Tag Archives: steel framed building

Pole, Steel or Stud Framed…What’s the Difference?

When it comes to low rise structures (loosely defined as having sidewall heights of 50 feet or less), most people consider one of three options – pole buildings, stud wall framed, or all steel.

Stud WallStud framed (or stick built) structures are how most homes are typically built. Generally they require a great deal of excavation and have a continuous concrete footing and foundation around the perimeter. Walls are typically made of 2×4 or 2×6 vertical studs, placed 16 or 24 inches on center.

By code, stud walls without lateral support are limited to 10 feet in height, unless a structural analysis is done. Roof trusses or rafters and ceiling joists can be no greater than 24 inches on center. In some cases, interior load-bearing walls may be required and door or window openings in load bearing walls must have structural headers.

All steel buildings can have much taller sidewalls and wider clear spans than stud framed buildings. Their main support structure is composed of large steel frames, spaced as much as 30 feet on center. The frames require large concrete footings with carefully placed anchor bolts. In building widths of less than 90 feet, their constructed cost can be almost half again more than a pole building, when the great amounts of concrete and need for heavy equipment is factored in.

Pole buildings allow the greatest flexibility and lowest construction cost of any permanent building. The pole building concept was developed so the least amount of materials could construct the largest building. Typical pole buildings use widely spaced pressure preservative treated timbers for the main vertical supports. The foundation is these treated columns, embedded into the ground, with a small amount of concrete cast around them. Usually roof trusses are aligned with the wall columns which are normally spaced every 10 to 12 feet. As pole buildings are modular, they can be constructed of any length.  When someone asks me “how long can I build a pole building?” my answer is typically, “until your land or money runs out.”  Usually structural headers are not required for windows, doors or other exterior wall openings.

What lured me into pole buildings in the first place, and has kept me there solidly for over 35 years, is their simple, practical, versatile and yet very sturdy design.  Over 14,000 buildings later, I am still excited to get up every morning hoping to design the next homeowner’s “dream building.”

Green Buildings: The Economics of Building with Wood

Green Buildings: The Economics of Building with Wood

Pole Buildings are a great green building solution

Anyone can equip a building with a few energy efficient features and call their product “green”, but a true move to sustainability in low rise buildings means improving the building process itself. In an industry as fragmented as construction, doing so demands a major investment in time, energy and capital. Every facet of the design and materials delivery process must be integrated, considered and evolved in order to truly “go green”. It is not like you can just have a builder pick up his cell phone and order up a fully integrated maintainable building system.

Or can they? For nearly ten years Hansen Buildings has been earning a reputation for sustainable construction solutions.

Speed is a huge factor, as for building owners time is money. The time and energy it takes for an individual or builder to design a building, source the materials and get them delivered to site is tremendous.

The process all begins in source code. Literally hundreds of thousands of lines of computer programming allow every last component in a Hansen Pole Building to be checked for structural accuracy as well as cost efficiency. Over twenty years of development have gone into a system which is being constantly upgraded and refined to produce the most efficient design solutions, with the least amount of waste.

Each structure is completely and accurately modeled using Computer Aided Drafting (CAD). Hansen Building’s Designers and engineers analyze all of the structural components and systems – from the architectural concept through the structural designs.

Materials are selected from the most trusted sources and suppliers, using Sustainable Forest Initiative Certified Sources when available. Modern pole building design is an environmentally sensitive alternative to traditional construction methods.

Hansen Buildings is not just a solution for single story structures. We’ve designed and delivered materials for buildings as tall as 44 feet and with three stories, and have the technology available for even taller!

Few can deny the ecological benefits of building with wood structural components. Wood outperforms steel and concrete because it requires less energy in production, produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions, releases fewer pollutants into the air and water and generates less solid waste.

Analysis indicates constructing a wood framed pole building with equal structural features costs considerably less than a concrete or steel framed building. Those savings, combined with the significant materials management and times savings of the Hansen Buildings process yields a winning combination for building owners seeking an economical alternative to other construction options.  Green buildings are definitely the wave of the future!

Even something as “big” as a pole building, you can definitely…”go green”!

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