7 Common Metal Building Buying Mistakes to Avoid

Let’s say you’re planning to have a metal building installed on your residential, commercial, or agricultural property. First of all, good call! A steel structure is really one of the best building solutions you can choose, for various reasons. Steel building components are more resilient and more flexible than comparable materials, and modern steel building designs can really be customized any way you want or need. If you’re considering a metal building solution for your carport, garage, barn, commercial building, farm building, or even your primary living space, here are 7 common metal building mistakes you’ll want to avoid:

1. Decide What You Want in a Building Ahead of Time

Knowing what you want (or need) in a metal building before you start shopping around will really help make everything go better for you. What items and/or people are you planning to house or protect, exactly? Will this be an open-air cover, fully enclosed space, completely-finished space, or some combination of these? Think about your intended building installation site, too. Is your site already level? If not, it will need to be leveled before any installation can be scheduled. Once you can answer these important initial questions, you’ll be in a much better place in terms of finding (and getting) the actual metal building you really need. 


2. Go Bigger Than You Think You’ll Need

How much building space will you require to meet your needs and achieve your goals? One of the most common mistakes that many buyers make to choose metal buildings is not getting a big enough building to begin with. The truth is that it’s easier (and more cost-effective) to go ahead and opt for a larger building now, rather than running out of space later and having to plan for a potentially expensive building expansion. It’s also a good idea to take some measurements of everything you’re planning to store or house in order to get a better estimate of your current space needs.

3. Factor Your Available Site Space into Your Building Plans

How big is the lot or site on which you’re planning to install your building? If your lot happens to be a little on the narrow side, a side-entry garage could be a better solution for you than a traditional front-entry building. Or, if you’re limited in terms of the total available square footage period, it could be a good idea to go taller with your building. Most vertical-roof steel structures can be designed to accommodate heights of up to 20 feet.

4. Width Guidelines for Carports & Garages

If the primary intended use for your metal structure is as a carport or garage for your personal vehicles, it will be helpful for you to have a general understanding of how much space you’ll need per vehicle. Here are some good rules of thumb when it comes to planning building width for one, two, or three vehicles:

  •   A 12’ building will house a single car, truck, or most RVs
  •   18’ can fit two compact cars
  •   20’ will accommodate two mid-sized cars
  •   22’ can fit most full-sized cars, trucks, or SUVs
  •   24’ will allow for two over-sized vehicles
  •   26’ can accommodate three mid-sized vehicles

And as we mentioned before, it’s always a good idea to go a little bigger than you think you’ll need, too. Choosing to add a few extra feet in width will allow more wiggle room for opening car doors and navigating around your vehicles with greater ease.

5. What’s the Prevailing Weather Like in Your Area?

If you’re located in an area that tends to receive more in the way of extreme weather, then you’ll want to plan accordingly in choosing the right metal building for you. Things you’ll want to consider include going with a heavier gauge of steel for your framing, as well as for your roofing and paneling. You’ll also want to make sure your building is properly secured, using the appropriate anchors for your foundation type, and overall steel building prices. 

6. What Are Your Local Building Code and Certification Requirements?

What about certification? Does your metal building need to be certified? Certification simply means that an engineer has professionally designed your building to meet designated minimum ratings for wind loads and snow loads. Certification isn’t necessary for all country regions, but many local and state building codes do require it. But whether your building legally needs to be certified or not, we still recommend that you consider a certified building either way. Certification means that your structure is built to a higher standard in terms of strength and resilience, and that’s something that can provide greater peace of mind no matter where you happen to be located!

7. How to Choose the Right Metal Building Provider

Once you have a better idea of what you’re looking for in a metal building, one of the most important decisions to make is choosing where to go to get what you need. There are lots of metal building dealers out there, and more seem to pop up all the time. Unfortunately, many of these dealers tend to promise much more than they’re able to deliver in terms of building quality, manufacturing lead time, and installation workmanship. You need to do your homework and spend a little time vetting any metal building providers on your list. Here are a few good questions worth asking any metal building supplier you’re considering:

  •   If it’s an online building provider, ask if they actually have a physical office. You probably don’t want to trust your business to some outfit that operates out of somebody’s dark basement somewhere. Do they accept walk-ins? And are you able to go visit them in person?
  •   Do you actually serve and install in my local area? Don’t go through all the trouble of designing your building, making a deposit, and placing an order with a particular dealer, only to learn later that they can’t actually provide what you need.
  •   What manufacturers do you partner with? What’s your manufacturer qualification process?
  •   What about building customizations? What options do you offer, and how can you help tailor my metal building to meet my exact wants and needs? Do I have the ability to design my own building with you from scratch?
  •   Are you accredited with the Better Business Bureau? What’s your BBB rating? And of course, it’s always a good idea to check out their customer reviews on Google, Facebook, and other relevant sites before settling on your chosen metal building supplier.

We hope these tips will be helpful to you in the search for your perfect metal building. Got more questions? Just reach out to the experts at Carport Central. Want to try your hand at designing your own custom building? Take our 3D Building Designer for a test drive!

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