Choosing the Best Metal Building Supplier

Published November 4, 2015 by Whirlwind Team

best metal building

The right metal building supplier will make all the difference as you design and construct your building. From the customer service and engineering expertise included in the design process, to the clear instructions, references and high-quality materials used to erect and install it, choosing the best supplier you can afford will be well worth any extra costs involved.

Your Metal Building Supplier Matters

Most project managers, construction companies and private builders consider two things when they purchase their product:

  1. Price
  2. Quality

Unfortunately, considerations often rank in that order, meaning you may get the best (aka "cheapest") price, but at the significant cost of quality. The problem is that cheaply fabricated and/or constructed buildings may cost less now, but those costs will typically exceed the original "amount saved" in terms of maintenance, parts failures, repairs and replacements that take place down the road. This doesn't take other significant cost-causing events into consideration - such as injuries or fatalities resulting from a building collapse, or from a building that doesn't hold up in a natural disaster.

Therefore, builders should first to gain a more comprehensive cost:benefit ratio. In addition to a reasonably-priced building - a reputable metal building supplier should also provide:

  • Engineering and architectural support
  • Unlimited customer service
  • Additional resources when it's time for erection and construction
  • Superior quality building products and coatings
  • Top-notch warranties

There are three ways most building owners purchase a pre-engineered metal building system:

  1. Directly from the manufacturer. If you opt to work directly through the manufacturer, you will get the best price. However, this will also take the most time because you will want to narrow the choices to at least three to five different companies to make a thorough cost/services comparison. 

  2. Using a metal building broker. This might be the best option if you don't have much time, aren't interested in doing the research and cost comparisons yourself, or simply feel you don't have a enough know-how to handle the "research and development" aspects of your metal building project. A broker is, by definition, a "middle man". He will upcharge your total cost to recoup the time and energy spent researching your options. 

  3. Via the general contractor. If you are working with a reputable metal building contractor, they will be able to walk you through your options. An experienced metal building professional will be well-versed on the top metal building manufacturers, and have established relationships with a few of them. Your contractor will also be able to schedule purchase, delivery and assembly as part of the contract.

How to Choose a Metal Building Manufacturer

If you choose to do the bulk of your legwork yourself, the following can serve as a check-list of sorts as you make your way through the comparisons:

Is the supplier AC472 accredited?

AC472 accreditation takes place via a third-party inspection and compliance program, ensuring accredited members are in complete alignment with Chapter 17 of the International Building Code (IBC). The company must prove - via testing and inspections - that it has experience, personnel, equipment, organization, knowledge, procedures, capability and commitment to comply with the IBC.

It's imperative that your building is compliant with the IBC, so you can automatically rule out any company that is not in compliance. Any supplier worth their salt will also work with your local building codes to ensure the finished product is in compliance with them as well.

Where are they located?

Location matters for several reasons. The closer the facility is to your job site, the lower your shipping rates will be and the faster your building and components will arrive. In most cases, a pre-engineered building won't require many change orders but if there are changes or last-minute accessories that need to be ordered, closer proximity will make a big difference. Proximity will also increase the eco-friendliness of your project.

Have you read the final contract?

Verbal agreements are great, but paper contracts with itemized pricing are the only way to guarantee the price you're given is accurate and that materials and services are exactly as you've discussed.

Selecting the best metal building supplier for your project will ensure your building reaps the low-maintenance and durable benefits metal buildings are known for.


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