Pre-Fab Metal Buildings – The Need-to-Know Questions

Pre-Fab Metal Buildings are being used today in almost all types of construction work. Whether you are looking for Metal Commercial Building, an Agricultural Metal Building, an Industrial Metal Building, Warehouse Building, Metal Garage or Shop Building or even a new Metal Residential Building, you can find a Pre-Fab Metal Building to suit your needs.

Finding the right one for you is the challenge. Making an uninformed decision could result in not getting the best building for your needs and can prove extremely costly – now and down the road as well.

Making an informed decision should result in a purchase of a cost effective suitable building for you now and in the future. This decision can also result in cost savings for heating, lighting and insurance as well giving you savings each and every year.

We have identified here a few items that should be considered when purchasing a pre-fab metal building.

What will my new metal building be used for?

This first item may seem to be a ‘no-brainer’ but please do not fail to consider it carefully.  Not just the immediate need, but all of the things that it may be used for, now and in the future. Planning ahead now means that you will be prepared when the need arises next month, next year, or a few years from now. A little extra expense now can save a small fortune down the road.


How big will my pre-fab metal building be?

This item is related to the above.  Before answering this question, think about what answers you gave to the ‘use question’ above. If you think that you need 800 square feet for your immediate use and that next year or in two years you will want another 200 square feet, purchasing the extra 200 square feet now will save a huge amount of money down the road if you have to remove an end-wall and purchase a small amount of additional wall and ceiling and then re-install the end-wall. Adding on would disrupt the use of your metal building and it seldom looks like it was an original part of the building.


Which metal building type is best for me?

There are a number of pre-fab metal building types available to you.  This item is an article – or a number of articles – in itself! There are specific benefits for each of the types of metal buildings that you need to consider. Check out our articles page for specific articles related to Prefab Metal Building Kit types.


What accessories do I require? Which ones would I like?

Each type of metal building kit has a wide variety of available accessories. However, if you don’t ask for accessories that you would like to include in your new pre-fab building, you will not receive them.  Man doors, overhead doors, sliding doors, windows, roof skylights, insulation, insulation trim kits, mezzanines, extra design loading for crane beams and rails or hoist points, roof penetration flashings… The list is almost limitless. Now keep in mind that not all metal building suppliers offer all of the accessories, but you need to ask to make sure that the building is designed to accommodate these items if bought separately. (The need for design loading for roof hung/supported equipment cranes etc. is imperative. These buildings are often economized meaning that there is no extra loading capacity included.)


How much?

Once you have done your homework and have a building size, type, shape and accessories decided upon, it’s time to get quotes. Notice that I said quote’s’. To do a proper comparison, you will need at least three quotes. And these quotes should all be quoting ‘apples to apples’.


How do I compare the quotes?

When you have received the pre-fab building quotes, do a very careful analysis of each of them. Check what is included in each package – just because you asked for a series of roof skylights does not mean that the supplier has included them. Compare the quotes that you have received. Get pricing on the items that the supplier has not included from another source and add this to your supplier’s quote. Ensure that shipping to your site has been included. If not, get a quote from a local carrier (or three). Now you should be able to compare ‘apples to apples’.


Will you erect the metal building kit myself?

If you are considering this, figure out what equipment you will require. Each of the prefab metal building types have different requirements for erection. Get the equipment and rentals quoted. Come up with a total cost for this item and analyze it along with your anticipate labour and perhaps labor cost for helpers. You may decide at this point to get pricing form an installation contractor (or three).


Is there a best time to purchase a pre-fab metal building?

Now this is a loaded question. The best answer is when you are ready and comfortable making the purchase decision. Being comfortable may include a telephone call to the supplier and getting that ‘fuzzy’ feeling about the company or sales-person/technical representative. You may also want to see one or two of the metal buildings that have been erected in your area. Are there better times in terms of cost? Some manufacturers do run sales from time to time. However, beware of ‘annual’ sales. If a manufacturer is extremely busy in the winter – for example – they have no need to offer special pricing. They may in this case offer one specific stripped down building as a special. However, 99.9% of the population could not use this building because of the light structural design, size etc. And by the time you get that building up to the size and structural design you require, there is no particular extra savings. On the other hand, if the manufacturing plant has little or no work coming up, manufacturers will offer special pricing just to keep the plant operating. I know that I’m not much help here, but it is really an economic-times type of question.1


How do I start to plan and schedule for my new prefab metal building kit?

 Of course, this is closely related to the ‘when to by’ and the quoting process. However having said that, here is a quick guideline. Work backwards from when you would like to start erecting your building – that is that the site is prepared, the foundations are in and backfilled level. (You will need a level working area to install your metal building.) Depending on the manufacturer, the fabrication time can be 4 to 6 weeks. From the start of the engineering process through your acceptance of the design drawings, it can take up to 10 weeks (this item is where many of the engineered steel buildings get ‘bottle-necked’). The quoting and assessment process can take from 2 to 4 weeks. Your research and planning time is up to you. So, assuming that you wish to start the erection of your new prefab metal building kit on May 01, you should have your research completed and be starting the quoting process by the middle of December or about 20 weeks to be safe. Many of the manufacturers offer a ‘fast-tracking’ of the design and fabrication process but this can be risky in that you are not able to accept or make changes to the design before it goes to fabrication.


One final note: Make sure that you have a comfort level with the supplier, manufacturer, or contractor that you are dealing with. This will make the whole process MUCH more stress-free. If you plan your project well and answer the questions above to your satisfaction, you can be assured that you have made the correct well-informed decision for your prefabricated metal building purchase.


What to Do Next

· Check out the other articles relating to metal stud panelized building kits and residential building packages on our Metal Building Kits Articles Map