with the cupola kit, you would need a hand full of stitch screws the color of the base and two outside closures to put beneath the downhill edges of the base. Yes, it is going to be an investment, however it will solve the problem and look nice and new.

Assuming you want to fix what is there, here is the mission – find where it is leaking. Requires a hose and someone to stand inside and tell you when the water starts coming through. Begin with the flashings on the downhill edges, run a pretty good stream of water onto them (one at a time) for a minute or so. Even if the leak is along one of them, keep checking along the way, as it could be multiple points. Next do the flashing on the ridge cap sides. Then each side of the cupola individually (letting the water run down from the cupola roof).

If there is a leak, it should have shown up in the hose test. With the leak isolated, you can do a repair with the best silicone caulking money can buy. If one of the edges of the flashing is not sealed to the roof, Emseal AST expanding closures work quite well to fill those gaps. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/03/emseal-self-expanding-sealant-tape-closures/

Don’t Sink the Pole Barn Floor

Don’t Sink the Pole Barn Floor

Reader Clay has contributed the beginnings of this article, with a concern his pole barn floor might sink. Thank you Clay.

“I am about to construct a 24’x32′ building to be used as a woodworking shop.

I am strongly considering a pole barn.  Now I do not want a concrete slab. My intentions are to construct a raised wood floor.  I fully understand that I will need to construct piers in the interior area to support beams and floor joist.  My concern is attaching the perimeter area to the poles of the barn.

Knowing that I will have multiple 600 to 800 lb. pieces of equipment, with the perimeter of the floor system attached to the poles of the barn, will the load be too much causing the poles to sink.  The result is my floor going out of level over time. Do I need extra support around the perimeter of the floor?

 Thank you in advance for your assistance.”

Your consideration of a pole barn (technically a post frame building) is probably going to be not only the best design solution but also deliver the most bang for your invested dollars. I am just like you, my preference is to work/live/play on wood floors rather than concrete – it keeps my knees from screaming at me!

You have a couple of things going on.

The first is the concentrated loads you will be placing upon the floor in terms of your multiple pieces of 600-800 pound equipment. A typically “residential” floor is most normally designed for a live load of 40 psf (pounds per square foot). I normally tend to design on the conservative side. Take the actual weight of a given piece of equipment and divide it by the square footage of the area below the piece of equipment – this will give the design load for this portion of your floor. I would tend to design all of my floor to meet the most highly loaded area. There is going to be someone who will jump on me for not just designing to support the small concentrated load. Yes, this could be done, but again – I tend to go towards being conservative in my designs.

Secondly, when you invest in an engineered building (the key word here being engineered, with plans and calculations done by a registered professional engineer) all of the connections are designed to support the given loads. Footing under the columns will be appropriately sized to adequately distribute the loads across the supporting soils. Done right, your pole barn wood floor will provide many years of tough use without moving downward.

What all of this means is – your new engineered pole barn with  wood floor is not likely to perceptively sink.

Furniture Making from a Barndominium

A year and a half ago, Michael Gibson had what he considered to be a brilliant idea.

He and his bride, Andrea, would sell their home, move to his grandparents’ house and build a barn to live in while they invested their money in land they would one day build their forever home on.

And, Michael was going to build the barn himself.

“I didn’t even have a hammer,” he said. “But I grew up on concrete in Tupelo and I had this idea to build this pole barn out of wood.”

Michael, 33, built the barn – they call it a barndominium –  he and Andrea and their 4-month-old, Waverly Mae, live in it in Nettleton, Mississippi. The photo with this article is of the barndominium’s kitchen.

Along the way, he started doing small projects for the home – a coffee table here, a porch swing there. Then he began making gifts for family and friends.

And then people started wanting to pay them.

So RAW Furniture was born.

The Gibson’s like to use natural things in their raw state, and they are very raw when it comes to the business – hence the name.

When Michael’s handmade home furnishings took off, Andrea decided she was going to make soy candles.

She didn’t want her husband to have all the fun. Not a creative person at all, she looks at the candles as scientific and does lots of studying.

Michael, on the other hand, is the dreamer.

When RAW began, the couple both had full-time jobs. Andrea worked at Kay’s Kreations bridal shop – she quit work there when Waverly was born – and Michael is the sports director for Tupelo Parks and Recreation Department.

Michael makes other small items for sale, such as cutting boards and coasters in the shape of the state of Mississippi, cookbook holders, birdhouses, candlesticks and block letters.

Michael got a lathe, which enabled him to do candlesticks and turn table legs. Next up for him is getting into welding, which opens up even more avenues for RAW products.

He mostly likes to use reclaimed wood, but if it’s not reclaimed, then it comes directly from a sawmill. His pieces are made using pine, walnut, cedar, oak, maple and birch.

Goes to show what people can do with a dream and a pole barn!

(Portions of this article inspired by a Tupelo Daily Journal article penned by Ginna Parsons)

Pole Barn Event Center

Event Centers

A little over four years ago, I introduced you, my gentle readers, to my late Grandma Jerene and her boyfriend Bob, the “Weather Cat” (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/07/weather/). They are going to play a part in this story.

Earlier this summer my lovely bride and I had just gotten home when a couple pulled up in their Jaguar. They had been out for an evening drive, saw our pole barn building and thought maybe it was an event center. I suppose as the top of the cupola is more than 50 feet above the ground, the mistake is inevitable.

Here is the story of my first (unbeknownst to me) event center – or at least for one event!

When I was a post frame building contractor, back in the 1990’s, we contracted to construct a pole barn for a gentleman named Scott Dockins, down in the Palouse country of Idaho, near Moscow. There was one catch, he and his betrothed were going to be wed in this building, so there were time constraints.

The building was completed well within the needed time frame and this was the end of the story….or was it?

pole-barn-wedding-150x150My grandmother was both sharp and active into her 90’s. I made it a point to see or at least talk to her once a week or more. A few weeks after we had finished Scott’s building, in one of our calls, Grandma reported she and Bob had been to a wedding down near Moscow…..in a pole barn…..our pole barn!

Bob had been President of Rotary Club 21 in Spokane, and later a Rotary District Governor. It turns out Scott’s new bride Debi, was the staff secretary for the very same Rotary club – and had invited Bob and Grandma Jerene to their wedding! In our building!

Event venues are growing in popularity by leaps and bounds.

The goal of event venues all along has been to create a mood and a feeling for guests and attendees, but in the past it was a pleasant surprise when one came out of an event with a specific experience which was envisioned by the planner. Such an experience would be similar to how a marketer envisions a brand and takes specific steps to shape the brand image in the mind of the customer. Now attendees expect to be provided with an experience.

It is the audience expectation which has upped the ante here. Haute cuisine TV shows and foodie restaurants have multiplied almost exponentially over the last decade, so now people expect much more than coffee and canapés. Hipster weddings and gala affairs have given people a taste of themed events where every detail has been studied and considered, so people expect this level of refinement in all events. And there’s so much competition among venues, caterers and other event vendors businesses are scrambling to create a lasting impression for both the clients and planners who hire them and the attendees who sample their goods.

Our barn, used as a home for us, is not an event center. But for the older couple in the Jag, it definitely was both interesting and appealing to the eye. My bride and I have to agree!

Four Foot Entry Doors

One Foot

And it isn’t the left or the right one!

simple-pole-barnActually the one foot I have in mind is the difference in width between a standard 36 inch width entry door and a 48 inch wide one. Oh what a difference the extra foot makes!

And most of the difference is not in cost. It is in functionality.

With an insulated commercial steel entry door with steel jambs, all factory pre-painted, the difference in investment between a “standard” width door and one with far greater flexibility for access and egress (a.k.a. 12 inches greater in width) is going to be somewhere around $150.

So, what good does the extra foot of width do exactly?

In my case – it has kept my knuckles intact when taking my 1986 Yamaha Venture Royale motorcycle through. I don’t always want to open up an overhead door on my shop to get my favorite scooter in or out. If it is hot outside, I want to keep my shop cool. If it is cold out, I want to keep it warm. Far less temperature change occurs when all I have to do is open the ‘person door’.

I’ve tried to get my bike through a three foot wide door. Yes, it can be done, however not without pain and possible damage to both my feelings and my ride.

Enjoy garden work?

The extra foot of door sure makes it easier to get things like a wheelbarrow in and out.  And how about the beast which makes your garden look like it could be on the cover of House Beautiful…the garden tiller. Running it through a four foot door is a snap. The hand lawnmower too.

Then there is my daughter, Bailey, the professional horse trainer. She will quickly vouch for the ease of getting saddles through a four foot wide entry door, rather than struggling through a narrower one.

Regardless of whom you select for your new pole (post frame) building provider – if you aren’t at least being offered a four foot wide door and being explained the advantages, do yourself a favor and suggest it!

The knuckles you save, may very well be yours!

PET Lumber

A Builder’s PET

The stereotypical builder appears to be characterized as driving a four-wheel-drive extended cab pickup (of course jacked up so a ladder is required to get in), having a jobsite stereo system which can be heard for miles with the sound turned to only 30%, and of course – the ever faithful pet, the huge (usually slobbering) dog.

pet lumberBesides the dog, there is another pet which is loved especially by framing contractors. Precision-End Trimmed lumber (known by its acronym PET) is lumber which is trimmed square on both ends to uniform lengths. The manufacturing tolerance is 1/16th of an inch over or under length in no more than 20% of the pieces.

Most often PET lumber is found in studs for framing exterior and interior walls. The most common length of PET stud is 92-5/8” which, after the bottom, top and double plates are added, gives a finished framed ceiling height of 97-1/8”. When 5/8” gypsum wallboard is added to the ceiling, two rows of four foot width wallboard can be installed horizontally on the walls without having to rip them lengthwise.

Other than for studs, unless by special order, dimensional lumber is NOT PET lumber.

When constructing his self-storage pole building, Hansen Buildings owner Eric often commented upon how inconvenient it is for framing lumber to not be cut to exact lengths.

(Begin more reading on Eric’s project at: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2014/06/builder/)

When purchasing a piece of two inch (2×4, 2×6, 2×8, etc.) at your local lumberyard or big box store (e.g. The Home Depot® or Lowe’s®) take out the trusty tape measure and check the length on a few boards.

Most typically proper, standard lengths of lumber are cut just a little bit longer. This extra length, generally from 3/8 to 5/8 inches, allows for proper squaring of the board. Especially with wider width lumber, it is not uncommon for one or both ends to have been cut slightly out of square when being processed at the sawmill from log to lumber.

There are times, in pole building construction, when the extra fraction of an inch makes all the difference in a board fitting or not. Frankly – I’d rather have the extra little bit to work with, than to have to go hunting for the green handled board stretcher

Most Read Pole Building Blogs

A Baker’s Dozen – The Most Read Articles of 2013

Sometimes, in order to know where to go, it is helpful to see where we’ve been. These are the most read blogs from 2013.

#13 Board and Batten Siding


While popular, board and batten siding should be installed considering shear values. Advice on installing board and batten siding for structural integrity.

#12 Building Department Checklist Part I  


The 14 most important questions on your Building Department Checklist to ask while planning a new building. Pole buildings ascribe to local building codes, making them a solid and safe construction choice.

#11 Repainting Steel Building Panels  


Repainting steel building panels can be labor intensive. Done right, results are favorable with cost savings. Tips on how to prepare steel panels for repainting.

#10 Steel Roofing: This Lap isn’t Dancing


Repainting steel building panels can be labor intensive. Done right, results are favorable with cost savings. Tips on how to prepare steel panels for repainting.

#9 Pole Barn or Block Foundation?


The merits of typical pole barn foundation design versus block foundation. Concrete costs plus connection stability and longevity favor pole barn foundation design.

#8 Mike’s Roof Rules


My top rules for designing the roof of your new pole building. Tips to keep a roof leak free while withstanding years of abuse.

#7 Zip Up Ceiling


Fast and easy to install, Zip up Ceiling is an aesthetically pleasing new ceiling choice for a pole building. Discover a grid-free, mold and mildew resistant alternative to drywall.

#6 Tico and 10d Common Nails


Choosing the right diameter and length nails is an important part of constructing a new building. Tico nails no longer exist, but 10d common nails in 1-1/2″ and 3″ are good standards.

#5 Poplar, not Popular  


The use of yellow poplar for board and batten siding on pole barns. Discover why “new” poplar is not decay and disease resistant like poplar from days of old.

#4 What does 2×6 Lumber Weigh?


Calculating the weight of 2×6 lumber is important when dead loads are applied to purlins attached to roof trusses. How many 2×6’s can a person carry on a jobsite?

#3 Pink 2×4 Studs  


Painting 2×4 studs a light magenta color began as a marketing ploy. Pink 2×4 studs brought increased sales and possibly subliminal breast cancer awareness.

#2 Pole Building Bar: A Road Runs Through It  


Cruisers Bar in Stateline, Idaho shows the originality and functionality of a pole building bar designed for motorcyclists to literally drive through.

And the MOST READ article of 2013:

Pole Barn Flood Insurance  

Pole barn flood insurance should be included in a pole building checklist prior to construction. A Flood Elevation Certificate must be obtained to qualify for flood insurance.

Pole Barns in the News: Lean-to’s

The following article appeared in the Madison Journal Today (Madison County, Georgia) June 7, 2014:

“Madison County commissioners plan to exclude pole barns, carports and lean-tos from permitting requirements.

 But working out the policy on making this happen has not been an easy matter. And the board will once again discuss the issue at its June 2 meeting.

Madison County planning commission chairman Wayne Douglas said the planning commission aimed to “resolve what appeared to be an inequity” in county guidelines, the fact that some structures required a permit but not others. He said the planning commission aimed to have no permitting required for carports, pole barns and lean-tos.

A couple of county commissioners have also spoken out in favor of no permitting for such structures, saying they don’t want someone who simply wants a place to store his tractor to have to seek a permit for it.

Commissioner Mike Youngblood said he has an issue with how the measure was pushed by the planning commission, noting that building inspection director Eddie Pritchett and county attorney Mike Pruett weren’t consulted before the matter was brought to the board.

He added that he “wasn’t happy with some of the comments” at a recent planning commission meeting, after listening to the recording of the meeting. He told Douglas that his name was “Mike Youngblood” and he named each commissioner, saying that they are not “that bunch” as he heard on the recording. He told Douglas that he needs to have greater control over the tone of planning commission meetings.

Madison County commissioners heard from building inspection director Eddie Pritchett, who said he doesn’t think eliminating permit requirements is a good thing. He said permits are issued for safety reasons and that not requiring permits could open the door for unsafe structures in the county.”

 Personally, I believe the less government is involved in the everyday lives of the individual, the better. However, in this case I agree totally with Director Pritchett and for exactly the reasons he cited.

The Building Code does allow for “pole barns” and other low risk structures such as lean-tos, which would be unlikely to cause injuries or fatalities in the event of a failure to be designed to a lesser set of standards than frequently occupied buildings.

Pole Barn Lean ToAllowing carports, pole barns and lean-tos to be constructed without a structural plan review is inviting disaster. The tractor storage barn of today, could easily be converted to another use in the future – one which could result in a tragedy due to a building which has been cobbled together. I’ve seen pole barns converted into businesses with hundreds of clients walking through the doors daily, and even as far fetched as a “ski-through” where snow skiers can enter one open side and exit another – via a lift chair. Do you really want to not have these buildings subject to being built to code?

In my humble opinion, every building, regardless of use, yes including lean-tos, should be designed by a registered design professional (architect or engineer) as well as being subjected to a structural plan review prior to a permit to build being issued.

Cape May Pole Barn

Tuesday afternoon I had to get from Cape May, New Jersey to Lewes, Delaware. The choices were a very long circuitous drive, or to take the ferry. Being from the Pacific Northwest, I am used to ferries, they take millions of passengers annually on a myriad of routes across the Puget Sound.

I am also used to the ferries running frequently – which is not the case on a week day in May – as there are only six departures from Cape May, the last one (which I caught) being at six p.m.

It wasn’t like I had anywhere to go, so my four o’clock arrival gave me a couple of hours respite from driving.

Cape May has done a spectacular job at creating a positive ferry terminal experience. They offer event hosting, as well as live music several nights a week. For the adventurous – free putt-putt golf!

Cape May Pole BarnBeing as I enjoy a tall cold beverage on occasion. I joined my host, Michael, at the outdoor bar. Numerous choices of local brews were available. As chance would have it, Michael explained to me Milton (near Lewes)is the home for one of the craft breweries – Dogfish Head. In a pole barn.

The brewery is located at #6 Cannery Village Center in Milton, Delaware and they have a brewpub at 320 Rehoboth Ave., in Rehoboth Beach. It turns out Dogfish Head Brewing began in 1995 as Delaware’s first legal distillery. For more information on the brewery visit: www.dogfish.com.

Now I had to chuckle at the chance I would be at a ferry terminal, in Cape May, New Jersey, and have my bar server tell me about a pole building brewery. He went on to say the Dogfish Head Brewery does regular tours and business has been so brisk, they have had to expand their pole building several times.

It turned out to be a wonderful day on the water from Cape May to Lewes. Along the journey I texted several times to my lovely bride (as it was our 14th wedding anniversary), jokingly telling her our ferry captain was Jonas Grumby (Google the name).

Now I got to thinking about the few pole building brewery projects I had been involved with over the decades. Yesterday afternoon, I was on the road towards Kitty Hawk, North Carolina when I drive by a huge pole building on the right. Home of – you guessed it – a brewery! The Weeping Radish Farm Brewery (www.weepingradish.com) is located on the Caratoke Highway near Grandy, NC.

I don’t know if the beer at Weeping Radish Farm Brewery is any good, but they have certainly had fun with the artwork on the end of their pole building!

Pole Building Man Land


This was written by Cheryl PaPania (and posted on Facebook), who is an expat living along the coast of Ecuador with her husband Don about his “man-cave” pole building:

“January of 2007 my husband, (Don) built a workshop to store his tools, equipment, etc. and also have a place to work out of the sun. He attached two bays to park his boat and man truck (Old Blue). It was built quickly out of wood, cane and palm leaves. Not the most attractive structure, but it was functional. And it was supposed to be “temporary”. Well six years later, it was in such a state of disrepair. It was infested with termites and so rickety to the point of being dangerous. So several months ago, Don hired a couple of guys to help him tear it down and burn it. As he stood by the fire watching the last of the rotted wood burn, I saw a few tears roll down his cheeks. They were not from the smoke.

So now there is no man land. Talk about withdrawal, wow. Almost like taking an alcoholic’s last bottle of booze. No he did not have the DT’s or curl up in the fetal position, but believe me he was very despondent. So one day we are sitting on the porch having our afternoon cocktail and I casually mentioned rebuilding man land. Talk about lighting a fire under someone’s ass, he shot out of his chair, dashed into the house and came back with his notebook. I am thinking he was going to start making notes and drawing a design on paper. Hell no, he had drawings, layout, plans that would impress Frank Lloyd Wright. Like a kid at Christmas, he showed me his plans, including plumbing, electrical and structural specs. He even had a detailed list of needed materials. Only thing missing was “soil test”. Oh and the whole structure is being built out of concrete, brick and steel. One would think Armageddon was coming or some kind of terrorist attack.

Don Building Man LandSo very next day Don gets started. He laid it out visually. Then string lines and levels to make it perfectly squared. I held the end of the tape measure, called the “dumb end”. After about three hours he was satisfied, only less than 1”out of square, which he could live with. If only I could get him to show such enthusiasm toward “The Honey Do” list.

I am very proud of Don, to save money he has built this with very little help other than the day the slab was poured and help finally for one day completing the roof structure and roof panels. Don has measured, cut, drilled, welded, bolted and painted all the steel. He built 3 brick and concrete work benches. Installation of water lines in several areas along with a sink and shower. He also has installed all the electrical, including 220 for the welder, lighting, motion sensors and nighttime security features.

There are still a few things left to finish (wall around outside shower, locker or cage for
additional tools & machinery to be securely stored and few misc. things.) However for all practical and functional purposes, MAN LAND or his MAN CAVE is finished. I have attached some pics from beginning to end. Only thing of importance that is missing is the BEER FRIG!! Guess this will be a Merry Christmas for Don.”

 I found this to be both a beautiful and touching story. But, guys and gals – it does not take having to move to Ecuador to have “MAN LAND”.  The process does not take having to involve Frank Lloyd Wright or his minions.

For many – a pole building kit package, with totally detailed plans and step-by-step instructions is the yellow brick road to man land success! With a little help from your friends at Hansen Pole Buildings, you too can be deciding where to place the beer fridge

How LinkedIn is Important to Your New Pole Building

How LinkedIn is Important to Your Pole Building

If you are one of the many who have been single in the past decade or so it is OK to admit (even to yourself) to the use of the internet to have found a date. If not for finding a date to check out someone who you might have more than a passing interest in dating. Face it, the ‘net affords the ability to gather a lot of information.

Now, gentle reader, you may be wondering how one ties dating into investing in a new pole building.

Think of ordering a pole building, like dating. It takes some time and effort to build the right relationship. The person (or persons) who are working (hopefully on the same side of the table WITH you) to see your building best meets your needs, are very important. Don’t like them? Or worse, don’t trust them? If either or both, chances are this is not going to be a marriage made in heaven.

Why LinkedIn?

With over 225 million members, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. Today, it’s assumed every business professional has a LinkedIn profile.

I WANT my clients to check me out, and LinkedIn gives a one stop shop for finding out what makes me tick.

Mike MombTake a minute and go check out my profile, Mike Momb, at LinkedIn.com.

This gives you a detail overview of where I have worked, where I went to school, and organizations I have or do belong to. It also gives a list of endorsements from others as to my skills and expertise. You will find 80 or more people have endorsed me for Building Materials, Timber, Wood, Materials, Green Building and Construction. In a nutshell, “I know my pooh”.

While some things can be made up, endorsements cannot be.

You can also see the LinkedIn groups I am a member of, as well as I am married and what my outside interests are. (I met my bride on the internet and after 14 glorious years, would do it all over again!)

Part of due diligence is knowing who is on your team, and who is merely a pretender.

Pole Building: Honest Architecture

I recently read an article in Southwest Michigan’s Second Wave about “Historic barn enthusiasts preserve living agricultural heritage” written by Zinta Aistars.

pole barn framingIn the story Steve Steir, president of the Michigan Barn Preservation Network is quoted, “Barns are a symbol of peace and quiet, you can see the bones of the building when you walk inside. A barn is the most honest piece of architecture.”

This quote really got me to thinking about why it is I love pole buildings so much. My three decade involvement with them has been far more than just a way to make a living.  It has been the enjoyment of the simple grace and beauty of a structure which utilizes materials in their most practical form.

Going to architecture school, I recognized so much of the true beauty of a building, comes from the underlying structure – which in most cases gets covered up and buried by one of a myriad of interior and exterior finishes.

In the 1990’s I had built for myself a pole building for manufacturing purposes. The building was truly a structural work of art with 92 foot roof trusses, 150 feet in length and a 20 foot eave height. I remember standing in the middle of the floor after it was completed, just taking in the entire experience.

One of my favorite all time photos, is of a pole barn we were constructing for a wheat farmer near Creston, Washington. Completely framed, ready for the steel roofing and siding to be applied, the photographer caught it in black and white, with the full moon rising behind it. To me, absolutely stunning. We utilized it on the back cover of our sales brochure and received numerous comments about it.

Simple, practical, strong…..these words fit so well with my vision of the perfect structure – a pole building.

Interesting Use for a Pole Barn

I have configured both Google and Yahoo for notifications every time “pole barn” or “pole building” comes up in a new or edited article on the Internet. One of the things I am looking for is new or innovative ways people use buildings. Some of them make for interesting potential blog posts.

From Van Buren County, Michigan, yesterday, comes a story of an unsuccessful use of a pole barn:

It seems an 18 year old had perhaps been drinking, and decided to go on a burglary spree.

After entering one home, and appropriating some items, he decided to try the same with the neighbors. The suspect was unsuccessful in entering the home of the last victims, and woke them up in the process. He then forced his way into their pole barn, where the shotgun wielding homeowner held him at bay until deputies arrived.

The suspect was later charged with three counts of larceny from a motor vehicle, unlawful driving away of a motor vehicle, and alcohol consumption by a minor.

In retrospect, I suppose the owner of the pole barn in question, might view this as a case of successful, but unintended use of his pole barn.

Now I doubt law enforcement agencies are going to start constructing pole buildings with the idea they will become “mouse traps” for burglars….but it is an interesting concept!

pole-barn-weddingDo you own a pole building which is being used for a unique purpose? If so, I’d like to hear about it, and why you chose a pole building as opposed to some other form of construction.

Take a look at this photo from one of our recent customers who recently got married in his new pole building!

Run Amok: Pole Building Prohitibion?

In the iconic 1984 movie Footloose, Kevin Bacon’s character has moved to the small fictional town of Bomont. As a result of the efforts of a local minister (played by John Lithgow), dancing and rock music have been banned.

How outraged the viewing public was when the rights of freedom of expression had been taken away, in the movie.

Small towns sometimes have small minds, and they try to take away things more than just what happened in Footloose. On occasion, I have run across jurisdictions which, for whatever reason (usually it is just not being educated of the benefits), try to ban post frame construction.  In other words, they “don’t allow pole buildings”.

Pole Building ProhibitionThis just happened in Fowler, Indiana, and here is an excerpt from the letter I wrote to defend pole buildings:

Post frame (pole) buildings are Code conforming buildings and the methodology for their structural design is outlined and/or referenced in every edition of the International Building Codes.

It is within the legal scope of a Planning Department or Commission (after following whatever processes are in place for public notifications, etc.) to be able to place limitations on the size of structures, their placement on a given property, as well as the appearance (e.g. restrictions on type and or color of siding and roofing materials). Any appearance restrictions must be applied uniformly to any Code conforming structural system.

In order to legally preclude the use of post frame construction (or of any other Code conforming structural system), the onus would be upon the jurisdiction to somehow prove their structural inadequacy. It would be both arbitrary and capricious to deny the utilization of post frame construction, which could easily leave open the door to a plethora of probably indefensible lawsuits – resulting in undue costs to the jurisdiction, as well as the taxpayers.

While I am not an attorney, nor profess to offer legal advice, I have been involved in similar circumstances with other jurisdictions, each of which has made the determination to NOT LIMIT the use of post frame buildings as a structural system. I would encourage the same decision in your jurisdiction.”

Anywhere in America, where an unjust system tries to take away the rights of a citizen to construct a pole building, look to me to be involved to protect those rights.

Pole Building Bar: A Road Runs Through It

I always appreciate unique uses for a pole building. In this particular case, the building is not even one which I had any involvement in either the design or providing of, but it IS unique.

Pole Building BarBack in 2005, my friends Sheri and Larry Herberholz had an idea – it involved a pole building, alcohol and lots of motorcycles and Hot Rods. This great concept became Cruisers Bar & Grill; 6105 W. Seltice Way; Stateline Village, Idaho.

What divides this pole building bar, from the hundreds of thousands of other bar and grills in America is not just it being in a pole building. This particular pole building has an overhead steel sectional garage door in each gable endwall. A paved road runs in one door and out the other, affording the ability for motorcycles and hot rods to actually drive through the bar!!

Seriously – one can ride or drive right through the middle of the bar, while the patrons are laughing, drinking, singing, and of course – watching you drive thru!

It is common to have a live band cranking out the tunes in the corner, only to be out blasted in volume by a passing through the building motorcyclist slowing down long enough to rev his engine a time or two.

From the beginning, Cruisers has been dedicated to supporting the motorcycle and hot rod community.  Riders and drivers from all walks of life and from all over the U.S. and Canada meet to enjoy a burger, some music and toss back a cold brew or two. Conversation is never lacking and many friendships are made and renewed here.

Cruisers has also supported the local communities by raising and donating thousands of dollars to various charities and worthy causes.

Cruisers BarFor the bikers who either cannot make it to Sturgis for Bike Week (or know it is not safe to ride there), Cruisers puts on “Mini Sturgis” the last weekend of July. This annual event draws over 10,000 attendees!

Whether stopping at Cruisers on Thursday Night for a $2 Azteca soft chicken taco, or for Mini Sturgis weekend remember – a pole building made it all possible.  You may not have the same ideas about your new pole building, but just remember – the sky IS the limit when it comes to what you can do with a “pole barn”.

Interesting People I’ve Done a Pole Building For

Building Designer Rick Carr and I were discussing a client’s proposed building in Idaho today. 80 feet wide by 204 feet long, the building would have a 16 foot high sidewall. The client really wanted to have scissor trusses (trusses with an interior roof slope, which has a peak in the center). Given the dimensions and the request for the added height in the center, I asked Rick if the pole building was to be used for cattle roping.

While Rick was unsure, I advised if the client was using it for roping, to ask if he knew Justin Skaar. Justin is from Twin Falls, Idaho, and is a long time and well known non-pro roper. About 20 years ago, my company constructed a roping practice pole building for Justin.

Rick asked me if I remembered the names of everyone I had ever done a roping arena for, and I laughed and said no, just some of them.

This got me to thinking about a few of the more interesting clients I’ve dealt with over the past 30+ years. Here are some of them:

Larry Mahan – won the title of World All-Around Rodeo Champion for five consecutive years from 1966 to 1970, and a sixth time in 1973. His 1973 comeback and competition with Phil Lyne was the subject of the documentary The Great American Cowboy which won the 1973 Academy Award for Documentary Feature. Mahan was also World Bull Riding Champion in 1965 and 1967. He is the host of RFD TV’s Equestrian Nation. In the 1980’s we supplied two pole barn kit packages to Larry.

Jeff Lahti and Ken Dayley – each of these major league baseball relief pitchers got a pole building so they could throw indoors in the winter. Jeff (the righty) was with the St. Louis Cardinals for five seasons and was their “closer” in 1985. Ken (the lefty) pitched 11 major league seasons for the Braves, Cardinals and Blue Jays. His best seasons were 1985 and 1987, when he appeared with the Cards in the World Series (Ken was the winning pitcher of one of the 1985 games).

Steve Johnson Basketball CardMy all-time favorite is former NBA All-Star, Portland Trail Blazer Steve Johnson, who we provided a garage/shop building for. When my first born daughter Annie was alive, her favorite team was the Blazers. When we could get tickets, Annie and I had to be at the games early enough to walk courtside so she could get a perspective on which players were taller than her 6’5” dad.

Steve was an Oregon State University standout and was drafted in 1981 with the seventh pick by the Kansas City Kings. After stops with the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs, Steve arrived for Portland’s 1986-87 season in a trade for Larry Krystkowiak and Mychal Thompson.

My then ten year old daughter developed a major crush on Steve, and was heartbroken when she found out he was married. My daughter suffered from cystic fibrosis and the last time she was in the hospital, in 1989, Steve made a special trip to visit her in the hospital in Salem, certainly one of the highlights of her short life.

I could ramble on and on about others, famous and not so famous – but these are ones who have stuck in my memory.

Love, It Includes the Pole Barn

It may not be possible to put a price on love, but the square footage and location of where the love story takes place is a different story. Many couples take their potential partner’s “digs” (which includes the garage/shop and any other pole building) into account before entering into a relationship, according to a new study, and are reluctant to pack their bags if the relationship breaks up.

Real estate apparently holds value better than relationships. Given the choice between their dream property and a perfect spouse, 30% of the 1,000 Americans surveyed said they would choose the dream home, according to a survey by Rent.com and RedShift Research. And some 22% of single people would date someone strictly because they like their home and pole barn.

In fact, nearly one-quarter of Americans value one thing more than freedom from a broken relationship: a great place to live – and over one-third of them would wait a year or more to move out. Men are even more likely to stay in a relationship – 28% admitted to delaying a break-up to keep their current living situation versus 21% of women, the survey says.

You can create your own Man Cave!

While the adage is, “the way to a man’s heart, is through his stomach”, it appears more weight (pun, intended) might be given to having a nice pole barn as a “man cave”.

Whether the man cave is as simple as a single car garage, or as elaborate as a multi-story or multi-level building complete with sleeping space and a bathroom and kitchenette, a pole barn can be the answer – and although it doesn’t “make the relationship”, studies show it may be one of the deciding factors…both for getting into one, and for…well, not moving out of it.

While my wife and I don’t necessarily agree on the results of these surveys, I do know, “if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”! Because when it comes to both the final decision of purchasing a new pole building, and most definitely on choosing colors for siding and trim, the relationship between a client and spouse does have an effect on the final purchase.  I’ve had personal experience with couples where procuring a new pole building eliminated the fight over “engine parts/hunting and fishing gear” versus “home for the wife’s car”.  OK, I give…maybe the survey is right!

Building Design: The Greatest Buildings Never Built

My mother used to have a saying, (watching my brother and I bandy about with many a sharp object), “it’s all fun until someone gets their eye poked out”.  In her stern voice, she was simply trying to make things safe for my bro’ and me.

You might have a totally sweet concept for your ideal dream pole building. An architect can design for you the most amazing project on paper, but some of the best ideas simply cannot be built. Every design must take into consideration elements, such as construction variables, materials, load weights, building codes, and cost which are necessary to bring paper drawings to life. In a Wall Street Journal article, some of the most amazing architects throughout history have designed buildings which were stricken with issues which made it impossible to construct their vision. See Wall Street Journal article at:

From Building Design to Reality

Even with today’s sophisticated programs, there are many designs with a fair amount of issues which create havoc when trying to move from a brilliant concept to the structural design stage.

With software programs, such as Hansen Buildings Instant Pricing, the pole building industry is able to bridge the gap between your vision and building reality. This proprietary program anticipates and solves issues during the pole building design stage, thereby reducing and eliminating headaches in the construction stage.  In 1956, if Frank Lloyd Wright had designed an electronic, 3D model of his proposed mile-high skyscraper, he would have been able to resolve its issues.  His challenges included the space and load bearing requirements to occupy a 528-story elevator system. With the proper software (and lots of money), Wright may have seen his vision come to life.

Construction software programs can not only design whole pole buildings, but they also allow for specific design of the most complex areas on any structure, such as roof trusses. If a roof fails, the whole building can fail, thereby making the roof truss one of the most important elements in the design process. Most design professionals agree elements such as roof trusses should be designed only by an experienced truss designer. Having the necessary experience, truss designers can take into consideration geometric volume (roof cavity) and the ability of truss components to perform given the building requirements.

Regardless if you’re designing a roof truss, a pole barn or a mile-high skyscraper, the vision and structural design requirements must harmoniously coexist before the first piece of material is cut.

Often I am challenged by folks wanting to design a pole building which may have possibly been done before, but not with the same design loads and dimensions.  And sometimes, I am put to the test to design a “pole barn” which looks nothing like any pole building you or I have ever seen before.  I rely upon solid calculations, design loads and a software system which can test them out for me.  If it isn’t solid and I can prove it on paper, I don’t want to see it built.  Just like my Mother taught me, “safety first”.

The Pole Barn Guru: I Really Love What I Do

I Really Love What I Do

How many of you can say you have been blessed to be in a career you truly love? One where you wake up every morning, excited to get to do it again?

Do you enjoy your career?

Call it luck, call it being blessed, call it anything you want….I love what I do.

And what is it I exactly do?

I help people solve problems.

Now this may seem like a strange answer for someone who is known as, The Pole Barn Guru. Consider this – since February 1980, I’ve helped over 14,000 clients, solve their problem – they needed a new building. This is well over a building per day, every day, seven days a week, for over 30 years.

I went to school to be an architect. I wanted to help real people. People who needed practical and affordable buildings. Pole buildings have allowed me to utilize my knowledge to provide high quality, affordable solutions to clients in all 50 states, as well as Mexico, Canada and the Pacific Rim.

Have a question about pole buildings you would like answered? Just ask. I don’t even mind if you are a competitor.  If I can be of service, it is my pleasure. While I don’t profess to have all of the answers, if I don’t have the answer, I will go find it for you.

Either comment to this blog (best, as we can then share the information with everyone), or Email me direct at: PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com

For some great free information on pole buildings, without anyone “selling” anything, please sign up for the weekly newsletters at:

Hansen Pole Building Newsletter

I’ll leave you with one last thought.  I started the standard greeting for Hansen Buildings, because I truly have a wonderful time every single day of my life – doing what I do…and my daily wish is for all of you to: Have a Great Day!

To receive more pole building tips and advice subscribe to the pole barn guru blog!

Pole Barns: Blazing Pole Building Prices…Honestly

Blazing Building Prices…Honestly

Pole Barn Garage

Imagine this beautiful building on your property

You’ve been talking with someone about a new pole barn. You like the salesperson, and feel like you have built a good relationship with them. You feel they offer a good design solution, can deliver within your time frame….just one question remains.

Is their price right?

Here is the secret to honestly finding out for certain….

Make sure all of the following information is on the quote you have been provided – width, length, dimensions and roof slope. Ground and roof snow loads, design wind speed and wind exposure are also essential. If you are considering the purchase of a pole building kit from a lumber yard, or “big box” store, make certain they guarantee to supply all of the materials necessary to construct the building. Many suppliers will attempt to foist off on you, the unsuspecting buyer, an itemized list of materials they propose to supply, and does not necessarily mean a building can be constructed from it!

Read all of the fine print – including those statements which may actually abstain them from any responsibility should they fail to provide enough materials to finish your building.  Does the quote include any guarantee or warranty?  How about building plans, are they included?  Are the plans complete instructions or are you expected to take a list of materials and just “wing it”?  If you have questions during construction, is there tech support available?

Now armed with a complete quote, scan and email, or FAX it to Hansen Buildings. One of our Building Designers will review it for you, at absolutely no charge. If items of concern are seen, they will let you know what they might be. If you are getting a fabulous deal, we will be the first ones to let you know. More important than us providing your new pole building is making certain you are getting a building which best solves your problems, meets your needs and is a great value.

To submit a quote and get some fabulous pole building prices checkout our free building quote page.

To receive more pole building tips and advice subscribe to the pole barn guru blog!

The Truth About Setting A Pole Building Budget

Shhhh….somebody might hear you.

We want to know what your budget is for your new pole building. You know, how much do you have set aside for the building (or are planning to borrow to pay for it)? This dollar amount should be cash on hand (which you are willing to invest into your new pole barn) plus the amount you can borrow.

But….you may be thinking, “If I tell you how much I have to spend, you will overcharge me”!

Wrong – the goal is to be able to see to it you get the most possible value in your new building, for every dollar spent.

Plan Your Budget With our Building Planning Guide

With the knowledge of your pole building budget, the problems you want your building to solve for you, and goals your new pole barn will help you reach, your Building Designer can best work with you. Numerous factors can be adjusted to save you dollars, or to get you a larger, or more featured garage, shop or riding arena.

Working from a given set of features, the greater the “footprint” of your building, the lower in cost per square foot it will be. My premise has always been, to construct the largest building I can afford, and possibly fit onto the available space. At my own home, I have a very narrow lot, which is 14 degrees out of square. By building the building to follow the 5’ setbacks required from the lot lines, I was able to construct a three story tall shop!

Is your dream pole building a little over budget? If so, some features can be installed at a later date. Overhead door openings can be left, with the doors to be installed at a later date, when more funds become available. Concrete floors and driveways can easily be poured after the building has been constructed, making for a large savings in cash, which can be allocated towards the original pole building shell.

In my bride’s words of wisdom, “To get the most value for your building dollar, put the four corners as far apart as possible!”