0000 FBi Buildings vs Blunier Builders: Who’s Best for Your Project?
FBi Buildings vs Blunier Builders: Who’s Best for Your Project?
Cori Lane

By: Cori Lane on June 8th, 2020

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FBi Buildings vs Blunier Builders: Who’s Best for Your Project?

Posts  |  Building Tips  |  Comparisons  |  Pole Barn Builders

Our builder comparison for this week features Blunier Builders.

They construct agricultural, commercial, and suburban buildings with a focus on using high-quality materials and craftsmanship.

In this blog, we’ll present the facts and strengths of each post frame builder. Our goal is to provide you with a better understanding of how FBi compares to Blunier before making a final decision.

 

FBi Buildings vs Blunier Builders: 7 Key Differences to Look For

 

1) Customer Service

 

FBi Buildings

Project_Manager2From the first call into the office, all the way to the final one with your Project Manager (PM), FBi ensures that you’re aware of every step involved with your post frame building project.

Each customer is assigned their own Project Sales Consultant (PSC) that lives in their area. 

Currently, FBi has 17 PSCs spread throughout Indiana, Illinois, Eastern Iowa, and Southern Michigan covering their designated territories.

This arrangement allows your PSC to discuss your building needs in person, walk the property, and identify an ideal location for a new pole barn.

Once the contract is finalized and construction is ready to start, you’ll be introduced to your Project Manager. They’ll schedule crews, review building changes, handle payments, and answer questions.

FBi’s Project Management team will outline your post frame project in four construction phases:

  • Processing: An overview of your building project from the signed purchase agreement to the down payment. FBi will go over site preparation, permitting, and give you an approximate start date.

  • Design and Permitting: FBi will follow up with you regarding your building permits and site prep updates. Your PM will review drawings and confirm the expected start date.

  • Pre-Mobilization: Your PM will verify that site prep via inspection. If approved, the construction crews and material delivery will be scheduled.

  • Construction: The final phase details the main milestones that will happen during or after construction.

Blunier Builders

Blunier prides themselves on a “consultative, no pressure” sales approach. They have a handful of salespeople and project managers who will guide you through their building process.

Similar to FBi, their design and engineering team is in-house. Each pole barn is custom designed and engineered to fit the customer’s needs and desires.

However, Blunier has a site work team dedicated to preparing a solid foundation for your post frame building. This handy feature eliminates the need to request quotes from excavators or do the work yourself.

 

Who has the best customer service?

Both companies offer assistance every step of the way but in different capacities. 

FBi has assembled a larger team (e.g., sales, design, engineering, project management, and construction crews) to handle a high volume of detailed building projects. Personalization and timeliness are essential.

If you’re interested in working with a smaller team who’ll handle your site prep, then Blunier is the builder for you.

 

FBi vs Blunier_Blunier Astric

 

Design Your Pole Barn_FBi Buildings

 

2) Service Areas

 

Kenny Sales

FBi Buildings

FBi is a family-owned post frame construction company that started in 1958. Their corporate headquarters is located in Remington, Indiana. During their 60+ years, they’ve been known as the preferred pole barn builder in the Midwest.

As mentioned above, their service area is limited to Indiana, Illinois, Eastern Iowa, and Southern Michigan. 

If you have a unique building project outside of their territory, they’ll pursue other options to see if it’s feasible for them to be your post frame builder.

 

Blunier Builders

Founded in 2002, Blunier is a family-owned and operated construction company from Eureka, Illinois. They started building pole barns as supplemental income for their family farm, but have since expanded to a full-fledged post frame builder.

Fun Fact: Blunier Builders was a subcontractor for FBi Buildings in the Central Illinois area before branching out on their own.

Their service area covers the following Illinois counties: Livingston, Logan, McLean, Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford.

 

Who has the best service area?

FBi easily wins this category. With 140+ counties in four different states, their coverage can’t be beaten.

 

FBi vs Blunier_FBi Wins

 

3) Pole Barn Materials

 

Steel

FBi Buildings

FBi_Rust_Resistant_SteelFBi’s metal panels are 29 gauge, heat-treated, full-hard, high-tensile steel with a minimum yield point of 80,000 PSI (pounds per square inch). That’s 60% to 78% higher than what’s commonly used.

A higher yield contributes to overall steel strength and improves the structural integrity of your pole barn by providing greater resistance to impact damage.

Their post frame buildings feature galvalume steel (roof and walls), which is coated with aluminum-zinc alloy by a continuous hot-dip process. The coating consists of 55% aluminum and 45% zinc, with a small silicon dose for fighting corrosive elements.

Depending on your pole barn colors, FBi will also use galvanized steel panels on their walls. Unlike galvalume, galvanized metal is subject to corrosion once the coating wears off.

 

Blunier Builders

Blunier works with the same metal manufacturer as FBi to install 29 gauge/80,000 PSI high-tensile steel. 

They also use galvalume substrates, which offer superior corrosion resistance compared to galvanized panels.

 

Who has the best steel?

Both companies are equal when it comes to the type of steel being used. Therefore, this section is a tie between FBi and Blunier.

 

FBi vs Blunier_Tie

 

Wood

FBi Buildings

The type of wood that FBi uses is dependent on the building design

For example, if you’re interested in building a pole barn with large clear-span trusses, then FBi will use Machine Stress-Rated (MSR) lumber. Each piece of MSR lumber is tested for stiffness and strength before installation.

Moreover, FBi uses #1 Southern Yellow Pine (SYP) lumber for post frame projects that require smaller trusses.

 

Blunier Builders

Blunier’s wood selection process is similar to FBi’s. They use #1 SYP lumber in their roofing and wall system. 

This type of wood is well-known for its strength, durability, and adaptability. Not to mention, Southern Yellow Pine is an economical choice for post frame construction.

 

Who has the best wood?

Although they both use #1 SYP, FBi has a slight edge over Blunier. They use MSR lumber throughout their pole barns, which consistently reinforces building rigidity. 

 

FBi vs Blunier_FBi Wins

 

Structural Integrity eBook_FBi Buildings

 

Screws

FBi Buildings_Screws_vs_Nails_Post_Frame_BuildingFBi Buildings

FBi uses a stainless steel capped, self-sealing screw. The screw fasteners encapsulate the sealing washer to protect it from the elements and improve aesthetics.

The washer maintains its seal and is more reliable than commonly used neoprene, and offers the best heat, cold, weather, and ozone resistance.

 

Blunier Builders

Blunier uses a zinc-coated hex head screw. Unlike FBi, Blunier’s standard screw doesn’t include an umbrella, which protects the washer from deterioration. 

You can always upgrade to a stainless steel screw. Please review the quote to see which screws are being used and where. It varies by application.

 

Who has the best screws?

FBi is the better choice for screws because all of their screws are stainless steel. Each screw head forms an “umbrella.” Without this extra defense layer, your pole barn is more susceptible to leaks and rust.

 

FBi vs Blunier_FBi Wins

 

Trusses

FBi Buildings

Trusses for Snow Load Blog-1FBi’s trusses are made in their in-house truss plant and engineered specifically for your pole barn.

Their truss plant is regularly certified by a third party Truss Plant Institute inspection service to ensure the quality fabrication of all trusses.

The lumber used to build the trusses are joined with heavy-duty steel plates. These plates have a dense concentration of long teeth providing excellent grip on the wood.

FBi’s trusses are interlocked – not just attached – to the laminated columns with structural screws. It provides the same strength as bolts, but for less money.

Moreover, FBi is the only post frame builder to screw their roof purlins onto the trusses. Testing has proved that screws provide greater uplift resistance than nails.

Typically, purlins are spaced no more than 24’’ on center. The spacing and orientation depend on how far apart the trusses are spaced.

 

Blunier Builders

Blunier’s trusses are custom designed for the specific needs of your post frame building. Galvanized steel gusset plates add strength at every truss connection.

In addition, their trusses are saddled and bolted to the laminated columns. Roof purlins are set 24’’ on center.

 

Who has the best trusses?

FBi gets the win because they incorporate MSR lumber into their trusses, which allows for longer and stronger spans.

Not to mention, their screwed-on purlins are a game-changer in the post frame industry. This type of fastener is less likely to be uplifted by forces (e.g., high winds), reducing the chances of rolled purlins and roof failure.

 

FBi vs Blunier_FBi Wins

 

Paint

Paint Comparison_FBi BuildingsFBi Buildings

FBi’s roof and wall panels are finished with the Kynar 500 paint system. 

This type of paint isn’t wet-dipped or sprayed-on, but baked-on for excellent resistance to fading, chalking, or corrosion. Their panels are known to maintain their vibrant color for 40 years or longer.

Do you need help picking a color scheme? Check out these tips for selecting the perfect pole barn color combination.

 

Blunier Builders

Blunier’s steel panels are also painted with Kynar 500.

This paint system is the coating of choice for building owners and architects worldwide. In fact, over 10 billion square feet of building products are coated with Kynar 500 colors.

The final result is a durable structure that withstands abrasion, ultraviolet radiation, extreme weather, chemicals, and solvents.

 

Who has the best paint?

This category results in a tie between FBi and Blunier as they both finish their steel panels with the Kynar 500 paint system.

 

FBi vs Blunier_Tie

 

Columns

FBi Buildings

Perma_Column_2There are two types of ground contact for columns when pricing your post frame building: Laminated Posts and Perma-Columns.

Similar to their trusses, FBi creates their laminated posts in-house. These columns have greater longevity than solid posts. Each layer of lumber is completely permeated with wood preservative and kiln-dried. It prevents rot and termite damage.

But not all column treatments are equal. FBi uses columns that are treated with 0.80 lb./cu. ft. of Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) wood preservative. That’s 33% more than industry standards, which you’ll find at hardware stores and lumber yards.

Alternatively, you can opt for Perma-Columns, which are precast concrete columns sized to fit any laminated or solid post. 

This solution is guaranteed to withstand insect damage, decay, and rotting. No wood goes into the ground.

Using 10,000 PSI precast concrete, Perma-Columns are 3x stronger than standard concrete. Then, the columns are reinforced with 60,000 PSI rebar welded to a ¼’’ steel bracket.

Furthermore, Perma-Columns include microfibers to add shock resistance and durability. Microsilica enhances compressive strength and erosion resistance. 

The corrosion inhibitor protects the rebar reinforcement and brackets from rusting. A final admixture is added for freeze and thaw protection.

 

Blunier Builders

Blunier’s columns are made out of #1 SYP lumber and laminated in a controlled shop environment. Column size and spacing are dependent on the building size.

Their laminated posts are inserted into their pier and bracket system. The pier holes are drilled at least 4’ deep and filled with concrete. A stainless steel bracket is wet-set in the concrete piers, then fastened with (2) ½’’ bolts and (4) framing screws. Lastly, a splashboard is secured to the bracket.

This system keeps all wood out of the ground, allowing for a concrete floor to be poured before construction.

 

Who has the best columns?

While both construction companies use laminated posts, FBi’s Perma-Columns is a more sustainable option than Blunier’s pier and bracket system.

Blunier’s laminated posts aren’t treated at ground level. Moisture buildup causes the concrete slab to sweat, which eventually leads to post decay and rotting.

Not to mention, their laminated posts sit directly at ground level. This placement happens to be one of the highest wind pressure points within a post frame building. Added stress on the column causes fatigue, affecting building longevity.

 

FBi vs Blunier_FBi Wins

 

Pole Barn Quote_FBi Buildings

 

Doors

FBi Buildings

Sliding Doors

Step_Saver_LatchFBi’s EasyMotion sliding door was introduced to the market in 2010. One of the perks included with this door option is the StepSaver Latch, which will save you time and energy.

No more running around to the walk-in door to disengage cam latches and snugger chains. You can get inside your building in less time. Just turn the key and grab the handle. It’s that simple!

Not to mention, the EasyMotion door features the Posi-Guide Track. It’s an exclusive weatherproof system that ensures your sliding door opens and closes smoothly all year round.

The guide doesn’t collect rain, ice, snow, or debris (i.e., birds’ nest and leaves). A unique low-friction polymer roller is protected behind and underneath the track. This interlocking system keeps the door snug to the building as it operates.

FBi offers the following center guide options for your sliding door:

  • Wood center door stub
  • Concrete center door stub (wet or dry)
  • Concrete apron approach (wet or dry)
Overhead Doors

Overhead doors aren’t a standard feature with FBi pole barns. If you’re interested in installing an overhead door, FBi will work directly with their preferred vendors to get the style and size needed.

FBi’s in-house engineers carefully evaluate the entire building system and will specify the necessary foundation, column, and header sizes needed to carry out the anticipated loads for each door.

 

Blunier Builders

Sliding Doors

Blunier’s sliding doors feature a steel aluminum frame (1-½’’ or 3-½’’) for stability. They use metal rollers and test each door to ensure ease of use.  The concrete center door guide provides additional strength. A frost footing upgrade is available with a steel angle iron edge.

Their door options include split sliders up to 40’ wide and single sliders up to 24’ wide. You can also add wainscoting or windows.

Overhead Doors

Similar to FBi, overhead doors aren’t a standard feature on Blunier pole barns. They work with several area dealers that offer multiple brands. Overhead door options include:

  • Insulated or uninsulated
  • Sizes up to 40’ wide
  • With or without windows
  • Single or dual trolley
  • Custom

Who has the best doors?

For sliding doors, FBi separates themselves apart from Blunier with their Posi-Guide Track

Again, this system sits off the ground, eliminating door jams caused by debris. The door track is rounded and self-cleaning (no oil needed). It will operate smoothly year after year.

Whereas, Blunier uses standard sliding door metal rollers. This component can rust or become weak. Their door track is also exposed, which can collect debris and cause damage. As a result, you may run into issues with opening and closing your sliding door.

If you prefer to use overhead doors, both companies are capable of finding preferred vendors.

 

FBi vs Blunier_Blunier Astric

 

Windows

FBi Buildings

Window Options_FBi BuildingsBelieve it or not, there are many decisions to make when choosing windows for your pole barn. The windows offered by FBi are energy-efficient and available in popular styles, such as:

  • Double-hung
  • Single-slider
  • Eyebrow
  • Half-round
  • Gothic
  • Full circle
  • Hexagon
  • Quarter-round

Blunier Builders

Blunier works with a supplier to provide high-quality windows for their customers. Your window options include:

  • With or without grids
  • Fixed or sliding panes
  • Single or double-hung
  • Thermal-insulated
  • Multiple colors

Who has the best windows?

This category is a tie between FBi and Blunier as they both offer windows with their pole barns. 

However, we do offer one piece of advice...don’t be afraid to shop around. Sometimes, you’ll find similar windows for a lower price at the local hardware store.

 

FBi vs Blunier_Tie

 

Design Your Pole Barn_FBi Buildings

 

Who has the best overall materials?

As for pole barn materials, FBi comes out on top. They win five out of the eight categories; those being columns, doors, screws, trusses, and wood. Blunier ties FBi with their paint, steel, and windows.

 

FBi vs Blunier_Material Winners

 

4) Delivery

 

FBi Buildings

Site_AccessOn the first day of construction, your building materials will be delivered on-site. FBi doesn’t prefer to deliver materials to your site and have them sit out in the elements until construction crews show up.

The building size will determine the type of equipment needed. Usually, FBi brings the following machinery to a job-site:

  • A semi for material and delivery
  • Gradall telehandler
  • Crew truck and trailer
  • Skid steer (if applicable)
  • Crane (if applicable)

Company-employed drivers deliver materials straight from their own lumber yard.

 

Blunier Builders

Blunier’s construction process is split into phases because of their unique foundation system. The concrete needs time to cure properly. 

Therefore, it may take days or weeks before construction crews can build the rest of the structure.

 

Who has the best delivery?

Unless customers want their construction project phased out, FBi will build their pole barn from start to finish with little interruption. Plus, their materials are delivered on the first day of construction. 

 

FBi vs Blunier_FBi Wins

 

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5) Construction

 

FBi Buildings

Crew_WinFBi’s average crewmen have been employed for over 13 years. Experienced men make fewer mistakes, giving you a higher quality post frame building. 

FBi has a Crew Management team of construction veterans who oversee/support foremen and their workers.

They also have a rigorous SafeStart safety training and Core 54 (apprentice carpenter training) programs that all of their crews have to complete.

 

Blunier Builders

Blunier’s pole barns are built by their own construction crews. Their workers are “detail-oriented, highly trained, and safety-minded.”

Due to a smaller service area, Blunier has a handful of crews to support their sales team.

 

Who has the best construction?

Both companies provide their own construction crews, but the advantage goes to FBi. They have tenure experience between their field workers and Crew Management teams.

Plus, Blunier has a snow removal service. If you’re building a pole barn in the winter, the construction crews may quit early to plow snow. Depending on the snowfall, this side business may hinder the timely completion of your building project.

 

FBi vs Blunier_FBi Wins

 

6) Warranty

 

FBi Buildings

Pole_Barn_Warranty_Columns_Roof_StructureA pole barn warranty is a written promise to stand behind a certain product or service. All warranties are limited, and there isn’t a standard one in the post frame industry. With that being said, you don’t want to skim through them.

The following components are covered under FBi’s warranty:

  • Columns (Lifetime)
  • Roof Structure (20 years)
  • Red Rust (15 years)
  • Paint (40 years)
  • Gloss Loss (5 years)
  • Roof Leaks (5 years)
  • Sliding Doors (Lifetime)

Blunier Builders

After researching Blunier’s website, the only listed warranties cover paint and steel. These components are guaranteed for 40 years. For more information, you’ll need to call or email their office.

 

Who has the best warranty?

FBi wins this category for having a more comprehensive list of warrantied features made available to the public.

 

FBi vs Blunier_FBi Wins

 

7) Cost

 

FBi Buildings

Horse_Barn_ColorFBi is well aware that they aren’t the cheapest post frame builder in the industry, but they’re not the most expensive.

A standard pole barn shell can cost anywhere from $8 to $45 per square foot. Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why is there such a big difference in price per square foot?” Here’s why…

The following factors will determine if your pole barn is leaning towards the low/high side of the cost spectrum:

  • Total square feet
  • Type of features (e.g., overhangs, windows, walk-in doors, steel liner packages, etc.)
  • Current nature of the commodities market (e.g., the price of lumber and steel)

For example, adding a porch, cupolas, and numerous doors will push you closer to the $45 per square foot. If you want a basic 30’ x 40’ without the bells and whistles, you’ll pay closer to the $8 per square foot.

 

Blunier Builders

Blunier’s cost approach is straightforward and laid out at the beginning of the planning phase. They calculate pole barn cost on simple square footage and specific features.

 

Who has the best cost?

It’s important to note that Blunier is sometimes lower (smaller projects) or higher than FBi (bigger projects). Either way, you can expect a 15% difference in cost between the two post frame companies

*Please keep in mind that multiple variables go into pricing a pole barn.

 

FBi vs Blunier_FBi Astric

Ultimate Guide to Pole Barn Cost_FBi Buildings

 

Who’s Best for Your Post Frame Building Project?

 

FBi vs Blunier_Overall Winners

Note: The star denotes personal preference based on the buyer. Please reference each section for specifics.

 

Every post frame builder has their advantages and disadvantages, and the final decision is solely up to you and your specific needs.

  • Blunier Builders is the way to go if you want to build a smaller, cost-effective pole barn in the Central Illinois area.

  • FBi Buildings is the right choice if you’re looking to make a long-lasting investment with a more personalized sales experience

If you’re still unsure about what to do, we recommend checking out these additional resources:

We’d be happy to work with you on your pole barn project if you’re located in Indiana, Illinois, Eastern Iowa, or Southern Michigan.

Pole Barn Quote_FBi Buildings


Do you have more questions that are not covered in this article? If you need help designing or planning, please contact FBi Buildings at 800.552.2981 or click here to email us. If you are ready to get a price, click here to request a quote and a member of our Customer Engagement team will help you determine the next steps of your project.

About Cori Lane

Cori grew up on her family's small grain and livestock operation in Northwest Indiana. In 2018, she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Marketing from Marian University Indianapolis. Having shown beef cattle for 12 years at the county, state, and national level, Cori chose to pursue a career in the agriculture field. Today, she serves as the Marketing Content Creator on the FBi team. In her free time, Cori enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching sports, listening to music, and traveling.