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Part 2: Specification, Construction Can Be Sped Up With Metal Buildings
By Greg Zimmerman, Executive Editor
May 2012 -
Design & Construction
While most system manufacturers can provide just about any type of building, each may have a different, proprietary way of getting there. But no matter which manufacturer you choose, you can be sure of one thing — the process will be faster than a traditional construction process. Generally, estimating through manufacturing can be completed in 10 weeks or less, says Praeger. A metal building generally comprises about 20 percent of the final, overall structure. But the expedited timeline for design and manufacture of the metal building means that the other elements — from decorative façade to windows to HVAC components — can be estimated and scheduled more accurately, says Praeger. "The whole process is designed for quick delivery," he says.
To expedite part of the process, MBMA has developed a Metal Building Systems Performance Guide Specification. Basically, the document provides a product-agnostic specification that can be customized for the contract and construction documents of any metal building construction project. But still, the owner must exercise due diligence in understanding what a contract and specification will include, says Praeger. "The owner ought to be sure he understands what the specifications mean," he says. "He should know what codes and loads it's designed to meet. Know what the structure is designed to 'take' in terms of other building elements."
Also critical is understanding what exactly the warranty for the metal building covers. Does it cover roof failure? Failure at a roof/wall intersection? Façade intersection? It's important to know, says Praeger, where the metal building specifications and warranties stop and the other elements of the building start. Again, it's critical that all this is clear before the on-site construction starts.
Choosing a contractor or erector for the on-site portion of the construction is like choosing any other contractor: Be sure the company has experience with your particular type of structure, has the blessing of the manufacturer to erect its system, and is fully licensed and bonded.
Because metal buildings are bolted construction, they can be erected in any type of weather — including cold. What's more, because the building can be erected quickly onsite after it's manufactured, it means that other trades — electrical, plumbing, mechanical — can get started sooner than with a traditional construction process. Interior elements like flooring, paint and even furniture can be delivered and installed sooner than as part of a traditional construction process, as well.
The result is that the start-to-finish process from when a building owner decides to build to building occupancy can be sped up dramatically. Still, even though the metal building construction process is designed for speed, quality and cost-effectiveness, Praeger says he highly advises that owners don't let their guards down, just as they wouldn't in a normal design-build delivery method. "Do your due diligence," he says. "So much of construction revolves around first cost. Facility managers always have to evaluate the tension between price and quality."
Part 1: Metal Buildings: Tips to Help Facility Managers Fast-Track Their Projects