Former NFBA Vice President Establishes Heartland Perma-Column
Lawrence, Kans. 9/1/2009 – John Fullerton, former Executive Vice President of the National Frame Building Association (NFBA), has established a new company that will distribute pre-cast concrete pier systems for post-frame building systems and related products.
The new company, Infinitum Limited Company, will primarily do business as Heartland Perma-Column©. Perma-Column, Inc., based in Indiana, will allow Heartland Perma-Column to fabricate and distribute their patented product under license. The company will also be a vendor of software solutions that are especially valuable for builders and others, including Post-Frame Manager© and ComplyAbility©.
The Perma-Column© product provides a new foundation option for post-frame and steel-framed buildings, as well as for wooden decks. It is a concrete foundation solution that takes advantage of the efficiencies of post-frame.
Perma-Columns are made of a special proprietary formula for high-strength concrete, giving them a marble-like finish and far superior resistance to cracking and crumbling compared to regular concrete. Because shipping costs increase over long distances, this will be one of a select number of independent fabrication facilities licensed by Perma-Column around the globe.
Perma-Column also provides the Sturdi-Wall Bracket©, which affixes steel or wood building posts atop concrete masonry walls; and the Sturdi-Wall Plus© wet-set anchor, which may be embedded in a cast-in-place concrete pier or thickened-edge continuous concrete foundation. A new product is the Perma-Deck Post©, which provides an alternative to treated wood post ground embedment for residential and other decks.
Fullerton is also seeking to work with post-frame builders to market select packages as "Perma-Column Buildings," to enhance customer recognition of the value of this unique type of post-frame building. “I’m currently looking for builders who would like to grow their post-frame business into new markets,” he notes. “We can offer customers in the commercial, residential, agricultural and institutional sectors the most efficient, economical and environmentally-friendly buildings possible, and provide a post foundation that undoubtedly will last forever.”
“Treated wood post foundations are long-lasting, environmentally-friendly and economical,” Fullerton also states, “and I think treated wood is a durable and desirable product. But there are people who want a foundation that is not composed of treated wood embedded in the soil. Perma-Column provides a reliable foundation alternative to consider for the most efficient and economical of all buildings – post-frame structures.”
Post-frame buildings are often referred to by the slang terms “pole buildings” and “pole barns,” despite the fact that round utility poles have not been used for buildings for many decades. Developed primarily during the Great Depression and WWII due to their economy and efficiency, post-frame evolved over several decades into a reliable system that is accepted by the International Building Code and other pertinent design standards.
“Although post-frame was ‘born on the farm,’ so to speak, it’s now grown to be used for churches, schools, strip malls, industrial facilities, warehouses, garages, houses and more,” Fullerton observes. “Post-frame remains the building of choice for agricultural applications, but these now constitute less than one-third of the post-frame market, trailing commercial and residential.”
Fullerton notes that many are unaware of post-frame’s aesthetic flexibility. “Many people mistakenly call post-frame buildings ‘metal buildings,’ although a growing number of them use something other than metal roofing and siding,” Fullerton says. “Steel products provide an excellent finish that is maintenance-free. But post-frame can achieve any exterior or interior look. Wood and asphalt shingles and all kinds of commercial roofing products may be used - you can even do a mono-pitch low-sloped roof deck. Horizontal lap siding, stucco, brick, stone, vinyl, architectural foam and exterior insulation finish systems are all good options. There are also new siding products that look and feel like brick, block or stone and install quickly in all kinds of weather.”
Fullerton points out that post-frame buildings are among the “greenest” of “green buildings.” According to research performed by Prof. David Bohnhoff [University of Wisconsin – Madison] and others, post-frame buildings use fewer materials than almost any other type of building due to the efficiency of their design. Because the production of wood used for framing actually removes CO2 from the atmosphere using natural processes, it is the most environmentally-friendly of all building products. Furthermore, steel components are recyclable. Using Perma-Columns, one can also reduce the amount of concrete needed for a building when compared to other foundation types.
Because large posts are used, there are fewer components to install. The design efficiency of post-frame buildings reduces the total amount of materials needed, so they have the lowest embodied energy of all buildings. They also have a wide, uninterrupted wall cavity that can achieve the best insulation R-values, so they can use much less energy over their life cycle than other types of buildings. “All this makes them among the most economical and efficient of all ‘green building’ designs,” Fullerton remarks.
Fullerton will also offer software products that builders and others will find of interest, including the Post-Frame Manager building take-off and estimating program. The system generates details such as shop drawings and material lists, and is available in various versions covering agricultural, residential and commercial building applications. Modules are available for stud-wall, steel-frame, and structural insulated panel building systems, as well as metal and alternative roofing systems.
“Post-Frame Manager software is the only estimating tool of its kind that provides real-time 3D rendering and a virtual walkthrough of a new building design, right before a customer’s eyes,” Fullerton reports. “With the builder in the driver’s seat on his laptop computer, a customer can design his own building. Within minutes, the building is customized to exactly what the customer wants and they know how much it costs - so they take ownership of the building they design with your assistance. You can avoid giving out printed, detailed plans and estimates that they might pass around to get low-ball bids from other contractors. It’s a remarkable sales tool.”
ComplyAbility is an online human resource management, educational outreach and training system that includes two key components for regulatory compliance: comprehension testing and performance tracking. Although originally designed for small and medium-sized businesses, an increasing number of associations have also recognized the ComplyAbility system for its ability to deliver online education and training to members who don’t come to educational events.
“All small businesses must provide training, not only to comply with the law and maintain efficiency, but to provide an affirmative defense in case of legal trouble,” Fullerton says. “This system documents that someone has both participated in and comprehended the material. If you conduct traditional training sessions, an employee could claim the company was at fault because he or she didn’t understand the material or went to the bathroom when a crucial topic was covered. Using ComplyAbility, you have a verifiable defense in case someone says they didn’t understand company policies regarding safety, sexual harassment or other HR issues – they complete training by passing a brief test of comprehension, which documents that they understood the material.”
The new business is located in Douglas County, Kansas, between Topeka and Kansas City, and can efficiently serve a wide radius in the Heartland of America. For more information, please visit www.HeartlandPermaColumn.com, email info@HeartlandPermaColumn.com, or phone 785/594-5696.