Is Post-Frame Construction Right for Your Application?

Revised NFBA Design Manual Features Chapter on Post-Frame Building Regulations

Designers, architects, employees at small firms, and do-it-yourselfers—in short, anyone who is wondering whether post-frame construction is appropriate for a particular building application— need only refer to Chapter 2 of NFBA’s newly revised Post-Frame Building Design Manual. This 26-page chapter expertly covers building standards and regulations that pertain specifically to post-frame construction. Chapter sections focus on federal and international building codes, NFBA-sponsored fire tests, zoning regulations, codes and farm buildings, and significant design documents.

The chapter is one of eight newly expanded chapters in the second edition of the manual, published in February 2015. Available to NFBA members for $75 (for a downloadable PDF) or $110 (for the printed version) and to nonmembers for $150 (downloadable PDF) or $185 (printed version), the manual also includes chapters on structural load and deflection criteria, structural design, post and pier foundation design, diaphragm design, metal-clad wood-frame diaphragm properties, and post design.

David R. Bohnhoff, PhD PE, professor of biological systems engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, served as the primary author in the revision of the 15-year-old manual. He describes Chapter 2 as a must-have reference for designers and architects interested in incorporating post-frame design either fully or partially into their buildings. He points out that using either post-frame construction or post-frame elements not only saves money by limiting material waste but provides safety for occupants through building-code compliance.

The chapter also discusses allowable areas and heights for various framing systems, building occupancies, and fire-wall ratings and contains numerous data and tables. “The chapter is very concise, yet it provides comprehensive coverage,” Bohnhoff states.

A case in point is the section on building codes, which describes the purpose of codes and the ways that they protect against physical injury and provide fire protection. The chapter also distinguishes between model and active codes and between prescriptive and performance-based code requirements and includes a brief yet comprehensive history of model codes.

Another section contains an extensive list of resources for post-frame building design from leading industry organizations, including these:

  • American Concrete Institute
  • American Institute of Timber Construction
  • American Iron and Steel Institute
  • American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
  • American Wood Council
  • APA-The Engineered Wood Association
  • National Fire Protection Association
  • National Frame Building Association
  • Southern Forest Products Association and Southern Pine Council
  • Truss Plate Institute

Watch for future articles on the revised design manual in Post-Frame Advantage E-News. We will be sure to highlight sections of particular interest to designers and architects.

Order the Post-Frame Building Design Manual on the Post-Frame Advantage website today. If you’re not already an NFBA member, sign up today at to purchase the manual at the discounted rate, and take advantage of the many other benefits of NFBA membership.