Pole Barn 101: Part 8 – How to Prepare a Site for Your Pole Building    

Site Preparation

Are you looking to add a building to your property? Do you need a new storefront or warehouse? Pole barns or pole buildings are a great choice. Also known as post frame construction, these buildings get their name from the building technique that is used to create them.

They can be built in about a month, offer the same structural integrity as traditionally built buildings and offer cheaper maintenance costs. So, if you are looking to add an ADU for your mother-in-law, to build a garage, or need a barn for your livestock – pole barn buildings are a great option – no matter what you are building.

Choosing to build a pole building can be exciting, but also daunting. We have created a step-by-step guide for people that are interested in building pole barns but are not sure where to start.

Pole Building Site Preparation

You have done your homework, you know what you want your building to be used for, you know the utilities you need, the permits required, and you are ready to begin preparing the location where your new pole building will be located.

It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it. We’re talking about getting the “dirty work” done correctly, before construction. We have too often witnessed site preparations where to the naked eye, everything looked level but varied by two feet or more.

The construction site zone, where the building will be constructed, is called a “pad.” That is how we will refer to the construction site preparation area for the rest of this article.

Below is a basic guideline for site preparation. Please keep in mind the best resource will always be reaching out to your builder. They will give you the best idea of the work that needs to be done, and often builders will offer excavation and site prep services.

Wapiti Pacific Contractors offers site preparation and excavation as an add-on service to all of our pole building construction projects. If you read through this list and it feels like too much, reach out and we would be happy to give you a quote for site preparation.

Pad Location:

Before you start the work of preparing a construction site, you want to make sure you are in the correct location. The last thing you want to do is get done with the hard work of site preparation and realize that location won’t work for your new pole building. Before you begin site preparation, here is a quick checklist of things to review before you begin. If you are unable to confirm any of the following things, you will need to reach out to your builder to come up with modifications or change the construction site.

  • Confirm you are away from power lines
  • Confirm you will not be building on underground utilities
  • Confirm you have a way to get to the building that will not damage underground septic lines (heavy delivery trucks can not drive over these).

Once you have confirmed these crucial things (and the other factors we have discussed in previous posts), you are okay to start clearing the way for your new building.

Pad Size:

While figuring out the space you need, make sure to include a five-foot workspace around the perimeter. Within this site you will need to clear away all trees, boulders, ensure it is level and compacted.

Water Flow:

The pad needs to be level, but taper off on the outside to direct water flow away. This is called grading and it is the process of adding and removing dirt, then compacting the dirt to level, raise and lower the earth. By having the ground taper down outside of the building you will help prevent flooding and water erosion.


Have the pad compacted or given time to settle. Everything can look level but when the pressure of construction equipment or a building is applied the dirt will sink lower in the places it has not been compacted. This can result in a very uneven construction site.

Clearing a jobsite can be intimidating. That is why you want an expert on your side. Our team of experts has been doing this for over a decade, and we would love to connect and discuss your project. No matter what you are building we have the experience to work with you every step of the way to make sure you have a great building that will endure for years to come.

Reach out now for a free quote.

Look out for our article: Pole Barn 101: Part 9 – Building Materials

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