Tag Archives: pole building kit

Wall Height, What’s Included? and Drill Set Bracket Usage

Today the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about customizing the wall height to best “utilize sheet goods” on interior walls, what Hansen includes in a pole barn kit, and the practicality of using a drill set bracket for columns into an existing slab.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Once I save up the funds, I plan to have you guys design me a 28′ x 48′ pole barn with 12′ walls and 6/12 roof. Due to various reasons I will be foregoing metal siding and utilizing wood sheathing and siding for the exterior. I know you measure wall height from the bottom of skirt board, but is it possible to have 12′ walls from top of concrete floor to bottom of truss so as to efficiently utilize sheet goods on the interior walls? Also is 12′ post spacing possible? Thanks TROY in HONEOYE FALLS

DEAR TROY: Yes, we can design to give you a 12′ finished ceiling. Typically, your Building Designer will plan upon 12′ 1-1/8″ from top of slab to bottom of trusses. This allows for finished ceiling thickness (drywall, steel, etc.) and to be able to utilize 12′ drywall panels run vertically and be 1/2″ above your concrete. In most instances sidewall columns every 12 feet will be your most economical design solution (and minimizes number of holes having to be dug).


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I was wondering what is including a pole barn kit? JOSHUA in LEBANON

DEAR JOSHUA: Our fully engineered post frame (pole barn) kits include: Mutli-page full size (24″ x 36″) engineer sealed structural plans, specific to your building, on your site, detailing location and connection of every structural member. Includes foundation design. Engineer sealed calculations to verify adequacy of each member and connection. The industry’s best fully illustrated Construction Manual. Unlimited Technical Support from a team who has actually built post frame buildings. All columns, pressure treated splash planks, wall girts, blocking, headers, jambs, roof trusses (and floor trusses where applicable), truss bracing, roof purlins, joist hangers, specialty connectors for trusses to columns, steel roofing and siding (or alternative claddings), steel trims, UV resistant closures for eaves and ridge, powder coated diaphragm screws to attach steel, doors and windows. In a nut shell – everything you need to successfully erect your own beautiful new building other than concrete, rebar and any nails normally driven from a nail gun.

Our Limited Lifetime Structural Warranty.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have an existing concrete slab with extra thick edges that once housed a quonset before a tornado in the 1980s destroyed it. I have bolted on brackets intending to use the glued columns that I purchased for a 12′ sidewall building. I have since been reading your posts in multiple forums regarding moment force etc., is there any mitigation that can be done with the construction that would still accommodate my original plan? Corner shear walls etc? Thank you Mr. Guru. TOM in STREETER

DEAR TOM: While shear walls (and/or bracing) can make your building shell stiffer, they do not eliminate moment (bending) loads having to be transferred through those brackets and bolt connectors. Your best bets are to either build with columns outside perimeter of existing slab, or cut out squares at each column location for either embedded columns (best design solution) or to pour wet-set brackets into piers.

Making Your Own Glulam Columns

Should I Make my Own Glulam Columns?

I’ve been internet chattering back and forth with a gentleman named Chris, who is probably never going to order a Hansen Pole Building, but it is okay – we have thousands of clients a year who are knocking at our doors (figuratively) ready to place their orders.

Total Disclosure – I do not get paid, nor does Hansen Pole Buildings, LLC get any sort of financial compensation in return for my endorsement of a particular product or vendor.  If I like a product, I will tell my readers straight up about it. Same goes the other direction.

Here is an excerpt from our most recent discussion:

Chris: “And I was going to make the laminated posts gluing and baking them, I have a local lumber company (not Lowe’s or HD ) they have good treated lumber that can be placed in ground.”

Me:  “The most important things to me are people getting great buildings and good value for their investment.

I believe you trust in my judgment. Please do you and me both a favor and buy true glulaminated columns.

Here are just a few reasons….

The 2×6 they use to make them is nearly half again stronger than anything you can buy at the lumber yard;
They use glue which is designed to hold up – even under ground and in wet conditions;
In order to get a true glue bond, the wood must be planed, then glued within 24 hours;
They have the equipment to press them during curing – which keeps them nice and straight;
The time alone you save will more than pay for them.

There are plenty of ways to save money on your new post frame (pole) building kit – building your own glulaminated columns is not one of them.  If you want to save both time and money (and end up with a better building), spend a few hours browsing about the nearly 1200 articles I have written and/or the over 600 questions I have answered from my loyal readers.

Have an idea and want to know if it is practical or not? Run it past me…. I’ll give you the straight story, every time.

Just Say No!

You Want It When?

A week from Tuesday is going to find a life milestone has been passed – it will be after Labor Day. Or as we know it in the pole barn industry, the Panic Point.

When I was a post frame (pole) building contractor in the 1990’s based in Northeast Washington state, we could tell how far south the first snows were falling by all of the phone calls we would get. Generally these would start sometime in October and carry forward into November.

They would go something like this:

Remember the pole building I talked to you about in April? Well we are ready for it now do you think you could start next week?

We seriously did not mean to be rude, however we got so many of these calls we just could not help but laugh!


Because by October and November our building crews would be booked solid until April and May!

For whatever reason, we humans tend to be procrastinators – we wait until the last minute (and frequently after the last minute) to move forward and get things done.

A popular reason for needing a new pole building is to avoid the pain of last winter’s weather, be it deep snow, freezing cold, high winds or miserable rains.

10-18-12-Monitor-in-Winter-150x150Winter weather can prove to be ugly.

Considering a new pole building for construction this Fall? Make a few calls around, eventually you will find someone who can come right out and built it now. Pretty darn exciting, as you didn’t think you were going to be able to beat the weather.


This time of year there is only one reason a good quality pole builder or building kit package supplier can “get right on it” and the reason is they offer one or more of the following – poor quality, poor service and/or high prices. Usually it is a combination of the three.

How to avoid the pain you endured last winter?

Pickup your phone and call (866)200-9657 and ask to speak with a Hansen Pole Buildings’ Designer who can assist you with crafting a design solution which meets your needs, your budget and (in most cases) can get materials delivered on your site in time to beat this winter’s monsoons and blizzards.

Every day you wait, puts more and more people ahead of you in line – effectively costing you two or three days (or more) which could have been used to get you out of the weather!

Pole Barn Gone Awry with Building Contractor

When things appear to be going from bad to worse

The original question was posed by the reader, Jimmy, as to the adequacy of materials supplied to construct his new pole barn (by a builder, not a Hansen Pole Building). His story first appeared in my column just a few days ago.

Here is Round #2:

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Thank you for your response, no I am not in your data base, I’ve been searching everywhere and anywhere I can for help on this as I am in a dire situation. This was an impulse purchase by my parents, basically picking a builder from a hat, and signing a contract before I could check around, and it’s been a mess ever since. Enough of the drama, all I know is that the metal for the side walls are 11ft tall, the ceiling in the lower level will be adjusted for 11ft instead of the normal 10ft. this is for extra room for a vehicle lift later down the road. I live in Northern Indiana, about 30 miles of South Bend. The pole barn is being built in a wooded section of land, not sure if that helps or not. The builder is (in my opinion) as slick as they come, he doesn’t like talking to me because I ask too many questions. I appreciate your time on this, I know you’re busy, If I ever do this again I will be sure to check with you first.  I’m going to email the building inspector and hope he shows up for work on Monday and reads his emails over morning coffee.

Thank you again for your time, JIMMY IN SOUTH BEND

DEAR JIMMY: You are very welcome. Hopefully I have been of some help to you, as I agree, you are in a dire situation.

It does certainly sound/feel like you are in a situation with plenty of drama. Time for you to take control of the situation.

#1 STOP THE BUILDER FROM MOVING FORWARD. Until you are totally satisfied all is the way it should be, there is no reason to escalate a situation from being bad, to being worse. This pole barn is a permanent structure and if it is messed up, you will be stuck with the consequences of it forever.

#2 Don’t expect the Building Inspector to be the “traffic cop”. It is going to be up to you, and you alone, to resolve this one.

#3 Before you allow the builder to move forward, demand he produce the engineered plans for your building. CALL HIM TODAY and let him know.

#4 An 11 foot high ceiling is inadequate for a car lift – it takes 12 feet of clear height. In the event the 4×6 columns would happen to be adequate to carry the load, the 18 foot length they shipped would allow for more height. This could be accomplished by adding wainscot around the bottom of the building, so as to be able to utilize the already delivered steel panels.

Because I care about our industry and hate seeing people get less than they bargained for (or a potential failure looking for a place to happen), I will do a couple of things for you, for free. First, scan the agreement with the builder – both sides if there is information on the reverse and email them to me. I can perhaps give you more insights once I have it in hand. When you get the engineered plans from the builder, scan and send them to me as well – you may have to go to a Fedex/Kinkos and have them reduced in order to send them.

To my faithful readers – don’t sign an agreement with a pole building kit package supplier, or especially a builder for a new building without thoroughly having vetted them. Here are some points which may prove helpful in dealing with contractors: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/07/contractor-6/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/04/successful-relationship/

Upgraded Pole Building

Upgraded Building at No Additional Cost

If you seriously believe this drop me a note – I have some swampland for sale!

There are three parts to anything being invested in – price, quality and service. The tough part is, the purchaser is only going to get two of the three.

Here is an actual excerpt from a pole building website I recently perused (yes, the errantly spelled word – structural- IS on the website):

“At Xxxxxxx Contractors, we offer an “upgraded” building at NO additional cost. For example we use only select structual framing lumber, a total trim package, bigger post sizes, reinforced vinyl backed fiberglass insulation, stronger doors, give you a 5 year written warranty and more.”

No business does things for free for very long, they will put themselves out of business.

A story I once had related to me goes something like this:

Watermelon TruckTwo Texans decided to go into business together, selling watermelons. They could cross the border into Mexico and buy them for a dime each. Loading up their pickup, they promptly sold out at a dollar a dozen. At the end of the day, after counting up their lack of profits they arrived at a conclusion – they needed a bigger truck!

The lowest price is nearly always a disappointment, as it often arrives with little or no service (if arriving at all) and quality frequently suffers. There have been times when I’ve heard from clients about how much they saved by picking a Hansen Pole Building kit package – and my response is always, “I am sorry, we didn’t mean to be least expensive, we do always intend to be the best possible value for the investment”. We give a lot of thought to making the entire experience a pleasant one for every client – beginning with totally custom designs with the clients’ best interests in mind!

Using all Select Structural (spelled correctly here) framing lumber and bigger post sizes adds no value for the end building user if those were not the weakest links. The same goes for stronger doors.

A better value would be to design the building for increased wind and/or snow loads. By doing so, every component gets structurally checked for its ability to withstand a given set of loads. Doors (especially larger ones like sectional overhead or sliding doors) should be ordered “wind rated” (read about wind load rated garage doors here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2014/12/wind-load-rated-garage-doors/).

Vinyl backed fiberglass insulation may not necessarily be the best design solution, or investment. Read why: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2011/11/metal-building-insulation-in-pole-buildings-part-i/ and https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2011/11/metal-building-insulation/

Regardless of which business one picks to provide their new pole building – hopefully they will opt for the one who has the best interests of the building owner at heart, rather than trying to fit the building owner’s needs into preconceived ideas, notions or dimensions.

Dear Guru: Can I Purchase Just Pole Barn Plans?

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: Can I purchase pole barn plans from your company without purchasing the building? NEEDY IN NEOSHO

DEAR NEEDY: Technically, we do not sell pole barn plans only – however, you could order a pole building from us, paying 25% down to acquire the plans, and then never go further. As our materials are so affordable, it actually would not make much sense to not have them provided by us. Plus, we use some higher quality materials which have been tested to provide added strength, which are not available to the general public, other than with the investment in one of our pole building kit packages.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We recently received your quote on our new pole building. The price was close to budget, but a little high. We’d like to know how the price would change if we reduced the wind rating. HOPING IN HUNTERS

DEAR HUNTERS: The design wind speed for your building is the lowest which is possible anywhere in the country under the 2012 International Building Code (IBC). If your building site is protected from the wind in all four directions, then Exposure B could be used, rather than the more severe Exposure C. For more information on Wind Exposure please read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/03/wind-exposure-confusion/

There are probably other ways to get the cost “down” without sacrificing designing a building to code. We often have folks purchase a building the width they desire, but scale down the length a bit, and then add onto that building a year or two down the road.   We have a gal who boards horses who has added onto the length of her horse barn three times.  As her business grows, her barn grows with it!  This is easily done and spreads the “budget” out over time. Don’t skip on features – sacrifice “for now” those things you can “do without” and then add them on later on. Overhangs should be done at time of building, but windows and even additional doors can be added in at a later date. Get your “box” figured out, and then add to it as you can afford.

Pole Barn Package on Ebay


I’ve purchased things on eBay before, as have many Americans. Sometimes there are some great buys to be found, other times, not so great.

While browsing today I came across, “Pole Barn Package – 36×48 – 2’ OC Rafter Placement Horse Barn Garage”. Condition is listed as new and the starting bid is listed as $13,824.

I’m thinking, this must be quite the building for this kind of money. As I read on, am finding out maybe not so hot of a deal.

The “open barn package” means the building has just a roof, no walls, and no doors! And it has a 12×48 center isle (should be aisle, but no matter) built into the barn design. The aisle way is wonderful for horse stalls, however not so practical for use as a garage – as having 10 posts inside a garage is not my idea of being user friendly.

“Also works well for storage with a high center isle clearance for RVs or trailers”. As it turns out, the barn package has only an 8’ eave (“eve” in the ad) height and a 3/12 roof slope – which means the clearance in the center aisle way is about 10’ vertically. Better be a short trailer or RV, is all I can say.

“Construction skill and knowledge required”…. Probably, as the barn package does not include prefabricated roof trusses. Instead it has a roof system which is very large on pieces and cutting. Running the long direction of the building are headers at each row of posts. On top of all of the headers are 2×6 rafters, and on top of the rafters 2×4 purlins. Lots of pieces, lots of cutting and fitting and a literal plethora of connections.

Oh, I forgot to mention “2×6 knee braces”, which, besides contributing little or nothing to the overall strength of the building, afford head ringers for people and nesting places for birds.

It does include basic plans (“two pages on 11” x 17” paper”), which are not sealed by an engineer. Apparently engineering is available, in Florida only. Outside of Florida, it is up to the customer to find their own engineer to design the building and only then would a quote be available based upon those plans (might as well take the plans to a local lumber yard or big box store at this point).

After looking this over – I am not thinking this is a great deal for anyone except the seller, who should have a pretty healthy payday, should they sell any at this price!

Lateral Wind Loads: The Shoebox

Here is an easy home activity, which will give you an idea of how buildings work.

Find a discarded shoe box; remove the top and any contents. Now turn upside down on a countertop. With one hand, push gently downward on the inverted box, enough so as to limit the ability of the sides to easily slide across the countertop. Now push on one of the long sides of the box. The box remains stable.

This is how buildings work to resist lateral wind loads when they have few or no openings.

Now, cut one of the ends out of the box. Repeat the steps above and notice how the box will collapse either when pushing downward (if too much force is used), or from pushing sideways (doesn’t take much).

Buildings work much like unibody cars or airplanes – the “skin” is what is doing the work. Think about how well you imagine a plane would fly, if you were to remove a portion of the skin!

Yes, I am going somewhere with all of this……

You are going to construct a new pole building. Being an astute shopper, you’ve checked with your local lumber yards and browsed the ‘net before settling on the building which works best for you. Included with the complete pole building kits are plans which are designed specifically for your needs. All of the climactic loadings are correct to your local code requirements (snow, wind and seismic). Every door has been placed on the plans, with the appropriate framework to ensure stability.

After a cursory review, your local Building Department issues a building permit, so you can begin construction.

Now, the fun begins – you decide to make some changes – adding a door, or maybe just an extra opening for access. No big problem, right? After all, there is plenty of material!

Problems….problems….problems….just putting a “hole” in one of the walls in the form of a finished opening, can change your building from acting as a fully enclosed building, to acting as a partially enclosed building. This can result in lateral wind loads being placed against members and connections which are 1/3rd or more greater than what the building was designed to withstand.

Not good.

OK, so the hole gets covered by a door. Problem solved? Maybe, maybe not – doors do not transfer lateral wind loads from the roof to the ground the way solid walls do. Remember our shoe box with the end removed? If too much wall is removed, your building will behave just like the shoe box did…and go flat.

There is a happy ending….when you invest in a new building, make sure to plan in advance to include all of the doors and openings you will need not only now, but into the future. If doors are added later, consult with the original provider, so they can provide updated structural engineering which will incorporate the changes.

Pole Building Plans 101: Endwall Elevations

Blog #97 Building Plans – Endwall Elevations

This is day 4 in discussion of building plans, which pages show what features and how to “read” them.

Endwall elevations are most often where sliding doors, overheads and entry doors are placed.  Not always, as some folks use the sidewall as the “front” of their building.  It always makes me smile when folks start to talk about the “west” or “south” end of their building.  Now this would be an apt description, if only I was standing on their property and had a clue as to which way was North or South!   Whatever you call it, the gable end…is still an “endwall”.

Here’s where specifics on your particular doors will be drawn, with heights of the openings so your doors fit properly.  It will also show the relationship of the 4” nominal concrete floor to the skirt board, or peeking out through any door openings.   The really cool thing about pole buildings is…you don’t have to pour a concrete floor at time of construction!  The posts with the concrete around them are your foundation, and if you never decide to plunk down the money for a full concrete floor, your building will stand the test of time just fine.

It’s easier to do the concrete at time of construction, with the skirt boards as your concrete “forms”.  You can nail a scrap 2×4 across the end of door openings while pouring, and pull them off after concrete is set.  It’s easier to pour concrete when the building is relatively empty, rather than haul everything you’ve stored in there to the outdoors, in order to add a floor down the line.  For those on a budget, “later” may be the best option, and we’ve had countless folks do it either way with great success.

Endwalls again show all of the posts into their respective size holes, how far to hold up the poles so you can do the holes all in one pour.  Endwall girts and spacings are shown on this elevation, with differences for sizes in lumber and spacings due to some of them possibly ending up in small (less than 5’) or even smaller (2’ or less) bays.  Shearwalls are shown on this view, although the detail on shearwalls (included on this same page) will give you a close up view of how to build one.  Shearwalls are very important for those small bays left after taking big chunks out of an endwall for one or more doors.  It’s just a matter of adding bracing and osb to provide a “stiffer” endwall against the wind.  Important but definitely not hard to build.

Endwalls will also show location of the wainscot girt to support those shorter panels.  Additions to the trusses are what are termed “siding backing” 2×4’s which provide additional support and a place for siding to be attached, as the end trusses are notched in.  Endwall truss to post connections are shown, along with a detail for a close up view.

If there is an entry door in an endwall, details on how to frame it in are shown, as well as any windows.

Both rear and front endwalls are shown on the plans, with the full endwall drawn, not just a portion of it as I’ve seen from other pole building kit providers.   We give you a complete view of the framing, and a good visual of your new building taking shape.

Check out the endwalls on a set of sample plans.


Tomorrow we will discuss the sidewalls elevation drawings on a set of plans.  In some ways they are similar, but definitely not the same as endwalls.

Have a good one!

Buyer’s Remorse: Why We Won’t Sell You Anything

A New Pole Building: Why We Won’t Sell You Anything….

Have you ever purchased something, and then after the purchase wondered how it is you ended up owning it?

We are not talking here about the package of Chiclets from an adorable child on a sunny beach – those types of small dollar purchases are not ones we have deep seated regrets about.

According to Wikipedia, Buyers remorse is the sense of regret after having made a purchase. It is frequently associated with the purchase of big-ticket items such as a car or house. It may stem from fear of making the wrong choice, of guilt over extravagance, or of suspecting having been “snowed” by a sales associate.”

This is exactly the reason we won’t sell you anything. The Hansen Buildings’ Designers are trained to assist potential building owners to best meet their goals and solve their problems….even to the extent of honestly letting them know if some other solution is the best possible one!

In other words, we are not here to “make a sale”.  We are here to help clients find answers to problems, whether you decide to purchase a building from us or not.  If we’ve helped you move closer to your “dream pole building” goal in any way, shape or form, we consider our relationship with you a valued friendship.

Several steps can be taken to avoid you having feelings of buyers remorse:

Hansen Buildings will point you in the right direction

Clearly identify the goals which will be achieved and problems which will be solved by having a new building. Share these with your Building Designer. There is nothing more disheartening than doing a job 98% of the way. A building is permanent; you only get one opportunity to do it right or wrong!

Have a budget for your pole building. Be realistic – if your expectation is you will purchase a high quality building for only a couple of dollars per square foot, you are going to be disappointed. Don’t have a budget? Your Building Designer can assist you to formulate one.

Consider the value. You can invest in an excellent quality pole building package for 20-30% of what the completed building will appraise for. There is no better way to add instant equity to your property.

Remind yourself….of how good it will feel to be able to use your new building!

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

Buy Pole Barn Plans

Let’s Buy Pole Barn Plans

As I browse about the ‘net, checking out what is available in our industry, I find lots of folks who are selling plans for barns and pole buildings. Some of these are remarkably inexpensive.

Now, why might buying a set of pole barn plans off the internet not be a great idea?

Hansen Buildings offers engineer sealed plans

These standard boilerplate pole barn plans are not checked by any engineer for structural adequacy. While they may look “pretty” and appear to get the job done….attempting to build from them may cause you to end up with a new building which flattens your possessions from a snow load collapse, or blows upside down into your neighbor’s yard.

We get inquiries every day from clients who are looking for plans. Long ago our engineers told us they have no interest in being part of a plans service.

Why? Because the engineer has no ability to control the use of the materials – to make certain the materials which they specify, actually get purchased and used as they envision.

So, why not hire a registered design professional to do design a building for you?

Hire an architect? No offense intended, as I went to school to become an architect. Architects are a wealth of knowledge, for many facets of construction and are invaluable when having to deal with a planning department on a complex commercial project. However – I have yet to see a set of pole building plans produced by an architect, which I would have endorsed for use by a client.

How about an engineer? Very few engineers specialize in post frame building design. Find one of the very few who do (we are talking about ones who have designed hundreds or thousands of buildings) and you can be assured of a sound structural design. Be prepared, however, to pay appropriately for their work. A good engineer should command a price of about 10% of the value of the project.

Really want to have the job done right?

The best route is to deal with a pole building kit supplier, who can provide engineered plans designed specifically for your project. The supplier can also make certain the materials provided meet the engineer’s specifications.

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