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Post Frame Barns and Buildings

Why FBi? Benefits of our post-frame buildings.

Why should you choose a post-frame building (pole barn) instead of other types of structures? Here are a few important reasons.

Quick Construction

Pole barns go up quickly. Getting "under roof" takes half the time compared to conventional construction methods. This is because the post-frame method is less labor intensive. There are far fewer (but significantly larger) framing members. And because we can build all year round, you don't have to wait on the weather. Concrete floors can be added later, after the building is up.

FBi crews are some of the most experienced and best trained in the industry, making them especially fast.

Affordability

Because pole barn construction is quick and efficient, labor costs are lower than with other types of construction. This is especially true if you do not need a continuous concrete foundation. Plus, wood is almost always less expensive than steel, brick and concrete block. And if you choose to use steel siding and roofing, pole barns are even more affordable. Buildings can be quickly clad with those steel panels, resulting in additional labor savings.

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Flexibility

Post-frame buildings offer great flexibility. It's easier and more cost-effective to add attractive design features (such as overhangs, steeper roof pitch, porches, etc.) to our buildings than to steel-frame buildings. Plus, because our buildings don't require interior supporting walls, you have wide-open space inside to configure however you want. Interior build-out is simpler, too, with a wood frame than with steel. Also, since our supporting columns are 8' apart, you can add extra doors and windows down the road without too much trouble. Doing that in a stud wall is much more difficult.

Pole barns offer outstanding flexibility in exterior finishes, too. It doesn't have to be steel. Almost any type of facade can be used - brick, block, EIFS, vinyl or wood siding.

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Strength

Some people are surprised to learn that post-frame construction produces stronger buildings than other methods. But it is true for the following reasons:

  • Columns in the ground add to the building's stability and wind resistance.
  • Horizontally connected posts form a tremendously strong box that adds to wind and seismic resistance.
  • The direct attachment of trusses to the post frame makes it virtually impossible for the roof to detach from the building.
  • The diaphragm effect created by the post-frame structures allows them to flex under stress instead of cracking, crumbling or collapsing like many other structures.

Source: "The Post-Frame Advantage: It's Long-Lasting and Resilient." Frame Building News, January 2003.

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Energy Efficiency

Looking for an airtight, energy-efficient building? Post-frame has stud wall or block construction beat. Our 8'-wide wall cavities are typically 8" deep. That accommodates a thick and wide blanket of unbroken insulation. The wood columns themselves provide R-value and have very low heat conductivity.A cool metal roof has a high solar reflectance and high thermal emittance. (The emittance of a material refers to its ability to release absorbed heat.)

In addition, all of FBi's standard steel colors are energy-saving "cool metal roofing" formulations that have earned the Energy Star rating.

Steel frame buildings suffer from thermal bridging of the steel columns, conducting valuable heat out of the building at a rate 310 times faster than wood. In addition, insulation is sandwiched between the outside steel and the framing members, thus compromising its R-value.

Concrete block has very little insulative value. The block cores can be filled with insulation, but that results in uneven R-value. To get a block building warm and tight, additional work must be done - either furring strips with insulation between or an insulated stud wall. Either way, it is at additional cost.

  • Post-frame building - Has large wall cavities, typically 8" deep (on a building with finished interior) by 8' wide between columns, which allows for ample amounts of continuous insulation. Furthermore, the wood framing members have some R-value and provide very low heat conductivity.
  • Steel-frame building - Requires insulation to be sandwiched between the outside steel and the framing members. This causes the insulation to get crimped in “waves” around the building. Compressed insulation has very little R-value. In addition, the steel columns act as powerful thermal bridges, transferring valuable heat to the outside during the winter. In fact, steel conducts heat 310 times faster than wood.
  • Concrete block building - Block by itself provides very little insulative value. The blocks' cores can be filled with insulation. However, that provides very uneven R-value because the cores constitute only a portion of the block. Typically, to get a block building warm and tight, additional work must be done. Furring strips can be attached to the block and then insulation applied between, or stud walls must then be built and insulated. Either way, for fire safety, most insulations need to be protected with a covering, such as drywall or steel.

 

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Environmental Benefits

To measure the “greenness” of a building, one must consider the entire life cycle of the building (construction through use through end of life) and the amount of non-renewable and non-recyclable resources expended during that life cycle.1

Post-frame buildings provide an impressive number of environmental benefits. In fact, in the words of one university researcher, “Post-frame buildings are as ‘green’ as it gets.”2

Let’s first consider construction and end-of-use.

Post-frame buildings are framed with wood. Wood is a renewable resource and does not contribute to deforestation. In fact, “responsible forest management over the past 100 years has left the United States and Canada with more wood growing now than a century ago.”3 Wood is also “one of only a few building materials that actually removes carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere instead of dispersing it as a greenhouse gas.”4

Because the frame of an FBi building gets its strength from a small number of large, widely spaced columns, rather than a large number of smaller members, fewer building materials are needed to achieve load capacities. And less labor and fuel is required for erection.

Waste is further reduced because many of the components are pre-cut and sized for the job. For instance, steel panels are ordered in the exact sizes needed. Trusses and laminated columns are manufactured in a plant and shipped to the job site.

The steel siding and roofing often used to clad post-frame buildings is made almost entirely from recycled content and “compared to masonry products, steel does not use as much energy, nor does it produce as many other types of environmental pollutants.”5 But it isn’t just the steel that is recyclable. The entire building can be. Steel-clad post-frame buildings can be easily disassembled and reused or recycled, leaving the site in clean condition.

Post-frame buildings really excel in saving energy during building use. ComCheck Analysis confirms that post-frame buildings “achieve the highest R-values compared to steel-framed and brick or masonry buildings.”6 (See the section above to learn why.) And all of FBi’s painted steel qualifies as “cool metal roofing." It reflects most of the sun’s heat energy, thus requiring less energy to cool the building below. (See more information in section above.)

If you are concerned about the environmental impact of your building, FBi’s post-frame buildings are an excellent choice.

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1 John Fullerton, “Post Frame Buildings are as “Green as it Gets”, Frame Building News. 
2 David R. Bohnhoff, P.E., Ph.D., professor at University of Wisconsin – Madison.
3 Resources/Enviromental article at postframeadvantage.com
4 Fullerton, “Post Frame Buildings are as “Green as it Gets”
5 Ibid
6 Ibid