Tag Archives: shop building

Ignorance is Bliss and Sometimes Architects are Happy

Ignorance is Bliss and Sometimes Architects are Happy

Portions of this article (in italics) are from “County explores options for new Highway building” April 29, 2019 by Nathan Bowe at www.dl-online.com

A city plow truck goes by the main shop building at the Becker County Highway Department complex in Detroit Lakes. www.dl-online.com File photo

Dear Architect friends ~ I didn’t learn much in architecture school, however one nugget was, “It is all about presentation”. Before you need to give a presentation including a possible post frame building, please discuss it with me, or at least read a few of my pertaining articles. I want you to come across as being as knowledgeable as possible.

“Hoping to save money on a new Becker County Highway Department facility, made of precast concrete and estimated to cost about $8 million, commissioners are exploring other types of buildings.

They are considering options including precast concrete, steel, and pole barn, and will tour facilities in the area made of those materials.

The firm working on the project, Oertel Architects of St. Paul, said in a report that any type of material could essentially be made to work, but a pole barn-type building would have to include steel in places to support a 5-ton crane in the maintenance area, for example.”

Post frame (pole barn) buildings can easily be designed to support a 5-ton crane: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/07/overhead-crane/

“A less-expensive pole barn building also comes with a much shorter projected lifespan, and generally brings more problems with leaks and maintenance, unless a better grade of roof is used.”

Post frame buildings are permanent structures easily capable of generations of useful lifespan. Properly installed steel roofing will last decades without leaks or needs for maintenance.

“A pole barn is considered an agricultural type building in the industry, and is also referred to as timber frame. This is essentially like building a structure like an old-fashioned barn, with large timber columns and frames. It is typically made without a perimeter foundation. The wood frame structure is typically covered with a metal skin and the low-gable roof type is typically of metal. Its lifespan is projected at 15-30 years, depending on maintenance and other factors.”

Post frame and timber frame buildings are totally different animals. Post frame buildings have been used commercially longer than I have been in this industry (nearly 40 years). Very few buildings provided by Hansen Pole Buildings would be termed as being purely agricultural – nearly all are residential or commercial.  Isolated columns embedded below frost depth preclude needs for expensive and inefficient continuous concrete foundations. (Check out foundation costs here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/10/buildings-why-not-stick-frame-construction/). Most typically post frame buildings have 4/12 roof slopes (rather than “low” as in all steel buildings).

Amazingly, it appears my now 15 year-old million-dollar post frame home is due to expire any time now (like Windows 7)! In reality a properly engineer designed and constructed post frame building will outlive any of us who are reading this article.

“One way to meet the highway department needs and still meet code using pole barn construction would be to build three or four separate buildings, or build one building at different heights for vehicle maintenance, vehicle washing/storage, and office space, Oertel reported.”

Post frame buildings can be easily designed with a multitude of different wall/ceiling heights.

“Pole barns tend to be less energy efficient over time.”

As post frame buildings use exact same insulations as other similar construction types, if this is true it would be applicable across all construction spectrums. Post frame lends itself well to creation of deep insulation cavities and is far easier to insulate than all steel or precast concrete.

“Structural steel works better in a public works facility, with more salt and moisture in the air than usual, since these are made of heavy steel, just like a steel bridge. It is the less substantive metal materials that are a concern. A pole barn uses thin steel gusset plates and there is not much material to last over time if corrosion is present. Metal panels commonly used in pole barn buildings are also easily marred or dented by heavy duty operations.”

In highly corrosive atmospheres, steel can be isolated from corrosion (as in galvanized steel “gusset plates” used to connect roof truss members). Any type of siding – or even precast concrete or masonry, can be damaged by careless operations. Use of strategically placed bollards (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2017/05/lifesaving-bollard/) can eliminate possibilities of significant damages.

“However it’s constructed, the new public works building will need the same mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems, floor loading, earthwork and mechanical systems, Oertel said. Costs can vary, but all of that might add up to perhaps 60 percent of construction costs, with the actual building structural shell 20 to 25 percent of the total project cost. So cost savings from a cheaper type of building might not be all that commissioners might hope for, compared to the long-term drawbacks.

“More could be said about the differences between pole barn construction and a more heavy duty construction using precast concrete,” the report sums up. “It mostly comes down to a lower front-end cost with a pole barn, at the sacrifice of longevity…””

Post frame construction is going to provide a greater value, without being “cheap”. Post frame buildings will have a usable lifespan as great as any other permanent building.

And – have you ever tried to remodel a precast concrete building?

Bookshelf Girts aka Commercial Girts: What Are They?

Bookshelf Girts aka Commercial  Girts: What are they?

I do a lot of blogging, not because I enjoy it (which I do) but because I am always “listening” and learning.  And if there is anyone out there who I can help along the way, my fun increases exponentially.  I recently came across this posting on a Farm Forum:

Commercial Wall Girts

I am going to build a new shop building and wish to be able to finish the inside, insulation, sheeting, etc. I am in Minnesota, so it has to be fairly energy efficient. I saw some brief info on the “bookshelf method” in a pamphlet I picked up from a store. Looks like a super way to provide the desired structure on the inside of the wall surface to fasten sheeting to, and provide spaces for fiberglass batts laid in there horizontally. Very material efficient method, I believe. If anyone here has used this method, please share your experiences with it, pictures too if possible. Even if you have seen one built, like by a neighbor or friend, please speak up and share.
In case you do not recognize the method by the name I gave it (bookshelf), it is a technique which puts the wall girts between the posts, laid flat, typically 2×6’s, 24 inches on center vertically spaced (instead of the usual girt method which puts them on the outside of the posts). The pamphlet says they can be toe-nailed (?) or little nailers installed above and below them, for fastening to the posts. The pamphlet says wind loading is increased with the bookshelf method. The real attractive part of this method for me is that the 2×6 girt is available to the outside tin for fastening, then provides a 22.5 inch tall space for fiberglass bat (off the shelf size for between trusses on 24 inch center) and then is flush to the inside of the wall for interior wall sheeting fastening.

I’ve done several thousand pole buildings using the “bookshelf” or “commercial” girt method. I have two of them myself – in Northeastern WA, so have cold climate to contend with.

Use a commercial girt one size larger than the columns (2×8 on a 6×6 post, etc.), setting the commercial girt so 1-1/2″ hangs past the exterior face of the column. Wrap the framing with a well sealed high quality building wrap.

You will find this installation method compensates for any irregularities in the column dimensions and creates a deeper insulation cavity. Side benefits – electrical can be run around the outside of the columns, without the need to drill through them to run wires. On walls which are a multiple of 3′ in length, it also saves having to rip the edge of a panel off either the first or last sheet of steel on the wall.

In either case, block the ends of the bookshelf commercial girts solid against the columns with what is called “bearing blocks”.  Take 2×4’s or larger (depends upon engineering) which are cut 22-1/2” long to fit between the commercial girts and install them flat against the post on each side.  The wide face of the block should be flat against the column and lined up with the edge of the post (not sticking out past the column like the girts are).   Nail these girt support blocks to the columns with a minimum of (2)10d galvanized common nails at each end (higher wind loads may require more nails).  This type of nailing is quick and easy and provides a solid support for the commercial girt above it.  Toe-nailing is done by angling a nail upwards from the bottom (or downwards from the top) of the commercial girt, at a 45 degree angle trying to catch enough of the edge of the post as the nail goes through to the column to hold it there.  Toe-nailing is a very poor connection (is subject to lots of installation error).

For maximum cost effective R value, use BIBS insulation. I found it to be cost competitive with installed batt insulation, has a higher R value and completely fills all of the voids.

I fondly remember the gal who called me one day asking for “canning jar shelves”…you know like you did before for us.”  Checking our records, I quickly discovered we designed commercial girts on their first building.  They liked them so much – they wanted them again!

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

Pole Buildings: D.I.Y. and Save!

There are few things which define American home ownership better than having a good backyard accessory pole building. Whether at your primary residence, or at the mountain or lake cabin, having the ideal space for your needs is what takes your home from “pretty good”…to ideal.

DIY Pole Buildings Saves Thousands

While the weather is warm, having a barbeque under your pole buildings attached covered porch, carport or sideshed makes for the perfect spot to entertain. Enjoy great food and drink and soak up some sun, while being able to dive for cover before getting burned or damp from an afternoon thundershower.

As the weather turns cooler, your garage/shop building makes for the perfect place to store away all the summer toys – RV, boat, motorcycles. Fire up a little heat and it can also become the perfect man cave, hobby spot or exercise room.

Don’t have any pole buildings now? Or the one you have is too small? Make this the year you decide you really deserve this great space.

Lack of building skills and design knowledge getting in the way of your new pole building? Consider working with the experts on the Hansen Buildings team. Thousands of happy new building owners have relied upon our decades of experience in assisting with practical code conforming design as well as supplying the detailed plans and instructions to guide them through the project.

If you can and will read English, you can successfully construct your own pole building, with quality better than most of the pros! Why? Because it is your building, and no one cares about it like you do.

With the money you save when you build it yourself, you can splurge on something fun – maybe that Caribbean cruise? Don’t put it off though, with the home building industry at an historic slow, material prices have never been a better value.

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