Tag Archives: Pole Building Instructions

Overhead Door Replacement, Building Instructions, and Strong Columns

Replacing and overhead garage door, instructions for a pole barn, and the use of “Strong Columns” in today’s Pole Barn Guru!

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Looking to perhaps replace my 10 wide by 8 tall overhead pole barn door with a 10′-10′. Along with chain pull down. What options do you have or suggest. It’s nothing fancy. Thanks. Need the track or some sort of extension that goes with door as what I now have would be too short if I’m thinking correctly. BRIAN

DEAR BRIAN: Done right, this is going to take someone who can visit your site and do an analysis of the situation. Your best bet is going to be to contact a local to you overhead door installation company. The main concern would be how much room you have to go “up” for a taller door. You’ll need the proposed door height, plus about 15″ from the floor. 


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We have a customer that is looking for installation of a 24×36 Metal Barn, we would like to inquire if you have any installation instructions. Thank you. JEAN PAUL in FORT MYERS

Hansen Buildings Construction ManualDEAR JEAN PAUL: Every Hansen Pole Building kit package comes with not only a two complete sets of engineer sealed site and client specific 24” x 36” building plans, but also our industry leading Construction Manual. Some example plans can be viewed here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/sample-building-plans/.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: What are your thoughts on the Strong Column by Strongway Systems? Very appealing that it’s adjustable height, has brackets for skirt and keeps the post out of the ground. I’ve read you auger the hole, place these (no need to pour footer), square, attach skirt, then fill hole with concrete and attach wood columns. JOE in PORTLAND

DEAR JOE: Strong Columns are no longer available, as the manufacturer has ceased production.

My personal preference is the low tech, lowest cost version – properly pressure preservative treated columns embedded in the ground.

For those who absolutely must have columns above ground (keeping in mind they will last virtually forever https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/12/will-poles-rot-off/), I would personally backfill the holes with concrete and utilize wet set brackets designed for post frame construction (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/05/sturdiwall-brackets/).

Steel Stretcher Needed

Along with this photo came the message: “The Contractor I hired to put up the building will be sending you video from his cell phone sometime today.

In the meantime I have taken two photos: one of the gable end and the other of the side wall. The side wall panels are perfect and the end gable ends are 6 inches too short on the high side.”

Just at a cursory glance, the workmanship on the building looks pretty clean. Now I am going to take you just a little closer into it.

Well, maybe this photo needs to be revisited…..

steel stretcherLook up at the top of the red wall steel. What do you see?

If you said, “wood”, you are correct about what you are seeing.

Unfortunately for the builder, there is not supposed to be wood showing at this part of the building! The wall steel is supposed to run up into an inverted piece of J Channel trim which is placed tight against the underside of the roof steel.

What does all of this mean?

It means the building is built six inches too tall!

My loyal readers have read over and over with me harping on this subject so many times they probably have blood shooting out of their eyes at the very thought of another builder who didn’t pay attention to the measure of eave height being shown on the plans five times on three different pages. Not to mention the Construction Manual which is almost annoying outlining how to measure eave height over and over again throughout the chapters.

One might notice the symbolism between the number of times eave height is mentioned in the Hansen Pole Buildings Construction Manual (51) and the infamous Area 51 of UFO and conspiracy theory claims. When it comes to some building contractors, I’m wondering if the extraterrestrials experimented on them!

This is a builder who could have used my patent pending eave height tape measure (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2015/02/eave-height-2/).

Do You Speak Contractor?

Most contractors didn’t become contractors because they love to communicate. If they did they would be like Bob Villa and have their own TV show.

Contractor TalkingSometimes what they say seems completely obvious to them, but makes no sense to you. Of course most of what I say seems completely obvious to me, but makes no sense to my darling bride either.

A contractor might speak euphemistically to dance around difficult topics. These tips should help translate some of the euphemisms and somewhat curt statements you might hear, so the most is gotten out of the client-contractor relationship.

You Hear Nothing. If a contractor doesn’t call back, he’s just not into you. Don’t chase a contractor who’s too busy to return calls, unless you’ve given him money (in this instance, you and your money could be in trouble).

Let’s do it my way instead. No, no, no, no, no. The pole building plans and instructions should be followed explicitly. Just because a contractor has “experience” and has built lots of pole buildings (none of which have fallen down yet), does not give license to go off on a random path.

I’ll get started late next week. Manana. If a contractor sets a start date, he should be able to keep it. But many times several jobs are juggled at once and often unexpected circumstances arise. At best expect them only to come close to their start and completion estimates.

The price is… 
Unless the scope of work is changed, a contractor won’t expect to negotiate a lump sum price quote. Think the price is too high, get another quote for comparison. While prices vary because of differences in approaching the project or overhead costs, a contractor won’t stay in business unless he prices competitively.

I’ll do my best. There is a good chance a contract will fall short of your expectations. I once took a class on how to write construction contracts. The attorney who taught the class said any builder with a 50% customer satisfaction rate, was doing well!

Generally building owners ask for too much. Have realistic expectations.  Should they do a good or even great job?  Of course. But if your project is a week behind because it rained every day for 10 days and your building site was a mud hole, it may not have gotten done by the time you had hoped.

There are three elements to any project: The level of quality, the price and the time it takes to complete the project. Pick two of these which are most important, as all three do not happen in concurrence. Need everything perfect by a certain date?  Be prepared to pay more.

The design needed some tweaking. Often, this means the builder didn’t follow the plans as they should have. This does not bode well, as in most cases any warrantees are void.

I don’t think this is a good fit. If a contractor declines to quote a project it could be for a lot of reasons. Maybe he has concerns about the budget. You and your contractor will be talking a lot, so maybe he just didn’t think you clicked. It could also be he’s too busy, and he won’t be able to devote enough time to your project to do it right.

We are going to need to do some value engineering. Caviar dreams on a cheese and cracker budget? Be careful when the “value engineering” term gets thrown out.  Value engineering is when the team thinks creatively about how to rework the project to lower costs. All to often this results in a substandard finished product.

Let’s walk through and make a punch list. This was my pet peeve as a builder, when clients were unable or willing to provide a one-time complete list.

A contractor wants and deserves to know everything which needs to be done to have a client satisfied with the work. Every trip to the job costs the contractor, so make an effort to come up with a complete punch list —a list of to-do items which need to be completed for the project to be considered complete — instead of sending it bit by bit over time.

As I said, I was a contractor for a good number of years, with 17 crews in 6 states, so I’ve seen both sides of the coin.  Make sure you are on the side that gets what you want, for what you expected to pay for it.  Or at least close enough both you and the builder are celebrating the completion of your building – together.

Eave Height Snafu #2: My Building is Too Tall!

I Spoke Too Soon!

In yesterday’s blog, I was addressing challenges which seem to occur with professional buildinTape Measureg contractors, and the challenge to correctly measure eave height.

So….up jumps the devil….

Not long after the cited incident from a few months ago, a building owner was out constructing their own pole building kit package and discovered their wall steel is 3-1/2 inches too short!

Again, our Girl Friday (in charge of ordering materials) asks the client to measure from the bottom of the pressure treated skirt board, to the top of the eave girt and (drum roll please)….

The building is 3-1/2 inches taller than expected!! Again, an eave height issue.

Just an educated guess, the client somehow had the idea he needed another 3-1/2 inches of interior clear height to compensate for the thickness of the nominal four inch thick concrete slab. And yes, our the plans show “grade” along with showing where to measure eave height, along with a description – in about 7 different places.

This dilemma has some relatively painless solutions.

Choice #1 – pull all of the nails out of the skirt boards and raise them up 3-1/2 inches,


Choice #2 – add a pressure treated 2×4 on top of the current treated 2×8 skirt board.

In most cases the first choice is going to result in having to add 3-1/2 inches of compactable fill across the building site in order to pour the slab. There is a side benefit to this. The building is far less likely to have water pouring into it, in the event of a deluge or tremendous snow melt.

The second choice may not be as aesthetically pleasing, as it will leave a lot of treated wood exposed at the base of the building.

Of course there are some more expensive solutions, which include:

Cut all of the wall steel short and purchase steel wainscot panels and the z flashing trim to go between the wainscot and the wall steel.

Or, purchase a bunch of longer wall steel panels.

This is another case in point; an expensive mistake which could have been prevented by reading the plans and instructions, as well as utilizing a tape measure to carefully match eave height to plans.  And again, when in doubt, call us!

Pole Building Plans: Following Directions

When All Else Fails

Read the directions.

The Hansen Pole Buildings Productions office had a builder contact them a few months ago, because the endwall steel on the pole building kit package they were constructing was “eight inches too short”.

Now the builder DID admit to having framed the building three inches taller then he should have. His reasoning – to compensate for the building having end overhangs. Obviously, this made much more sense to him, than to have followed the building plans and instructions.

Eave HeightThe gal in our office who orders all of our materials astutely asked him to measure the height of the building, from the bottom of the pressure treated splash plank (aka. skirt board), to the top of the eave girt. Of course she knew the answer was supposed to be 14 feet, so she wasn’t overly surprised when the builder told her it was 14’9”!!

Just in case anyone is wondering, every Hansen Pole Building comes with two sets of multiple page 24 inch by 36 inch blueprints, specific to the building being constructed. On at least three pages of the building plans, in seven different places is stated, “Eave height = bottom of skirt board to intersection of roof steel and outside edge of sidewall columns”.

Even if the building plans were somehow hidden under the back seat of the crew cab, the correct measure of eave height is also stated repeatedly in the Construction Guide provided with the purchase of every post frame building kit. There are diagrams with clear marking of dimensions, along with written encouragement for anyone not understanding eave height, to “call us”.

Historically, clients who construct their own buildings rarely make this error – they read the provided documents. Considering hiring a builder? If so, find one who will read and pay attention to the plans and instructions. There are some great ones out there. We have many contractors who purchase pole building kits from us, providing “turn-key” buildings for their clients, and do a wonderful job.  They study the building plans and ask questions before they even move a handful of dirt.  Most of all, hire one who is not afraid to ask questions and clarify things if he’s not familiar with constructing a building kit from the chosen vendor. Just like any other do-it-yourself project kit from Sauder to Ikea, they are not “all the same”.