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Should a Used Steel Building Scare You?

Should a Used Steel Building Scare You?

As night falls, you find yourself in an unfamiliar wooded area. You walk, and walk, trying to navigate through the darkness. Suddenly, you hear a sound behind you. You quicken your pace, trying to ignore the hair on the back of your neck standing on end. You hear a sound behind you. Or did you? Was it just your imagination? You break out into a dead run. Fueled by adrenaline, you can’t help but feel your heart beating in your throat. As you wander aimlessly through the blackness at a sprint, you finally reach a clearing, and it brings you to a halt. What stands in front of you is far scarier than anything that could ever be behind you. You scream as you gaze up at…

…a used steel building?

Didn’t think that’s where I was going, did you? While you might not have had this nightmare in the past, it still can be very scary. Often times, I talk to folks who are in the market for a steel building, and they tell me they’ve done their research (like any good consumer would) but they had another option on the table. They’re talking about a used steel building. In all actuality, this is not an option at all. Let me explain further.

A friend of mine here in Colorado owns a construction business. He came across a guy who had a steel building on his property, and was looking to sell it. The building was manufactured in the 1960’s, and still was standing strong. It’s a huge advantage of steel buildings, as they tend to last for decades. The seller told my friend, “If you tear it down, and take it away, I’ll give it to you for dirt cheap.” So he did.

Now, put yourself in my friend’s shoes for a moment. You just bought a used steel building that’s 50+ years old, albeit still durable and strong. You have no warranties from a manufacturer; no guarantee that a building will even continue to perform once it’s re-erected.

It’s a scary situation.

In fact, the only way it would ever work is if you had another friend that was an engineer, and that engineer was willing to put his official stamp on your re-erected building. Good luck with that. I’m not saying it couldn’t work, but you’re fighting an uphill battle.

A used steel building very well might not pass county or state building codes, or hold up to certain loads that every steel building is designed to withstand. Even though the building is “new to you,” it’s not new. When you try to re-erect this building, the chances of the building pieces lining up are next to none. The chances of the sheeting being useable are next to none. There is too much risk involved to come away with a product that is most likely compromised, or more importantly, not what you wanted. But above all else, if a building is compromised in any way, it’s dangerous.

Steel buildings, especially ones manufactured by Armstrong Steel, are designed and engineered to your unique specifications. They don’t come off an assembly line, and you can’t pick one up at your local hardware store. Structural engineers painstakingly spend time making sure you can get the correct permits for each building, and that it stands and accomplishes its function for decades to come.

Think about it. If you decided to buy a used steel building, you’d be sacrificing the dimensions or size of a building that you wanted, just to save money. I can confidently say that the cheapest steel buildings are often times a trap. Remember, a price of a pound of steel generally costs the same everywhere. The difference is in quality. As we’ve learned over the years, having a quality product that keeps you safe isn’t our most important goal, it’s our only goal.

Like any kid growing up, there were a ton of things that terrified me. Stephen King basically ruined clowns for me in IT, and I’m still not a big fan of spiders or snakes. Now that I’m grown up, anytime someone mentions a used steel building, it scares me. It should scare you too.

Photo courtesy: Thomas Berg