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Pole barn vs steel building9/6
Hello all, I am looking into having a shop built, roughly 3000 sqft. I am looking into my options and am looking at polebarns and steel framed buildings(sure as General Steel) as options. It looks like steel frame buildings are more cost effective to put up, but what are the negatives with them? I live in northern Michigan and can see heat loss through the heavy metal frames being a drawback, and having to frame interior walls to mount stuff to as the inside of metal buildings are angled in at the top. For those of you who have a metal building, do you wish you had gone another direction? What are pros and cons of these buildings? Thanks
I have a steel frame metal building. Mine has the ridged frame design (columns angle in at top) That is a problem where I have steel racking for lumber. It requires the racking to be held out from the wall. I would prefer going with the post and beam steel frame. They cost more and can't span as wide of building. My clear span is 80' (actual 78' inside.) I'll assume that the pole building is also skinned in sheet steel and would have plastic faced insulation exposed like a basic steel framed building. Not good for insulating value or getting damaged. You will need to have an interior wall surface (steel, plywood or gyp.) That will likely require more framing for the pole building. If you skin the inside you can go with better (more) insulation than the plastic faced stuff. I don't care for the sheet metal skin outside. Too easily damaged. But it is cheap.
Put in a 6" concrete floor with perimeter insulation. Much more crack resistant (than 4") and better for a CNC router.
My building has 4" of insulation. The most they would put in at the time it was built. It is compressed to 1/2" +- at all frame locations, not good! But that would also be the case with the typical pole shed.
If I was starting over, I'd have a concrete tilt up with sandwich construction, foam core. For a small building wood roof trusses and standing seam roofing.
In your design, take into consideration possible future expansion, provide for cross ventilation (overhead doors on opposite sides,) roof or gable vents, natural light (high mounted windows,) locating the compressor, refrigerated drier & vacuum pump in their own (vented) room to keep the noise down. Dust collection outside. Provide for electrical cord reels in many places on the ceiling. 120 Volt outlets every 10' around the walls. Put in more electrical service than you think you need (its way cheaper than adding latter.) Sooner or later you will want 3 phase. It can be done with a converter. Smaller motors can have VS drives installed that will provide 3 phase.
To make a steel frame building energy efficient, you have to build a wooden building inside it. Pole barn at least has a wood frame with purlins. But the one we had put up on our farm, had the posts starting to rot. It is one that has laminated 2x lumber for the posts. I'd build a traditional wood framed building on a slab if I was doing that.
One thing that I would definitely do differently is to put radiator heat in the flooring. The heat would be consistent, no filters to change due to dust and very few cold spots due to air flow.
3,000 s/f? I'd build it as a stick framed wood building. Or timber frame it. 2x6 walls for insulation, and whatever you want for the ceiling. Put up some decent 1/2" ply on the inside walls and you have a very nice shop. Paint the ceiling white. You will have a very familiar building with wide versatility. Plan to add on.
Have you considered hollow concrete block walls and wood truss or structural insulated panel roof with metal R panel. You could do spray foam insulation with trusses and metal roofing.
Three years ago I had a stick built 16' high 73'x188' built with steel inside and out, infloor heat, overhead doors for ventilation and door use, 5" of spray foam and plenty of windows and man doors. Takes little to heat (northern Iowa) and is a pleasure to work in. The white interior steel walls and ceiling are great. Nice and bright, easy to clean off and very pleasant to work in. I can't think of anything I would do different.
I'm in Northern Michigan, Traverse City area. I built a 12,000 sq ft Steel building in 2002. I think you will find, for the size building you are considering, steel is too expensive. Everything has to be engineered. A pole barn I'm sure is the least expensive. The buildings have different uses.
My shop has 24' high ceilings and I can store lumber high with a 16' three stage mast forklift. I also have a loading dock which I think would be difficult with a pole building. Steel buildings have a lower pitch on the roof. My pitch is 1' in 12', So, we get ice accumulation along our eve's and that can be dangerous.
Driving around N Michigan, you will see damage along the base of the walls on steel buildings. This is caused by ice accumulating along the eve, when it heats up, the ice slides out to about three feet and then breaks off, crashing down and it falls back against the building. That is the primary reason that you see concrete block on the lower level of these steel buildings. I think you can avoid this with a different pitch roof.
If you do build a Woodworking shop, check the codes. I think they have changed. Also, check with the Fire Marshal. They will review any plan you have and you can go through the whole process and have it rejected by the Fire Marshal.
The comments above are all good. I think it really depends on your budget and long term goals.
If you want to see my building, send me a message.
Some good responses. About under floor heat, using headers along the perimeter where each run is supplied is a good idea. That way if one run gets damaged you can cap it off easily. Its not easy to locate a bad spot when it is all laid as one run.
High ceilings, yes. I have 18' side walls and wish I had 20'. Lots of stuff gets hung there: lights, sprinkler pipes, ducts, electrical, cord reels, heating... and it is nice to be able to end for end a board w/o hitting something. If you have a forklift tall racking makes more storage. White walls and ceiling will help with lighting, a lot. Epoxy the floor for easy cleaning and for light reflectance. I like windows, they do drain heat but do provide nice lighting ambience.
For those of you planning a larger shop: If I was doing it again, I would put in buss duct for power distribution. A loading dock lets you roll stuff in & out and use the forklift on heavy items.
My dad had a concrete block shop. Cores were filled with insulation but ice would still form on the inside! Foam insulation is efficient but needs to be covered with something fire retardant.
Concrete: tilt up or poured in place is the most durable but expensive. Also more difficult to modify. Stick frame on a slab is probably your best bet for the size you are talking about.
I didn't have the money to put in floor heating. Since, I have added a wood waste burner and run heat lines through the building. My shop is not well heated. We vent air when finishing and we do not have make up air so it is cold at times.
One thing I did do was to run my electric under the floor. I did a machinery layout with AutoCAD and I had the plumber run PVC pipe on the ground before we poured the concrete. This saved quite a lot with the electric. I worked this out with the electrician as well. If you do that, be sure that the electrician leaves a thin rope in the pipe in the event you want to add electric and my pipe is 2".
There is a trick to getting a thin rope through a PVC pipe if one is not put in place as the pipe is first installed.
Three things are needed:
Tie the bag to one end of the line and stuff the bag into one end of the pipe. Use the vacuum at the other end of the pipe to suck the bag through. Be sure that enough string has been unwound and tangle-free as the vacuum will pull the bag through very quickly.
Use the pulling line to pull the electrical wiring through the PVC.
If the pulling line is not strong enough (it is pretty strong by itself), use the line to pull a heavier rope through first, then use the heavier rope to pull the electrical.
We did this on a 100'+ underground run. The bag pulled through the 1.5" PVC within a couple of seconds.
Good luck on the new building.
I would look at SIPS to build the whole building. Definitely for the roof. They span something like 10' on a roof. You can frame the roof with large LVL and a structural ridge.
After you do the math of 2x6 + sheathing + insulation what's it compare to SIP walls.
There are steel buildings the vertical walls. What is the cost difference?
There are also the newer insulated block form things ICF.
I would never build a house or shop without a SIP roof.
Thanks for all the input. One of the reasons I was looking at a steel building is most polebarn builders around here are very busy, have a long waiting list and are getting to be a bit pricey(I was rough quoted $30 to $35 a sqft for my shop. Included cement, two overhead doors, two man doors, 4 windows, building site work and insulation). I was hoping a company like general steel with mobile crews that travel and have a standardized system in place would be a better way to go.
Steel buildings you're stuck building a building, inside your building to finish it off. Somebody already said this. If you want a cheap structure, and aren't planning on finishing it off, steel is a really economical way to do it. Plus you can more cost effectively do a bigger span than wood trusses.
I'm assuming this is fairly universal, going much more than sixty feet on a truss gets real expensive real quick.
I'm not a fan of pole buildings. You've got wood in the ground, it can rot.
My building is 60x132 with a 16' sidewall. Stud construction 2x8 16" OC. Sheeted on the outside, and FRP panels sheeting the inside. FRP, (fibre reinforced panel), is like the stuff they use in hog/dairy barns. It was expensive but it's durable and I didn't have to paint. I figured it was a wash in cost over painting OSB, and its more durable than paint. I ruled out sheetrock, it would just get abused too easily.
Money no object? I would've done tip ups. I looked into it and for my building the panels were $120k. No trucking, no setting. Just the panels. For my needs, this was the most cost effective way to go. If you're building in an industrial park, they generally have covenants that would prohibit a wood structure. Then you're stuck with steel, block, or tip ups. I'm not a fan of flat roofs though. Snow load and ice are something to consider and a pitched steel roof handles that about as well as anything.
Somebody said tip ups are hard to modify. Not that I've seen. Most of the time they yank them out of the ground and re-use them. Then keep on rolling with new panels.
In floor heat is a no brainer. Put the pipe in the slab, buy a boiler later. There is no better heat source for a wood shop. You also have multiple heat sources for a boiler. Electric, propane/NG, or a wood boiler. The pipe is cheap, the install is too. Spend the money now at least on that part.
I wouldn't bother putting conduit in the floor. You aren't going to put a piece of equipment in that one place forever. Pipe it overhead in EMT with cord drops and changes are cheap and easy. Want to bump something 2' one direction or another? You probably won't even need to change anything. A wood shop, or any business for that matter, is a growing changing organism. The size you're looking at is small (as is mine), and it's needs will change. You will have "ah ha" moments and get different, better, bigger equipment to avoid getting raped by the government and to provide a better product at a lower cost to your clientele.
Bring in a bigger service than you need. (Already been said too). I brought in 800 amps of 480v. I'm sitting pretty good right now, but I've got room to expand, both electrically and physically, and I can pull another 200 amps out of the transformer if need be, (might be 400 amps, I don't remember). That's probably more juice needed than my willingness to grow big enough to use it. But you never know. If the utility company scoffs at you, lie. Lie for longer. Tell them you're planning on growing aggressively. Bring in 480 too. 208/240 goes fast. It's cheaper now than later.
You will not come close to building a 3,000 sq ft building for $35 per sq ft. There is so much more to a building than a shell. You will probably be closer to $75 to $80 per sq ft. You say this includes concrete, how much, 4" 5" or more? Does this include Site Plan? Probably not. How much for Permits?
My building is a Steel and block building, 12,000 sq ft. With Site Plan, Plan Review, Fire Marshall Plan Review, Township Plan Review and Foundation Permit and Building Permit, I had over $25,000 invested and we hadn't even cleared the lot. And, this was in 2001. And, to defer some costs, I hired the Engineer for the Site Plan, I meet with the Township, I meet with the Engineering Company that The Township hired to review my Site Plan. I meet with the Fire Marshall and I made my own presentation to the Township Board.
My builder suggested that we not tell the Township that the building was being built for a Cabinet/Woodworking business. In retrospect, I am glad I did not follow his advice. I had to have Dust Proof electric and Explosion proof electric in the Spray/finishing area. Years later, when OSHA, MiOSHA in Michigan walked into my shop and told me I had to have Explosion proof wiring everywhere, I showed them my permit and plans and that argument went away. The Fire Department makes and inspection about every five years, so you will need their approval.
I have a friend that got a quote for a 12,000 sq ft Steel and block building and it was in the $130 sq ft range. I built my building for about $60 a sq ft, but that was 16 years ago. My Insurance company put a replacement cost on my building at $900,000 which would put the building at $75 sq ft, That figure does not include Site work, septic, well, roads, parking, or sidewalks.
I hope this helps.
We are in the process of building a 3,000 SF building ourselves. We got footers poured this week so we're about done :)
I checked every type of building possibility there is and debated the cost vs a multiple of different factors. For this size shop, stick built construction with a slab was the best way to go. We are adjacent to a residential area (we were allowed a zoning ordinance) so our shop will look very much like a house which vinyl siding, brick wainscot, architectural shingles, etc.
I have a close friend that is a builder and we did some bartering and it's still an expensive venture. We own the land and the straight cost for the building alone works out to a little over $50.00 per SF. I'm not paying any mark-ups on material or labor.
The metal building packages like General Steel quoted prices around $70.00 per SF and that didn't include any electrical or plumbing. I believe I would have preferred the metal truss and metal clad walls and roof over the stick-built but the cost difference was just too much for me to swallow this go around.
Hope you spray water based Kevin. If you start pumping out solvent based conversion varnish fumes next to some houses, I bet you get a visit or 10 from zoning.
I built my shop in 2012. One man shop 66' wide X 40' long pole building with a raised cord truss to gain a little extra height in the middle of the shop. Built it wider then long to not effect the neighbors view when I add on. So far i have been extremely happy with the building. Mine is located on my land where my house is. We went threw all loops the permits and zoning changes to get it zoned properly. Have dedicated space for office, bathroom, spray area, finish mixing storage area, and a portion of the side to park truck, skid steer and holds air compressor/dust collector. I did infloor heating and spray foamed walls blown in roof. Well worth the extra cost Only thing i would have done differently would be to sheet the outside of the building before puting up the sheet steel. We had hail damage and had to get it fixed. Alot more work getting steel off and trimming foam to fit the new sheets on the sides of the building. Also the foam pushes out a bit on the steel causing a bubble look was kinda pissed after they sprayed it and thats what you see when you drive up to it. I fully finished the interior. 8' steel on exterior walls in the shop areas and drywall on the rest of walls as well as the ceiling. I did this also for resale if we ever sell. Rather then steel on the inside or just seeing the white insulation. Whatever you end up going with think ahead for future add ons and machine placement changes.