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Using metal as a building material is nothing. Buildings made entirely of metal have been cropping up across the country for 60 years. Today, modern building materials, insulation, and finishing options make steel buildings a better choice for many types of buildings such as churches, retail stores, manufacturing plants, sports arenas, and offices. Their primary advantages over traditional construction is that they are cheaper and faster to build which stems from the fact that much of the work is done at a factory that fabricates the component parts of the building.
Planning for Your Steel Building
There are two major factors that will influence the design and construction of your steel building. One is practical, the actual use of the building, and the second is legal.
On the practical side, you need to think through exactly how you'll use the building. For example, if you're building a warehouse, you may need roll-up doors high enough for forklifts to drive through. Steel buildings always require foundations, which in most cases are flat concrete slabs.
As for legal considerations, every state has different building codes that will apply to your project. This includes things like snow load and wind load and how much your building can withstand. It’s imperative to remember that building codes are continually changing, therefore check with your city or council planning department.
Other legal requirements include local zoning laws, drainage requirements, and energy codes. Stricter energy codes require more insulation to save energy and “go green” to reduce your building’s carbon footprint. Insulating properly will make your building energy efficient and it will pay for itself in the first year with reduced heating and cooling costs.
Steel Building Buying Tips
Don’t go cheap. If you're spending a lot of money, a difference of $500 here or there is not significant. The building is going to last 30 years or more, so make sure you get the building you want.
Look for good deals. When two sellers present bids for similar steel buildings that are thousands of dollars apart, you should investigate the details thoroughly. Chances are that one is not including everything you need.
Know the right time to buy. Steel buildings tend to follow a seasonal trend. Buying when sales are down will help you get the best price. Sales are usually slow in the winter and summer, and salesmen are more likely to take less of a markup just to make a sale.
Verify the building codes. Make sure you get in touch with your local building officials once you have specifications from your supplier, before you sign the contract. Changes to meet code will always drive your costs up, so to avoid late surcharges, you need to verify that the contract includes all the right specifications.
Get it in writing. Some manufacturers may ask for a verbal go-ahead to get the factory working or to lock in the price. Getting the details in writing will ensure that you know exactly what you're buying.
Buy from an accredited manufacturer. The I.A.S. (International Accreditation Service) certifies manufacturers. Purchasing from an accredited manufacturer can give you extra peace of mind that your building will be designed to the highest standards in the industry.
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