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House With Workshop, Eastern Iowa

Trend-Setting Iowa Residence Built With Post-Frame Construction

 We at Post-Frame Advantage know that contractors are doing great work in engineered wood-frame construction. To acknowledge them and promote their efforts, we are inaugurating a Project of the Month series to recognize a builder who has recently completed an exceptional project.

To get our new feature underway, we chose Eastern Iowa Building, Inc. (EIB) for its innovative shop/house design.

EIB has won many national awards for its post-frame structures in the agriculture, residential, equestrian and commercial markets. The company, based in Fairfax, IA, is well known within a 100-mile radius of Cedar Rapids as a leader in engineered construction. The project we’re spotlighting this month was built in the Johnson County town of Hills.

Answering The Need

The shop/house was developed in response to customer requests to bring together a modern single-family residence with a large connected space for work and storage, answering the dual needs of homeowners in this rural part of Iowa.

“It combines a 40-by-60-foot shop/storage area with a 30-by-50-foot living area,” said Justin Sobaski, vice president of EIB. “This type of residence is a trend that has become more and more popular over the last five to six years.”

"Our motto is ‘Go ahead and dream it and we’ll build it,’” said Sobaski. “With post-frame construction, we are able to make that dream come true in less time and at much less cost.”

Completed in a little less than four months, the 3,900-square-foot shop/house was ready for occupancy faster than it would have been if built using more conventional construction techniques. Sobaski said that while speed of build is a positive factor, EIB’s customers were most happy about the lower material and labor costs. “Depending on the exact details of a project, we see approximately a 10 to 20 percent cost savings when building with post-frame construction.”

The Benefits

According to Sobaski, a primary advantage of a post frame building is that it is fully designed and engineered by a licensed structural engineer. The Project of the Month shop/house is engineered to a 115 mph wind load and able to handle the snow load determined for its geographic location by the International Building Code (IBC). EIB had an engineer stamp the building plan. An official building inspector also reviewed construction of the structure.Some rural areas do not have specific building codes or inspections. In such situations, contractors differ on how to address wind and snow load requirements. Some structures are not engineered at all.

“Eastern Iowa Building will only build post-frame structures that are engineered to the 2015 IBC code book,” said Sobaski. “Having a fully engineered structure gives buyers piece of mind as well as a high-quality building that will stand the test of time.”

Another advantage is that post-frame construction allows a much larger clear span because no interior support walls or columns are required. Buyers who need a large building that can accommodate a shop/storage area as well as living quarters inside the footprint of the total structure find the open space very desirable.

“Adding a large clear span area for a shop or storage is easily achieved with a post-frame structure,” said Sobaski. “The maximum clear span distances vary between building companies and most can achieve at least a 72-foot-wide clear span structure, but Eastern Iowa Building can go up to 110 feet.”

Back Up The Work

Speed of build and greatly reduced costs are often enough to convince customers that post-frame construction is the method to choose. But building owners also can expect long service – which gives EIB a definite post-frame advantage.

“We offer a 50-year warranty on all of the treated columns and a 40-year warranty on all of the steel roofing and siding,” said Sobaski. “On this shop/house project we installed an Eclipse concealed-fastener metal roof system that has a lifetime warranty against leaks. We also offer a lifetime warranty on the wind load and the snow load of the building.”

The Post Frame Potential

The majority of EIB’s work each year is done for the commercial market. But the company has been making a name for itself in new markets as well by using post-frame construction to build high-quality, cost-effective and visually appealing projects all over eastern Iowa.

EIB can make a post-frame building as solid as any other structure. “What makes us stand out,” Sobaski said, “is that we can do it with an overall lower total construction cost, as well as complete the project faster than other types of construction.

“Eastern Iowa Building has won awards for our work over the years because we push the envelope of design and engineering with post-frame technology.”