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Design a big factor for successful post-frame buildings

Design a big factor for successful post-frame buildings

  • Updated

When the need for a new building arrives, farmers and ranchers may want to consider a post-frame building.

Post-frame construction refers to an engineered wood-frame building system that meets UBC (Uniform Building Code) and IBC (International Building Code) standards. The buildings feature poles or laminated columns and are generally easier to construct than some types of buildings.

The building load is transferred to the ground via a concrete pier or masonry foundation, and there may be plastic barrier systems for protecting the wood and concrete poles, according to the National Frame Building Association (NFBA).

We had the opportunity to ask some questions of Andrew Williams, technical consultant for the NFBA, with headquarters in Dayton, Ohio.

He provided some new information on using post-frame buildings successfully on the farm.

Q: Is a post-frame building the same thing as the pole buildings that are so common for machine sheds or hay sheds?

A: Post-frame construction is quite different than the typical pole barn.

Post-frame has the advantage of minimizing the materials used in construction, but the reason this is possible is that the buildings are highly designed from the connections to the foundation. Typical pole buildings do not undergo the level of design that is used in post-frame construction.

Q: On your website located at, I see several low-to-the-ground farm buildings in your photos. Are post-frame buildings a good choice for hog and turkey barns?

A: Animal containment facilities are a very popular use for post-frame construction. A properly designed structure can offer large spans between columns which is a big advantage when livestock are involved.

Q: What I’d really like to know is what are the advancements in post-frame buildings that farmers and ranchers will want to know about.

A: Advancements in foundation and connection design are key to what makes post-frame construction a fast and economical construction method. In addition, the design of the exterior sheathing is used to distribute the load from each of the “frames”. This design also helps to limit the number of construction components and the time required to construct a building.

Q: Are construction materials readily available?

A: Post-frame construction uses the same type of materials as regular construction. For this reason, the delays in material acquisition are the same as those experienced by other sectors of construction.

Q: Are there certain requirements or changes that have been made as far as snow load?

A: Snow loads are a key consideration in the design of post-frame structures. This type of loading is always considered in the initial post-frame building design.

More often the concern over snow load is for modifications made to the structure after the initial construction.

Addition or relocation of brace points can have a negative effect on building performance if snow load is not considered at the time of the modifications.

Q: That is good information! Thank you! How long can a person expect their post-frame farm building to stay nice looking and useable?

A: Post-frame construction has been used for hundreds of years and there are still many fine examples of post-frame construction that were built in the early 20th Century, well over 70 years ago.

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