Tag Archives: pole building kit packages

Pole Buildings Quality, Price and Service

When it comes to investing in a new post frame building kit package, there are really only three major areas to cover – quality, service and price.

Everyone wants to feel they have gotten a good value when they make a major investment, whether it is a vehicle, a house or a new pole building.

Can we all agree, “value” is most important?

Anyone can provide a product at a lower price – by sacrificing quality and/or service.

As a potential purchaser, when you tell me:

“I don’t care about service, delivery or quality.  Price is all that is important.”  How would you feel if my response was: “Okay then we’ll provide you a great price with poor service, inferior quality and it will arrive months late? And those pieces we shorted you? You’ll have to pay us extra for them.”

Give you a warm, fuzzy feeling?

I think not.

Let’s all face reality together, we all care and care a lot about things other than just a cheap price.

There is a certain Midwest based supplier of pole building kit packages who almost always seems to have a really great price. I’ve spoken with more than a few people who purchased one of their kit packages – only to find out there is seemingly no one in store who can help them out when they get “stuck” due to poor instructions or inadequate plans. Almost universally they voice concerns about the lack of quality in what they were delivered, and how they had to buy more materials to complete their building.

How bad are they? Bad enough so several post frame builders I highly respect refuse to assemble their building kits!

Personally I have even wandered innocently (as innocently as I can anyhow) into a couple of their locations. When I posed what I felt would be ‘softball’ questions to their ‘expert’ staff – I got nothing back but ‘deer in the headlights’ looks!

There also is something about the disclaimer on this competitor’s quotes, one an average potential buyer might want to read twice:

“You may buy all the materials or any part at low cash and carry prices. Because of the wide variation in codes, xxxxxxx (insert store name) cannot guarantee the material list will meet your code requirements. These post frame buildings are suggested designs and material lists only. Some items may vary from those pictured. We do not guarantee the completeness or prices of these buildings. Labor, concrete flooring, some finish materials and delivery are not included. Some special order truss sizes may be jobsite delivered. Delivery is extra. This post frame may have been altered from the plan’s original design.”

When I hear, “Your price is too high”, my response is, “Compared to what?”

Compared to what pole barn prices were five years ago? Compared to a price someone gave you in a phone call, or was read on Craigslist or EBay? Or compared to another potential supplier who left out several features, or doors, or didn’t even quote the same size?

My lovely bride (of twenty years now) and I used to visit Ecuador every winter, where vendors selling things expect to haggle over price, so they ALL universally jack their prices up. They are all playing this same game and do it well. Once you have reached a price and have paid, they are vamoosed (hmm, great price, questionable quality, no service).

America’s post frame building industry is very competitive. Profit margins are small, and costs of materials and their transportation are pretty much similar. As best I know, no one owns a magical forest of free lumber or a super-secret inventory of low cost steel, so if you see a price too good to be true, chances are it is.

Hansen VisionGranted, every once in a while Hansen Pole Buildings does have the best price, but given our provided features, and our high level of quality and service, it is a fairly rare occurrence. If someone else has a lower price, especially WAY lower, be a skeptic – there is a reason, one perhaps not obvious at first glance.  If you don’t know how to compare quotes on pole barn prices…we’ll do it for you – fairly and for free. If another provider actually offers a better value, we will be first to tell you to “go buy it now!”

How to Save Money on Pole Building Kits?

Welcome to Ask the Pole Barn Guru – where you can ask questions about building topics, with answers posted on Mondays.  With many questions to answer, please be patient to watch for yours to come up on a future Monday or Saturday segment.  If you want a quick answer, please be sure to answer with a “reply-able” email address.

Email all questions to: PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Is there something I can do myself that saves me a large amount of money? I don’t have time and equipment to do it all but can do some. SAVING IN SANDY

DEAR SAVING: Many builders like to do either all or nothing, or if they do give discounts for building owners doing a portion of the work, the discounts given are generally not equitable.

If looking to save a large amount of money, the best thing to do is to construct pole building kits yourself. Even better – throw a ‘barn raising’ weekend or two, gather up friends and friends of friends and see how quickly you can have a new pole building!

Complete pole building kits, with plans specific to your project as well as complete detailed instructions which include diagrams and actual photos, make the assembly simple enough for almost anyone. As pole buildings require little or no specialized equipment, they afford construction without the need to invest in expensive tools – virtually anything not on hand can be easily rented for just the time needed.

I hate to say it, but the largest amount of money you will spend – will be in any labor you hire done. If you want a concrete floor – this is one place I’d recommend having “the experts” do it. But otherwise, from digging the holes for the poles to the last screw or shingle on the roof is most economically done, by the homeowner. Or the homeowner and “friends”.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Looking for advice on 40x72x14 pole building. Specs are .60 treated 3ply laminate 6×6 posts every 8′. Engineered trusses every 8′. Roof purlins with saddle joist hangers. Wondering about notching the posts in the field-assuming almost impossible to notch in the center so just notch the side? Do you lose structural integrity by doing this? What size footing do you recommend-thinking 18″wide hole going 54″deep with 6-8″deep concrete poured footing on bottom, post set on top of cured concrete (how long do you have to let it cure before placing post on??)backfill with pea rock. When I entered info into footing calculator I got 23″diameter and 9″thick for footing?? Considered using Perma-column(spendy)since Morton now uses them(why?rotting posts?)to avoid any wood in ground but as long as using .60 (not.40) should be OK?(maybe even Sturdiwall but have read this approach may weaken strength of foundation?)Any professional advice is greatly appreciated!! STYMIED IN SIOUX FALLS

 DEAR STYMIED: My absolute, unequivocal advice… you would be best served to buy a complete post frame building kit package which is RDP (Registered Design Professional either architect or engineer) designed for your climactic conditions.

If you are insisting on “going it alone” by seat-of-the-pants engineering, make sure to purchase adequate insurance and confirm there is no waiver of coverage for not constructing an RDP designed building.

Moving forward….

Hopefully you are looking at glu-laminated building columns. If so, they can be ordered with the top several feet free of glue, which makes them far easier to notch. In most cases, notching in from one side as opposed to removal of the upper portion of the middle ply will not adversely affect the columns enough to cause a failure – this is one of the calculations which would be done by an RDP to confirm adequacy.

Now, if I may ask, if you entered loads into a footing calculator and the resultant was a 23” diameter footing, how is it you feel an 18” diameter footing would possibly work? Without knowledge of your soil conditions and roof loading, my gut instinct suggests there is no way an 18” footing will work – 24” diameter – maybe.

Your proposed design has made no provision to prevent the columns from uplifting, and backfilling with pea gravel is not going to help the situation. Might I suggest the columns be placed suspended in the holes eight inches or more from the bottom, and then do a monolithic pour which would result in 18-24 inches of concrete in the bottom of each hole (and surrounding the column).

The probability of a properly pressure preservative treated column rotting off in your life time, under normal use, would probably be less than your chances of being a lottery winner. I see no true advantage of perma-columns other than as a marketing tool.

Pole Building Kit Packages: Part 4 of Cycle Series

Further Down the Highway

Author’s Note: This is part 4 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!

I am the curious sort. I enjoy finding out how other people do things, as well as why. Along my ride, I stopped in to visit with some of the lumber yards, to pick their brains on pole buildings.

At one I stopped at, the pole barn “expert” told me they have sold eight buildings so far in 2013… – sounds like a slow week to me, but I digress.

When talking further with the expert, I’m told they can figure, by hand, the materials for any pole building in 20 minutes or less. Pretty nice, unless one gets interrupted while doing the list and has to refigure. Of course it is not like a program which is 100% accurate every time, and does all of the work as fast as the dimensions and features of the building can be keyed in.

I wanted to know what kind of plans get furnished when someone orders a pole building kit package from them. The answer actually was shocking, “None”. Zero, zilch, nada….I felt like I was watching an old Capital One credit card commercial.

So…..how about instruction on how things go together? Even for a builder, instructions can come in handy. Same answer, “None”.

The expert tells me almost all of the pole building kit packages they sell, are purchased by builders, and, “They know how to build them”!

Marvelous, simply marvelous.

Expert sits down with each purchaser, explains how things go together, and hopes things actually get assembled correctly – or at least the way Expert had in mind!

Now I have been accused of being somewhat on the anal side. I don’t watch much television, but when I do, it is shows like “Engineering Disasters”.

Pole Barn FastenersWhen failures occur in structures, they are most often due to insufficient or inadequate connections. In the case of post frame buildings, it would be how many of the right size nails, screws or bolts to use.

Using no plan sounds like a recipe for failures of epic proportions in the connection department. Apparently Expert is relying upon the judicious experience of Contractor to hook everything together.

I thought I “did good”. I just bit my tongue and imagined how the owners of this lumber dealer will handle pole building kit sales, after their client’s new building falls down, and they lose a multi-million dollar judgment against them.  Allowing seat-of-the-pants design work and lack of a professionally drafted plans or “how it all goes together” instructions to occur under their watch is at the very least, negligent.

See you next Tuesday as I continue my series about pole building “finds” as I cycled across the United States, and don’t forget to check out the “Ask the Guru” on Monday.  Have a great weekend!