Items to Consider When Purchasing Your New Steel Building.
There are many choices you can make on what type of building is perfect for your new garage. I decided to build a prefab steel garage and love it. I’ve been selling these types of buildings for many years and wanted to share with you everything I have learned from my customers and my experience.
What are the benefits of buying a steel building versus wood framed?
Steel buildings come with heavy gauge rafters and columns and the secondary steel (purlins and grits) is heavy gauge steel as well. They are engineered for your snow loads and seismic data and are structurally strong due to the thickness of the main structure. This design allows for more head room and clearance under the rafters and is ideal if you are looking to add storage shelves, mezzanines or if you are thinking about putting a car hoist in. The extra clearance is important as most townships have a maximum height which is measured to the midpoint of the roof pitch. With a steel building you can gain those extra needed couple feet due to the fact the ceiling is not flat its cathedral.
I’ve been asked by numerous potential customers about what is the better building. Why do I consider a steel building better than a wood building? The answer to this question really depends on your priorities.
If you are looking to build the most beautiful garage with roof hips, dormers and an extremely steep roof pitch I would say steel is not for you. If you are looking to build a cost effective garage or shop that functions extremely well and hold up over the span of your life better a steel building is for you.
Steel won’t warp, split, swell, shrink or decay like wood. The structural integrity shall remain for the life of the building. Pre-engineered buildings are also designed and engineered to your specific needs. Steel is quicker and easier to construct and can be delivered and installed efficiently due to all structural parts being labeled and precut.
In most areas steel buildings are also less expensive to insure due to the fact steel is non-combustible also due to the lack of wood or paper products steel buildings are resistant to mold. This will ensure a lower cost of maintenance over the years. These buildings barring some catastrophic event will last a lifetime and then some depending on the roof installed.
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One important item to keep in mind is carefully consider the design and ensure that the steel building a bit larger then needed. Quite a few customers have told me after the fact that they were surprised how quickly they filled their new garage and wish they had built it a little bit bigger. Townships only allow a building to be a certain square footage depending on the lot designation. If you feel that the steel building will need to have an addition later on it can be designed with an expandable end wall to make it easy to add on an extra bay down the road.
Top Mistakes Made When Purchasing Your Building
Top mistakes made when purchasing your steel building
– Buying on the spur of the moment
– Not confirming the building is designed to meet your townships loads and seismic data
– Buying a building with not collateral loading on the roof
– Not confirming Engineering and Delivery is included in the price
– Not getting the proper building certification paperwork
– Not checking references
Just try and remember “if something is too good to be true it probably is”
It is always best to work with a contractor on your steel building even if you decided to install on your own. They sell the same buildings and get the same pricing as brokers. The added benefit is a contractor is experienced at installing the buildings and can give advice when you need help.
What type of building foundation should I choose?
What type of foundation really depends on the size, use and location of the building you are installing. There are a wide range of foundations for all types of steel building applications. Everything from full frost walls and footings to engineered slabs (floating slabs). For a residential steel garage an engineered slab foundation is the most common and is used mainly for building sizes under 60′ wide.
Engineered Floating Slab Foundation
Steel Building Floating slab foundations are commonly used and a very economical foundation to construct. An engineered slab is a concrete slab with a deepened and reinforced exterior edge referred to as a “grade Beam” It is referred to as a “floating slab” as it essentially floats on the undisturbed ground underneath the topsoil.
The standard foundation includes a strip footing with a frost wall and is also referred to as a T foundation. These foundations do not float like and engineered slab build are placed on native ground below frost level. The footing is wider than the wall, providing extra support at the base of the foundation. A standard foundation is placed and allowed to cure; second, the frost walls are constructed; and finally, the floor is poured between the walls.
A concrete pier foundation or steel pile foundation will save time and money because they don’t require as much site preparation (which can be completed at a later date) and require less or no concrete. Simple pier foundations are similar to those used for residential decks but are much wider and sometimes require a wider base. This method is Ideal for steel buildings being designed as drive sheds barns and riding arenas
Should I erect the building myself or hire a contractor?
If you are good with the tools it is absolutely possible to erect a steel building yourself. There are numerous items to keep in mind before deciding to attempt this though.
Do you have the time?
An experienced steel building erector can have your 1200 square foot building installed in five days. It took that erector years of practice to be able to do that. On average it takes a homeowner 6 to 9 times longer to do it themselves.
How good are you at following instructions?
Before you decide to undertake the erecting process yourself ask for an erection manual and a set of your installation drawings. Take the time to review them and ask the supplier questions. They are not as easy to follow as you would think. One installation error can cause the major issue you see in the video below. A mistake can be costly and can end up being more expensive to repair than it would of been to hire an erector to install the building properly the first time. As we all know it’s easier to do the job right the first time instead of trying to fix a job done poorly.
Saying that if you are up to the challenge you can save quite a bit money erecting the building yourself. It helps to ensure the supplier has experienced staff that can guide you along the way.
Should I buy my building from a broker and hire my own subcontractors to save money?
This is a common practice by people buying steel buildings online. The subcontractors can make or break your project. If you decide to purchase your building from a broker online ask them to refer subcontractors to you. They will normally supply you with three as it limits their legal liability if the project goes bad. If you decide to take this route always take precautions to ensure you’re protected. Do your due diligence!
1. Ask for references and a list of their past projects. A good contractor should be able to provide you a list with contact information and job locations to go see. When you speak to their previous clients ask them about deficiencies, how the building is holding up and whether their expectations were met.
2. Verify that the contractors you hire are properly trained and have all their certificates. Contractors are required to have proper training on the equipment they use.
3. Verify that the contractor is properly insured. If there is a workplace accident or damage to your property it can be very costly to yourself if the company you hire is not insured.
4. Remember the low bid is not always the best. If a bid is significantly lower it could be due to items not being included in their cost such as equipment or ground work. When the project is underpriced there is the possibility to turn a profit it requires corners to be cut. There is also the possibility the price is low due to lack of experience. Have someone with construction knowledge review the quote.
5. Most importantly set up a payment schedule that protects you. Do not pay out large deposits and insist that all payments are made after proper experienced inspections. There are a lot of questionable contractors out there and there have been numerous cases of fly by night contractors leaving with your deposit after minimal work has been done.
One of many issues that can happen if not erected correctly!