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    Pole building engineering

    I've been looking at small pole building engineering. It appears that if you use poles set at 8' apart or greater, you need to use a truss built roof rather than common rafters. I'm looking at buildings & IRC codes that indicate you can go as wide as 12' between poles. But everything I read says "Truss" built roofs when post are at 8'+. I'm thinking of a barn 18' x 24'. I wanted to use 8' spacing over 6x6 poles. But I do not want to use trusses. So now I'm looking at 6' spacing. Has anyone done a barn around the size I'm thinking about using 8' between poles with a common rafter roof build.

    I hope my question is understandable.

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    Manomet's Avatar
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    I will look in my code books. I think it is more a function of the beam size running between posts and the bracing between posts than the post size. The oak barn I built used 7x7's and the spacing was 12'. I would avoid a truss roof at all costs.99% of all the roof failures up here in the snow this winter were truss roofs. I think you are going to see some code revisions coming.
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    My building was erected in 1992, it has 8 foot pole spacing with trusses. I are starting to spread a lot of weight out on rafters. Think of any additional snow load and you may have a mess. What is your reason not use trusses?
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    Manomet's Avatar
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    More useable space, no crane, save money, better looking, less expensive to upsize for extra load, do it all your self, and trusses typically would be spec'd for a wider span where conventional framing might be more difficult for some. JMTC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manomet View Post
    I will look in my code books. I think it is more a function of the beam size running between posts and the bracing between posts than the post size. The oak barn I built used 7x7's and the spacing was 12'. I would avoid a truss roof at all costs.99% of all the roof failures up here in the snow this winter were truss roofs. I think you are going to see some code revisions coming.
    Not sure the OP has concerns about snow load in SC? Maybe should place some strapping for uplift from hurricane winds depending on his location though...
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    Manomet's Avatar
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    I don't think he is worried about snow either. Back before the engineers and the lumber company's got involved in roof designs people built for functionality and practicality and usually overbuild a little just because. Given a choice on a small span building I would opt for an open attic area with some properly installed collar ties and maximize the usable space. With the right size header/beam between posts that are properly braced any spacing is possible.
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    Not necessarily what you are looking for but...

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    8 ft centers 5 Trusses, no crane was used. Fast.
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    tj1
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manomet View Post
    I will look in my code books. I think it is more a function of the beam size running between posts and the bracing between posts than the post size. The oak barn I built used 7x7's and the spacing was 12'. I would avoid a truss roof at all costs.99% of all the roof failures up here in the snow this winter were truss roofs. I think you are going to see some code revisions coming.
    As Manomet has stated, it is the beam size (weight to be carried), bracing, post size and footings that will determine how far apart the support posts can be. We are both building officials about 35-40 miles apart and I have also witnessed destruction with trusses and hardly any failures with conventional rafters, plus fire hates trusses, the gusset plates melt off before the wood even really gets going, less chance to save the structure, and regular trusses are not designed to store anything on the lower cord. You can order limited storage trusses but $$$$. Your support beam size will also need to be beefed up if you plan to store anything on the ties or ceiling joists. With the proper beam size, post size, footings, wall ties (ceiling joists) or collar ties located in right place and not the upper 1/3 area (you can use mechanical fasteners over the top of the rafters to tie the upper third of the rafters), the sky is the limit for you. I would not want to get into the IRC if you are not familiar with the charts, math and wind bracing so I would contact a local design engineer and have that person do the calcs/design for you. If you need a permit you will no doubt need a plan and the official will be looking for calculations. It would be cheap money to have a professional design your barn. Unfortunately here in Ma we have &%#* amendments to go along with the IRC! Good luck
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandyM View Post
    My building was erected in 1992, it has 8 foot pole spacing with trusses. I are starting to spread a lot of weight out on rafters. Think of any additional snow load and you may have a mess. What is your reason not use trusses?
    To answer your question on avoiding trusses. I will be building this on my own, with no help. Also cost of having trusses engineered & built. I would have to hire a few helpers, probably three guys & myself to stack em & place em. My current lumber estimate for a 18' x 24' barn-PLUS a left & right side shed attached to the main building that measure 12' x 24' is running $3,624. for what is essentially three structers- a main barn, a storage shed & a workshop shed. This figure is pretty complete as far as major lumber & siding goes. Does not include finish roofing such as shingles or metal. And I want a concrete floor pour as well.

    The current plan calls for 6x6 posts spaced six feet apart on the 24 foot measure. This puts a post right in the center of the building on either side. This now allows the ceiling or loft joists to run in the same direction as the wall. At the center posts a double 2x8x18' span across the width of the building & the joists tie into that 2 x 8 which shortens the joists to a 12' length on either side of the 18 foot span beam. Hope I'm explaining it good enough here. This is not my design. However it is a plan done by a licensed architect & I like it. But what I am trying to do is change it in order to possibly eliminate a couple of poles, their cost & the work but it does not appear to be worth it.

    This lead me to do some research & I noticed that everything I looked at indicated to go to a truss roof when pole span is at or over 8' wide.
    I really don't understand that. This building is only 18'x24' & really in no need of trusses. As a one man builder I can put up a gable roof on my own. I've done it before & with good prep for the ridge beam & pre cut common rafters, I can erect it by myself as I've done it in the past.

    Having said all this, I'm somewhat committed to the architect's use of six foot between poles. The reason being that the loft joists run on the same plane as the walls, but are 12' long because they tie into the 18' span header. The other option would be to run the joists at a right angle to the walls. This would require 18 foot long joists- and a lot of bracing to stiffen them up along with possible sagging problems later on.

    And lastly, whatever money & work I save on pole elimination will be lost on all the additional lumber & work needed to do it differently. But again, I'm curious as to why everyone is saying "Truss" at 8' & over. It rarely snows here in this part of the state. And when it does, it's gone in a few hours. We get more frost & black ice than snow. I believe that structures should b built as required by their use & the environment they will be in. So that's why I'm questioning this blanket statement roof trusses. I have nothing against trusses provided that they are necessary & not overkill to what you really need. Thanks for reading my mindless babble.


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    tj1
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maddog View Post
    To answer your question on avoiding trusses. I will be building this on my own, with no help. Also cost of having trusses engineered & built. I would have to hire a few helpers, probably three guys & myself to stack em & place em. My current lumber estimate for a 18' x 24' barn-PLUS a left & right side shed attached to the main building that measure 12' x 24' is running $3,624. for what is essentially three structers- a main barn, a storage shed & a workshop shed. This figure is pretty complete as far as major lumber & siding goes. Does not include finish roofing such as shingles or metal. And I want a concrete floor pour as well.

    The current plan calls for 6x6 posts spaced six feet apart on the 24 foot measure. This puts a post right in the center of the building on either side. This now allows the ceiling or loft joists to run in the same direction as the wall. At the center posts a double 2x8x18' span across the width of the building & the joists tie into that 2 x 8 which shortens the joists to a 12' length on either side of the 18 foot span beam. Hope I'm explaining it good enough here. This is not my design. However it is a plan done by a licensed architect & I like it. But what I am trying to do is change it in order to possibly eliminate a couple of poles, their cost & the work but it does not appear to be worth it.

    This lead me to do some research & I noticed that everything I looked at indicated to go to a truss roof when pole span is at or over 8' wide.
    I really don't understand that. This building is only 18'x24' & really in no need of trusses. As a one man builder I can put up a gable roof on my own. I've done it before & with good prep for the ridge beam & pre cut common rafters, I can erect it by myself as I've done it in the past.

    Having said all this, I'm somewhat committed to the architect's use of six foot between poles. The reason being that the loft joists run on the same plane as the walls, but are 12' long because they tie into the 18' span header. The other option would be to run the joists at a right angle to the walls. This would require 18 foot long joists- and a lot of bracing to stiffen them up along with possible sagging problems later on.

    And lastly, whatever money & work I save on pole elimination will be lost on all the additional lumber & work needed to do it differently. But again, I'm curious as to why everyone is saying "Truss" at 8' & over. It rarely snows here in this part of the state. And when it does, it's gone in a few hours. We get more frost & black ice than snow. I believe that structures should b built as required by their use & the environment they will be in. So that's why I'm questioning this blanket statement roof trusses. I have nothing against trusses provided that they are necessary & not overkill to what you really need. Thanks for reading my mindless babble.

    Maddog, I am at a loss on the; "over 8' span requires trusses"? I don't know where that comes from. You can use the 18' span and beef up the joist similar to a truss by tying to the rafters in the right places to stop the "sag" as you put it.. This is very simple to do, yes a few more sticks of lumber but you will get what you want. 2- 2X8X18' with the joists running 12' will have quite a bounce on the floor/loft area..
    It is the beams/headers between the posts that need to be beefed up to get a larger span between the posts.. It appears you want to just have an opening in the center of the wall, in that case just beef up that span and leave the rest at the 6 spacing. It will save you a few bucks. I don't see any law that requires trusses for this size building.. Trusses are for ease and speed of building in this case but not mandated by code. Hope this helps.. Jeff
    Last edited by tj1; 03-15-2015 at 11:47 AM.
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