I am now receiving more requests for jobsite metal building systems analysis, consultation and consulting directives than ever before in my 23 years of metal building erecting. It has finally gotten to the point, I have to write this article in hopes those persons seeking to purchase metal building systems and related services on line would heed some warnings that are actually very easy to identify.
I have been in the steel building industry over 23 years and have gone to great lengths to gain knowledge and the experience of good erection practices including erecting procedures for many different styles and designs of metal building systems. I am a certified erector of many national accounts and warranted work for at least five of the top ten metal building manufacturers in the World.
Example: Recently I had been asked to fly out to a particular jobsite in South Carolina to review and consult on the metal building system used and the quality of installation procedures and techniques used to perfect this project.
Upon arriving onsite I witnessed a completely devastated jobsite! There were two individuals trying frantically to install the last piece of corner trim, which was apparent to me that the wall paneling was so far out of plumb that the standard corner trim was not going to fit no matter how many times they put it up, took it down, cut on it or shrank/stretched it!
As I toured the jobsite I was taken back by the poor quality of workmanship. For example, as I began to enter the building through one of the three 12’ wide framed-openings, I was suddenly stopped by the sight of the wall paneling next to the jamb of this framed-opening! I noticed that at the base, the panel high-rib split or was centered on the jamb trim, then looking up, realized the cut at the top was somewhere in the middle of the “low” of the panel at the Jamb-to-header connection. As a professional, who could possibly think this acceptable!
There where many other items after review that could be considered unfixable or damaging to the integrity of this structure. All of this could have been avoided and the project brought in on time and on budget by a qualified professional erecting company such as Building Systems Design & Erectors, Inc.
After conferring with the owner on my observations, he then disclosed to me that he had already paid the full cost of erection to the “so called erector” and that he was a little upset at the fact that they weren’t completely finished at this time………… How do you respond to that? Situations like this bring to mind questions; does the erector carry liability insurance? How about Workmen’s Comp? The most important question that should be asked is ARE THEY QUALIFIED?!
I have recently been on projects that were supplied by internet manufacturers, many of their names I have never heard of. These are regions of the country that are well known for high winds, code requires that permitted structures be designed for the appropriate wind loads. This particular structure was located in an area that is required by code to have a 120 mph wind load. After review of the provided prints it was noted that this said structure was designed with a 75 mph wind load as well as not being designed for any other code requirements for that region. The reason I was contacted is that during the erection process a storm had come in and winds with gust of 60 mph had damaged the structure. The wind had made the first three bays in this 300’ long building start to compress and had dramatically bowed-out all the purlins and girts by 2’ to 5’, even though all of the required Brace rod, Lap bolts and Flange bracing had been installed. In short, it wasn’t Erector error it was a complete failure in the design!
I could speak about many other cases but I hope you get the point! The Pre-Engineered Building System is a fabulous building medium and has been proven over time in almost every environment. It is one of the most durable, economical, efficient and quality accountable systems, dollar for dollar in the World. It should always have a successful and predictable out-come.
If I could only remind people of the most basic of good business practices; “References!” check them, before you even start! There are systems of accreditation, specification and procedure responsibilities that can be used in qualifying The Metal Building System and Erector you’re planning to purchase and/or contract with.
My observations and experience has taught that “You pay for what you get!” if someone or something is dramatically lower in cost than everyone else. BEWARE; they usually are for a reason; Liability insurance, Bond ability, Workman’s compensation, Work history and of course.. References!
If you have concerns or possible troubles on your project. I would appreciate your inquiry. There are many very good resources available within the metal building industry, I’m confident in helping to find you the answer.