Tag Archives: Post-Frame

5 Reasons to Use Post Frame Construction in Sustainable Architecture

Green building concepts are not a new trend, and so our planet can breathe a sigh of relief, there is increasing pressure on construction industries to go for green initiatives and use sustainable building materials having greater strength and stability. Post-frame construction is proving to be a huge asset to a building industry demanding delivery of high-quality sustainable architecture with good value.    

So what makes post-frame construction an ideal solution for green building concepts?

Growing Role of Post-Frame Construction in Sustainable Architecture

Sustainable architecture aims to design and construct socially beneficial, eco-friendly structures. Sustainable structures may cost more upfront but they pay off immediately. These buildings have a smaller carbon footprint and their environmental impact is also much less. Post-frame construction provides great benefits when combined with clever designing, well-supervised construction and high-precision execution.

Here are five reasons why post-frame construction is perhaps a best alternative when it comes to sustainable architecture:

 

  • Makes Use of Natural Materials able to be Recycled at End of Life

Traditional construction materials are environmentally harmful but post-frame construction involves use of eco-friendly materials being equally strong, reliable, and durable. Also, post-frame components used in each building are made of wood and steel so they can be easily recycled.  

This ensures responsible management of waste with materials recovery and scrap recycling. Recycling construction waste not only boosts a brand’s public image but the company also receives government incentives for its recycling efforts.   

Requires Less Construction Materials

Post-frame construction requires fewer building materials to achieve required load capacities. This is because post-frame structures are supported by few large-sized columns  spaced far apart instead of installing many smaller supports. Post-frame design requires fewer materials meaning less waste and less environmental impact.

 

  • Reduces Use of Energy  

Post-frames are made from wood and it requires very little energy to convert wood to timber. This is because embodied energy in timber used for construction is low. In fact, it is lowest of most sustainable building materials.

 

  • Ensures Energy-Efficiency with Excellent Insulation

A timber frame provides more insulation space as compared to brick and mortar buildings and ensures superior air infiltration. Its natural thermal insulation properties require less power for heating and cooling, meaning less use of fossil fuels.

 

  • Lasts Longer Even With Little to no Maintenance

Building materials used for construction of post-frame buildings make a structure so strong it can easily last beyond 50 years with little to no maintenance. Traditional architecture puts all weight on walls constructed on flooring supported by a continuous foundation. So, if any component is compromised, the entire architecture is at risk.  

Post-frame construction is very different and so it does not crack or collapse when the structure is stressed. Timber columns flex and roof trusses attached to the post-frame keep it from separating from balance of the structure.

Post-frame construction is low-cost, eco-friendly, sustainable, uses fewer materials, consumes less energy, offers great insulation, is easy to work on, does not limit design concepts and build time is quick. All of these reasons make post-frame construction the best choice for green building concepts.

Also, with buyers becoming increasingly eco-conscious these days, sustainable architecture has become a new industry norm. Post-frames are one of many sustainable building methods. There are several other ways builders can go green and win buyers, post-frame possibly being best.  

Author Bio: Erich Lawson is passionate about environment saving through effective recycling techniques and modern innovations. He works with Compactor Management Company and writes on a variety of topics related to recycling, including tips and advice on how balers, compactors and shredders can be used to reduce industrial waste. He loves helping businesses understand how to lower their monthly garbage bills and increase revenue from recycling.

Pole Barn Videos from Peru

I Went to Peru and All I Brought Back For You Is Pole Barn Videos

I’ve been working at reducing my “bucket list” of places to go and things to see and do. My list priorities include places where being physically able proves essential. A visit in Machu Picchu was way towards top of my list, due to extreme altitude and lots of hiking involved. Of course if you are going to make an effort to travel to visit Peru, might as well make it a best adventure. My trip included Lake Titicaca, flying over Nazca Lines, Ballestas Islands and downhill sand skiing (more about sand skiing later in this article).

In order to acclimatize to high altitude, I flew from Lima to Cusco (roughly 11,000 feet above sea level) for day two in country. I had a guided tour of this Peruvian Andes’ city, once Incan Empire capital. Near Plaza de Armas  (old city central square) was Mercado Central de San Pedro de Cusco (“San Pedro Market”). Cusco’s main market and part of Cusco’s lifeblood. Founded in 1925, this market was designed by Frenchman Gustav Eiffel (yes, same Eiffel who designed a tower you might have heard about) and occupies about three city blocks. It’s a huge market where locals and visitors alike can find almost anything they’re after.

Approaching this huge steel roofed building, I had no idea of its structural composition. Once inside, I immediately recognized it as a post frame (pole) building! Cusco location has a high probability of earthquakes. So much so as no churches have high steeples or bell towers, for earthquakes knocked early ones all down! Well, this 94 year-old pole barn has survived all manner of tremblors, without being worse for wear.

Towards one end are vendors selling things like souvenirs, clothing, fabrics, cooking utensils, jewelry and more, but food proves to be a main reason to come here. All of Cusco’s flavors, and Peru in general can be found, from exotic fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, cheese, sweets and more. It’s a great place to sample lots of different things, and expose your taste buds to flavors you won’t find elsewhere in this world, or even in Peru.

Further along – a large market section dedicated to food stalls. Looks of raw meat hanging from hooks and carcasses being diced up might shock some from a hygiene point of view but, as long as you eat from stalls where locals are frequenting you’ll be fine. After all, if a place was making locals sick, it wouldn’t be in business. Plenty looks appealing in San Pedro Market, and a lot doesn’t – but might surprise you. Do try sampling a few things outside of your comfort zone – it’s worth it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEJrTqJC_hU

Oh, I promised you sand skiing. Check this out: https://www.facebook.com/mike.momb/videos/10215796184671123/

A Red Barn, Traditional Footings Not Needed, and Added Lighting

The Pole Barn Guru answers questions about a traditional red barn, footings, and additional lighting to outside of building.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, We are looking to have a barn built by the Amish community, but are having trouble finding someone to contact. I see on your website you have had several things built by them and was wondering how we would get in touch with them or is that your company? We live in Northfield MN, our wedding venue, The Red Barn Farm was recently destroyed by a tornado and are looking to rebuild. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks HANNAH in NORTHFIELD

DEAR HANNAH: Sorry to hear of your barn’s destruction. Hansen Pole Buildings does not physically construct post frame buildings for anyone, anywhere. We can, however, design for you a Building Code conforming engineered barn to replace yours and provide complete plans, assembly instructions as well as all materials delivered to your site.  Now our post frame building kit packages are designed for an average DIYer to successfully assemble their own buildings – with almost universally better results than hiring a builder. We’ve had some Amish community building experiences, and my best recommendation would be to proceed with extreme caution: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/11/barn-raising/.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Do the medium bldgs.(40×40) require foundation footings or just a poured slab? JAY in MONEE

DEAR JAY: A beauty of post frame (pole) building construction would be not needing to have a continuous footing and foundation, thus saving thousands of dollars and countless hours of time.

Read more about these savings here: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/10/buildings-why-not-stick-frame-construction/.

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hi, I’m wrapping up my pole barn, and I have to add an electric light outside the door for local code. What is the recommended way to penetrate the wall and mount the junction box without causing water penetration problems? JAMES in LEE

DEAR JAMES: I’m in favor of minimizing penetrations through a wonderful weather resistant surface – steel siding. Use a surface mount box (rather than recessed) to a “flat” of siding (between high ribs). Use generous amounts of caulking between box and steel siding and you should be all good. A suggested caulking for steel would be TITEBOND Metal Roof Translucent Sealant available through your local The Home Depot®.

 

 

 

Types of Construction, Sliding Doors, and Roof Vents

Today the Pole Barn Guru visits with readers about, types of construction, sliding doors, and roof vents.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello Mike – I am working with the NFBA on a study of the post frame (pole barn) building market in the US. Among our objectives is to understand what % of construction in a given geography, sector (residential, commercial, etc.) is post frame vs. other types of construction.

In order to do that, we need to define the major types of construction. So, the question I have is:

In addition to post-frame, what are the MAJOR types of (or methods for) building construction?

So far, it seems like there is:

  1. Post frame (pole barn)
  2. Stick frame (stud wall)
  3. Metal frame
  4. What else?

Any direction or insight you may have would be greatly appreciated. Please let me know if you have a direct phone line that I could call you on.

Thanks! BERT in CLEVELAND

DEAR BERT: Thank you for reaching out to me, am glad to assist.

#2 should be wood stud wall

#3 might be best divided into structural steel (“red iron”) or steel stud

Concrete tilt up (either precast or cast on site)
Block/masonry
ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms)
SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels)
Straw bale

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: All we are looking for is a total width of 8 foot steel sliding barn doors for our garage instead of standard garage door. Is that possible? BARB in DOVER

DEAR BARB: Possible? Most certainly, however unless you are going to make a serious investment in an opener(s) for your door(s) you will quickly grow tired of having to manually open and close them. For information on openers for sliding doors, please read: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/04/propel-electric-door-openers/

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I will be putting a plumbing vent through the roof after the building is up. Does Hansen have any recommendations or suggested methods for this? From what I’ve read, a boot and lots of silicone is the normal way. JAMES in LEBANON

DEAR JAMES: I’ve used these with great success and no caulking: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/09/dektite/ plus Justine can get you a price on them, if you provide quantity and diameter of the pipes. In the event you do feel the need to caulk a suggested caulking is TITEBOND Metal Roof Translucent Sealant available at The Home Depot®.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evolution of The Pole Barn Guru and his Building Philosophy

Today we’d like to revisit the “Evolution of The Pole Barn Guru and his Building Philosophy”

In my early years, tremendous quality was not necessarily the strong point. It was the ability to offer a very reasonably priced building and deliver it quickly. My buildings were pretty much the same as everyone else I competed against. Business grew and I started being able to hire employees. Jim Betonte left the steel roofing and siding industry and began a construction business which offered labor to people who wanted our building kits erected. In the mid-80’s M & W joined the National Frame Builders Association (NFBA) and started to become better educated on the “post frame” industry on the whole.

The real deal changer – in October 1985 I met Frank Woeste. Frank was an Agricultural Engineering professor at Virginia Tech and what he knew about pole buildings was staggering. In exchange for me traveling to Blacksburg, Virginia to teach one of his classes for a day, Frank gave me my first engineering design software for pole buildings and the printout of the programs in a computer program called “Basic”.

Frank motivated me to want to make better buildings and to know why it is they worked the way they did from an engineering standpoint. From

his program printout, I taught myself Basic programming and wrote more complex and varied programs than the ones which just calculated post, girt and purlin sizes.

My buildings gradually changed – steel stopped being fastened with ringshanked nails in 1982, using first galvanized, then later color matched screws. Green lumber was replaced by kiln dried lumber, much of it (especially larger sizes such as 2×6 and 2×8 with machine stress rated lumber). Utility graded skirt boards and 4×6 columns were upgraded to #2 and better. Pressure treated timbers were treated for structural in ground use, rather than “or refusal” (basically, in many cases, just coated with treating chemicals by the treatment plants).

By 1987 I had joined the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE) and the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO). At the time, ICBO was writing the Uniform Building Code, which was adopted throughout much of the United States. The late 80’s were heady times for the ASAE as the structures committee I was a member of, was developing and putting into practice many of the standards now utilized for modern pole building structural design.

Frank Woeste and Don Bender (now a professor at Washington State University in Pullman), began holding commercial post frame design classes, which I first took as a student, and later assisted with. Often, the example buildings for the class were structures of mine.

While I owned M&W we received recognition from the State of Oregon for our donation of a building to earthquake ravaged Irkutsk, USSR. We were featured in newspapers such as the Capitol Press and magazines such as Frame Building Professional. We were also named as one of the 50 largest users of steel roofing and siding in the United States for the decade of the 1980’s. We were even featured on the morning national television program in South Korea!

In 1989, I was elected to a 3 year term on the board of directors for the National Frame Builders Association. To the best of my knowledge, I was the first board member from west of the Mississippi River.

After some 6600 building kits sold in 13 western states, Canada, Mexico and Saipan, I sold M & W Building Supply to Jim Betonte in 1990 and moved back to Spokane. My brother Mark had worked in sales for me at M & W and in 1991 he returned to Spokane as well. We formed Momb Building Systems and began constructing buildings in the Spokane area. Mark left the business in 1992 to return to school and the name was changed to Momb Steel Buildings. Business thrived and in 1993 Apex Roof Truss was begun to produce trusses and provide the lumber packages for our buildings.

Besides Washington, I became a registered contractor in Oregon, Idaho and Montana. At the height of business, we had as many as 35 crews building in six states. In one single county alone, we built over 200 buildings in a single year.

Mike The Pole Barn Guru Featured in Frame Building Professional Magazine

Further improvements to pole building design were made. In the early 90’s we added trims which were not regularly used along the I-5 corridor.  Base trim to keep rodents out, J Channel at tops of walls, overhead door jamb trim, trims on fascias and varges with overhangs, eavelight trims with sidelight panels) all of which made for a far more attractive finished product. The first big structural change was to notch the trusses into the columns to provide direct bearing, instead of attaching them to each side of the columns. Later, we physically doubled up the trusses nailing them face-to-face, instead of blocked apart. At the same time we went to joist hanging all roof purlins between the trusses, instead of placing them lapped over the top of the truss pairs.

This now allowed for the roof panels to be predrilled before installation, which kept all screw lines straight and greatly eliminated the potential for leaks.

At an Alumax testing facility east of Los Angeles, we constructed a full scale roof to test the shear strength of steel panels. Our testing resulted in some surprises. Initially we felt the weak link would be the framing under the steel. We were totally in error and surprised at the results.  Our assembly was done to match industry standards and included fastening the steel to the roof purlins using #10 x 1” screws every nine inches. As we placed horizontal loads into the roof, before ripples even appeared in the steel, the screw started to pull out of the framing. The pull out problem was solved by using 1-1/2” long screws.

The next problem was the steel began to slot beneath the screw grommets. The solution was to use larger diameter screws in the high stress areas (at the eave and ridge) and to place screws in this area on each side of each high rib, rather than along one side only. Only after all of the screw issues were solved, were we finally able to test the steel to failure.  The results showed some fairly significant values. The results of this test are published in the NFBA Post Frame Building Design Manual  https://bse.wisc.edu/bohnhoff/Publications/Copyrighted/NFBA_Design_Manual.pdf See Table 6.1 (assemblies 13 and 14).

After the test was completed, the Alumax design engineer, Merle Townsend designed a screw specifically to solve the weaknesses demonstrated by the test. Labeled as the “diaphragm” screw (https://lelandindustries.com/productpdfs/page%2001.pdf) this 1-1/2” part features a larger diameter shank than standard screws. A side benefit of this screw is that the larger diameter helps prevent the screw heads from twisting off during installation.

To this day, these screws remain a stable part of my building design, and have rarely (if at all) has this great improvement been equaled by any other pole building company.

Stay tuned for the final episode of “From Cradle to now…Mike the Pole Barn Guru” as he expands from four states…to fifty!

 

To Learn More, A Roof Steel Replacement, and Ideal Height

An Engineer wants to Learn More, Roof Steel Replacement, and the ideal Building Height to Accommodate an RV!

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m a licensed engineer in KY. I would like to learn more about pole barn design. Do you have any references that you would recommend? James in KY

DEAR JAMES: The NFBA Post Frame Building Design manual is probably your best structural reference. https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/03/post-frame-building-3/

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello. I have a Hansen building I bought in 2005 as a kit. I am planning on installing a new roof on the higher 18′ 40×35 long section. The original roof over the vaulted ceiling has leaked since day one, as the contractor did a very poor job. I’m thinking of doing a snap lock standing seam type with no exposed fasteners. To my surprise two contractors have suggested pulling the existing sheeting and replacing the standing seam( 24 ga), but no underlayment.

I thought the screwed down panels provided shear strength and rigidity to the structure.

BRYAN

Construction MistakeDEAR BRYAN: Indeed, standing seam steel has no shear carrying capacity, as such it should always be installed over 5/8″ or thicker CDX plywood (not OSB). However, chances are your trusses are not designed to support the added weight of the plywood. Depending upon what the exact nature of the poor installation is, the solution might be as simple as replacing offending screws with longer, larger diameter parts (if original screws were merely poorly seated). If the screws were not predrilled (therefore causing screws to either barely hit or miss roof purlins entirely), then new 29 gauge through screwed steel with properly installed screws should solve the challenges (and be phenomenally less expensive).

 

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Looking to build a pole barn with 14ft height door for a RV. What would the overall height of the building be? Thanks JON in PERRYSBURG

DEAR JON: With a sliding door (not my recommendation) if your building has no endwall overhangs, then 15 foot eave height will work; with end overhangs 15’6” or 15’8” depending upon the dimension of the roof purlins.

Going to a sectional overhead door, allowing for an electric opener your eave height is most likely going to be 16’6”.

If you are planning on climate controlling the building and having a ceiling (smart choices), then the eave height will need to be further increased by the amount of roof truss heel height greater than the most common six inches.

 

 

Eave height is relatively inexpensive, don’t scrimp to try to save a few bucks and be sorry because you end up with a design solution which is less than ideal (aka a sliding door) or an overhead sectional door which will not accept an opener.

Halloween Store Not a Pole Barn?

Narrowmindedness drives me literally crazy. Post frame (pole barn) buildings can look like absolutely any other building. The only differences being the structural system – post frame and saving a fair amount of hard earned money.
From the Marion, Indiana Chronicle Tribune February 21, 2018:
“The Marion City Council will review a rezoning request for 1427 W. 10th St. for a third time before voting.
Fireworks store owner Ron Vielee made the request, saying he wants to expand his reach from his current business at 1421 to include a new Halloween store and parking lot in the properties west of the his current store. The council voted to move the request to a third reading following a discussion at Tuesday’s meeting.
The request to rezone would classify the property as “General Business,” it is currently zoned as a residential. Vielee said he intends to purchase both this property and the adjacent property at 1423 W. 10th St. The 1423 property has already been rezoned, according to Sam Ramsey, advisory plan director.
A burnt house occupies the location at 1423 W. 10th St. Vielee said he will tear it down, once the sale goes through.
Council member Jim Brunner said he was appreciative of Vielee’s effort to tear down the vacant structure.
Vielee said he intends to make an offer to the owner of the 1427 property. In all, including demolition, purchasing the properties and building a new store, Vielee said he will invest nearly $300,000 into the community.
“The whole neighborhood is going to look better, for one,” he said. “It’s going to be nice. It’s not like I’m going to put up a pole barn.”
Vielee answered a number of questions from the council on his intentions and his businesses. The business owner said the Halloween store, much like fireworks store, would be open for about a month out of the year.
Council member Deb Cain noted when the fireworks store went in, the council granted a tax abatement. However, Cain said the business plan was for the store to be open year-round, selling Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations.
Vielee said that was true and also gave permission for the council to consider doing away with the tax abatement.
“If you want to just discard it and charge me full taxes, I’m fine with that,” he said.
Council member Alan Miller asked Ramsey what sort of businesses could take occupancy at the location if rezoned and Vielee’s business did not last.
“Pretty much anything you see up and down the bypass,” Ramsey said. “General Business is our broadest zoning districts in town.”
This would include tobacco stores, liquor stores and convenience stores.”
Considering new construction for virtually any sort of retail business? If you want a structure which is aesthetically pleasing, cost effective and goes up quickly, then post frame construction might just be your ticket to success. And yes, it may be called a “pole barn”.

18 Foot Span Roof Purlins?

The Possibility of 18 Foot Span Roof Purlins?

Reader CHRIS writes:
“I have a building I want to build but I am not able to add the height I need on the side walls.  My plans are 24 deep by 30 wide with 8 foot walls.  Roof trusses would be 24 ft.  My problem comes from overhead power lines.  They are right in my way.  I really need 10 or more feet of ceiling.  The wall structure will be 2×4 residential style build with double top and bottom boards this should spread the weight out on the concrete well.

The span of the 1st section (north side), would need to be 18ft.   If I used a triple truss at 18 ft. and 2×8 purlins would I be able to get this to work.  I will be using a metal roof the 30 ft. wall will have a 16 ft. door and 9 ft. door Eve entry.  I know it’s not optimal.  But to get a lift inside the garage it will be a must to get this span.  Also my garage door will follow the roof line. In the 18 ft. area it will be hung from the purlins.  A winch will be used as an opener.  Also attached to the purlins but boxed to prevent movement.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:
In most jurisdictions you are not allowed to build under power lines – you need to be consulting with your local power company and your Building Official first. Even if it is allowed, you would be wise to have the lines relocated, or buried so as to not have a future issue. A live wire comes down on your nice new steel roof and poof!

Depending upon your roof load and wind load, it might be possible to span 18 feet between trusses with purlins, however they are probably going to need to be larger than 2×8. With the proper truss design, it might very well be able to carry the end of the purlins with a double truss.

What you are proposing is well outside of the prescriptive portions of the Building Codes, so whether stick framed or post frame (post frame will be far more economical) you should be utilizing the services of a RDP (Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer) in order to make sure you have a new building which is adequately designed to support the imposed loads.

Best Construction Blog

Best Construction Blog?
For certain I know in my heart of hearts this blog is absolutely the best in the post frame (pole barn) building industry….no one, I repeat no one has penned over 1400 articles and answered over 2300 questions from readers in post frame building blogs, like I have.

Time to take it to another level.

This blog is one of only 17 world-wide to have been nominated and accepted as candidates for the 2018 Best Construction Blog competition.

This is ALL facets of the construction industry, not just our little niche of post frame.
I tend to be just a little bit on the competitive side, which is good – it has enabled me to do things like setting (and holding for over 20 years) the world record for the fastest pole building ever constructed (read a few snippets here:

https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/06/fastest-pole-building-ever-constructed/).
The best construction blog finalist is decided by a combination of popular vote and independent judging. This allows a fairer competition. The popular vote determines the short-list for the judging panel. While judges are free to consider all entries, they generally focus on the top six or seven bloggers.

This is where you, gentle reader, get to play a part in my success, or lack thereof. My goal has always been to be the fusion of entertainment and enlightenment. Hopefully my stories have combined enough wit and wisdoms to keep you coming back for more over the years.
I Need YOUR Help!

If you have enjoyed my musings, I would encourage you (and please your friends, neighbors, relatives and co-workers as well) to go to: https://constructionmarketingideas.com/voting-starts-for-2018-best-construction-blog-competition/ and cast your vote for this blog POLE BARN GURU (it is the 14th one from the top as they are listed alphabetically). Make sure to uncheck the boxes in front of any other blog.

Don’t be shy about helping this go viral – it needs enough votes to get it into the top few who will be independently judged.

Thank you gratefully!

Residential Pole Barns

Common Sense – It Isn’t Common Any More

As reported in the West Frankfort, Illinois Daily American, in an article posted November 12, 2014 by Leigh M. Caldwell:

“The much-discussed ordinance establishing codes for mobile homes, modular homes, portable buildings and pole barns will go back before city commissioners tonight for a vote.

West Frankfort’s Planning Commission has drafted a couple of different versions of the ordinance over the past few months, garnering much discussion and public comment.

As for portable buildings and pole barns, the proposed ordinance would ban them from being used as residences. Anyone wanting to build a so-called pole barn house would have to meet the requirements for residential structures.”

residential-homeFor the benefit of the unenlightened in West Frankfort (or anywhere else in the United States), “pole barns” are actually more technically “post frame buildings” and their construction is covered as Code Conforming in the International Codes.

It could be unlawful, as well as possibly unethical, for a jurisdiction to deny a Code conforming structural building system. However, as best I have been able to ascertain, to place limitations upon types of roofing and/or siding as well as even colors is certainly within a jurisdiction’s area of control.

Now if you are one who is faced with these types of limitations – keep in mind the folks who have enacted them were either elected by you, or appointed to positions by the folks you elected!

Regardless of the type of building system, whether it be stick framed (stud walls), masonry, concrete, straw bale, or yes – even pole barns – if it falls under residential pole barns, the International Residential Code (IRC) requirements must be adhered to.

The September 2014 Rural Builder Magazine recently focused upon residential pole barns, including the cover story which was authored by yours truly! To read more visit: https://www.constructionmagnet.com/post-frame-technique/post-frame-comes-home-part-i-brave-new-world-of-the-pole-barn-house

Guru: Where is Hansen Pole Buildings?

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: Forget about quoting me anything, I had no idea you were in MN. MEANDERING IN METHOW

DEAR MEANDERING: Yes, we are “in” MN.  We are also in ND, SD, ID, WA, OR, PA, NM, TX…..Have you ever ordered anything from Amazon.com? Amazon.com happens to be based in Seattle, however they ship from both their own warehouses all over America, as well as from third party fulfillment centers.

Think of Hansen Pole Buildings as being the Amazon.com exclusively for post frame & pole buildings. We ship from locations in all 50 states (including Omak and Wenatchee) – our home office just happens to be on the MN/SD border. Truth be told, our home “base” is in South Dakota, which really “is neither here nor there” when we service all 50 states as if they were all in our “own backyard”.  We have pole buildings in every state in America, most of them in the Pacific Northwest (a ton of them in WA), which just happens to be prime country for pole buildings.

Chances are good, wherever someone needs a pole building, we are going to be shipping the majority of the building components from locations nearby the building site, within 100 miles or less.

Just like Amazon.com, we are logistical wizards.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I have an existing 40′ x 56′ x 12 pole barn. I am wanting to build a 28′ x 40′ x 8′ living quarters in the rear of building. There is no house wrap or insulation now. What is the best way to air seal and insulate the living quarters? A local contractor suggested 2″ of open cell spray, and then fiberglass over that. Will spray foam eventually rot the metal? Could I use a vapor/air barrier over the metal, and then use fiberglass. I guess I would have to remove the exterior metal in order to install house wrap?

I also read where I could install Roxul stone wool insulation directly over the metal, and put plastic over that. Then dryall.

Please help…..THANKS! WAITING IN WEST FRANKFORT

DEAR WAITING: I’d remove the wall steel in the area you want to convert to a living quarters, placing a high quality housewrap over the framing and putting the wall steel back on – use inside closure strips at the top and bottom of the wall panels as well as above any doors and above and below any windows.

I’d recommend the use of BIBs insulation in the walls, rather than batts – it fills all of the voids and results in a higher R value and better system performance.

The spray foam is unlikely to rot the steel, however it is a very expensive solution.

Pole Barn vs. Post Frame Building

Just like Olympic boxing, in one corner is “pole barn” and in the other “post frame building”. Nothing too amazing about this….until one delves in and finds out they are actually two terms commonly used for the same thing.

red pole barnThe original pole barns, utilized round posts – basically trees, old power poles or similar. As they were round and they main structural supports, the term pole barn stuck.

I first began providing pole barn material kit packages over three decades ago. The first time I had ever heard the term “post frame building” was after I had stumbled upon the National Frame Builders Association (NFBA), over 25 years ago.

Even then, builders had deemed the term “pole barn” to have a negative connotation. It was felt pole barn relegated the industry to only farm buildings.

Today’s modern post frame building is anything but merely a farm building. Designed with cutting edge technology, it is widely regarded as the most efficient approach to most of today’s modern building requirements.  Pole barns can be anything any other “stick built” structure can be – and even more.  Anything from barns and arenas, to storage, sheds, airplane hangars, and yes, houses and churches too.  Take a look at some of the pictures on the Hansen Pole Buildings Website.  Can you tell what type of framing is used?

It is difficult to change general public knowledge and overall reactions when they hear the word “pole building.” You will often hear me say, “Pole Buildings fly under the radar.”  Just a few years ago, my wife and I were at a conference where the leaders encouraged us to “network”.  The goal was to go around the room, introduce yourself and state the name of your company. Then we were to share “what does or doesn’t work” for our company.  My wife and I soon huddled in the corner and decided we’d leave the word “pole” out of our name when we introduced ourselves.  Invariably, I’d barely eke out, “Hi, I’m Mike from Hansen Pole Buildings…” and was met with a confused stare, along with interrupting comments of “Pole…you mean like telephone poles?”  Um…no.  To date, we use both names for our company – depending on where we are and who we are talking to.

At Hansen Buildings, we examine trends for terms people use when doing internet searches. What really matters is not what we, or our industry, want to use as a moniker – it is the public. Hands down, the general population picks “pole barn”. Pole building is a distant second.

And what about “post frame”? After all of the efforts made by the industry and the NFBA, rarely does anyone search for a post frame building!  Take your pick, but whatever term you use, we know exactly what you are talking about.

History of Pole Buildings: Part III Not Just Grandpa’s Barn Anymore

To wrap up the History of Pole Buildings, the following excerpt was taken from the National Frame Builder’s Association website,  www.nfba.org:

Post Frame Barn

Rural post frame barn building

Countless structures are now erected using post-frame methods, including strip malls, convenience stores, restaurants, office complexes, and many other types of retail, public, commercial and residential applications. Schools, churches, fire stations, airplane hangars, and many other kinds of structures may be erected using post-frame design.

Although for reasons of economy many post-frame buildings were and are externally finished using metal cladding, almost any exterior or interior wall, roof or ceiling finish material may be applied. A wide variety of materials never envisioned by industry forefathers are now routinely incorporated into post-frame design. So many types of materials may be used on the façade, one may easily mistake a post-frame structure for another kind of building. Today it makes little difference whether the building purchaser favors the aesthetics of wood siding, brick or stucco; virtually any look is available in post-frame. New concrete siding materials have even made it possible to build a post-frame building that looks like it was made of cement block, at a fraction of the cost. They are aesthetically pleasing and durable structures that are typically easier on the eye than most commercial buildings.

Since the framing in post-frame buildings can be spaced at modular distances to make finishing the interior a straight-forward process, the post frame building has found increased applications in office, retail, religious, public and recreational buildings. Greater awareness of the potential for post-frame buildings in residential housing has also developed. There are excellent examples of post-frame buildings with upper floors or lofts. Concrete floors are found in most commercial post-frame buildings. In some of these buildings, the posts are supported on a foundation wall or on the concrete slab, eliminating the need for the post embedment.

Pole buildings or “post frame” buildings have come a long way over the years.  They aren’t just “Grampa’s Old Barn” anymore.  Today just about any low rise building can be a pole barn.  Take a look around your neighborhood or even your local business community.  From houses to garages, churches, airplane hangars and shops or stores – a pole barn is a sturdy, and yet cost effective solution to your building needs. Long live the pole barn!

 

History of Pole Buildings Part II: Who is Howard Doane?

To continue with my History of Pole Buildings, the following excerpt was taken from the National Frame Builder’s Association website,  www.nfba.org:

Pole Building Inventor Howard DoaneH. Howard Doane is credited with being the innovator who, in 1930, first combined the availability of poles and metal roof sheeting into a “modern” building concept. The founder of Doane’s Agricultural Service, Doane was looking for a way to reduce the cost of agricultural structures. He did not believe the traditional barns being built on farms could be economically justified. Doane believed that the “pole” building could provide the needed economy in construction and still have the necessary durability.

The Depression of the early 1930’s called for practical structures to be built on farms across the country. For Doane, it made good business sense to use a pole construction method, rather than build an extravagant structure that would outlast its usefulness on a farm.

He began to build barns that utilized round poles as the primary supporting member for the sidewalls and roof systems of the agricultural structures. These barns used red cedar poles as the primary structural support. Rafters were constructed every 2 feet, on which 1 inch of sheathing material was placed 12- to 18-in. apart. The sidewalls were covered with galvanized steel. This building method eliminated much of the structural material used in other methods, and best of all, it reduced costs.

Doane’s Agricultural Service’s farm manager, Bernon G. Perkins, has been credited with refining the evolution of the modern pole building from a temporary to long-lasting structure. Red cedar poles were used at the time, lending up to a decade or more of longevity to structures at that time. When red cedar poles became scarce in the mid-1930’s, Perkins used creosote-treated poles to provide the primary structural support. This extended a typical pole building’s life by some decades. By the early 1940’s, creosote-treated poles became the mainstay of the building concept.

Another mainstay of this ‘pole-barn’ building method was to use 2×4 lumber placed on edge as purlins. With this design change, pioneered by Perkins, it was possible to place the rafters and trusses from 4- to 12-ft. apart, making it possible for the roof to support the loads to which it would be subjected.

Ever the pioneer, Perkins had other ideas on improving the building method. He began to overlap the roof purlins, without cutting, by using 2×4 lumber direct from the yard with whatever length was available. This eliminated the extra handwork required to cut the purlins to size, saving time and money. The pole-building method proved to be an economical way to construct rural buildings.

During World War II, the U.S. government imposed a $1,500 limitation on the amount it could spend on constructing new barns. The pole barn building method, which eliminated up to two-thirds of the lumber needed by other systems, made the government’s guidelines attainable.

Doane’s Agricultural Service actually received a patent for the “pole building design concept” on June 6, 1953. However, rather than protect the patent, they widely publicized the concept and encouraged its use throughout the United States. Doane’s Agricultural Service made its pole barn building plans available worldwide to anyone interested in the concept. Perkins spoke to farmers all over the country on the benefits of pole-building construction. They listened.

Initially, the nation’s college and university personnel were hesitant to accept pole buildings. But doubts about the ability of the structures to withstand wind and snow loads were put to rest, as time proved the buildings’ capabilities. After scientific tests proved its superior performance, the academic community became an invaluable ally to the growing industry.

As the concept developed, the performance of post-frame buildings proved excellent. Structures with smaller columns and post-soil embedment depths less than those indicated by accepted design techniques at that time withstood high wind forces and snow loads. It was clear that post-frame buildings were transmitting loads in a manner unaccountable in previously used design processes. Academically-based researchers began to study the phenomenon to unlock the secret of its superior performance. They attributed the manner in which the frame interacted with trusses to absorb loads and resiliently return to its intended shape as “diaphragm interaction” or “diaphragm design.”

In the 1960s, post-frame structures began popping up on farms all over the country. The concept quickly spread beyond the farm into commercial and other applications. The method’s name also changed from pole construction to post-frame construction around this time, as round poles became less commonly used.  Post-frame was distinctly improved from the “pole buildings” of the past by use of rectangular solid-sawn posts and laminated columns.

The movement of the post-frame building into the commercial marketplace necessitated compliance with building codes. For many years, agricultural buildings in many rural areas were exempt from building code requirements. Since the design was not understood by building officials, and since no approved and recognized design procedure had previously existed, the suitability of the post-frame structure was often questioned before the end of the twentieth century.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Part Three, the final installment of The History of Pole Buildings.  How versatile really is a pole barn?  Come back and find out!

 

 

History of Pole Buildings Part I- back to the cave man!

While many old barns exist, it was not until the last century that pole barns developed, first as farm buildings. The following is excerpted from the National Frame Builder’s Association website:  www.nfba.org:

The post-frame industry has grown steadily in North America, gaining more and more widespread application in the past 100 years. Yet, many people still wonder, “What is post-frame construction?”

Post-frame buildings are structurally efficient buildings composed primarily of:  trusses, purlins, girts, bracing and sheathing. The primary element of the design incorporates square posts or wood columns, which are typically embedded in the ground or surface-mounted to a concrete or masonry foundation.

The post-frame building concept is not new. Many pre-historic peoples throughout the world used posts embedded in the ground to fashion sturdy structures for residences and other uses. For centuries, buildings along shorelines and in low-lying areas have been built on poles to elevate the structures above the guideline and/or water hazard. In rural areas, poles were used to erect sheds or temporary structures in 19th-century America. In all these cases, the limited life-span of poles in contact with the ground made them unsuitable for use longer than a few years, except in very dry areas or when rot-resistant strains of wood were used.

However, two significant technological developments in the twentieth century allowed the post-frame building to develop into a viable, long-lived structural system. First, pressure-treated materials that provided excellent durability, particularly poles that were initially developed for the electrical industry, became available for the construction of buildings. Secondly, large, lightweight metal sheeting was produced that could span supports spaced several feet apart. What remained was for builders to optimally use the advantageous features of these two materials in what is now known as the post-frame or laminated column building.

The availability of pressure-treated wood permitted the replacement of a continuous concrete foundation in conventional buildings with a vertical structural member that carried the live roof and dead building loads directly to the ground below the frost line.

The availability of lightweight, formed, metal roofing material permitted the use of spaced roof decking. The strength of the roofing materials resulted in a significant portion of the lateral building loads being transmitted to the end walls, to reduce the load on the supporting posts. The availability of trusses for a wide variety of spans further enhances and aides in the development of the post-frame building. Whereas trusses in conventional light-frame buildings are generally spaced 2-ft. or less on-center on stud walls, trusses became readily available that permitted truss spacing of anywhere from 4 to 12 ft. in post-frame construction. Each of these features contributed to the evolution of the modern post-frame building and its increasing popularity.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Blog- Part Two of The History of Pole Buildings.   You will find out who is really responsible for getting the pole barn design started, and why it was so important in the 1930’s.

Fastest Pole Building Ever Constructed

The Pole Barn Guru - Americas Fastest Pole Barn BuilderProbably the highlight of my career as a pole barn builder came October 30, 1996. On live television, in the 30 minutes prior to Bob Villa, Momb Steel Buildings set a world speed record, as we constructed a fully featured, two car garage, in a client’s limited access back yard. This was a Sunday morning, and everyone went all out. The City of Millwood blocked off a 20 square block area for parking and equipment. Spokane County arranged for a Building Inspector to work on Sunday. The television people even erected bleachers in our client’s backyard. We printed up a gross of long sleeve T Shirts with “World’s Fastest Pole Builder” on them, and they were so popular I didn’t even get one! One of the most fun parts of the whole experience was pumping concrete OVER the house (I am sure to the shock of our clients).

Prior to the event, the building crews which helped us were positive we could not construct it in under an hour. After the event, we took all of those who participated out for lunch. Instead of eating the free food, they all were drawing on napkins with carpenter pencils figuring out how “next time” we could shave off 5 seconds here, and ten seconds there… by doing things differently!

For a short time in 2000, I was a manufacturer’s representative for a company which manufactures glu-laminated columns for the post frame industry. Great product, but seriously lacked in distribution, and soon found myself back in the pole building business working for another contractor. During this time, I became intrigued with products being offered over the internet and felt this would be a prime place for pole building kits.

In 2000 I made probably the smartest and happiest decision of my life, I married my “bride” of now eleven years.  With her background and mine, I quickly envisioned a business structure so “out there”, even my bride thought I was nuts.  I wanted to sell pole buildings completely off the internet.  No bricks and mortar sales office, no lumberyard, truss plant or even in-house sales staff.  Just she and I, and maybe a few others to handle some of the paperwork.  After talking about it for two years, my idea became an exciting reality.  In 2002, Hansen Pole Buildings was born.  It quickly became a huge success, and today, we remain predominantly an internet based business, heavy on automation, technology and cutting edge business savvy.

In my now over 30 years in the industry, I’ve had buildings delivered and built in all 50 states, over 14,000 of them. Recent innovations have been many. With CCA pressure preservative treating being pretty much eliminated due to a settlement between the EPA and the CCA chemical producers, some alternative preservative chemical formulas were found to react with steel, when water was present. To combat the negative effects of this reaction, we’ve added a protective barrier between the pressure treated skirt boards and the steel base trim. This also has necessitated the use of stainless steel screws to attach steel to pressure treated lumber.

For clients concerned about the chemicals being used in treating, plastic sleeves are available to isolate the treated wood from the surround soils. Steel brackets have been developed to allow pole buildings to be constructed on top of concrete piers, foundation walls and slabs.

We’ve replaced paint on screws with powder coating, offering a finish which will outlive the steel panels (https://lelandindustries.com/productpdfs/page%2048.pdf). The screws themselves are now coated with superior finishes to resist corrosion.

The advent of the International Building Codes in 2000, caused significant changes to the way code conforming buildings are designed. Deflection criteria has made girts (horizontal wall framing) attached wide face to the wall columns not meet the more stringent deflection criteria. In response to this, we’ve designed most of our buildings with wall girts installed flat (like book shelves) to resist deflecting.

We are constantly upgrading and innovating our design solutions. As better products are developed, we look for ways to make construction faster, easier to install and more reliable in performance.  More than ever, we look for ways to produce eye pleasing buildings which are not hard on the budget.

I look forward to sharing the journey with you.

Mike Momb ~ The Pole Barn Guru

 

 

 

 

Evolution of The Pole Barn Guru and his Building Philosophy

In my early years, tremendous quality was not necessarily the strong point. It was the ability to offer a very reasonably priced building and deliver it quickly. My buildings were pretty much the same as everyone else I competed against. Business grew and I started being able to hire employees. Jim Betonte left the steel roofing and siding industry and began a construction business which offered labor to people who wanted our building kits erected. In the mid-80’s M & W joined the National Frame Builders Association (NFBA) and started to become better educated on the “post frame” industry on the whole.

The real deal changer – in October 1985 I met Frank Woeste. Frank was an Agricultural Engineering professor at Virginia Tech and what he knew about pole buildings was staggering. In exchange for me traveling to Blacksburg, Virginia to teach one of his classes for a day, Frank gave me my first engineering design software for pole buildings and the printout of the programs in a computer program called “Basic”.

Frank motivated me to want to make better buildings and to know why it is they worked the way they did from an engineering standpoint. From

his program printout, I taught myself Basic programming and wrote more complex and varied programs than the ones which just calculated post, girt and purlin sizes.

My buildings gradually changed – steel stopped being fastened with ringshanked nails in 1982, using first galvanized, then later color matched screws. Green lumber was replaced by kiln dried lumber, much of it (especially larger sizes such as 2×6 and 2×8 with machine stress rated lumber). Utility graded skirt boards and 4×6 columns were upgraded to #2 and better. Pressure treated timbers were treated for structural in ground use, rather than “or refusal” (basically, in many cases, just coated with treating chemicals by the treatment plants).

By 1987 I had joined the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE) and the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO). At the time, ICBO was writing the Uniform Building Code, which was adopted throughout much of the United States. The late 80’s were heady times for the ASAE as the structures committee I was a member of, was developing and putting into practice many of the standards now utilized for modern pole building structural design.

Frank Woeste and Don Bender (now a professor at Washington State University in Pullman), began holding commercial post frame design classes, which I first took as a student, and later assisted with. Often, the example buildings for the class were structures of mine.

While I owned M&W we received recognition from the State of Oregon for our donation of a building to earthquake ravaged Irkutsk, USSR. We were featured in newspapers such as the Capitol Press and magazines such as Frame Building Professional. We were also named as one of the 50 largest users of steel roofing and siding in the United States for the decade of the 1980’s. We were even featured on the morning national television program in South Korea!

In 1989, I was elected to a 3 year term on the board of directors for the National Frame Builders Association. To the best of my knowledge, I was the first board member from west of the Mississippi River.

After some 6600 building kits sold in 13 western states, Canada, Mexico and Saipan, I sold M & W Building Supply to Jim Betonte in 1990 and moved back to Spokane. My brother Mark had worked in sales for me at M & W and in 1991 he returned to Spokane as well. We formed Momb Building Systems and began constructing buildings in the Spokane area. Mark left the business in 1992 to return to school and the name was changed to Momb Steel Buildings. Business thrived and in 1993 Apex Roof Truss was begun to produce trusses and provide the lumber packages for our buildings.

Besides Washington, I became a registered contractor in Oregon, Idaho and Montana. At the height of business, we had as many as 35 crews building in six states. In one single county alone, we built over 200 buildings in a single year.

Mike The Pole Barn Guru Featured in Frame Building Professional Magazine

Further improvements to pole building design were made. In the early 90’s we added trims which were not regularly used along the I-5 corridor.  Base trim to keep rodents out, J Channel at tops of walls, overhead door jamb trim, trims on fascias and varges with overhangs, eavelight trims with sidelight panels) all of which made for a far more attractive finished product. The first big structural change was to notch the trusses into the columns to provide direct bearing, instead of attaching them to each side of the columns. Later, we physically doubled up the trusses nailing them face-to-face, instead of blocked apart. At the same time we went to joist hanging all roof purlins between the trusses, instead of placing them lapped over the top of the truss pairs.

This now allowed for the roof panels to be predrilled before installation, which kept all screw lines straight and greatly eliminated the potential for leaks.

At an Alumax testing facility east of Los Angeles, we constructed a full scale roof to test the shear strength of steel panels. Our testing resulted in some surprises. Initially we felt the weak link would be the framing under the steel. We were totally in error and surprised at the results.  Our assembly was done to match industry standards and included fastening the steel to the roof purlins using #10 x 1” screws every nine inches. As we placed horizontal loads into the roof, before ripples even appeared in the steel, the screw started to pull out of the framing. The pull out problem was solved by using 1-1/2” long screws.

The next problem was the steel began to slot beneath the screw grommets. The solution was to use larger diameter screws in the high stress areas (at the eave and ridge) and to place screws in this area on each side of each high rib, rather than along one side only. Only after all of the screw issues were solved, were we finally able to test the steel to failure.  The results showed some fairly significant values. The results of this test are published in the NFBA Post Frame Building Design Manual  https://bse.wisc.edu/bohnhoff/Publications/Copyrighted/NFBA_Design_Manual.pdf See Table 6.1 (assemblies 13 and 14).

After the test was completed, the Alumax design engineer, Merle Townsend designed a screw specifically to solve the weaknesses demonstrated by the test. Labeled as the “diaphragm” screw (https://lelandindustries.com/productpdfs/page%2001.pdf) this 1-1/2” part features a larger diameter shank than standard screws. A side benefit of this screw is that the larger diameter helps prevent the screw heads from twisting off during installation.

To this day, these screws remain a stable part of my building design, and have rarely (if at all) has this great improvement been equaled by any other pole building company.

Stay tuned for the final episode of “From Cradle to now…Mike the Pole Barn Guru” as he expands from four states…to fifty!