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Don’t Be Afraid to Ask These 6 Questions About Steel Buildings
The process for choosing and buying a steel building may seem daunting, but the fact is, it’s really rather simple; easier than buying a car or even a piece of complicated electronic equipment. While it takes some preparation and research, the right company, like Armstrong Steel, will do most of the work for you. Choosing someone like Armstrong Steel makes your job easy, leaving you to be creative in the design process.
Some customers don’t know what to ask, or may feel embarrassed to ask certain questions. It’s important to feel comfortable through this process; your building is a big deal. To help open a dialogue of communication, we’ve put together a list of some of the most common questions and answers you need to ask as you begin the exciting process of building your dream garage, workshop, barn, sports facility, home for your growing small business, etc.
1. How can I get the cheapest steel building?
There are two main factors to help you get the best possible price. Flexibility on your part with regard to timelines for delivery and design is a huge way to help keep your costs down. While most times we can work within your deadlines, giving us the option to ship your building with other buildings heading to your area, not requiring your Project Managers to research permits and codes by a certain deadline and giving our designers and engineers time to build in efficiencies will lower costs.
Certainly, having a prepared job site will also keep costs low and speed up the process. When your job site is ready in advance to receive your building, and your building can be delivered at any time, you will lower the over-all cost of your steel building. Don’t let a building salesman select your doors and windows for you. Selecting your doors and windows from a direct pricing catalog is smarter!
But cheaper is not better. In construction, you get what you pay for, and many times the cheapest building is cheapest because the component pieces are not fitted properly. Many companies design for minimum standards to save production cost, which may include minimum load requirements in your area, when your building could be much bigger and stronger. Design and engineering aspects may not be planned out properly. And, if you do not know enough about the steel building company you buy from, you may wind up with shoddy building materials for the price of top-notch ones!
2. Do I need an architect to design my steel building?
The conservative talents of a structural engineer are likely all you will need. A fancy roof or an intricate door frame looks great on paper but can cost thousands of dollars in engineering and construction. A few design lines here or there will quickly add up. These are the types of creative options that will take your easily erected project from the affordable category of ‘pre-engineered’ – to the high-cost category of ‘custom-design.’ We always remind people that a good structural engineer can make all the design changes you’ll ever need.
Indeed, if you can imagine it, a structural engineer can do it.
That doesn’t mean that you need to skimp on aesthetics. Ask your project manager about adding beauty elements once the important part of the process – locking in your steel order – has been completed.
Armstrong employs a team of detailers and engineers who are experienced in the design process for creating a sound steel building. Your Project Manager can help you through the ‘finishing’ process (where you can choose colors, custom finishes like polyurethane stone, stucco, brick or slate finishes or even alternate roofing options). Additionally, your Project Manager will help you keep the cost of finishing low but delivering aesthetic value. You see a lot of steel buildings every day but may not know they’re metal because they’ve been finished, creatively.
3. How can I get a price on a steel building?
Have you considered all the factors that go into constructing a steel building? The design, engineering and logistics required for purchasing a pre-engineered metal building can add up. Pre-engineered metal buildings cost a bit more than a tuff shed or a lumber package at the hardware store. There are no set prices on sizes like you’d be accustomed to at Home Depot.
There are snow loads, wind loads, and seismic factors unique to every job site which in turn affects how the building is engineered, fabricated and ultimately how much the building will weigh. Weight equals cost! For this reason, our building pros do quite a bit of leg work on your behalf contacting your city and/or county building officials to make sure we provide you with an accurate proposal.
This also means that we need to speak to you directly to ask a series of questions specific to your property and location. Many customers want to do this part of the process online or through email, but in order to be completely accurate and expedite the process of providing you steel building prices, a short phone call is always our best option.
4. Who will build my metal building?
A quality steel building is delivered pre-cut and pre-drilled, so there is no on-site modification required. Every building comes with a complete set of erection instructions and erection drawings and they are designed to be easily read – by even a novice in construction. Most customers choose to erect their building themselves and other than a fork lift or cherry picker, no special tools are required. In fact, most times you can get everything you need at your neighborhood hardware store.
Some customers don’t feel comfortable with completing the erection process on their own – you have the ability to choose your own contractor.
5. What kind of steel is used in my steel building?
When it comes to steel, thicker doesn’t mean stronger – in fact – it only means more expensive. Some steel is designed for building use, other steel is poured for component pieces (like railroad ties and I-Beam or H-Beam) used in large building projects. Some steel is cast to provide rigidity, as in rebar or as a skeleton for concrete, like in dams.
There is no reason to pay for that kind of steel. In fact, you actually want your building to have some ‘give’ as that provides for better long-term integrity in the wind, when your building ‘settles’ or if you live in an area with seismic activity.
Optimal steel panels are 26 gauge, full-hard, high yield strength panels with close rib spacing. Most steel building companies only provide little over half this quality. It is important to get the right kind of steel to ensure your building weathers the test of time.
6. What if I have questions while I am building my metal building?
Give us a holler! While you are building your metal building, you can ask as many questions as you’d like. The most important part of the process is getting your building erected. Naturally, you may have questions during this time.
Is it possible to speak to the person who designed my building? Am I doing this right? How is that corner supposed to fit together? Walls don’t stand up on their own, how do I even get started?
Make sure that you ask any and all questions that may arise. Erecting your metal building is a big task and you want to make sure you get it right the first time. Don’t be afraid to ask the questions that may seem silly or dumb. Oftentimes, these questions are the most important and aren’t dumb at all. If you have never erected a building before, you are not an expert on the subject. It is perfectly reasonable to ask the experts questions!
At Armstrong Steel, our Project Managers, literally, have to walk only a few feet to reach the detailing & engineering department, which means you will get immediate attention for your issue. Our logistics and freight teams are steps away as well in case you have questions like where to store your building if you are not ready to build and the cheapest way to get your building shipped to you.
We understand that time is money, and we don’t want to waste yours.
The process isn’t complicated at all. As we mentioned, you probably have to make more decisions and take more risk when you buy a car. Most of the legwork is done by a team of experts who are trained and equipped to make the process remarkably easy. For more information and more questions and answers that you should be asking before you buy your steel building, download the 9 things you absolutely need to know about steel buildings.Photo courtesy: Tiffany Terry, Wonderlane, pilostic
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