Tag Archives: Registered Professional Engineer

Acquire a Building Permit First

You want a new pole barn, so you put together some plans, order up some materials, have them delivered and start building. In all of this excitement something was overlooked – acquiring a Building Permit!

Reader SHELBY in COLORADO writes:

“Hello,

My name is Shelby, my father and I are trying to build a pole barn and they are saying we need a ground inspection and trusses report to say that it can handle so much wind and snow! We have the building plan and started having all the materials delivered but we can’t get a building permit till we get these two inspections! I was wondering if that is something you could possibly help us with or if you know someone who could! So we could get this permit!”


It appears you have placed a proverbial cart before the horse. Before even contemplating any building project there are a pair of conversations you should have with proper authorities. First of these will be to your Planning Department: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/01/planning-department-3/, second to your Building Department: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/01/building-department-checklist/.

Building PermitYour Building Department wants an engineered soils report for your site, not an unusual request in much of Colorado, as there are some fairly unstable soils. You will need to contact a Registered Professional Engineer in your area who specializes in geotechnical work (Google – Geotechnical Engineers near me). They will visit your site and do an analysis to determine if it is even capable of being built upon. With this report in hand you can then take this soils report and your proposed building plans to yet another RDP (Registered Design Professional – architect or engineer) who can prepare a set of sealed drawings for your building. “Truss report” being asked for are engineer sealed drawings for prefabricated trusses you will be utilizing to support your building’s roof. You will need to provide your RDP sealed plans to your choice of truss providers, so they can design trusses adequate to support loads detailed within your sealed plans.

Sadly, you may have already invested in some materials you will be unable to use in construction of a properly designed building. All of these reasons are why I always encourage clients to invest in a complete post frame (pole barn) building package from a supplier who can provide engineer sealed plans specifically for your building, along with correct materials delivered to your site – it could have saved you a significant amount of heartache, as well as money.


 

 

Building Your Own Gambrel Barn Wood Roof Trusses

Gambrel style rooflines are often enticing, they offer the feeling (however not the reality) of getting added space for free. Building your own gambrel barn trusses might appear on the surface like a way to make this even a greater savings.

This was prompted by an inquiry from reader DON in WAYNE. Don writes:

“I am building a 24 ft. wide x 40 ft. length barn. I am going to build a gambrel truss with 2×8 and with 4 ft. wide gussets. How far apart should I space them using purlins and should I use 2×4 or 2×6 purlins. I was thinking of going 4’ wide with the trusses and using 2×4 spaced 2 ft. wide for the purlins.”

Mistake number one is even considering building your own trusses, on site, unless you are constructing them from drawings designed and sealed by a Registered Design Professional (RDP – licensed architect or engineer). Chances are way too good (100% guaranteed) you are dooming your building (and possibly its occupants) to failure. In all seriousness, prefabricated steel connector plated wood trusses are the only way to go – you will save money in the long run and you will be able to sleep soundly at night.

Your second mistake is in trying to be your own building engineer. If it was my own building (depending upon the design wind and snow loads), I would probably be using a single truss on each endwall and double (two ply) trusses every ten feet, bearing directly upon the columns. In my humble opinion this will give you the safest end resultant as the trusses can be notched into the columns and not possibly slide down the columns (or have a questionable connection to a header or truss carrier). You can then utilize 2×6 (or 2×8 depending upon loads) roof purlins on edge to support the roofing.

Your idea of using 2×4 (I am guessing flat over the tops of the trusses) every two feet and spanning four feet will not work unless you have the availability of lumber graded higher than the Standard and Construction material from your local lumber yard.

To avoid making crucial mistakes, which could waste your hard earned money, I would recommend you invest in a fully engineered post frame building kit package.

 

 

My Building Inspector Made Me

My Building Inspector Made Me…..
An all to familiar tale from those who go by the premise, “penny wise and pound foolish”…. in the misguided attempt to shave a few dollars off the investment in a new building, the price of the engineer sealed plans has been deducted from the budget.

Very rarely is this the correct choice, as has befallen reader COREY in HOPEWELL who writes:

“My building inspector has made me use a continuous lvl on both sides of a 6×6 pt on all four sides (gables included) of a 32×32 pole barn with trusses at 24″ centers. He approved the thrulok fastener. The fasteners are made for conventional lumber so they are not long enough I would like to use a carriage bolt but he wants a drawing or approved sketch with the fasteners size, total per post and locations on each post including corners. The posts are on 8′ centers The barn is constructed with the trusses installed. I need a proper fastener to continue. Can you help?

Mike the Pole Barn Guru Writes: 

You are now finding out all too quickly (as well as the hard way) the advantages of investing in an engineered post frame building kit package.

Without engineering for your building, you are essentially putting the building officials in the position of being the defacto engineer of record. As such if an error is to be made it is going to be on the side of conservatism and caution. Very few building officials are actually engineers, so they have to cover not only their posteriors, but those of the jurisdiction they represent.

Without knowledge of any of the loads which are to be applied to your building, I cannot speak to the adequacy or need for LVLs on both sides of the building columns. If you are using a structural truss on each building end (highly recommended) then the LVLs across each endwall are essentially doing nothing but emptying your pocket book.

The FastenMaster™ ThruLok screw bolt comes in lengths of 6-1/4″, 7″ and 8″. If your intent was to place dimensional lumber truss carriers on each side of the columns, the overall thickness of 8-1/2″ would have made their use prohibitive from the get go. I am hopeful your design utilized the LVL truss carriers being notched into the columns, which is an excellent solution to gravitational forces and leaves only the uplift forces to contend with, in which case, your choice of fastener (since the building official initially approved them) should be a longer ThruLok.

In answer to “can I help”, most certainly – contact a local registered professional engineer who, in all reality, should do a site built analysis of your building and provide you with sealed plans for all of the members along with the proper connectors. You might be able to find an engineer whom would design just this connection, however doing so could make him or her the engineer of record for the entire building, and I would not want to risk engineering registration on this type of situation. It would have to be all or nothing in my eyes.

Help! My Pole Barn Has Frost Heave

Help! My Pole Barn Has Frost Heave

Reader DAVID in MINNESOTA writes:

“I looked through many pages of your blog and found nothing yet that deals with my frost heave problem.

Bought lake property 8 years ago that had a 24 X 24 pole shed that was 5 years old. It has concrete floor with concrete on 3 sides of each 6 X 6 except pole by walk-in door which has concrete on all 4 sides. Poles every 8 feet except front (west) side which has 16′ garage door and walk-in door.

All poles are moving up except maybe corner pole in SE corner. They vary in movement from 1-5 inches. I dug down in one corner to see how deep the poles are in the ground and it was 56 down to what feels like a concrete pad at the bottom of the hole. The building is located is central Minnesota in a lakes region with sandy subsoil.

I am considering attaching 2 X 12s to the inside of the poles at the level they were initially at the top of the floor. Then cutting off the poles to lower the building and attaching some heavy angle iron to the 2 X 12s and the floor.

Another consideration is to try to jack up each pole so they are all level again and attach the angle irons to the poles and the floor and then deal with the doors.

The floor has not sunk (the electric service cable coming in pulled down on the breaker box and broke the main breaker) but the floor is in good condition. 

Two of the poles would not be able to be dug down to the bottom as the septic tank is too close.

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

In your property purchase you have inherited someone else’s lack of planning which has become your problem. The great majority of frost heave potential can initially be solved by proper site preparation – and your building is fairly obviously not on a properly prepared site.

Cutting off the poles and lowering the building is probably not going to be a fix and is going to add even more problems. You will now no longer have proper transfer of downward loads to the footing pads and to prevent settling would require any brackets to be able to spread the loads out over a large surface of your concrete slab – with the strong potential for your slab to be cracked by them. Provided you were able to adequately distribute the loads, you also have the issues of uplift and overturning to overcome and your probably four inch thick concrete floor is possibly not adequate to withstand any of these forces.

In all likelihood the answer probably lies in getting the water out from under your building – which may involve some sort of trenching around the perimeter. Your septic system being so close to your building is probably adding to the problem (this is part of why Planning and Building Departments require buildings to be set back from septic systems).

Obviously you are asking for some expert advice, which could save your building. Due to the factors involved in your particular site – I am going to recommend you hire a registered professional engineer who specializes in soils to come to your site and do a thorough analysis of the situation. He or she should be able to design a fix for your challenge – however (just a warning) the solution could be more expensive than the building is worth.

Sadly, it could be the best solution may be to properly prepare an adjacent site, take the building apart and reassemble it on the better location.

When the Truss People Do the Dog

Yes, it happens.

My long time readers will recall I owned two prefabricated light gauge metal plate connected wood truss plants in a not too distant past.

And yes – this may come as a surprise – truss people are not perfect.

In this particular case, we had set out what we needed explicitly as far as the aforementioned butt cut sizes, truss loadings, etc. (Read previous two blogs to catch up.)

Well, the truss people decided to quote all 26 trusses exactly the same!!

We happen to buy lots of trusses from these folks – they are by far the largest wholesale manufacturer of trusses in the Northeastern United States. The number of errors they have made in the nearly 15 years we have been their customer could be counted upon in one hand, and leave fingers left over.

Turns out they picked this one.

Now Hansen Pole Buildings does have Justine (the goddess of all things to be delivered to your new building kit – including trusses). Justine handles tens of thousands of orders a year, the huge majority of them perfectly and seamlessly, without a hitch. Trusses, lumber, steel, doors, down to the infinitesimal screw – Justine does it all.

Well – sure enough, this is the hitch job. Justine didn’t catch the “oops” on the part of the truss manufacturer.

building-plansNow it is possible, just maybe, the uber-experienced builder might have looked at the building plans and caught the double lined box with red print which says (in CAPS), “TRUSSES IN THIS AREA HAVE STANDARD ¼” HEEL CUT; OTHER TRUSSES HAVE 11/16” HEEL CUT SO THE BOTTOM OF ALL TRUSSES ARE AT THE SAME POINT.”

Mr. Experienced Builder, however, did not notice all of the trusses were identical and didn’t call until AFTER he had all of the truss carriers up in place at the same level. He was wondering what to do with the hump in the roof which would be caused by the 7/16” OSB in the last eight feet of the roof.

Success in construction is measured not by everything being perfect, but by how challenges get handled. This one was fairly simple upon recommendation from Hansen Pole Buildings (after, of course, consulting with our Registered Professional Engineer who designed the structure) – the end trusses and the trusses at four feet in from each end could be placed into a notch on the top of the truss carriers 7/16” deep to compensate, without negative structural consequences and all was good.

There was now peace on Earth and all was happiness.

Until……

Please tune in tomorrow, same time, same channel for more in the continuing saga!