The Steel Building Construction Process: How Does it Work?

If you’re thinking about raising a steel building for your car dealership, main offices, retail space, warehouse or other purpose, you may be wondering, “What exactly does the process of designing and constructing a steel building look like?” The broad but most accurate answer is this: it depends on the approach and the steel building provider you choose. 

Your Steel Building Options

Some steel building companies sell the materials required as prefabricated “building kits,” but do not aid in construction. This do-it-yourself approach can save you money on materials in the short run and can be a workable approach for smaller structures. However, if you are building anything larger than a small-to-medium size building and don’t have extensive construction experience, you’ll need the services of a high-quality builder.

If you choose the DIY route, you assume responsibility for making sure the building site and process are completely safe, the foundation is properly laid, construction meets all local codes, and that your finished building is properly constructed and safe for occupancy. This is a huge undertaking for the average business owner, but for the right person with the time and expertise to manage the project, it can be a rewarding experience. 

For larger structures and for those who prefer not to go solo, the advantages of working with a steel building manufacturer that offers comprehensive services and guidance (rather than a DIY kit) can be enormous. You are matched up with a local builder who can help with everything from securing permits and meeting safety requirements to seeing your project through to completion. With the right manufacturer and builder working together as a team, you can achieve your vision for your organization’s new building while saving time and money.

First Things First: Selecting & Preparing the Site

The success of any steel building project depends on the proper foundation, both literally and figuratively. This begins with the building site. If you don’t already have a location for your building, finding and securing one can be a project in itself. In addition to obvious questions about the convenience and accessibility of the site’s location, there are a host of factors to consider, including:

  • The stability of the soil 
  • Local climate
  • Soil or groundwater contamination
  • The grade of the property 
  • Access to utilities  
  • Deed restrictions
  • Zoning requirements

These are only a few of the many things that need to be assessed. Even if you have an existing property you intend to build on, your site still has to be evaluated to make sure it meets requirements in all these areas, and that any necessary modifications are made prior to groundbreaking. 

Once the site has been secured and evaluated, proper building permits must be acquired. This requires you to submit an extensive application along with a site plan, and to schedule all necessary inspections.

Laying the Foundation

After this mountain of paperwork and logistics have been taken care of, you are ready to break ground and lay the physical foundation. This typically takes the form of a concrete foundation, which requires extremely precise planning, measurement and alignment. An uneven surface, corners that don’t quite meet, improperly cured concrete, or insecure anchor bolts can all make for a fatally flawed foundation. Working with an experienced team of engineers and professional concrete contractors is the best way to prevent these pitfalls and avoid future safety issues–and to secure approval for continuing construction.

The Manufacturing Process

Proper fabrication of a metal building requires a large investment in equipment and people. This is why it’s important to make sure you are purchasing building components from a qualified manufacturer, not a broker. True manufacturers have quality programs that ensure precise design and production of all components.

Working with a manufacturer rather than a broker can also reduce the risk of supply chain and shipping delays. When choosing a metal building provider, be sure to ask questions about plant locations and shipping times, lead times for building construction and if material replacement is required, how long it will take.

Delivery & Construction

Once a new building has been fabricated, it’s typically delivered to the site on a flatbed trailer, where it’s offloaded and laid out by the installer. After the building components are roughly arranged in their designated locations, the process of erecting the framing begins. Complete installation of the structure can take anywhere from a few days to a few months.

How the Package Steel Process is Different

Package Steel is a metal building manufacturer that helps business owners raise new construction with integrated design, manufacturing and construction services. Every Package Steel building project begins with a comprehensive evaluation of your needs, which is used to hand-pick the right local builder for the job. Our team then works hand-in-hand with your designated builder to provide complete construction services, from permitting to custom design to completion of your building.  

A true manufacturer, Package Steel crafts your metal building in-house and undertakes all necessary detailing and finishing touches. Your components are fabricated at our New England-based headquarters, where we also employ an in-house team of engineers and maintain our own fleet of delivery trucks. This centralization of resources simplifies the supply chain, preventing material and component shortages, shortening delivery time for our customers, allowing for faster time-to-occupancy, and guaranteeing quality.

Contact Package Steel today to get started on your metal building project.

Do you intend to have a full foundation for your building?

All Package Steel buildings require a full and properly designed foundation including flooring, piers, and perimeter frost walls. This work should be completed prior to the arrival of the building on-site. Every foundation is site-specific and should be designed by a local engineer who will consider soil conditions, frost depths and any local regulations which may affect it.

If you do not already have an engineer to design the foundation, Package Steel can provide assistance with locating an independent licensed engineer who can help you through this portion of the project.

Do you have a building permit from your local city/town?

Before any construction can begin, you must secure the required building permits from the city or town in which your site is located. This allows the local government to ensure your project and the resulting structure will be safe and meet all zoning, size and other requirements. The process involves submitting an extensive application along with a certified site plan, property deed and scheduling of all necessary inspections. Specific requirements vary among municipalities, as does the time it takes to get your building permits. An experienced builder can help you meet all these regulations and secure approval.

Are you okay with a 6 month lead time?

Metal buildings generally take less time to construct than wood or concrete buildings, but the exact timeline varies widely. We recommend allowing at least 6 months for the process, which includes matching you with a local builder, developing a scope of work and design proposal, fabricating the building components and delivering your structure to the site. The actual time from start to finish is determined by a variety of factors, including the size of the building, the complexity of the design, availability of materials and uncontrollable variables such as the weather.

Have you contracted a builder?

Some business owners with construction experience choose to build or to coordinate the building of their own structures independently, often with prefabricated metal building kits. This do-it-yourself approach can work for smaller structures, but for medium- to large-sized buildings, it’s best to enlist the services of a high-quality builder. An experienced builder, paired with the right metal building manufacturer, can help guide you through the entire process, from ensuring that your site and structure conform to all local building codes to construction to final approval for occupancy.

Do you intend to have a full foundation?

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