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Metal Buildings, Project Planning | May 22, 2024

Top Things to Consider When Buying a Metal Building

A metal building is a significant investment, so it is important to do research before beginning the buying process. There are several things you should consider when buying a metal building. 


  1. End-Use

When purchasing a custom metal building, it is important to consider the end-use as it will affect the design of your building. For example, an aircraft hangar, warehouse or distribution center will most likely require large, open spaces for storage and maneuverability of large machinery. For these applications, clear-span framing can provide column-free spaces up to 150ft wide. 

The occupancy levels of your metal building can also affect its design. Occupancy levels are rated on a scale from 1-4. 

  1. Low Occupancy (I.e., storage sheds and self-storage facilities) 
  2. Normal Occupancy (I.e., small warehouses and retail facilities) 
  3. High Occupancy (More than 250 people) 
  4. Essential Buildings (Places where people would congregate in a natural disaster such as schools, police stations and fire departments) 

Snow loads, wind ratings and more are affected by the occupancy level of your building.  


  1. Dimensions

Determine dimensions that you need for your metal building before reaching out for quotes as this will affect the price. 

When selecting dimensions for your custom project, it is always better to go longer instead of wider. As the width of a building increases, heavier framing is required which increases the price. For example, if you know you need 2400 sq. ft., consider requesting a 40’ x 60’ building instead of 60’ x 40’. 

The dimensions that you give the metal building manufacturer will represent the outside dimensions, not the interior clear space. Make sure to factor in framing, girts and purlins when planning for interior space. 


  1. Customization Options

One of the most significant benefits of choosing metal buildings are the endless options for customization. Choose from a variety of customizations including overhangs, wainscotting, gutters, lean -tos and more. Metal building framing can be designed to support almost any exterior cladding, allowing you to mix and match materials such as masonry and stone to create the exterior look you desire. 

Evaluate and select customizations prior to requesting a quote and purchasing your building as these customizations will affect the design and price. 


  1. Location

Consider the climate of your geographic region when purchasing your custom metal building as it will affect the design and price. 

For example, in the Northeast, Midwest and in mountainous regions, you will need to factor snow loads into the design of your building. In coastal areas and regions prone to tornadic activity, you will have to consider wind ratings. For geographies that are prone to seismic activity, such as Idaho, California, Northeastern Arkansas and Eastern Tennessee, you may have to use steel rod bracing instead of flexible cables to add more rigidity to your building. 


  1. Check Permit Requirements

Before requesting quotes, check with your local permit official to understand the specific requirements and loads for the installation site. Disclose the required loads and ratings when requesting quotes from metal building manufacturers. Carefully evaluate each quote you receive to make sure that the price includes the necessary loads and ratings for your area. Before purchasing the building, reach out again to have your permit official review the building design to ensure that your building will comply with all local regulations. 


  1. Installation Site


Your metal building will be shipped to you on a flat-bed 18-wheeler, so the installation site will need to be accessible via road, or you will need to have an alternate plan to unload the building materials and get them to the site. 

The site should offer plenty of clear space, free from debris, with enough room to stage components prior to installation. 


To prevent damage to your metal building components, you will need a safe place for storage. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for storing materials. 


After ordering your building and choosing an erector, check with them to find out what they require for the jobsite. Some erectors require that the building owner provide a dumpster and latrines for the site. 


It’s important to plan for the size and location of your metal building. Do you have the proper system set up for drainage? The last thing you want is to erect a metal building in place only to have it in a flood prone zone or to have rain runoff collect around the building. To prepare for proper drainage, have your land surveyed by a professional. 


What is the proximity of your proposed metal building to other structures? As a metal building owner, you may need to consider the height and distance of your metal building to other existing structures. Depending on the location and use of your metal building, you should be cognizant of surrounding neighbors and other building structures. 


Have you checked into zoning laws in your area? Again, depending on what your metal building’s intended use, these rules could restrict the way your land is used. Check with local city and county ordinances and call your municipal planning/building department on zoning laws for the intended building location. You will also want to consider noise regulations for your area. For example, if you are building a metal car garage for your racecars, you will need to check your local noise ordinances before you rev up that engine on a daily basis. Save yourself the hassle of being issued unnecessary fines that come with breaking regulations by being well versed on them. 


  1. Budget

There are a variety of factors that will affect the cost of your custom metal building including size, geographic location, end-use and more. Make sure to consider these factors when defining a reasonable budget to meet your needs. 

The cheapest quote will not always be the best option. If you are considering a variety of building materials such as lumber and tubular steel, examine the pros and cons of each when evaluating the price. 

Additionally, if a metal building quote seems too good to be true, it probably is. Check the quote to make sure that everything you need is included. The load drives the cost, so you will want to make sure that the price you were quoted has the necessary loads factored in. 


  1. Foundation

You will need a full foundation for your building. Check with the permit office and an engineer to select a foundation that fits your needs. Prior to installing the foundation, have someone survey the land and hire a leveler if necessary. 


  1. Choosing The Right Manufacturer Is Important

A metal building is a significant investment, so it is important to do your research ahead of time and ask the right questions. 

When purchasing your metal building, it is ideal to purchase directly from the metal building manufacturer rather than a broker. This can help you avoid price markups from a broker. 

Choose an established manufacturer that has been in business for a long time. The longer the company has been in business, the more likely they are to deliver on their commitment. To vet them further, consider checking into their Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating and whether they are associated with the Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA). 

Finally, look at their project gallery to see if they’ve completed similar projects. 


Wrapping It All Up 

Purchasing a metal building is a significant investment, so it is important to get it right. Reach out to one of our experienced representatives with any questions you may have about buying a metal building. We’re here to help!