Tag Archives: pole builders

Building Construction Errors

Sometimes Things Just Don’t Go Right

When one really thinks about it – given the literal thousands of hands the components which become a completed pole building have to go through, it is a miracle anything ever gets done!

With all of the pieces and parts and all of the human potentiality factor added in, even those who ascribe to Rush Limbaugh’s 99+% accuracy rate as being attainable would have dozens of things wrong, shorted, damaged or otherwise!

In one of my “past lives” as a builder, we did exit surveys of all of our completed buildings at three, six and nine months after completion to make certain the clients were absolutely satisfied and to determine if there was anything on the building which should be fixed under warranty.

The BIAW (Building Industry Association of Washington) held a course on writing contracts back in the 1990’s. Although it was designed for the remodel industry, I felt it was applicable enough to attend. When the attorney running the class told us anyone with a customer satisfaction rating of over 50% was doing good – I was appalled, we had an approval rating in the mid-90% range and I thought we were not as good as we should have been.

When I was building, I thought I had some very good crews – but even the best of them seemed to have a building every year or so where everything (or seemingly so) went wrong. When quizzed about what happened to create the building construction errors, the universal answer was…..they had no idea, it just did!

(Let this be a cautionary message to those considering hiring a builder who has a perfect track record).

One of the things we have developed at Hansen Pole Buildings is a steel trim profile which absolutely, perfectly fits with the sliding door track and brackets we provide. As we purchase from the six largest independent steel roofing and siding roll forming chains in the country, all of them have the diagram for this part.

Specialty steel trims are produced on a machine known as a press break – it allows for flat steel sheets to be bent to precise angles and dimensions repeatedly.

Track Cover TrimWell, one of our steel vendors (who does a fabulous job at getting the right pieces, in the right quantity to hundreds of our clients annually) had one of those “no idea” moments recently and we ended up with a couple of good-natured clients who just could not get the track covers they were sent to fit….because they were bent to the wrong profiles!

Not to fret, as highlight moments in building construction are those which come not from doing it perfectly the first time, but by expediently and gracefully taking care of the oopses!

The steel vendor correctly reproduced the needed parts – and got them shipped out to the now happy clients.

On the Road with Pole Buildings

Author’s Note: This is part 3 of a series of blogs written from a 6500+ motorcycle trip from WA to Ohio and back.  See Blog from Oct. 15th for the beginning…and hang on for the ride!

The Browns Valley to Browns Valley part of my “Zen” ride (yes I made a loop) involved 9 days on the bike (I took the weekend off in the middle to enjoy Holland, Michigan) and 4844 road miles. Even averaging over 500 miles per day, I still had energy left at night to do some of my favorite things – like web surfing.

Since I was covering turf in the Midwest, I wanted to see who was out there building post frame buildings. Doing the infamous “Google Search” for Wisconsin pole builders, I stumbled upon one who proclaims to be the “Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa pole barn and pole building specialists”.

Monitor Garage Pole BarnDead center at the top of their home page is a building which particularly caught my eye…a cute red “monitor” barn, with white trims, two windows, and an overhead and entry door with radius topped windows. This particular building caught my eye because I happen to know it was built in Oregon, by Wallace Brothers Construction.  Why do I know this? Because it is a Hansen Pole Building kit!

Personally, I have no issues with people using photos of our buildings on their websites, as long as they give us credit for them.

For those who are shopping for new pole buildings – it makes it tough when people are not honest and steal photos of other people’s buildings to use as their own.

When I was a post frame building contractor (hop in the “Way Back Machine” to the 1990’s), we had a copyrighted table top catalog/brochure done – this puppy was seriously nice, and won awards for its graphics. In the center of it, was a foldout of a building cutaway (you can find an updated version of it in the Hansen Pole Buildings Product Guide by ordering one for free at https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/product-guide.php ). Well….one of our competitors “borrowed” the fold out and printed up 10,000 brochures of their own using it! As it was a copyright violation, they ended up having to burn all of them.

A few years later, another pole builder tried to use the same drawing on their website….again, no problem, just give credit where credit is due. They opted to remove it.

The bottom line caution to pole building shoppers – those lovely photos on the website you are checking out, may very well not be those of the company who has the website.

The Naked Pole Building

When the construction industry imploded in 2008, pole barn builders and suppliers stripped their pole buildings down to the bare essentials (or, in some cases, to less than the bare essentials). This was done in an effort to make the pole buildings more affordable and to not be underpriced by another provider or builder.

Naked Pole BuildingEven now, as the market is improving, we still see post frame buildings being offered about as bare as a lap dancer. This trend makes it harder for other pole building providers to sell upgraded (and better) products to both builders and self contractors.

Like a Victoria’s Secret catalog, pole builders and pole building providers attract clients with the bare essentials and attractive pricing. While contracts may be signed with builders at attractive pricing, the builder is planning on covering up the pole building with a full wardrobe, including a mink coat. The price for the pole barn may be $10,000, but the builder is planning on it actually selling for $20,000, by the time he gets done with upgrades (as well as costly change orders).

When I was in the residential prefabricated metal plated roof truss industry, one of my clients was a framing contractor who used to brag about his middle name being “Extra”. While he did great work, and was always very reasonably priced, everything not spelled out initially was extra! And what were his customers to do? Once he started building, they were stuck!

Long ago, I learned no matter how low something is priced, there is always someone who is willing to cut quality and/or service to get to yet a lower price. Even scarier yet, is when the competition knowing leaves out portions of the building in order to get to a lower price!

And if you think a supplier would never knowingly leave materials off from a list, I have some ocean front property for sale in Arizona. I see materials lists prepared by lumber yards day after day – almost without exception, they are all missing or short materials.

When doing a quote comparison with another company, I have had to ask the client, “Which two walls do you want the steel on, the walls with the overhead doors, or the walls without?”  They had no idea there was not enough steel for the entire building.  Or that providing roofing material (steel or shingles) was “extra”.

How about code requirements?  Are they clearly listed on the quote, or are they somehow “hidden”, with the company merely claiming they design their buildings “stout”.

Want to do it right the first time, and know what costs truly will be?

Find a supplier who guarantees to provide a complete building package, with features spelled out (including all of the code and loading criteria), for a set price. A complicated list of materials, is nothing more than a list with prices, it is no guarantee of anything ever being able to be constructed.