Pole Building

wurdan freo

Anyone here have any experience with pole building?  Thinking of using the technology for a small two story hotel. Any reason not to? 

It seems that pole buildings have been used for almost every other type of commercial building.  Why not  hotels?

Aug 18, 14 11:44 pm
I did it once for a gym addition to a small high school. Main issues I had:

1: these buildings have more built in sway than a typical building, which makes it harder to attach to an existing building

2: same issue with adding a nicer skin to it.

3: at the end of the day, you might be better off just designing the frame you want.

Unless it is supposed to look like an off the shelf metal building, but if it is, then why do they need an architect?
Aug 19, 14 10:14 am

I'm confused.  What is a 'pole building'?  Looks like a prefabricated metal building.  I've got tons of experience with those and if it is like that, hotel use (or any use requiring a lot of compartmentalization and rated assemblies) wouldn't be a good option.

Aug 19, 14 11:15 am

i think people commonly use the term 'pole building' to describe metal buildings.

as far as i know, the main advantage is the long span.  also, as gruen touches on, they design these things to the gnat's ass.  if you hang a light from structure it will fall down (that is an exaggeration).  a second story would probably be built like a mezzanine, requiring secondary structure and taking away a lot of the advantage.

hotel is institutional rather than commercial, so i don't know if you'd get problems with exiting or possibly fire ratings.

Aug 19, 14 12:42 pm

Wurdan freo….I’m Midwest and they are everywhere in agriculture. The largest producer around is Morton and they market them as barns, workshops even cabins and homes but even touts them for restaurants. All they are is Post-And-Beam (wood) wall structure with prefabricated wood roof trusses. The only commercial applications I’ve seen are small industrial office/shop things and one small doctor’s office. The problem is the building foundation. All they do is sink the wood posts into the earth and compact. This is the primary source of gruen’s “sway”. I would be very skeptical of this system for uses proposed for 2 stories or with a lot of interior finishes and doors like a hotel. I think you could modify the foundation but there goes the “system”.

It’s just like metal buildings with metal frames, if you use them off-the-shelf from the catalog they go up quick, easy and cheap. But as soon as you try monkeying around with modifications to the “systems” you may as well follow a conventional path that is more prudent.

Aug 19, 14 2:36 pm

Carrera is right about the monkeying around business.  The minute you touch the base design, cost skyrocket and problems ensue. 

If it's like a metal building... They had wonderful lobbyist.  Lots of energy code and building code exceptions.  So they aren't that 'airtight' and skip a ton of moisture mitigation requirements.  Also if I remember correctly, much larger deflections allowed.  Essentially, perfect for a warehouse type thing... Occupied space not so much.  Simple example; The standing seam roof clear spans from purlin to purlin without sheathing and without the roof felts... totally allowed in a metal building.  As is exposed insulation. Even with windows, there is nothing to flash to because the wall panel is all that there is... no sheathing or wrb's again.

And IMHO, they've only gotten pretty because multiple zoning districts flat out ban metal buildings.  So they needed something that would please the aesthetics of the HOA's and planners.  Once that happened, they decided to 'broaden the market'.

That all adds up to bad for something like a motel.  You'd need to sound proof and rate the walls around each unit.  You can't live with some leaks.  Hard to do with a leaky flexy building that starts costing a fortune because of your monkey business with changing a utilitarian structure into something it isn't.

Kind of how I normally use them is something like an autodealership.  The service bays  and parts storage might be that kind of building; Attached to a real building for sales and offices. 

I've also used them on burn towers; where the fire department trains.  That's a fun building type since you light it on fire and douse it with cold water over and over.  So the building itself is sort of considered to be 'sacrificial'...  it will last a few years and is cheaper to replace than to build with fire brick (which still can't take the hot/cold and pressurized water for too long without blowing the face off).

Aug 20, 14 10:09 am

metal building people have been developing systems to meet continuous insulation and for the new energy code, too.  i find it interesting how they develop these systems.  it's akin, at least in my mind, to some of the modular stuff bucky worked on.  everything is developed to be cheap and thrown together quickly.  it's certainly not always the right solution.  it is what it is, and if you recognize that, they can have their own sort of place, or their own higher aesthetic of a sort, as long as recognize the long list of shortcomings that are associated with the limitations they build to.

the ceilings are loud.  not just in rain or hail, but the wind blows the standing seam (or more common, screw down since it's cheaper) around and there will be lots of big pops and such.  i don't think i would want to sleep in one, but i've seen metal buildings used in residential applications.

Aug 20, 14 10:43 am

Curt, you open the door to using their system components as a base for architectural solutions. I have a great book called “Corrugated Iron” with the history and present use of subject components. Look to Lake-Flato and Carraro House and Air Barn–San Saba as examples. A strategy might be to say “Send me the frame and I’ll take it from there”.




Aug 20, 14 11:53 am

To eliminate some of the crinkling noise aroun the fastener is to use rubberized washers so to minimize noise. A little bit of sealants as well used where necessary. It would help in reduing some of the noise. 

Aug 20, 14 12:08 pm

@Richard... good call.  There's also usually a roof panel upgrade that adds a rubberized gasket to the standing seam clip.  That also helps with the watertightness during wind driven storms.

Aug 20, 14 2:17 pm
This showed up in my inbox today, someone might find it helpful.
Aug 20, 14 9:05 pm
wurdan freo

They don't have to look like a steel building and can be concrete piers with heavy timbers.  Eliminate the second floor and design for movement? Fire rating seems to be stickler. Could use deflection track, but would be nice to finish interior with reclaimed wood. Maybe on top of 1 hr finish?

Aug 21, 14 2:16 am

If you want to add an extra shelter to your  homestead easily and economically then pole barns colorado springs . To build it simply follow these steps:

1.Create a level base pad (if you want more than just the earth underfoot)

2.set poles vertically into holes in the ground

3.connect them across the top with beams and braces

4.then put roof trusses on top.

Sep 9, 14 8:06 am
( o Y o )

I wouldn't touch colleenhuntley with a ten foot pole.

Sep 9, 14 8:57 am

@Max why per link "is strong and does not leak"

Sep 9, 14 7:20 pm

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: