Know Your Engineering Code Requirements When Shopping for Metal Buildings

As someone in the market for a prefabricated steel building, you must confer with your local building department so you can identify the engineering and building codes to which your building must comply. You may have a city, town, county or parish building department. This is where you should turn before constructing your building to make sure it meets the requirements of your geographic area.

The building engineer then uses these codes to engineer your building to precise specifications so that it stands strong in the face of heavy winds, snowfall and similar climate-related considerations. If you’re constructing your building in a Florida hurricane zone, for example, you have to comply with different engineering requirements than you would if you’re raising a structure in, say, the heart of the Colorado mountains. So, when speaking with your local building department, make sure to get the following information:

  • Building Code information – which year or version of the IBC does your community follow?
  • Wind speed requirements and exposure information (Exposure B means your building will rise in a more protected area, while Exposure C refers to structures that exist in areas with no protection, such as on top of a hill.)
  • Ground snow load requirements
  • Any Energy Codes in Place

When you ask your building department for this information, you should also ask whether it plans to adopt any new codes in the near future. It is always wise to have your building engineered using the most up-to-date code information available.

Additional Questions for Your Building Department

When you have a particular site in mind for your steel building, you should meet with your building department as early as possible to streamline the approval and construction processes. You should ask how long it will take you to secure the building permit and how much it will cost you. You should also inquire about the following:

  • Are there any property setbacks? You may have to meet specific regulations in terms of how far your metal building sits from the property line.
  • What is the allowable square footage? Unless your building is quite small, you need to secure a building permit before constructing it.
  • Are there any height restrictions? Many communities regulate how high your building can be, so ask about whether any height restrictions exist before finalizing your building’s design.
  • Do you have to adhere to other specific design criteria? Some communities have rules about using certain materials, such as stucco or brick, and some require that a certain percentage of your building’s surface area has windows, among other examples of specific design criteria.

Sound intense? Obtaining this information is usually not as hard as it sounds, and doing your due diligence helps keep costs low by helping you avoid having to redo anything that doesn’t apply with the code requirements of your area.

If you decide to shop preowned steel buildings, rather than constructing one from the ground up, know that Metal Building Outlet maintains an extensive inventory of available buildings that comply with a wide variety of code requirements.

Our discounted steel inventory is vast and changes daily. Having your building department’s engineering requirements ready for your project specialist will allow them to perform a more efficient, accurate search through our inventory. This allows us to save you time and money while finding you the best building or components to meet your project needs.