Tag Archives: pole building costs

Mike the Pole Barn Guru’s World

Mike the Pole Barn Guru’s World

Pole Barn Guru BlogWhen I began this blog back in June of 2011, I surmised getting to a total of 100 articles would be a stretch, but yet a worthy goal. Well, I have surprised even myself… welcome to article number 1500! What amazes even me – how many possible topics have yet to be written about.

Today, you get taken to Hansen Pole Buildings’ back room – where we actually have developed an outline for our Building Designers to follow with new clients. I share portions of this for many reasons, amongst them:

#1 In hopes competitors will read it and learn, in doing so everyone wins. Clients get buildings better serving their needs, competition has happier clients and our industry looks even better. I have always believed if all providers of post frame building kit packages played by a similar set of rules: 1. Every building should be designed by a RDP, i.e. Registered Design Professional, engineer or architect, specifically for a specific client at their specific building site. No getting one sealed drawing and using it for multiple clients.  2. We will figure out how to design your post frame building most efficiently, most cost effectively and with a higher level of service

#2 By being better prepared with information we (or any true high quality post frame building supplier) need, you (future new building owner) will have a smoother journey from planning to occupancy

“Delivering the Ultimate Post Frame Experience™” to every Hansen Pole Buildings’ client, every day.

Hansen Pole Buildings has most of our clients first contact us via an internet inquiry. If so, your information has automatically been entered into our database. First thing – I go to your record and see if you have subscribed to our newsletter series.

If you are reading this and are not a Hansen Pole Buildings’ newsletter subscriber, go do so now.  They are totally free and you may unsubscribe any time. A sign up link can be found in footer (bottom) of each page of our website. These newsletters are not designed to sell anyone, anything – they are meant to be entertaining and informative. You can read more about them here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/10/pole-building-newsletters/.

For competitors – I encourage you to subscribe also, read them, edit them to fit your own business model and make them available to your clients. Informed clients make for happy post frame building owners.

Next you receive a personal email. When it comes down to it, there exist these four most important points when it comes to making a major investment:

     1)A fair value for money and time invested;

     2) It solves problem(s) or helps to achieve a goal;

     3) Liking and trusting those you are dealing with;

     4) Ability to get delivery within a reasonable time frame.

I encourage potential clients to take advantage of available financing options: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/financing/.

All are also directed to contact their appropriate Planning Department to find out if they are allowed to construct the building they want, where they want it (this step helps to avoid anyone wasting time or having hurt feelings): https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/01/planning-department-3/.

Next up – an email about Exposure C for wind. Pretty much universally most post frame building kit package suppliers and post frame builders quote buildings with an Exposure B, although a great many sites should have buildings designed for a more conservative Exposure C.

For more Exposure C reading: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2011/11/wind_exposure/


We all live in a world of social media. I want you to know about me and I want to know about you. We do business with people we trust and are our friends. I’ve had some individual post frame client relationships for decades, as it should be. I want to be your Facebook friend, in your circles at Google Plus, and a Linkedin connection. If you use Skype it adds yet another method for us to stay in contact.

Lastly and most important, I want you and I to talk. Although you might believe you really know what you want in a new post frame building, I might have some thoughts and ideas you have not yet considered and no one else has suggested. Once I have gathered information from you during a conversation, I will often ask if you mind if I design your building if it was my own building. My mission in this – to come up with a best possible design solution for you, balancing investment and budget.I have saved clients hundreds of thousands of dollars on their new pole buildings by tweaking their initial design, from changing bay spacings to type of doors or windows. Why would I do this? My goal is to design a building which solves the problem. In other words, a building which is functional, is pleasing to the customer, and fits their budget.  

Welcome to the world of Mike the Pole Barn Guru!




How Energy Efficient Are Pole Buildings? Key Insulation Tips

dscn0558If you’re thinking about building a pole barn home (or ‘barndominium’), you no doubt already know that construction and labor costs for this type of residence can be significantly lower than the cost of building a traditional house. However, you may be wondering what your monthly utility bills will look like once you move in. Can pole buildings be energy-efficient, or will you end up losing money trying to heat and cool your home?

In our years of experience at Hansen Pole Buildings, we’ve learned that pole barns can be energy efficient—as long as you install proper installation.

It’s All about the Insulation

The greatest majority of heat loss or gain is through a home’s roof, and this can be especially pronounced in pole buildings with high ceilings. To avoid sky-high utility bills, we recommend that you install a reflective radiant barrier under the roof of your pole barn. It doesn’t change the construction process for the pole building, and it can provide considerable savings over time.

At Hansen Pole, we offer A1V radiant reflective barrier. This barrier features a closed layer of air cells in between reflective aluminum facing on the exterior and white vinyl facing on the interior.

If you’re interested in learning how to install this cost-effective product, check out this previous blog post.

Don’t Forget the Roof

While the insulation you install will play a major role in determining how energy efficient your pole barn is, the roof you choose will also make a difference. Lighter color roofs are typically better in warm climates because they will reduce heat absorption, which will help prevent the building from becoming too balmy in the spring and summer.

When working with us to put together a custom pole building kit, you can get a light-colored roofing material that is Energy Star certified. To get the Energy Star stamp of approval, a roof has to maintain a reflectance of at least 15% of the sun’s energy after three years of real-world exposure testing. The higher the reflectance, the less energy it will take to cool the home below. This simple feature will reduce your monthly pole barn energy costs.

Additional Tips for an Energy-Efficient Pole Barn

In addition to choosing energy-efficient insulation and roofing, there are several other choices you can make to reduce the amount of energy your barndominium uses. For example, you can:

  • Choose Energy Star-rated appliances.
  • Install Energy Star-rated windows with low-e glass
  • Use fluorescent light bulbs
  • Have a heating and cooling professional check your home once a year to make sure you’re not wasting energy (and money)

Adding energy-efficient features to your pole barn home may add to the upfront building cost, but will save you money in the long run. For more information about residential pole buildings, visit Hansen Pole online and start planning for your new building today!

eHow.com and Pole Buildings

eHow.com: Discover the expert in you

Or at least how eHow.com promotes itself on the ‘net.

From the eHow.com website:

What do you want to do today?

No matter what’s on your list, eHow can help. With more than 30 categories that cover just about everything, eHow is your one-stop online resource for life’s challenges. Professionals in every field come together to offer expert advice, backed by the additional support of a can-do eHow community. Together, they’ve created a library of accomplishments online–and it’s available to you anytime, anywhere.

On any given day, you’ll find all this on eHow. And it’s free:

  • More than two million articles and videos
  • A supportive online community
  • A place to share experiences and get feedback

I’ve personally read numerous articles on eHow.com, covering a myriad of possible subjects. Some of the articles were actually informative and helpful enough to have allowed me to solve problems.

When it comes to pole buildings, frankly I would not rely upon eHow.com as being a source for solid information.

A case in point:

03-0924-02 DoeringThe eHow.com article, “How to Take Apart & Relocate a Pole Barn

“Disassembling a pole barn and relocating to a new site is usually safer and more cost-effective than attempting to move an intact barn or build an entirely new barn. When care is used, many parts of a pole barn are able to be used in reconstruction in another location. Although old posts must be cut off at ground level rather than uprooted and relocated, existing piers may be joined to new posts with braces that ensure a strong structure and in some cases even extend the life of the pole barn.”

Sadly there are going to be people who will actually believe any of this and take it to be true!

Let’s examine the facts…..

If the existing building is not nearly brand new, it probably does not meet current Building Codes (they change every three years, sometimes with dramatic consequences) and will need to be upgraded to meet today’s standards.

Moving the building from one jurisdiction to another? If so, the design snow, wind and seismic loads may be different at the new site than the old one. In some jurisdictions even a move of a few blocks can mean drastic changes in loads.

Any of these can pose undue challenges as well as extra costs in having to hire a RDP (Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer) to solve the problems of becoming compliant.

Safety – I am at a complete loss as to how the disassembly and handling of used materials could ever be safer than using brand new. No matter how much caution is used, pieces are going to be damaged. Sometimes the damage is going to be hidden – which could result in the failure of a member with someone on top of it (or underneath it!)

Cost – while there are some people who are willing to give away an old building to anyone who will haul it away, most people believe there is a value to their existing building (after all, it is less expensive than purchasing a brand new kit – right?). Even if I was going to give you an existing building – I’m going to require you to provide me with proof of insurance coverage while you take it apart. Contact an agent, insurance is not free.

Generally the labor to construct a new pole building is equal to about 50% of the cost of materials (some states are higher due to registration and insurance costs). It will cost every bit as much to disassemble – plus the costs of loading on and offloading from a suitable truck, trailer or both.

Cutoff the old columns at the ground?

Holes can be dug at the new site, backfilled with premix concrete and engineered brackets placed in each one to accept the columns from the old building. The quantity of concrete required, as well as the brackets – are not free.

eHow.com is a great resource for many things…..pole buildings, not so much.

Saving Money on Building a New Pole Building

The ‘net is a scary place

More “True Confessions” from the Pole Barn Guru….I am a ‘net surfer. Yep, I scour the internet for almost anything I can find on construction related topics (especially pole building related). I have Google Alerts set up so I get notified of almost anything new posted regarding pole buildings, pole barns or post frame buildings.

When I stumbled across an article about “cost-cutting methods” for saving money on building a new pole building, I was totally compelled to read it.

shocked faceAnd then I had to sit down, before I passed out…..

I could hardly believe anyone would seriously advocate the majority of these methods. I am hoping, dear reader, most will be avoided by you, or anyone you care about.

Cut your costs even more with these ideas:”

Idea #1 “Use old telephone poles instead of buying new poles”.

Not to belabor a point, but properly pressure preservative treated columns are a cost effective solution and will last a lifetime. For more reading on why using old telephone poles is a bad idea: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/11/utility-poles/

 Idea #2 “Use inexpensive galvanized  steel for the roofing and siding

Heck, why not just use recycled steel siding? Just because it has holes in it already?

At my house, if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. And if I was to put up a new building with bare galvanized steel roofing OR siding on it, Mama would not be happy….for a very long time. Don’t be a fool….pre-painted steel panels are generally just a few cents per square foot more than ones which are not painted.

 Idea #3 “Standard building lumber typically is least expensive in 8-foot sheets, so design your barn or building in 8-foot sections.”

 I hate to pick on an author too much, but …… lumber does not come in sheets!

For buildings which will be sided with T1-11 or similar wood or cement based panels, the most cost effective size is four feet wide by eight feet tall. However, steel siding panels are going to be not only more economical, but more durable.

Want to be most cost effective for dimensions? Width and length dimensions which are multiples of two AND evenly divided by three, will give the most bang for the buck. In the great majority of instances, placing wall columns ever 12 feet with the roof trusses or rafters bearing directly upon the columns will be the most cost efficient.

 Idea #4 “Consider using trusses from old buildings. Make sure, however, that they are the correct size, and are uniform in size.”

 No, nada, nyet, nein….no way, no how. Coming from 17 years of pre-fabricated roof truss manufacturing plant ownership – DO NOT DO THIS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

(Also – do not buy roof trusses of indeterminate age which have been laying covered or uncovered in someone’s back yard or side lot)

And one may ask, why not? Besides the obvious – they are full of nail and other fastener holes from previous installation….

A plethora of money has been spent on research as to how wind and snow loads effect roof trusses. And with this, each new edition of the International Building Code (every three years), seemingly brings along with it new methods for the applications of loads to trusses.

Even a totally pristine truss, which was built under a previous code, may very well not meet the newer Code requirements for withstanding loads.

And (unless reliably inspected by a registered design professional), how would an individual know for certain the spacing the trusses were designed for, or the bracing requirements?

Idea #5 “Instead of paying for the barn all at once, build it in stages, adding stalls, lofts, or additional space on later, as time and money allow.”

 In a certain sense, there is some truth to this, with caveats:

Planning on adding a loft? The footings will probably need to be of larger diameter, in order to distribute the weight of the not only the loft floor, but what will be placed on top of it. Often, larger dimension columns are required to support the extra weight.

How about adding “side sheds”? Footing sizes come into play here as well. It also negates the advantages of having a single continuous run of roof steel. Splices never lay smoothly and afford a potential for leaks, as well as lack of proper load transfer, if not screwed adequately.

If you are going to build it in stages – fine, as long as you are designing the original structure to support those future changes.

Idea #6 “Have an old-fashioned barn-raising and invite friends to help.”

 Now this is the one good piece of advice in the article. Hiring a professional to construct a building will typically add 50% or more to the cost of materials. With specific plans and great instructions, the average building owner and his or her buddies can successfully construct a far nicer finished product than can ever be bought from a builder .

Why? Because it is yours, you care.

Idea #7 “Attend auctions to watch for windows, doors, and other items that you can use, rather than buying new.”

 This is generally a case of penny wise and pound foolish.

Windows – there are some places which have never before used vinyl windows of odd sizes which have integrated J channels. As long as one can stand some unique dimensions, this is a great opportunity. Avoid flanged only, or no flanged windows, as they will require J Channel and extra work in hopes they will not leak after installation. Better quality new windows, also come with manufacturer’s warrantees.

 Used doors?

Again, no warrantees and chances are – someone else’s problems are being purchased. Used doors do not come with CARFAX®, there is generally a reason these used doors have been replaced. And no guarantees of having all of the pieces necessary to make an overhead or sliding door work properly.

My caution – please do not believe everything you read on the ‘net. Even from me, who has been touted as the  pole barn “expert”, I am not infallible. Do due diligence, question everything, and use the one most crucial element…..

Common sense.