Metal Buildings

By Ken Thomson

Using pre-engineered metal buildings (PEMB) as commercial, industrial or even residential structures is a value driven choice in today's economy. It used to be that Pre-fabricated steel or metal buildings were viable options in a host of applications that did not require a lot of aesthetic design. However, in today's market Steel Buildings and Metal Buildings are opening up a whole new avenue of architectural diversity and long lasting building solutions and they have a number of advantages. The amount of engineering required varies considerably and depends on the end purpose.


Applications employing metal buildings are quite wide-ranging and are used in agricultural, manufacturing, transportation, aerospace, industrial, professional and retail sectors. They are often employed when large clear spans are required such as for arenas and aviation hangars. When construction management is used to find a cost-effective solution that needs such engineering, results favor building with metal. Churches, governments, and the military all use steel structures. Example businesses that use them are indoor arena and sports complexes, low rise office buildings, specialty manufacturing, distribution centers and warehouses.

Boom-lift-steel.jpgThe real work belongs up front to the design builder, based on customer specifications such as building function and performance, bay spacing, clear span between points columns, internal crane systems, and roof slope. Engineers consider a host of criteria in their calculations, including live, dead, and collateral loads; wind uplift; deflection tolerances; and the seismic loads.

Advantages of Metal Buildings

The prime advantages of using pre-engineered steel buildings are cost and time savings. There is significantly less labor and material involved than in other structures; fewer components involved means less time to build. Metal requires less maintenance; it is more durable than other materials, it is more resistant to weather, and is readily adaptable to its environment and end use. Finish guarantees are now exceeding 35 years and are highly desirable when one considers the life cycle cost of building ownership. 

Because the frames are easily expanded, metal buildings can expand with changing customer needs. There tends to be a lot of flexibility in utilizing space, accommodating high eaves and big clear spans for sports fields or aerospace hangars. Metal buildings also accommodate architectural diversity, allowing metal wall panels or other more traditional applications. With engineering and fabrication taking place in the factory and field erection handled by qualified metal building erectors, risk management and quality control is better.

Steel is a dynamic green building solution, with up to 70% recycled content in its finished product. The overall value is excellent because savings are realized in the initial engineering and in the short time to erect.


The disadvantages of using steel are more cautionary than substantive. In today's market, steel is being utilized more and more to make architectural statements and well providing finishes for roof and walls that will give Building Owners years of high performance with low maintenance, making steel the optimum solution in the life of cycling cost analysis of building ownership. As your PEMB contractor, Facility Builders will, as part of the metal building shell solution, also factor in insulation systems, daylighting systems, doors and windows, equipment support platforms and other accessories to arrive at a complete building solution.

Facility Builders & Erectors is well equipped to supply customers with metal buildings either as a general contractor or as a subcontractor to other general contractors who have a metal building as a part of their projects. We have over 20 years of experience in this area and we possess the unique set of equipment, tools, skills, and safety management needed to do the job right. Facility Builders & Erectors proudly works with Butler Manufacturing to deliver high quality steel buildings. Butler uses 100% U.S. steel and our buildings are fabricated in California for our market.