Which Is Better? Pre-fab Buildings or Pole Barn Construction?

Pre-fab Buildings or Pole Barn Construction

Are you planning to add a new building structure to your property but unsure which one is best for you? At present, there are two popular choices for modern buildings – pre-fab buildings (aka modular construction) and pole barn construction.

In this article, we will compare these two based on many factors to help you make the right choice for your next metal building.

What is a Pre-fab Building?

Prefabricated buildings, also known as pre-fabs, are modular structures made out of components constructed in a factory or manufacturing facility. These components can be manufactured whole or partially in a factory before being transported to the construction site. Offering low maintenance, pre-fabs are generally used as a utility building or a simple form of storage area.


Construction new and modern modular house


What is a Pole Barn Building?

A pole barn, or pole building, is the term we use to describe a huge agricultural structure with wide-open spaces, a high ceiling, and no basement. Modern builders use laminated wooden posts for the frame, terming it a post-frame building. These are usually erected by a certified steel building specialist and mainly used as a horse barn or even a home with insulation and an attached garage.


A modular structure is suitable for temporary construction sites, evacuation centers, single-detached houses, storage buildings, office spaces, and pre-engineered steel buildings.

On the other hand, pole barns with wood framing are suitable for building workshops, garages, horse barns, hay barns, and commercial buildings.

Site Prep

When preparing the location for construction, both the pre-fab building and pole barn need a certain ground leveling, but the main difference is the work required to ensure stability.

Pre-fab or modular barn needs to level the ground, construct a concrete foundation and add a self-contained wood-framed unit. However, the total construction cost exceeds by 15% due to foundation costs spent on a typical modular building.

Meanwhile, a pole barn structure may need a lot of site prep work compared to modular buildings. The structural integrity of your building is in danger if it is built on unleveled ground.

A typical pole barns site prep requires you to:

  • Get rid of all grass and vegetation
  • Substitute the subsoil with granular backfill
  • Eliminate topsoil
  • Compact the soil layers

There is no need for vast volumes of concrete or a big excavation project with a pole barn. All you have to do is drill the posts’ holes.


Construction Materials


Construction Materials

Modular structures and pole building can maximize your customization options through the quality raw materials you want to use.

There are pre-fab metal buildings, pre-engineered steel structures, and other structures that are not heavily affected by external factors like weather and pollution. The construction supplies used for steel building (steel structure) and prefab metal building are fire resistant which is a good option for commercial purposes.

On the other hand, pole barns have a lot to offer in durability. It works by digging the wooden pole barn deep into the earth, and it’s suitable if you intend to use the building for heavy-duty activities.


To keep the construction process smooth, know which option will benefit you more than your incurred cost.

‌‌At first impression, pre-fab appears to be a more cost-effective solution. All expenses are included in the initial budget. However, it may expand later on. So talk to your project manager to acquire a precise quotation and verify the inclusions of your building package.

If you want elaborate finishes, steel buildings with poles may appear to be costly. You need separate bids for every component you want to have on your project. However, these wooden structures are easier to build and more robust, making them cheaper in the long run.

Find the Right Building Contractor

If you have a vacant lot and are still unsure what to do with it, Wolf Barns and Supply can help you find the answer. Contact us to get started.


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