It’s hard to not get excited when this big day finally arrives. You have likely been working for several weeks on getting your property prepared for your new steel building, and now it’s time for you to receive the building components that you’ve thus far only seen on paper.
There are several steps in the building delivery process, including some pre-planning that must take place. Let’s consider these steps one by one.
Pre-Plan the Day
As mentioned on the Project page, you should have made arrangements for your erection contractor to be present on the delivery day to verify that all the parts and pieces are present and accounted for. If you are going to be doing your own erection, it is especially important for you to be careful and thorough in this step to ensure that there are no missing or damaged components.
If you are using a contractor, make sure that you have clarified in your contract who will be doing the off-loading and staging of the materials. The manufacturer does not supply labor or lift equipment to help you unload the truck once it arrives; that is your responsibility. So, your agreement with the contractor should state that either he will supply those things or you will be doing it yourself. If you will be handling that function, or if you are acting as your own contractor, make sure that your help and any necessary equipment is onsite before the truck arrives. Necessary equipment could include a crane, forklift, pallet jacks, and so forth, depending on the size of your building and the layout of your building site.
On the subject of site layout, careful thought should have been given to access and staging. If your property is large and flat, this should be relatively simple. But if the site is small, odd-shaped, sloped, or covered with rocks or trees, all of these factors must have been taken into consideration when planning the truck’s ingress and egress as well as the locations where the delivered materials will be staged (placed temporarily).
Here are some practical suggestions on how to make Delivery Day easier and safer:
Try to have the components unloaded as close to the point that there are going to be used as possible. Keep this in mind when planning where the delivery truck is going to park.
If a vehicle such as the delivery truck or a forklift is going to need to roll over the edge of your foundation or poured floor, plan on building a ramp for it to roll on in order to avoid cracking or chipping the concrete before anything is even built.
Another issue regarding concrete protection involves the storage of materials. If your plan requires that some or all of the materials be stored on the slab, have the concrete work done far enough in advance to ensure that the foundation is properly settled and that the floors have fully cured before putting any heavy weight on them.
When the delivery truck arrives on the big day, there are two inspections that you and your contractor will perform: the unloading inspection and the unpacking inspection. The first one is done while the delivery vehicle is still there; the second one can be done later.
When your building arrives, it will obviously be in pieces—many, many pieces. These are all shrink-wrapped, bundled, bagged, and boxed in a way that is both efficient and environmentally responsible. When you were first given the design and construction plans some time prior to this, an inventory packing list was included in that package. If you haven’t done so already, find it and make a few copies before starting the inspections.
As items are taken off the truck, you will need to examine each of them and check them off a master copy of the inventory packing list. If any items are missing or damaged or if there are an insufficient amount of any pieces, you will need to file a report with the carrier immediately while he is still on site. If a package is damaged, open it and inspect the contents and report any damaged items. Until the unloading inspection is done and you have approved all the items and reported damaged and missing ones, you have not officially “received” the shipment. This step is important as it will expedite the replacement of any missing or damaged parts.
Once you have officially received the shipment, you will need to unpack it. This is usually done after the carrier has left. Now is the time to perform an even more in-depth examination of all the delivered items. Use a second copy of the master inventory list and check off all of the items again, making sure that you not only received everything that was ordered but that there is the correct quantity of each of the items—especially those of which there may be multiples. If you find that there are any damaged or missing components that were not reported to the carrier in the unloading inspection, you have 14 days from receipt to file a report to the manufacturer.
Although these inspections may be somewhat tedious and even seem redundant, they are both extremely important. Although the computer assisted modular design process has cut down on loss and defects in construction, mistakes can still happen. Reports and claims filed in a timely manner make the settlement process much simpler, allowing you to focus on the much more pleasant task at hand: getting your new steel building built!
Staging of Materials
Components should be placed as near to the point that they will be used as practical. Very heavy or unwieldy items may require lifting or moving equipment; smaller and lighter pieces can be moved by hand.
Columns should be unloaded near their respective positions by the anchor bolts that they correspond to. They may be placed on the foundation slab on top of even wood blockings. It is also a good idea to place slings (cables) under heavy columns and other framing members for easier lifting. End Walls are typically unloaded and laid at the ends of the slab where they will be erected.
It is generally best to put all hardware packages in once place so as to make it easier to keep stock of them. Placing them near the center of the building helps to cut down on travel time across the building site and makes for easier access.
Purlins and girts should be stored near sidewalls and kept clear of other materials or packages. Packages of sheet goods should be located out of the way as they are the next to the last items to be added to the building. Place them on blocks and provide a slight slope at one end for drainage in case of rain. Accessories should also be located out of the way; they are the last components that will be installed after the basic steel building is constructed.
Ensure that all components are staged in such a way as to prevent workers from accidentally stepping on them. Depending on climate and weather conditions, the materials may need to be covered or otherwise protected from the elements so that they will be clean and dry when construction begins.