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Metal Buildings, Metal Framing, Project Planning, How-To Guides, Installation | May 22, 2024

How To Prepare a Metal Building Site

To ensure the success of your metal building project, there’s one important thing to consider before the erection process begins: site preparation. A properly prepared installation site is crucial to create a strong foundation and ensure that your building is compliant with local building codes. 


Building Permits 

Before beginning construction on your building, it’s important to make sure that your building is compliant with local, state and federal building codes. Failure to do so could be a costly mistake. If your building doesn’t meet the proper codes, you could be forced to pay heavy citations and fines. You could also be required to tear down portions of your building to meet inspectors’ requirements and permit your building after the fact. 

We recommend that you reach out to your local building department official to get assistance throughout the permitting process. 


Site Selection 

There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing a site on your property. In some cases, it may be best to hire a professional to evaluate your property to select the location for your building. 



When choosing a site, make sure it’s accessible for material delivery and construction. Make sure that there’s a clear path to your building site that’s free of overhead wires and other obstructions. Consider designating a space for loading and unloading the components of your prefabricated metal building. During the construction process, allow for a 10 to 12-foot clearance. 



Evaluate the site and its surroundings. First consider whether water will drain away from the building. Then examine the surrounding area for elements that may interfere with proper drainage. There may also be local ordinances and/or requirements regarding water runoff. 



Consider the orientation of your building on your property and how the elements and surroundings will affect the structure. 


Existing Utilities

Before beginning construction, it’s important to check for existing electrical, gas and water lines. Check with your local building department to find out who to contact. 



When choosing a site, consider that you’ll have to pave areas around your structure to add sidewalks, driveways and parking areas. 


Site Preparation 

Once you’ve selected the site for your metal building, the preparation work begins. First, your surveyors should assess the site to make sure it’s level and stake it out. Depending on the soil composition at your site, your contractor may recommend updates to create a more solid foundation bed or facilitate better drainage. Denser soil may be necessary as it can carry more load. 

Once this is complete, the groundwork begins. First, you should remove any trees, shrubs, large rocks and other debris from the site. Next, the ground should be leveled. Your site can be leveled and graded by hand or by a professional. Make sure to keep some of the excavated soil on hand to fill any remaining holes after the foundation work is completed. 


Laying the Foundation 

Your metal building will need some type of foundation on which to anchor the columns and thereby tie the whole structure together. Some agricultural steel buildings are designed to have dirt or gravel floors and consequently use concrete piers instead of a full slab; however, a concrete slab may be required in situations like commercial or industrial steel buildings. Whatever foundation you use, we strongly recommend that you employ an experienced local foundation engineer to design it. Your erection drawings will include an “anchor-bolt setting plan with reactions”, which will give a qualified engineer the necessary data to design a suitable foundation for your building. 


Getting It Right 

For more information about preparing your metal building site, contact Fortify Building Solutions to speak with a metal buildings expert.