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So You’re New to Metal Buildings? This is What You Need to Know

According to the Metal Building Manufacturer’s Association, “Metal building systems now account for over 50% of new low-rise, non-residential buildings in the U.S.” If you’re reading this, I assume you have noticed this trend – and maybe that means you’re interested in making your next building a metal building.

metal buildingsLet’s get one thing straight right off the bat: when I talk about metal buildings, I am usually referencing a pre-engineered metal building. A pre-engineered metal building is the most flexible, versatile and durable solutions on the market today for contractors, first time builders, small business owners and more. A pre-engineered metal building is designed to your personal specifications and arrives to your job site ready to be assembled, with no field fabrication necessary. This assembly process comes with instructions and in most cases, you won’t need any special tools to erect the building. There are other types of metal buildings, such as a quonset hut and a steel/wood combination. A quonset hut incorporates an arch frame design from the World War II era, and a steel/wood combination incorporates both building materials.

Steel is extremely durable and quality steel will last for decades. When you purchase your metal building, be sure to ask about the company’s structural, paint, and roof warranties. For instance, Armstrong Steel offers a 50-year structural warranty, tops in the industry. With proper planning in the design process, your steel building will be resistant to wind, fire, rain, snow, and even the sun. When you decide to build a pre-engineered metal building, your local municipality’s building codes and guidelines are taken into consideration. You don’t want a building engineered to withstand the intense winds off the Florida coast if you live in Minnesota. By the same token, a building engineered to endure the snow of a Minnesota winter isn’t best suited for Florida either. You get the idea!

06A pre-engineered steel building usually doesn’t incorporate intrusive poles into its design. They can be designed to utilize clear span framing, which allows the maximum amount of space in a building. It’s the perfect option to store airplanes or some of your other large equipment. In a clear span building, every square foot of the building can be used, and you won’t have to navigate around poles, obstructions, interior columns or internal truss systems. Think about all the room in the roof area for storage! Should you not have the need to erect a large building now, but will need to in the future, don’t worry because steel buildings can be expanded just as easily as they can be erected.

There are tons of ways to save money on your steel building. Keep in mind, sacrificing quality shouldn’t be one of them. Sometimes the lowest priced steel building is your best option, but often times, it could end up being a trap. Most of the time, a steel building that has a low price tag won’t come with the benefits, warranties, or assistance of a project manager. How do you know if you’re buying from a broker, or a steel building manufacturer? What’s the difference?

A steel building broker quotes you a price, and then finds the cheapest supplier in order to find the largest profit margin. Brokers will order a building, and subcontract the design somewhere else, sometimes going out of the country. The steel building broker isn’t invested in your project, and this is evident by them shopping for the least expensive manufacturer and not offering to fully manage your project. If there are erection problems, it’s your problem. If the building doesn’t fit together, it’s your problem. There could be a lot of problems.

Buying directly from a manufacturer is a smarter option. For instance, Armstrong Steel owns and operates our very own manufacturing facility in Denver, CO. Manufacturers control every step in the steel fabrication process, from conception to completion. In addition, accountability and improvement are among a steel building manufacturer’s core objectives and, in our case, we hold our products and processes to the highest standards. The ability to focus on quality, and ensure tight deadlines are met make manufacturers superior. In addition, at Armstrong Steel, we also have a full engineering and detailing team in-house, not overseas. Isn’t that what you would expect for your steel building purchase? Be sure to do your research when you shop around understand what you’re actually buying. 

metal buildingsA successful and headache-free purchase process also depends on the proper preparation. When you lock in your order with an engineering payment, you’ll get your drawings and you’ll be contacted by a project manager (maybe me!) I’ll be glad to guide you through your first metal building purchase. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and tips to ensure your building project is a success.

The building design and erection process comes with a lot of responsibility, but if you do your research, I’m confident that you will have no problem getting through it.

Want more help? Try checking out other Future First Time Builder blogs to further your understanding.