Tag Archives: steel

ABC Component Shortages

Remember Hoping You Could Buy Toilet Paper?

I grew up seeing photos of people in Eastern Bloc countries standing in line for nearly every commodity. More recently we have witnessed residents of Venezuela enduring similar circumstances.

Similar situations are now occurring with building materials – as witnessed by this notification from one of our steel roofing and siding suppliers, American Building Components:

“May 26, 2021 

Dear Valued Customer Partners, 

With the intent to keep you as updated on product availability, please note that the supply of materials from our vendors has tightened which has limited our production capacity. In order to improve material planning and delivery schedules, the following are changes to our material allocation which will begin June 1.  

  • Material allocations will be established at the regional level to align with the capacity of the respective manufacturing locations.
  • Upon reaching monthly allocated order volume, additional orders will not be accepted until allocations are reset at the beginning of the next month.
  • Non-active and/or new customers will not be eligible to participate in the allocation program.

Your specific material allocation will be communicated to you by your respective sales representative no later than June 1. 

As you plan your business for the coming months, we expect to experience extended lead times. Please anticipate that all new orders will receive ship dates aligned with the production capacity based upon the expected steel from our suppliers.   

With the material indices continuing to rise since our last communication on May 3, we will be monitoring the market to provide you with pricing guidance for the third quarter in the coming weeks.  

We understand the challenges each of you is facing with rising material costs, limited supply, and the availability of labor. We are actively working to increase our network capacities and will continue to proactively communicate with you on our progress.”

It has been tough enough to see double digit increases in steel costs pretty well every month. According to NAHB (National Association of Home Builders):

“Steel mill products prices climbed 18.4% in April following a 17.6% increase in March.  Prices are up 55.6%, year-to-date, and the month-over-month percentage increase set a record high for the third month in a row. Steel mill products price volatility is greater than it has been at any time since the Great Recession.”

Now, besides being increasingly expensive, product may not even be available. Hansen Pole Buildings does happen to be one of American Building Components’ largest clients, so we are hopeful we will be able to continue to fulfill orders in a timely manner, however for those who are smaller, regional roll formers, it could be they are going to run out of coil and not be able to source more.

We obviously do not own a crystal ball to forecast when prices and availability of building products will stabilize. For those of you who are looking to build, if you can borrow at low interest rates over long terms, it is yet an opportunity, as higher future interest rates will likely more than offset any lower prices.

Preston Bowen

President, Building Envelope Solutions

Engineered Design, Steel Gauges, and Instant Pricing!

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am building a pole barn with rafters at 16″ OC. We sheeted the roof and sides of it.

The building is 16′ wide with and engineered ridge pole.

Do I need knee bracing at each of the posts along the walls? Can I skip putting the bracing on the corners? Can I skip the knee bracing altogether?


DEAR BRIAN: First, here is some reading about knee braces: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/01/post-frame-construction-knee-braces/

You mention you have an engineered ridge pole, in order for it to be engineered it must mean the engineer of record who designed your building specified it. Otherwise, it is just a piece of building material. As such, you should contact the engineer who did your plans as he or she is the only one who can make the determination as to the need or lack thereof for the knee braces on your building.

If an engineer did not design your building, the best recommendation is to take what you have done so far to an engineer, have them review it and make a determination as to which path you should carry on from here.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can you give me some information on what kind of metal you use and what options are available? For example, if I am building a commercial shop building, what gauge do you offer, what profiles do you have, (low rib – high rib), do you make the metal yourself or who do you get that from? Do you get it from my local lumberyard?

Thanks for your time? JUSTIN

DEAR JUSTIN: Our most commonly used product is 29 gauge three foot net coverage panels with 3/4 inch high ribs nine inches on center. Chances are we can provide pretty much whatever you are in search of on your new Hansen Pole Building – we can provide a myriad of gauges (although 29 gauge will generally carry most any load being applied to it) and profiles, as well as numerous options for the warranty on the paint finishes.

We do not manufacture, we buy very well and at wholesale from several of the major manufacturers – primarily American Building Components and Fabral, with some product also from manufacturers such as Central States, McElroy and Union Corrugating. All of our steel vendors are long established firms with reputations from excellent quality and superior service. We do not purchase from “ma and pa” roll formers, nor do we use or offer seconds.

And no, we do not get our steel from your local lumberyard – chances are good we could sell steel to them, at prices lower than what they pay for it.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m looking for a place that I can look at the metal buildings as well as floor plans. KYM in CLARKSVILLE

DEAR KYM: There are lots of photos of finished post frame “metal” buildings available to look at here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/gallery/.

The beauty of most post frame buildings is, unless you actually want to have interior columns, they can be clearspanned which allows you to place any desired interior walls pretty much wherever you would like them.

Is Wood a Renewable Resource?

Did You Know Wood is Not a Renewable Resource?

Yeah, I know.

Anyone can basically put forth just about any statement they want and craft a defense to it which someone will believe!

Of course this one was put forth in www.steelframing.org in one of their four times a year online issues of Framework.

Reporting upon a recently held meeting, the editors of Framework wrote, “…attendees discussed the various definitions for the term “sustainability,” with the primary focus that for a product to be classified as renewable, it must have no human intervention. If that’s true, then all of those tree farms used to produce the wood for construction would lose their renewable classification. In addition, the committee bounced around a new term – “neutral-newable” – to cover those materials that are classified as non-renewable but have characteristics like infinite recyclability. That’s steel! Proponents of the new term argued that it is unfair to penalize materials that continue to be replenished through the process of recycling without losing their chemical properties or strength.”

Now I realize this was put forth by the proponents of steel and the steel industry, who would appear to be trying to influence this interpretation by ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials www.astm.org). If ASTM were to drink this Kool-Aid® it would give steel a more competitive edge against wood products.

In my humble opinion, coining a new term such as “neutral-newable” seems to be a smoke screen which just confuses the issues in the eyes of the general populace.

Pole Building Framing Lumber

Trying to term wood as being non-renewable because it requires human intervention is bunk. I happen to live in the forest. In an area which has been logged at least three times in the past 125 years. My forest, along with acre upon acre of similar forests in North America grew back without the help of any humans doing replanting!

The idea of recycling steel not taking “human intervention” is one which I had to pick myself up off the floor after laughing about. Recycling steel takes lots of humans to recover, separate, process, transport and re-manufacture new raw materials out of the waste.

Steel has lots of great properties and our world would not be what it is today without steel – however I feel it is best to promote it for what it is, as opposed to trying to sling mud and pull down alternative products, such as wood, which have their own place.

Our planet is far more likely to run out of the resources necessary for the production (and reproduction) of steel, than it is of the truly renewable resource – timber!