Foundations – Post Frame Keeps It Simple
Post frame (pole building) construction affords a plethora of savings for a new building owner, chief amongst these are foundation simplicity. I’ve previously expounded upon foundation savings in post frame construction as compared to stick frame buildings: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/10/buildings-why-not-stick-frame-construction/.
Today I will add some graphics to reinforce (pun intended) complexities of non-post frame foundations.
Excavation, rebar and welded wire mesh in place for a thickened edge slab foundation for stud wall construction. In this case slab edges require a double row of rebar where thickness will be 16 inches. This foundation and floor system assumes a light weight building and must be poured upon undisturbed or properly compacted soil with adequate load bearing capability. Shallow foundation and concrete slab on grade are poured concurrently.
For an engineered steel building, foundations are more complex than for post frame construction. There is a continuous footing and foundation wall around the building perimeter, with reinforced piers to support steel column bearing points. Piers have embedded anchor bolts (requiring exact and accurate placement) to attach steel frame bases.
Top of foundation wall allows for attaching steel wall panels as well as support for any masonry veneer, if required for aesthetic purposes. Each steel column base has a rebar hairpin (usually two 20 foot long rebar sticks). These hairpins tie columns into concrete floor to reduce the tendency of column bottoms to move outward when loads are applied to the building.
Post frame (pole barn) construction utilizes a low-tech foundation system able to be successfully completed by even semi-skilled workers or an average DIY building owner. Face it, augering a hole in the ground makes for a fairly simple and affordable foundation system – eliminating any need for extensive excavations, often with a need for expensive equipment.
Looking for a design solution for your new building with flexibility and cost effectiveness? In most cases, look no further than post frame construction!
What’s better: A poured foundation or block? How about – neither? Try post frame footing design!
Even though my lovely bride and I are now living 98% of the time on the eastern border of South Dakota, I still read the online version of my formerly local newspaper – The Spokesman Review, from Spokane, Washington. This morning’s edition (November 12, 2016) had an article written by Tribune Content Agency columnist Tim Carter titled, “What’s better: A poured foundation or block?” The article can be read in its entirety at: https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2016/nov/12/whats-better-a-poured-foundation-or-block/
The gist of Tim’s article is the strength of either a poured concrete or a block foundation comes from the judicious and frequent use of steel rebar (learn more about rebar here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2016/01/rebar/).
Tim’s article does ponder somewhat the cost of the two choices presented. Whether the foundation is blocks or poured concrete, neither is for the faint of heart, or light of pocketbook. I’ve elaborated at length on this very subject, as opposed to a far less expensive alternative – post frame here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/10/buildings-why-not-stick-frame-construction/.
When it comes down to foundation costs and what choice to pick, the vast majority of potential building owners are just not aware of post frame footing as being an alternative.
Why is this?
Several reasons – the largest of which is lack of education to the general public, building officials and building contractors about post frame footing design.
The National Frame Building Association (NFBA) has long been the advocate for educating the public as to the Code conformance of post frame construction. This story was published in Frame Building News magazine and is quite appropriate to this subject: https://www.nfba.org/uploads/Advantage_-_Its_Code_Conforming.pdf
To give a perspective on why the message of the NFBA is lost in the shuffle, according to the United States Census Bureau, 2013 construction of all buildings in the U.S. was roughly $930 Billion. The post frame industry was somewhere around $7 billion (or under one percent).
Considering a new low-rise building (in most cases three or fewer stories and a wall height of 50 feet or less) in your future? Give a look at post frame construction – it could very well save you both money and time, while offering some unique design features and advantages!