What to Consider When Building a Post-Frame Building

There are many considerations when building a new post-frame building or pole barn. We’re here to help break it down and make the building process easier! You can also check out our video series What to Consider When Building.

1. Selecting a Builder

Selecting a builder for your project is one of the first and most important steps you take in your building process. That’s why it’s important to choose a builder with a great reputation and employees dedicated to every step of the process.

At Cleary Building Corp., our in-house engineering team will make sure that your building meets the right codes and specifications while keeping your design at the forefront. We also use our own crews for construction, which means you won’t have to wait on a third-party crew to construct your building. In addition to our experienced staff, Cleary Building Corp. makes sure you have a single point of contact that you work with throughout your building process. Our Building Sales Specialists are there to help design your building, answer any questions you may have, and assist you throughout the process.

Another important factor when choosing a builder is how financially stable the builder or contractor is. Cleary Building Corp. has been debt-free since 1985. Additionally, we can provide full builder’s risk and workers’ compensation insurance.

2. Permits and Setbacks

Having the correct permits and approval is vital to the building process. Depending on where you are building, you may need to get permission or approval from different sources. Certain locations require approval from the township, village, city, county, DNR, or HOA. Additionally, the size of the building, the exterior finish, and what you plan to use the building for can all factor into the zoning or planning commission. You will want to contact your local permit authority to determine what the building design requirements, zoning ordinances, and any required building setbacks might be. Often, they are able to provide this to you in writing.

Additionally, some jurisdictions require stamped engineer plans for post-frame buildings. This means that any plans will need to be stamped by an engineer registered in the state where you are building. At Cleary Building Corp., we have a team of engineers who are able to draw up engineered stamped plans when those are required.

3. Building Site and Use

It’s also important to think about what you want to use the building for now and in the future. The objects, equipment, or vehicles that you want to store might change over time. You want to make sure that your building can accommodate those changes.

After deciding what you want to use it for, consider a general size and budget that you want to shoot for. What are the highest priority items that you want to be able to include in the building? Do you want a separate shop in addition to a garage? A bathroom or office space? You should also factor in whether you’ll need heat, air conditioning, and electricity. This will impact if you want to insulate the building.

Try to imagine yourself using the building. Think of anything might need through the course of using the building. Do you plan on adding other vehicles, boats, or machinery sometime in the future that you also want to fit inside the building? Plan for extra room for anything you might purchase or acquire in the future. Interior height clearance and door heights are also a factor you should consider with the future in mind. You may want to upgrade your vehicles or equipment to ones that could require additional clearances.

If you’re building a shop, garage, toy box, or machinery building, it can help to measure the items or vehicles that you want to store there. This helps you determine how big the building should be and how much space you need to maneuver these items or vehicles. Cleary’s digital floor planner lets you plan out how much space you need!

Your Cleary Building Sales Specialist will help match up what you want with your budget range. Additionally, the Building Specialist will be able to factor in site obstructions like trees, boundaries, street access, etc., as well as the grading of the site.

4. Design

After you’ve come up with building specifications, you can begin to visualize your building.

One of the important design aspects to consider is the layout. For buildings like shouses, barndominiums, and commercial buildings, this is a crucial step. It’s important in buildings like these to consider the flow of traffic throughout the building. Is it easy to walk through? Is the shop easy to access? Can you move around easily? A practical and efficient layout often works best but the end design is up to you.

Next, you can start to think about the accessories and features you want on the exterior. Do you need a slide door? Walk doors and windows? Do you want to add stylish flair to the exterior of the building with an overhang or bird’s beak design? You can also add an entry or timber porch. Complete the look with a cupola or cultured stone accents!

Cleary’s exclusive DreamMaker program provides a way to see your building before it’s actually built. DreamMaker is a robust, high-end 3D software that creates a visual rendering of your building so you can design your building to your unique specifications.

If you want to get an idea of the size of your building, the layout, and even color options, Cleary offers Virtual Planning tools that can design and layout your buildings.


Cleary Building Corp. is a proud post-frame and pole barn builder with 82 branch offices located throughout the United States. A family owned company since 1978, Cleary provides customized pre-engineered structures for suburban, farm, commercial, residential and equine applications. Cleary Building Corp. employs over 800 full-time employees throughout the United States. With over 127,000 buildings sold, the company’s mission is to provide clients with the best solution and the best service every time.

For more information about Cleary Building Corp., call (800) 373-5550, or visit ClearyBuilding.com. Hours of operation:  8 a.m. – 12 p.m.; 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.