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Thread: Pipe Poll Barn

  1. #1
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    Pipe Poll Barn

    On another topic there's a discussion of erecting steel building where I'd remarked about building one from surplus pipe/tubing.

    In many area of the US 2" pipe (2-38" tubing) 2-1/2" pipe (2-7/8" tubing) and 3" (3-1/2" tubing) are available for low cost compared to buying structural steel. If you were to purchase sched. 80 - L-80 steel it wouldn't make much sense to pay new costs to build a building when much less expensive and just as useful shapes of steel are readily available.

    But..... if you're long on time and have a welding machine and are interested, here is a look a doing it yourself.

    There are several keys to this post being useful. #1 the supply of surplus production tubing. #2 the ability to handle it, cut and weld it into structural trusses. #3 the lack of interference of officialdom; like building codes, inspectors, and other limitations on freedom of building what you want.

    Not everyone will have these three conditions, so if you don't this post will be more a curiosity or waste of time, please bear with.

    First, not everyone needs or can afford a full slab in their new shop. Still you'd need some basic foundation so here are some thoughts.



    put a plywood box form together that will knock down and can be re-used.



    the form is buried at (eventual grade) so you can cast a block of concrete as a post support. This can be done with a wheel barrow or small mixer to conserve the costs of a ready mix truck, but if they were all buried and ready to go (?) the truck might be a faster answer?



    Of course, no concrete form proposal or discussion is complete without considering a metal, pre-rolled, (maybe) pre-oiled, alternative form; to cast the building post bases. These forms are readily available in some areas of the country, often coinciding with the presence of surplus tubing.

    In each of the post-only concrete images above I'm showing a plate with rebar welded below that is cast into the slab, the base pier or whatever will hold the framing post/columns.



    Here a red steel plate with rebar welded to the bottom is shown with the eventual column base above it. By casting the plate into the concrete and welding the column base to the slightly oversized base plate the foundation bolting routine is skipped.

    Some old Jet rod put in as a down hand, drag fillet, between these two pieces of plate will keep the column in place on most buildings.



    the concrete surface is not shown in these images to make the parts more clear and less confusing in the pictures.



    For those who can afford a slab, and will be using a footer as just a slab edge that is thicker, the same plate is shown cast in place.



    Columns of 3-1/2" pipe would get a little wobbly above 15 feet so double them up. One shop I help build had no 3-1/2" only 2-7/8 (2-1/2" pipe) so the owner put four posts per column - "Just to be sure". He'd only paid 0.50$ a foot; so four pipes per post only cost him $2.00 per foot of column and his welding time. I believe the building is still up and the walls are 25'+ at the eaves.



    To hang a pipe frame door, use the concentric sizes of the pipes and cut hinges and hinge stops.



    Of course there are plenty of other ways to make the doors hinge, but this will allow the entire end wall to open up -if that were needed in your barn?



    To attach purlins that will hold the sheeting, I go to the metal distributor and have them cut hundreds of unequal leg angle 'clip's or L's on their iron worker. They usually keep the cost to 0.50$ per clip or less if you get a couple of hundred. (green angles)

    Do the same with some 3/16" x 4" flat bar (red) and weld them together and drill two to four holes in the red plate. The angles weld to the outer legs, truss tops, and any where else you'll need to have purlins for sheeting.

    Next post
    Cheers,
    Kevin Morin

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  3. #2
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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    To add purlins, roof joists or whatever we call them they lay on the outer pipes and cross lap at the welded on angles.



    At the ends you can make the wooden purlins even with the front or back wall purlins surfaces, or overhand as needed for an eave line. At the intermediate locations just overlap the two 2x8-2x10-2x12 depending on the span or spacing of your frame and loads. Then climb the outside of the building and using a visegrip to hold the two boards to the steel plate drill for carriage bolts and tighten them up.



    A quick look at a 20' wall on a 30' wide truss.



    Four 14' to 16' bays of pipe will be a nice little building 30' x 40 or so and with enough ceiling or overhead to put some decent equipment inside and strong enough to hoist a decent load.



    Whether you make the trusses wide or narrow, use lots of pipes for columns of just a few, a well thought out poll barn can be a very low cost means of providing a welding shop. I started out with the slab but I've added on a few times when I couldn't afford the slab so I've done them both ways.

    I used to build boats but couldn't afford a boat barn so I had to come up with something; labor was all I had in abundance.

    Welding most tubing alloys is pretty easy with LH but I have come to prefer 2% nickel flux core WITH a cover gas and pulsed MIG. Any way you do it, these barns are simple to build, not that much effort to erect and provide a super low cost (if the pipe is available) way to get some cover for your work.

    Cheers,
    Kevin Morin

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  5. #3
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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    There's reason why you don't weld rebar, and never to a plate for the purpose you describe, that's why the use of anchor bolts. The welds to the bottom of the plate are no substitute for the anchor bolts embedded in concrete.

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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    you might get away with that for an agricultural building that doesn't require a permit or inspection,but i wouldn't do it.

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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    First I'd like to thank you for the time you spend in getting all this info compiled together. I think it would really help someone who had never done a barn.

    I do agree with the other post, the rebar is not a good idea. Most steel building places sell weld plates with studs on them that would work better.

    I build my own weld plate when doing buildings. I use a 6x6 1/4'' or 3/8'' weld plate, 2''-3'' sq tubing 3' long. I weld the plate to the tubing. Then at the bottom of the sq tube and again about 12''s up I weld fingers on it to hold it in place. These can be 1'' tubing, sold bar, or something like that. This design will never loosen like weld plates can.
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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    I wonder if you could use plate to gusset the joining of the tubes instead of cutting all those fishmouths.
    You could butt the gussets against the outside of the tube, or you might slit the end of the tube and insert a gusset inside with welds down both sides of the tube. I wonder how the strength compares to a fishmouthed joint with a weld all around.

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  9. #7
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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    gentlemen,
    90% (maybe more- 99%??) of what I've posted won't make any building code review, and there are improvements at every turn, all the details can be improved for every aspect of a building.

    But.... they're up; they've (mine) been up for five decades; and they're still about the cheapest thing a man can do to get shelter: if the conditions are there? I've heated a couple with some real contraptions; -40F is not conducive to aluminum boat MIG.

    I've usually cut a hole or ten in the cast plates welded the rebar both sides with LH70 and called it a day. My first one was in 1970's and its been through plenty of local "seismic events" and is still with us today. The local steel supplier bends rebar for commercial jobs and gives the (literally) tons of shorts (end shears) up for anyone to haul them off.

    I've hauled a few barrels and welded it into the awfullest looking 'trees' of junk. But, once again, they've held, they're all standing and for a less than $5 a square foot (???) they're hard to beat for the starting out barn.

    As to anchors, I've used a yard of pipe and bored a dozen rebars into the pipe and cast that in a barrel, (incidentally as an off point item: this will work as a decent mooring in a few fathoms of salt water too) and a half dozen other methods. AS noted; gentlemen this is a set of ideas for the man who has the conditions close at hand.

    If you had a building inspector close enough to know you existed: none of this is possible!

    But it will work just like I show it here.

    BryanD, I'd done the sketches some time ago during a discussion with a truly low overhead (boat) builder who wanted to put up a boat barn and had happened on some tube for almost nothing. Since I'd had some experience being a broke boat builder, who had no barn, and wanted one..... well I had to reply.

    My post here isn't to encourage anyone to get in trouble: if you live where there is enough officialdom to care about your life- don't listen to my ideas or you'll likely get cross threaded with those type of folks.

    In Alaska, and especially rural Alaska, we don't have quite the density inspectors found more commonly in the old country. I'm writing from a state with a total population less than a single voting district in most folks' areas. Almost all the inspection types are concentrated in one area and so we just do " the best we can" out here in the trees.

    If you're close to many others, if you live in a densely populated state: ignore this post! For anyone who lives where there's more room with less officialdom, well, this poll barn can keep the wind off your MIG bead.

    Cheers,
    Kevin Morin

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  11. #8
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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    AndyA,
    you can do exactly as you suggest, but I can't tell the relative strength as my joint analysis math is not up to par.

    I usually make one set of wrap around for all the pipe 'gores' or fishmouths then just copy them with a plaz or oxy torch. When there's a pile of one component of the webbing, I usually stop and finish the saddles/fishmouth/gores using a conic concrete stone on a 7" grinder.

    When they're all clean enough to seat and tack I move on to the next web pieces ends or next joint.

    Slit joints will work, because one friend about 25 years ago, and passed to his reward since, did just that. He set up a port-a-band and hand slit the ends of countless webbing pieces and his son used MIG to outside fillet each when the trusses were set up to weld. Seemed like more work to me, and I've never taken the time to make the gussets and slits, but he did and his 'garage' is standing long after he's 'crossed over the bar'.

    My idea was the all around saddled fit was stronger because you were welding the two tubes' shells to one another. But, I'm not enough of an engineer to prove that.

    I have used paired gussets at the 3:00 and 9:00 O'Clock tangents to the pipe to join them and that is plenty strong, but again, I can't give you any (engineering) proof except for my experience and opinion.

    Cheers,
    Kevin Morin

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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    Quote Originally Posted by wannabe_welder View Post
    There's reason why you don't weld rebar, and never to a plate for the purpose you describe, that's why the use of anchor bolts. The welds to the bottom of the plate are no substitute for the anchor bolts embedded in concrete.
    I'm not quite sure what you are talking about. People definitely weld rebar, and they definitely weld them to plates. I worked at a large fabrication shop for a few years, and welding rebar was some of their bread and butter. Mostly various concrete anchors for different applications, bridges, parking garages, etc. all engineered drawing etc. People weld rebar all the time, in fact we had to pass a certain Canadian Welding Board certification test for it.

    We also did stud welding for various anchors as well, with large Nelson stud welders, but the also make a full line of rebar for stud welding too.
    Last edited by Eric N; 07-20-2010 at 12:56 AM.

  13. #10
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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    I've been looking into doing a similar project for animal shelters. My problem is finding used pipe in Indiana. Anybody know where to find used pipe in southern Indiana, Northern Kentucky, or even the Cincinnati area?
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  14. #11
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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Morin View Post
    gentlemen,
    90% (maybe more- 99%??) of what I've posted won't make any building code review, and there are improvements at every turn, all the details can be improved for every aspect of a building.

    But.... they're up; they've (mine) been up for five decades; and they're still about the cheapest thing a man can do to get shelter: if the conditions are there? I've heated a couple with some real contraptions; -40F is not conducive to aluminum boat MIG.

    I've usually cut a hole or ten in the cast plates welded the rebar both sides with LH70 and called it a day. My first one was in 1970's and its been through plenty of local "seismic events" and is still with us today. The local steel supplier bends rebar for commercial jobs and gives the (literally) tons of shorts (end shears) up for anyone to haul them off.

    I've hauled a few barrels and welded it into the awfullest looking 'trees' of junk. But, once again, they've held, they're all standing and for a less than $5 a square foot (???) they're hard to beat for the starting out barn.

    As to anchors, I've used a yard of pipe and bored a dozen rebars into the pipe and cast that in a barrel, (incidentally as an off point item: this will work as a decent mooring in a few fathoms of salt water too) and a half dozen other methods. AS noted; gentlemen this is a set of ideas for the man who has the conditions close at hand.

    If you had a building inspector close enough to know you existed: none of this is possible!

    But it will work just like I show it here.

    BryanD, I'd done the sketches some time ago during a discussion with a truly low overhead (boat) builder who wanted to put up a boat barn and had happened on some tube for almost nothing. Since I'd had some experience being a broke boat builder, who had no barn, and wanted one..... well I had to reply.

    My post here isn't to encourage anyone to get in trouble: if you live where there is enough officialdom to care about your life- don't listen to my ideas or you'll likely get cross threaded with those type of folks.

    In Alaska, and especially rural Alaska, we don't have quite the density inspectors found more commonly in the old country. I'm writing from a state with a total population less than a single voting district in most folks' areas. Almost all the inspection types are concentrated in one area and so we just do " the best we can" out here in the trees.

    If you're close to many others, if you live in a densely populated state: ignore this post! For anyone who lives where there's more room with less officialdom, well, this poll barn can keep the wind off your MIG bead.

    Cheers,
    Kevin Morin
    Would never fly in the 'people's state of massachusetts'. interesting idea though.

    Got any pictures of the barn? Wouldn't mind seeing some pics of the surrounding wilderness too
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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    Looks a lot more complicated than most of the pole barns built with pipe down here in Texas.

    Of course our ground doesn't freeze, and we don't _usually_ have much snow.
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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    Kevin:

    Great post. Thanks so much for sharing it.
    There's a guy here in Texas named Harvey Lacey who posts on Tractorbynet a lot and he builds pole barns. He makes some very interesting couplers that he uses in his. You may want to check his site and see his method.
    Rowdius is quite right about the stuff built here in Texas, especially rural Texas. After a strong breeze you can pick up sheet tin in a lot of places. And not much snow,except for this year.
    I'm about to build two sheds. One for equipment storage and the other for hay storage. I'm going to use a combination of your method and Harvey Lacey's. Of course where I live and being classed as farm the building restrictions are somewhat less stringent.

    And as others have already said welding to rebar is done all the time. It's no problem.

    Thanks again.
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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    Good post Kevin. The design is a bit different than what I thought you had in mind in the other post.



    As far as rebar... There's a big difference between the standard rebar that folks grab at Depo and the bar thats usually welded. The type designed to be welded is usually held to higher tolerances than the cheap stuff (you frequently see welded rebar in bridges and highrises). Not all bar IS weldable, only some. Lots of times the cheap bar is made from recycled scrap mystery mix, and will not weld wroth cr@p. After years of working with concrete and rebar, I'd usually error on the side of saying don't weld on bar unless you know it's weldable. I've seen too many cases where quick jigs and so on made from rebar failed because the bar was too hard and the welds wouldn't hold.
    .



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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    Quote Originally Posted by DSW View Post
    Good post Kevin. The design is a bit different than what I thought you had in mind in the other post.



    As far as rebar... There's a big difference between the standard rebar that folks grab at Depo and the bar thats usually welded. The type designed to be welded is usually held to higher tolerances than the cheap stuff (you frequently see welded rebar in bridges and highrises). Not all bar IS weldable, only some. Lots of times the cheap bar is made from recycled scrap mystery mix, and will not weld wroth cr@p. After years of working with concrete and rebar, I'd usually error on the side of saying don't weld on bar unless you know it's weldable. I've seen too many cases where quick jigs and so on made from rebar failed because the bar was too hard and the welds wouldn't hold.
    Couldn't you say this about almost any cheap/scrap metal. If you don't know the properties of the metal you are working with, I agree it's going to be harder to weld.

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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric N View Post
    Couldn't you say this about almost any cheap/scrap metal. If you don't know the properties of the metal you are working with, I agree it's going to be harder to weld.
    Yes but with this we are talking about "new" rebar. Often the stuff that won't weld is very hard to cut in the bar cutter. The bar is VERY hard, and this in a a tool designed specifically for cutting hardened rebar. ( This thing cuts 1/2" hardened transport chain like butter) It doesn't cut but almost snap. This stuff won't often cut with a hacksaw or sawzall (though weldable high tensile bar won't either.) Also when bent in the rebar bender the bar has a tendency to crack on the surface, something that doesn't happen with "good" bar.

    I used to know a guy who worked at Bethlehem Steel / Lukens Steel and we talked a bit about the make up of bar back when I was doing a lot of reinforced walls. I forget the exact info on what they usually used to make bar, but he commented that all it had to do was make a certain minimum and after that it didn't matter, so they used all sorts of junk scrap to make bar mix most times. Lots of it was high carbon steel as most bar is a minimum of 60 KSI - 70 KSI. There was a lot more control of what went into normal mild steel they'd make.
    .



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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    Kevin ,.you have without a doubt done the best with what was available to you and you made it work for you,fact is that is just what our forefathers did also,they did'nt have an architect to design buildings in the rural areas for them,so they made do with what they had.How many yards of concrete will a 55gal drum hold?Again, excellent work and ideas.

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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    A gallon is .134 cf, so 55 gal is not quite 7 1/2 cf of crete roughly, or a bit more than a 1/4 yd.
    .



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  24. #19
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    Re: Pipe Pole Barn

    LynchWood, that is what we end up doing; what we can with what's (affordable) available. Its a long way to the steel mill from SC Ak.

    DSW, we didn't have bigbox stores here, until recently, all the bar came from a very reliable supplier who was providing formed shapes to the local building projects and it wall welded fine.

    Rowdius, it sure has more parts than the single stick models which I've seen but I was going to lift from the lower chords on the couple of shop buildings I built; so I trussed them.

    We did build a house with single pole/stick members in the roof and walls and its done fine for 20some years. built it in halves along the ridge line and used a small cat trailer to send it home, then put the halves together and bolted it together along the centerline. Bolted on the wood, sheathed and insulated, dry-walled the inside and unless you get underneath and saw the foundation is made of 30" deep 3" pipe truss sets- you'd not know from the outside.

    Obviously I like surplus tube/pipe as a low cost framing material, but if we could find low cost I beams, H beams or plate to make cut-n-weld trusses- like in convention steel buildings- I'd use whatever was at hand. This is just the best cost-to-strength material in my area.

    Cheers,
    Kevin Morin

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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    Hey Kevin, great post. We have been building those type of out buildings for years in the country. Most of them were single legged or built off of creosote poles with pipe rafters/trusses. There are a couple I have seen that are doubles like what you have. Anyway, great post and reminder of how cheap you can put up an out building/barn.

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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    Hey all though you should be commended for having a good thought out game plane before you started. There are a couple of serious problems that you need to address. One of my jobs is that I run a concrete crew, and being in that profession. I see that the idea of welding rebar directly to the plates and casting them into the concrete will not work for two reasons. A the county codes office in you state will not allow it and B there is no pretension on the rebar therefore the coloums will stretch the connection and break loose. You need to make rebar cages with 12" horizontal squares and vertical rebar rods in each corner with graded studs welded to the ends of the rebar and protuding thru the concrete, you make a wooden osb plate with the bolt pattern of the collums thru it and the bolts holding everything above the concrete. When the concrete is finished and hard you can set the leg structures on top of the bolt pattern and torque it down and the posts become a stressed member which will give them there structural rigidity. You have a couple other problems that I see, one of grave concern and couple not that bad. the first and foremost is that the county building codes office is not going to sign off on this structure, there are going to tell you that you are going to need stamped engineered drawings for the steel structure and for the footings. The other things I see is there a no lateral bracings in the structure, that puts too much load on the connection to the concrete and will shear them off during the construction process. The other is why do the concrete in steel barrels when you can use cardboard sonitubes, 2' round and cut to what ever lenght you want. You can buy them cheap at Lowes or Home Depot. And then there is the concrete to fill drums full of cement it will probably take 20 to 25 bags per drum and it would be way easier and cheaper to have a truck bring it to you. I am not trying to tell you what to do I am only trying to help you think this throught before you start. I put a pic of the bolt cages that will pass code and give the strenght you will need. This is the same design I used in my steel building I just finished on my property. If I can be of any help don't hesitate to ask. Pete
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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    i've made quite a few dozen of the above design for a company, must be good

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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    We get stamped plans that call out for plate with welded rebar on them all the time, mostly for column bases. Weldable rebar is ASTM A706, vs the typical ASTM 615 used for concrete reinforcement. I would imagine that with a cage, you are dealing with alot more stress vs. welded rebar.
    And they are inspected by a CWI before going into the concrete.
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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    Most of the plans on post footings I've done just call for the rebar cage, then the base plates/anchor bolts to be seperate and usually wetset according to the stamped plans. PITA when the "L" shaped anchor bolts interfear with the cage and the footing/wall is already full of crete. (there's often no good way to check exact placement until the cretes poured.) Usually end up loosening up the bolt and turning it to get the location correct. I can't remember one wheer the plans actually called for the bolts to be welded to the cage. I've tied them in place to the steel on a few occasions when wetseting the plates wasn't an option, but that was our call, not the Architect/Engineers.


    As far as the drums, if they're free I guess could see using them. We seldom used full height sona tubes. With tubes over 12", usually we only cut them to stick 6"-12" below grade and set the top to height, hanging them over the hole. Especially if the holes were bored with an auger for lamp posts / deck footings. That or we just used Simons forms for the whole thing or the lower section and Sona tube above if the client really demanded round piers. Most of the footings for posts in basements were just rough dug with the bucket on the machine, possibly rough formed up on one side if they got a bit long. The extra crete was cheaper than the labor to form the whole thing unless it was on rock.
    .



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    Re: Pipe Poll Barn

    I'm [clearly] not getting the conditions of these buildings communicated to the folks who live in the old country; I know I'm not a good writer but I have already made a few clear statements regarding conditions.

    I realize from the posts that there are different ways of doing things in different parts of the country, and I tried to make clear that we're a bit off the "regulatory beaten path" so to speak.

    I would not/ do not/ did not/ will not interact with anyone- in any level of any government- to build what I wanted. None, that is; nada, ZERO, less than no one, ....... I realize this won't fly everywhere there is a population density that has caused folks to organize other peoples' lives. Lots of folks live (AK) here for the distance to others' interfering with their 'stuff'.

    We don't do that here except inside city limits and that is less than 0.000001% of the place.

    The buildings are 30 and 40 years old, they work, they're up; they are past facts; by decades. This was not supposition or theory about these buildings, many of them were built exactly as shown, and countless modifications over what is sketched were also done and they're still standing.

    The oil and gas business sometimes has surplus that is more expensive to haul and store than to liquidate at the site. Tubing, cement, equipment of many types and these can be combined into very low cost shelters that will stand up to Alaskan winters, earthquakes and various other influences and remain upright.

    I know this is not the code way of building, and I realize that engineers and architects might not design like this, but I was a 20-something year old welder who wanted to build welded aluminum boats and had no shop. I built a shop then more, then hundreds of boats inside and the barns are still up, the boats all still fish; so I was just posting for those who may find they're short of $ and long on needs for building/work/welding space.

    I don't expect this will meet code in downtown, Anywhere, USA; but it will work if the conditions are there that provide a willing welder the opportunity to build his own pole barn. I realize all the good points made about 'this item' or 'that item' but it appears the point of view of the post isn't being taken into account- this is 'gonzo' building at its best.

    My main point is: if you find a pile of pipe and a stretch of country where there's little government interference in life- go for it.

    Cheers,
    Kevin Morin

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