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Barn Blog

December 22, 2015

Pole Barn Post Spacing

When building a pole barn, it might not be possible to make the spacing between the posts completely consistent. You have a little bit of room for variation. As long as you stick to the following guidelines, your pole barn should be strong and secure.

According to the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, no portion of a post should deviate from a plumb line more than 1 percent of the height of the post. A plumb line is a line that extends upward from the base of the post. In addition, no surface of the post should have a slope of more than 1.5 percent.

These guidelines apply to both in- and out-of-plumb post tilt. A post that is designed to be installed out-of-plumb should be set so that no part of it deviates from its location more than 1 percent of the height of the post.

On-center spacing of the bases of adjacent posts should be within two inches of the spacing specified. It is generally recommended that a pole barn be constructed with the trusses directly attached to the columns in some way.

In a worst case scenario, two columns could be offset two inches in one direction and two inches in the other direction, or a total of four inches. The 1 percent out-of-plumb rule could be used to make up some or all of the deviation from the standard spacing. For example, if you are constructing a 10-foot eave building, a column could be leaned up to 1 percent, or 1 3/16 inches. If the trusses are bearing directly on the columns, it is easiest if all the roof purlins are the same length so they can fit snugly between the trusses.

If a pole barn has headers, or truss carriers, from column to column, they could become overstressed if the column spacing is off and create one or more wide bays.

If you are unable to align the columns in your pole barn to meet these guidelines, it is best to contact the architect or engineer who designed the building and ask for an engineered solution. It may be necessary to move or add columns.

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