Leveraging Factory Direct Pricing for Your Steel Building Project

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The origins of the metal building history date back nearly 100 years. In the 20th century, steel companies began to mass-produce agricultural buildings, usually used as grain and feed bins. During World War II, arch-framed buildings, like Quonset or Nissan huts, were extremely prevalent for barracks and maintenance sheds because they were lightweight and could be shipped and assembled anywhere. Fast-forward to the present, and pre-engineered steel buildings have become the norm in construction. As we’ve mentioned before, the Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA) says that metal building systems account for over 50% of the total low-rise non-residential construction market. Thousands of people begin a steel building project each day.

Up until recently, there was only two ways to obtain a metal building. You could either work with a contractor or a steel building broker, who would buy your metal building from a manufacturer, and then pass it along to you. The broker or contractor would take care of the metal building purchase, but the finer details like engineering, detailing, choice of accessories or quality of materials was left up to whoever the contractor or broker chose. The end user was married to those decisions, as well as those costs. This is still the practice for many companies in the industry.

steel building projectNow, builders aren’t stuck with only those two options. The third and most cost effective option is to get a building directly from a steel building manufacturer. Builders who are eligible for factory direct pricing end up saving thousands on their steel building project. This is a good option for people looking for deeper discounts, managing some of the finer details of the project and really controlling their own costs by cutting out the middleman.

In order to participate in the Direct Buy process, you just need to meet one or more of the following conditions. You have your financing in place, you know and understand what you want, you have your land or some place to store delivered steel building materials, or you’re prepared to secure your steel price with an engineering payment and begin designing your steel building with a project manager.

How the Direct Buy process works

First, speak with your local building authority. They’ll have knowledge of all your zoning by-laws, regulations and permit requirements. The better you can determine your needs and objectives, the easier it will be for your steel building supplier to provide you with an accurate proposal. Next, talk to your steel building supplier. Seems simple, right? Many brokers might have similar programs, but you should know if you’re dealing with a broker or the actual manufacturer who will fabricate your building. There’s a big difference between the way they operate, and the end product they offer.

Once you’ve locked in your steel price with a small engineering payment, you’ll begin your project. Allow a few days for the engineers and drafting team to prepare your personalized approval drawings.

An Armstrong project manager will reach out and you’ll receive building drawings. This is where your building project officially begins to take shape. You’ll start the customization process by marking up your drawings, placing openings, choosing your colors and adding accessories. You may also add insulation, cupolas, ridge vents, or anything that is offered in the Armstrong Steel Catalog. Remember to keep an open line of communication with your project manager. Their experience makes a huge difference when it comes to your project’s budget. If you have any questions, they are in place to help, and often times can even assist with cost saving plans for your specific project.

After the approval process is complete, you’ll receive your permit drawings. Along with your permit drawings, you’ll receive a fabrication release form. Your project can’t move along to the manufacturing facility until you sign this form. Next, you’ll be sent construction drawings once your fabrication release form is received. We’ll prepare construction drawings at this time, and you or your erector will use those drawings to build your building! It’s very possible you are the building erector, because pre-engineered metal buildings bolt together and fit together seamlessly with little to no field fabrication necessary, unlike a wooden pole barn.

steel building projectFinally, you’ll make arrangements for the delivery of your steel building. Make sure you’ve got your site prepped and ready to go, along with a proper foundation, if you plan to erect your building immediately. Don’t forget to have a forklift on site to unload your building when it arrives!

The Direct Buy process is in place to maximize savings by letting first time builders manage their own budget, vision and timeline. Getting a building directly from the manufacturer is the easiest and most cost effective way to build.

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