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Pole Barn


Silver Member
Feb 19, 2010
How can you build a pole barn using the IRC or IBC?

Pole barn plans are readily available on line and are built all over the country in agricultural areas but how do you apply code to their construction without engineering?
I theory, you might be able to get there through the WFCM, and not engineer it....You can engineer and stay in the IRC.....The engineer just approves the structure that exceeds what you can verify.....
Actually the IRC as a prescriptive Code does not apply to post frame construction. Post frame buildings can be designed under the IBC, however the really should be engineered, which is typically included if you get a post frame building kit package from a reputable vendor.
If not prescriptive in IRC then use the IBC which would require engineering to prove it meets the load requirement for the structure in the area it is in. IMHO :D
I worked for a pole barn builder in my youth. What a scary damned dangerous outfit that was. We didn't have permits or plans and some of the barns were enormous. What has changed that made the barns so complicated?
I haven't been involved with any pole barn prior to ICC however IMO it's ICC that has made pole barns so complicated. Not prescriptive, large structure, and with lumber quality seemingly going down it makes the prospect of these pole barns daunting.

We still have a number of folks submitting plans assuming 3000PSF footing/pier capacity.
My state (Ohio) has amended the 2009 IRC to add Section 324 at the end of Chapter 3. Maybe something like this should be added to the IRC.

Section 324 Post Frame Accessory Structures
Prescriptive construction method for single story, maximum building width of 36', maximum wall height of 16', maximum post spacing 8'. It spells out post spacing, footer sizes and depths, sheathing, roofing etc...