Metal buildings 101

With increases in technology, metal building structures are now fully customizable and remain the most efficient long-span solutions.

The Basics

What is a pre-engineered metal building?

A pre-engineered metal building is a steel structure most often utilized for the interior clearspan they offer. Common characteristics include metal paneling on the roof and walls (though more and more alternative wall systems are being incorporated). Pre-engineered steel buildings are designed to specific dimensions, taking into account all relevant building codes, environmental factors, and potential load issues. The frame components, which depend on each other and work together to form an efficient structural system, are constructed off-site. The steel building components are then shipped to the construction site from the manufacturer, where the building is erected by construction personnel.

What is the process from start to finish?

Ideally, Aptec Building Systems is brought in during the design phase. At this point we can work with the archtiect to provide the most cost-effective solution to meet architectural requirements. For example, increasing bay spacing can remove steel frames and save not only the price of the steel, but the price of the steel footing as well. Once we are brought in, we will utilize your drawings to create a 3D model of your structure. From there, advanced computer programs design the structure optimizing materials needed to meet local code. At this point you will be issued a proposal. Once the proposal is accepted, the building can either be ordered for fabrication or approval. For fabrication, the building is ordered and immediately begins to be fabricated. In 8-16 weeks, a building leaves the plant on its way to your site! In approval projects, we will send you and your architect signed and sealed drawings for your review in roughly 4-7 weeks. Once drawings are approved, it is another 5-10 weeks until a building is headed your way! Once the building is on site, Aptec Buildings Systems will be on hand to erect the building. We work in tandem with the general contractor to get the frames, secondary framing, roof and wall sheating, and insulation up in rapid succession to keep the project schedule moving.

Can a metal building be designed for hurricanes?

Absolutely!! Our most popular conversation revolves around metal building failures in high velocity wind events. The reality is that any building material can survive any wind or seismic force - it just must be adequately designed to the correct codes! We are happy to discuss with any potential clients what appropriate wind and seismic forces their building can be designed to.

What should I look for to ensure I am ordering a reputable metal building?

In our hurricane prone region, you should always confirm the design wind speed of your structure. Even in projects we are not involved in, CSS is happy to provide an outside opinion should you have any questions regardining wind speed. Your customers, staff, and property are too important to take chances. Additionally, your metal building drawings should always be signed and sealed by a Professional Engineer. All CSS metal buildings will be signed and sealed by PEs from the state of Florida for projects shipped to the Caribbean.


What are the economic advantages of Pre-Engineered Metal Buildings (PEMBs)?

The biggest economic advantage PEMBs have is the computer-based design. For example, the most recongized characteristic of a PEMB, the tapered column that flares inward as it rises vertically, is actually an assembly of three steel plates - the two flanges and the web. Once all loading is provided, these plates are designed by the computer to the nearest 1/16" ensuring the most efficient structure possible. Additionally, our design software can optimize the bay spacing. Perhaps an architect plans (6) 20'-0" bays for a 120'-0" long building but what if (4) 30'-0" bays is possible? Not only would 2 steel frames be removed, but the excavation, concrete, and rebar for their footings would also no longer be required. Aptec Building Systems will provide value engineering opportunities throughout the project as they present themselves. From bay spcing and column size to bracing options and roof slopes, there are a plethora of ways to optimize your structure.

Did the steel tariffs impact metal buildings?

The short answer is yes. There was a series of price increases in the spring and summer of 2018 that most people believe were directly tied to the political discourse. Having said that, just about all of the steel we source for metal buildings is American steel insulating our supply chain from sporadic price increases. We believe that the price of steel has stablizied going forward.


What kind of accessories are available?

Aptec Building Systems has a few unique differentiators to offer: 1) Foundation and Structural Design Looking for a design-build option? With a licensed engineer on staff, Aptec is able to serve as the Engineer of Record in addition to the metal building supplier. We will provide signed and sealed foundation drawings as well as miscellaneous engineering as needed (masonry walls, facade structure design, etc.). 2) In-house Mezzanine Design Most metal buildings with mezzanines feature designs from the metal building provider and typically utilize catch-all designs not specific to your building. As part of our engineering offerings, Aptec will optimize the mezzanine design - while adhering to all code requirements - to produce a structurally sound and cost effective solution.

Any suggestions to improve the look of my metal building?

Yes! There are a number of alternative options instead of the typical corrugated PBR panel warehouse look. INSULATED METAL PANELS While more expensive for the materials, IMPs have three primary advatages: aesthetics, speed of installtion, insulation superiorty. IMPs come in a variety of colors and with an experienced archtiect, can produce a visually stunning building. Additionally, the rigid poly-iso board sandwhiched between two sheets of metal produces optimized insulation efficiency in a product that is quick to install. RAIN SCREENS Rain screens can help a building achieve any look the archtiect has specified. From wood to stone to bright metallic panels, there is a rain screen to achieve it. Aptec partners with a few different rain screen manufacturers offering a huge variety finishes RENDERED STUCCO Rendering stucco is a more cost-effictive option if required to fit budget. Stucco can be rendered over corrugated PBR panel or panels can be removed and replaced with masonry block which can then be finished as desired.