Quality Structures For Life
Our commitment is not just about a quality structure. It is about setting new standards in excellence and customer care. Our goal is to exceed your expectations and to provide you with a structure that will stand the testament of time.
No matter the project size or complexity we are committed to you, and we hope you put our commitment to the test by choosing us to build your project.
1) Zoning & Surveying
2) Permits & Blueprints
3) One Call
4) Site Preparation
5) Post Holes and Footings
7) Splash or Grade Board
8) Headers and Tie Downs
The very first step in any construction process is to contact your County or Local Municipality for more details pertaining to your specific area. You need a zoning permit to approve the type, number, or usage of your building(s). They will tell you what your allowed to build, the allowable square footage and the permits and inspections needed, and any other site specific regulations that need to be adhered to.
What is Zoning?
The basic purpose and function of zoning is to divide a municipality into residential, commercial, and industrial districts (or zones), that are for the most part separate from one another, with the use of property within each district being reasonably uniform. Within these three main types of districts there generally will be additional restrictions that can be quite detailed -- including the following:
Specific requirements as to the type of buildings allowed
Location of utility lines
Restrictions on accessory buildings, building setbacks from the streets and other boundaries
Size and height of buildings
Number of rooms
These restrictions may also cover frontage of lots; minimum lot area; front, rear, and side yards; off-street parking; the number of buildings on a lot; and the number of dwelling units in a certain area. Regulations may restrict areas to single-family homes or to multi-family dwellings or townhouses. In areas of historic or cultural significance, zoning regulations may require that those features be preserved.
Once you have received approval from zoning, the number one question to ask yourself is, do you need a surveyor? This will greatly depend upon how close to the property line your new building will be.
How important is it to hire a surveyor?
The most difficult thing about property lines is knowing exactly where they are and calculating the setback. The setback is how close your building will be to your property line. Requirements are determined by each municipality and knowing the setback is a must. Mistakes are easily made here but can be avoided by hiring a surveyor. If there is any question in your mind about property lines, you need to hire a surveyor. The costs of moving a building site can be very expensive.
2) Permits & Blueprints
Most localities require two sets of blueprints to be submitted for review. Some areas will require stamped blueprints. In order to obtain stamped prints they must be reviewed and approved by a qualified engineer. In either case, with a signed contract, we will provide you with the blueprints needed for permit approval. We do not charge for unstamped prints unless large 24” x 36” prints are required.
The homeowner or contractor can complete the appropriate forms and return them with the appropriate fees to the local body that governs building permits in your area. The permit may be immediately approved, require changes or undergo additional review. This can sometimes be a complex process.
We will charge for obtaining permits for you and the cost depends greatly on the complexity of the building. For small buildings this can be minimal. On larger, more complex buildings, the process can consume many hours coordinating with engineers, inspectors, and the permit department. The customer is responsible for all permit fees and costs from your County or municipality. Costs typically range from $25.00 to 1.3% of the cost of your building.
3) One Call
One call is a free service designed to protect property owners, workers, and the utilities. There is no minimum on how much ground you are digging. If you dig with a machine, calling is required in every state, and it’s the law.
At Cedar Valley Post-Frame, we always make this call for you before we or our excavator dig. If you are having the site work done by an outside excavator, make sure they call and note the time and date. It never hurts to follow up and call on your own. It is quick and easy and worth the reassurance.
4) Site Preparation
An unprepared or cheaply prepared site will result in a poor final product. We have prepared a somewhat lengthy explanation as to why it is so important, and it is critical for you to understand it. (For your convenience we have included a more detailed 2 page insert in the back pocket of this folder for you to give to your excavator if you’re planning to use your own.)
Cedar Valley Post-Frame cares about the future of your structure and all of its components, especially your concrete floor. Any deviation from the following by any site contractor not under the direction of Cedar Valley Post-Frame implies no guarantee or warranty and/or can result in additional costs to the owner(s) before Cedar Valley Post-Frame agrees to dig or have concrete installed. We reserve the right to refuse to dig or have concrete poured on any improperly prepared base, sub base or subgrade.
What lies below your concrete slab is critical to a successful job. This is no different than the foundation of a building. A slab on ground, (or slab on grade), by definition is not intended to be self-supporting. The “soil support system” beneath it is there to support the slab. The terminology used for soil support systems, unfortunately, is not completely consistent, so let's follow the American Concrete Institute's definitions, starting from the bottom:
Subgrade - this is the native soil (or improved soil), usually compacted.
Sub base - this is a layer of gravel on top of the subgrade.
Base (or base course) - this is the layer of material on top of the sub base and directly under the concrete floor.
A sub base and base course, or both, provide several good things. The thicker the sub base, the more load the slab can support, so if there are going to be heavy loads on the slab—like trucks or fork lifts—the designer will probably specify the installation of a sub base of 4 inches. A sub base can also act as a drain, preventing water from wicking up from the groundwater table and into the slab. The sub base material is usually reasonably low cost gravel without a lot of fines.
A base course on top of the sub base makes it easier to get to the proper grade and to get it flat. Using a course of finer material on the top of the sub base supports your people and equipment during concrete placement. It will also keep your slab thickness uniform, which will save money on concrete. And a flat base course will allow the slab to slide easily as it shrinks, reducing the risk of cracks as the concrete contracts after placement (drying shrinkage).
The entire sub base and base course system should be at least 4 inches thick—thicker if the engineer feels it is needed for proper support. Many locations will not require a sub base, but many will. This is in part why a site visit is necessary. At that time we can determine whether a sub base will need to be used.
The base course material, according to ACI 302, "Concrete Floor and Slab Construction," should be a "compactible, easy to trim, granular fill that will remain stable and support construction traffic." ACI 302 recommends material with 10 to 30% fines (passing the No. 100 sieve) with no clay, silt, or organic materials. Manufactured aggregate works well—crushed recycled concrete aggregate can also work well.
Also, remember that it's not just the soil (the subgrade) that needs to be compacted. Any sub bases or base courses, which will typically be granular materials, also need to be well compacted in the proper lift thicknesses.
Vapor barriers are essential beneath most interior concrete floors, especially if there is any intention of installing moisture-sensitive floor coverings (tile, wood, vinyl, etc.). In general, the vapor barrier should be directly beneath the concrete.
5) Post Holes & Footings
Holes and footings come in various sizes for different reasons. The typical width of a post hole for residential use is 20”, but can be 24” or 30”. The larger sizes are determined by building height, load, soils and other factors. Our standard drill depth is 4 feet. This allows for at least 8” of concrete and keeps us well below the 36” frost line.
After the holes have been drilled, in most locations, the local building inspector will want to come out and do a footing inspection to verify the width, depth and cleanliness of the holes. We handle all of this and you can expect us to be there to meet with every inspector.
Once the footing inspection is approved, footings may be installed. There are several ways to achieve this. Bags, precast cookies or wet mix can be used. Building size , usage and local requirements will always determine which method will be used.
The picture to the left is an embedded 6x6 post. It shows a pole sitting on a concrete pad with wood cleats nailed at the bottom of the post. These cleats help hold your pole barn in the ground. Without these, sustained winds of over 90mph can lift a building out of the ground, they must be installed. Every builder should be using an uplift restraint system on their posts.
There are three other options to consider when choosing a post. The first is a shrink wrapped post that comes with notches pre-cut out of the post for uplift restraint. Without the notches, you would have to drive nails through the shrink wrap to attach the uplift restraint. Doing so would cause water to fill behind the shrink wrap, separating it from the post. This system is should only be used when holes are completely backfilled with concrete.
The second option is a concrete post called a Perma-column pictured at left. With this system, the post embedded into the ground is a concrete pier. The poles attached to them are glu-lam’s and are lagged and bolted to the concrete column.
While this may look like a great alternative to wood, consider the following. Perma-columns are fairly new to the market, they are not time tested. They are more than triple the cost of a standard post, and require machinery to move around and install. Additionally, this is no longer a single full length unit from footing to truss where a pole barn gains most of its strength and rigidity.
There has been some independent testing done regarding the rigidity surrounding the post to concrete connection. It is our determination that many of the systems available today are not considered a proper rigid connection. They are not a bad choice for most residential and storage garages but for commercial buildings where truck or machinery traffic is frequent, we would not recommend them. For most buildings, a professionally installed solid 6x6 to 8x10 solid or glu-lam post is a more cost effective approach that will last indefinitely.
The third and final option is a 3ply 6x6 glu-lam post. These are a great option and consistent in cost to a standard 6x6 solid post. They are very straight and do a great job resisting warping.
Why Posts (or any wood) Rots or Decays
Pressure Treated Posts (or any pressure treated lumber) will only rot or decay if microbes are able to attack it. Microbes, more specifically, are a decay fungus. They need water and oxygen to do their work. Since oxygen can only move freely through the first 8” of soil, that is the only part of your post in danger of decay. This is because decay fungus needs a 20% oxygen to air supply which is not achievable below this depth. With the addition of our 2x8 grade board and a properly prepared sub base and base, decay or rot will never happen to a Cedar Valley Post-Frame building, we guarantee our posts for life!