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Pre-Fab Buildings vs. Pole Barn Construction: Which Is Better?

If you’re contemplating adding new construction to your property, chances are you’ve heard about the different options available to you. The most common types of buildings to consider are pre-fab — also known as modular structures — and pole barn construction. But which one will best fit your needs? If this is your first rodeo, it can be a tad overwhelming to make a decision on your own. So here’s all the information you need to know to make an educated choice. 

Choosing Between Pre-Fab Buildings and Pole Barn Construction

Regardless of the purpose, adding a new building to your property requires a lot of planning. After all, you’ll be investing time and money in it, and you’ll want to get the best results possible. There are many factors you need to consider when choosing between pre-fab buildings and pole barns. 

Site Prep

A solid foundation makes the difference between a building that withstands the passage of time and one that doesn’t. Whether you pick a pole barn or a pre-fab building, you need to ensure you do the proper site prep

‌‌With pre-fab buildings, site prep requires leveling the ground, building a concrete pier to create stability, and adding a self-contained wooden unit for you to build on. Foundation costs for single-story modular buildings normally exceed 15% of the total cost of construction. Pole barns also require a level ground and a level pad that’s properly compacted and prepped. If a barn is built on unlevel ground, there will be gaps between the building and the ground. Posts should be used as the framing member, which provides exceptional lateral and vertical bearing strength. 

‌‌When it comes to proper site prep, pole barns only require you to:

  • Remove all grass and vegetation
  • Replace the subsoil with granular backfill
  • Remove topsoil
  • Compact soil layers

With pole barn construction there’s no need for large amounts of concrete or an extensive excavation project. All you’ll need is to drill the holes for the posts.  

‌Construction Materials

‌The quality of the materials you’ll be using for your new building is crucial to ensure longevity and avoid other issues along the way. Make sure to discuss the purpose of your building with your contractor so that they can help you make the right decision. 

‌‌Both modular structures and pole barns offer incredible versatility when it comes to customization and materials. However, due to the foundation and frame’s nature, pole barns might be a more durable option for heavy-duty projects. 


‌Depending on your vision for your new construction project, your budget can get a little out of hand if you’re not careful. Make sure to compare and approve all costs before the first stone is set. This way, you’ll avoid any unpleasant surprises as the construction develops. 

‌‌A modular structure might look like a more affordable option at first glance. After all, everything’s included in the initial budget, from the main design to the customization options. So talk to your project manager to get accurate pricing and make sure you understand what comes with your building package.

‌‌Post-frame construction might seem a little bit pricier initially if you need fancier finishes. You might have to get individual quotes for each element you want to add to your project. But keep in mind these types of structures tend to be easier to build and stronger, making them cheaper in the long run. Speak to your pole barn builder and determine if you want a conventional or open-air construction. And remember that you won’t need load-bearing walls to support your building, which can also minimize the cost.

‌Advantages of Pole Barns

‌Pole barns are highly versatile structures. You can use yours as a barn, a garage, a utility building, or a cabin. These types of buildings are perfect for more ambitious projects as well. A pole barn can become:

  • An RV shelter
  • A bank
  • A retail store
  • A strip mall
  • A gym
  • A vacation home
  • A retail store
  • An office building
  • An everyday home

A pole barn building offers more site adaptability than a modular structure because you won’t need additional soil moving and grading to level the site. You’ll get more options when it comes to location and the alternative not to waste a perfectly good space on your property because of excavation issues.

Pole barns also tend to have fewer thermal breaks than conventional construction. This provides better insulation, which gives you an energy-efficient structure that will save you money. 

Find a Pole Barn Contractor Near You

Building a pole barn might be your best bet if you’re looking for convenience and durability. If you still have some questions about the advantages of these types of buildings over modular structures or other kinds of construction, talk to an experienced pole barn contractor. Once you’re ready to get down to work, Burrow’s Post Frame Supply can help you find the best materials and accessories for your project. 

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