Basic Steel Building Erection Steps

Basic Steel Building Erection Steps

Before Your Purchase

  • Study Your Building Erection Site:  Mark where the intended building shall stand.  This helps you to get clear about the dimensions of the building you want to purchase.  Take into consideration where large door openings and entryways will be located. Find out required proximity to utility mains, and make final decisions about building size and orientation.  Leave ample space for needed surrounding walkways, parking and traffic.
  • Check Code Requirements:  Many building departments will have some code standards that must be met. Neglecting this step can result in a great deal of unneeded future expenses if building modifications are deemed necessary after-the-fact.

Basic Building Erection Steps

Step #1 – Foundation

Most building fabricators send out anchor bolt plans with needed settings within three weeks of your building purchase.  A complete erection manual is generally delivered with building materials. Always review these materials before installing your building.  You will have plenty of time to check the accuracy of anchor bolt sizes and create a template for location. Foundation Plan Engineers can use these directions to plan your concrete needs.  

If you do not have experience pouring a foundation for a steel building, it would be wise to utilize an experienced certified foundation contractor.

NOTE: Anchor Bolts are not included with building purchase.
Main Frames of Steel Building

Step #2 – Organize Delivered Building Materials

If you feel you have general construction experience and your steel building kit is not large, you may want to have a go at erecting your own steel building.  Many people have saved themselves considerable steel building costs doing their project with a few friends or family members; however, if your building is complex or there are strict code regulations in your area, it is best to hire a certified erector.

It is standard practice for suppliers to provide a complete erection manual with delivered building materials.  Please refer to these guidelines for a successful building install.

In order to work most effectively, lay out materials around the foundation, such that parts are near the location intended for install.  You will move columns and rafters with your crane from your layout into their permanent locations. Metal roof and wall sheeting are best kept on wood blocks to avoid ground debris and moisture.  Place these bundles as close as possible to where they will be installed. Lay out trims, accessories and insulation out of the way of crane traffic. These items will be the last items installed.

Step #3 – Main Frames, Purlins, and Girts

You will stand your main frame and rafters into place first. These members should be pre-cut, punched and welded by your fabricator for simple install. Use your crane for their movement and placement.  They will bolt together and be fastened to your foundation. Following the main frames erection, you will install your secondary members (purlins and girts). Your erection manual will walk you through the numbered parts and sequence.

Primary and Secondary frames

Step #4 – Framed Openings

During installation of girts you will coordinate framed openings install.  Framed openings are designed for your large door locations, as well as any walk door and window framing requirements.

Step #5 – Roof & Wall Sheeting

After framing has been erected, roof and wall sheeting can be installed.  Keep in mind that insualtion is easiest to install at this time since it is sandwiched between frames and sheeting. Beginning with wall sheeting,screw the sheeting into the frames with the fasteners supplied. The same process is used for roof sheeting.  Fasteners should be snug. Weather stripping is provided and can now be applied between the panels.

roof and wall metal sheeing

Step #6 – Installing Accessories

Windows, walk doors, roof vents and louvers will be installed along with gutter systems and trim.  These are all beautiful finishing touches which also serve to protect and seal your building.

steel building insulation and accessories


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Guaranteed Savings:

  • Minimum $500 – $1,000 savings – Average savings is 15% below market rates…

  • plus one ADDITIONAL  feature more than any other offer

Our Terms:

  • 40′ x 60′ x 14′ – 80’x 100′ x 14′ with at least 2 roll up doors, roof & wall insulation included – minimum savings $500.

  • 80’x 100′ x 16′ or larger with at least 2 roll up doors, roof & wall insulation included – minimum savings $1,000.

  • Competitor’s quote must be dated within 2 weeks of the current date.

  • Competitor’s quote must be the same size structure, smae specifications, and accessories included as offered by us.

  • Competitor’s quote must be received by us before customer purchases from us.

  • Competitor’s building must be fabricated from an AISC (Amercian Institute of Steel Construction) certified facility in order to compare equal manufacturing standards.

Low Complexity Defined

We specialize in Low Complexity building design orders.

High complexity building quotes are done on a case by case basis.
What is considered Low complexity:

  • Size: 100 x 500 x 30 max, strictly square or rectangular

  • Roof Pitch: 1:12 through 4:12

  • Endwall & Sidewall Extensions with soffits: 1’ – 5’

  • All Snow & Wind Load Codes Available

  • Partitions and accessories (walk doors, windows, skylights, roll up doors, vents and insulation) available.

If you have questions about whether or not your building is Low or High Complexity, please call  1-800-593-4012

The Basics of Steel Building Codes

In summary, you should be familiar with the following codes prior to building purchase:

  • Snow Load/ Wind Speed
  • Wind Exposure, Example: Exposure B or C
  • Governing Code, Example: IBC 2009, 2014 or 2015
  • Current website prices reflect IBC 2015, Wind Exposure B – Call your local building department to confirm your requirements prior to ordering.

Roof Snow Load Codes/ Wind Speed Code

  • On the website, you will select from the Codes listed in the drop-down menus in Option 1, 2 or 3.
  • Please contact your local building department or Google codes for your zip code.
  • Choose codes from our list that meet or exceed your requirements for accuracy in pricing online:

Roof Snow/ Wind Speed

 0  lb. S/L/130 mph  

 0  lb. S/L/150 mph

 4  lb. S/L/115 mph

 20 lb. S/L115 mph

 30 lb. S/L 115 mph

 40 lb. S/L/115 mph

 60 lb. S/L/115 mph

More About Roof Snow Loads – Pound per Square Foot

Typical snow loads in the United States can range from 4  to 60+ lbs per square foot depending on precipitation. Obviously, in warmer climates there are 0 lb minimum snow load requirements, whereas, in colder states where snow and ice hardly have a chance to thaw before the next storm, roof snow loads can be greater than 60 lbs per square foot.  In addition, snow tends to drift and accumulate heavier in some spots than others, which is why snow loads are a factor in addition to the standard dead loads of a building.

More About Wind Codes – Miles per Hour

Wind load is also determined by patterns of climate local to your building site. Wind speed codes range from 0 mph to over 160 mph winds.

Wind, unlike snow, will affect different portions of the building not limited to only the roof.  The wind’s effects on your steel building structure will vary depending on your building design and how it sits on your property.  During the software designing process, strength factors are determined by building height, the size and number of large framed openings, and even the location of those openings.

Wind Exposure

Also in relation to wind is the exposure of your building. Exposure B or C is site-specific.  For example, in gusty areas, your local building department may require Exposure C if there are no windbreaks provided by your surroundings, such as trees or neighboring buildings. Wind exposure also affects how snow tends to drift and accumulate on your building structure.

Contact Your Local Building Department Early for Governing Codes, such as IBC – 2015

While your metal building broker will ask you to confirm these codes per your local building department, the MBS (design and pricing software used by your broker) will recall default minimums when the representative enters your building site ZIP code.  In many occasions, the local building department will ask you for higher than minimum requirements and dictate which building code year governs these specifics. For example, IBC 2015 or NCBC 2014 (International Building Code for year 2015, or North Carolina Building Code for year 2014, etc.)  

In summary, contact your local building department to get specific governing year code, roof snow requirement, wind speed requirement, and the wind exposure requirement specific to your building site address and ZIP code.  

If you want more education regarding other loads your building is designed for, please click to read “What’s Important About Steel Building Codes”  to learn more.