Building a Pole Barn Part 2

Following on from our first page about building our own barn we have started constructing the piers to support the upright timbers that will form the barn uprights. As previously described these footings have had to be a substantial depth in places to get down below the in-filled ground where we are building the barn.

New shuttering

The first job was to construct some shuttering. In this case I used the cheapest timber I could find (which turned out to be T&G pine cladding). This certainly wouldn’t be strong enough for professional use; but hopefully will last to build 8 piers.

I decided to construct the deepest pier first and will then cut the shuttering down as we progress to the smaller ones. So the shuttering was carefully placed in the first hole on the concrete pad, ensuring that the centre of the shuttering in the hole would be 4m from the next. The shuttering was then given extra support with some soil around the base and bits of wood wedged between it and the sides of the hole. Liz gave the inside of the timber a coating of Aldi’s cheapest cooking oil to help stop the shuttering sticking. I then proceeded to fill it with concrete. I put some steel mesh (that I had left over here) in the centre (ensuring 50mm concrete cover to ensure that it wouldn’t cause the concrete to spall if it rusts). As I filled the shutter with concrete I used a thin stick to ‘poker’ the concrete to remove air bubbles etc.

Concrete column

Concrete pier constructed off the concrete pads we put in the bottom of the hole first. The piers have steel reinforcement and a galvanised strap set in the top to anchor the wooden barn columns.

I set a small marker pin in the top in the exact centre to help with measuring to the other columns and also set a galvanised steel strap in the top of the column exactly 100mm from the centre. This strap should(!) be in the correct place to anchor the 200mm square timber uprights I’m looking to use for the barn columns.

After 48 hours I unscrewed the shuttering and removed it to leave an impressive concrete foundation column going down nearly 2m. I reckon this should be adequate for what is after all a rather large garden shed!

Setting Out

Once we had the first column in place we then started to set out the next one by stringing a centre line through the rest of the holes along the back of the shed.

By running a string line and measuring we were then able to position the shuttering for the next column. However, we also had to ensure that the top of the concrete would finish level with the first (i.e. we are now having to work in 3 dimensions). Lacking an expensive laser level I bought a cheap water level off Ebay for a few pounds and used this old fashioned technology to get the columns level. By putting the shuttering in upside down first I could measure how much to cut off the bottom before inverting it and repositioning and rechecking prior to concreting the second column. This process will be repeated until we have done all 8 columns.

Using a water level to determine the column levels

To show this clearly I am holding the level on the outside of the shuttering. The water level (coloured with a bit of food colouring) allows me to check that the top of the shuttering is exactly the same height as the first column.

Disclaimer; I am not a structural engineer or a builder so the whole project is more ‘belt and braces’ than calculations and you should not rely on my design for your own building!

Continue to Part 3

 

Share

3 thoughts on “Building a Pole Barn Part 2

  1. Hi John and Liz

    Looking great can`t wait to see the finished barn. Just a thought, but instead of cutting your shuttering down for each pier on site we would often put a few nails through the shuttering to use as a level mark.

    All the best Nick

    • That’s fair comment and now that the remaining piers are more of a similar size I am marking the inside of the shuttering with a line scratched with a nail and levelling to that level. So pretty much using a similar technique as you suggest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *