Metal Building Assembly Tips
After all the materials are delivered, the most exciting part of the project begins: putting everything together. Metal building assembly has been compared to that of a giant Erector Set, and understandably so. All of the pieces are prefabricated, the “set” comes with detailed instructions, and assembling everything can be just as much fun as that generations-old construction toy.
Depending on your experience and mechanical aptitude, you may choose to hire a contractor to do the actual assembly of the building or act as your own contractor and take on the responsibility for the entire project. Both courses of action have their advantages, so you may want to consider these tips to help you in the decision-making process.
Hiring a General Contractor
Think it Through
If you have never constructed a steel building, you may want to consider hiring a professional erector. If you do not have any experience in the building trades or at least sharp organizational and mechanical skills, it is really the course of wisdom to do so. Whereas the sense of adventure, limited finances, and even pride can be powerful motivations for wanting to “do it yourself,” serious mistakes can be made the first time out which could negatively impact the outcome of the project. Give careful thought to this important decision.
See it Done
Even if you do decide to hire a contractor, understanding each step will help the entire process to run more smoothly. If possible, before you even place your order, visit another metal building project in your local area. Your building sales representative may be able to help you find one nearby. Plan on taking several days, or even weeks, to drop by and observe the progress of the project. Take note of the order in which things are done. Talk to the owner and the contractor. Ask questions regarding your own planned project and see if they have any tips they’d like to share with you. Seeing a project take shape and knowing the sequence of events is the next best thing to doing it yourself.
Limit the Liability
In addition to benefiting from the experience that a contractor brings with him, there is another distinct advantage to putting the project in his hands. When you sign the contract, you effectively transfer a good deal of the liability that is an inherent part of any construction project from your shoulders on to his. For many, the peace of mind that comes from such a decision is well worth the cost involved.
Even after considering all of these factors, you may still feel that you are qualified to complete this project as owner/builder. If so, you can still limit the liabilities and building costs by following a few simple tips.
Self Build / DIY
Develop a Work Safe Plan. Any reputable contractor will have one; you should too. Educate yourself on potential hazards in weather, terrain, and machinery. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment when necessary, and make sure your hired help does so too. Make sure you are physically and mentally in good shape for each day’s activities.
Divide & Conquer
Break down the big job into smaller manageable jobs. Try to complete each job as an individual project. Doing so will help you keep your focus and make the final assembly much easier. Depending on the size and scope of the entire project, these smaller jobs can be assigned to teams of three to five workers.
Using trained workers has several advantages. They work faster, take safety more seriously, and build better buildings. They also require less instruction, saving hours of time over the course of the entire project.
Tools at the Ready
Most professional workers will carry their own hand tools. But larger tools and equipment required by the job are the responsibility of the contractor. Make sure that all the proper tools are available for your workers.
Stick to the Plan
Time and money are saved when building components are laid out according to the plans. On larger projects, it is imperative that the inventory and job layout be mapped and that each worker has a copy of the map.
Bolt as many components together as possible before raising a panel. Much time can be saved by attaching as many pieces together as can be safely lifted at one time.
Work progressively; build in sections. Assemble all the steel framework in each bay of the building before moving on to the next.
Most lift equipment will be rented. When the first bay is completed, the individual frames can be erected and tied together by lead purlins. Fill-in purlins can be installed after the expensive lifting equipment has been returned.
At the end of each work day, make sure that the job site is secure and safe. Remove all debris; put tools away; eliminate tripping and falling hazards; lock up any gates that are being used. Also, ensure there is proper drainage where necessary to prevent the collection of water during the night or after completion of your steel building.
Following each of these tips will make for a safe working environment, keep construction costs down, and lead to a successful completion of this exciting project!