Metal Buildings: Certified vs. Non-Certified
All metal buildings are designed with durability in mind. However, some optional features significantly increase a structure's ability to withstand difficult weather conditions. As you shop for a garage or carport, you'll run across listings for both non-certified and certified metal buildings. While it's true that certified metal buildings are built tougher, they also tend to come with a higher price tag. Understanding the differences between non-certified and certified metal carports will help you decide which design you need to best fit your budget and local permitting requirements.
Built to Handle the Wind and Snow
Certified metal buildings are designed to handle the worst weather your area can throw at it. In the Northeast, this generally translates into being able to handle a heavy snow load, while certified designs sold in the South are focused on high winds. Structures designed for the Midwest usually need to handle both snow and wind. Most certified metal buildings are tested to withstand winds anywhere from 80 to 150 miles per hour thanks to improvements in the anchoring equipment, framing, and roofing materials. If the anchoring equipment was the only part of the certified metal carports that was improved, the rest of the structure would still become damaged in a storm.
For areas with heavy snow fall in the winter, certified metal buildings are usually designed to support at least 20 lbs per square foot. Snow may seem light as it falls in individual flakes, but it's still water that weighs a whopping 8 lbs per gallon. Every inch of snow that accumulates on a roof weighs an average of 1.25 pounds per square foot, so it only takes a few inches of accumulation to build up hundreds of pounds of pressure on your metal carport. A certified building can handle the weight without bending or collapsing, reducing the amount of work you need to do to sweep your structures clean every time there's a snow storm.
Specialized to Your Area
Even when you purchase a certified metal building from a national supplier, you're going to get a design that is tailored to the specific requirements of your area. This is why you'll usually put in your state or local area before seeing the models available to you on a retailer's website. It's important to choose a certified design built to your area's requirements because of permit processes. Your county, town, or municipality will likely require you to get a permit from the local building authority before you can install your new metal building. The permitting process allows the building authority to verify that you're using a structure that is engineered for safety so that there's no undue risk to you or your neighbors in case of a serious storm. Most areas with snow or wind risks will require certified metal buildings in order for you to qualify for a permit. Even if you live in a rural area where permits are not required for accessory structures, you should still consider a certified design for its increased durability and strength.
When Are Non-Certified Metal Carports a Better Choice?
If you're lucky enough to live in an area with little to no snow in the winter and practically no chance of high winds during storms, you can safely stick with a non-certified building as long as its allowed by your permit office. Non-certified designs are still built tough and will last years with minimal maintenance, so feel free to go for a slightly more affordable design if there's truly no need for the reinforcements. However, you may run into difficulties later when selling your property.
When Are Certified Metal Carports a Better Choice?
If the laws change to require certified metal buildings or more extensive permits, putting your property up for sale with a non-certified building on it could lead to a fine or even the interruption of the sale. Choosing a certified metal building even when it's not required at the time makes your property more attractive to future buyers and ensures you'll be prepared for any changes in local property laws.
Weather is also a big factor. If you have heavy wind, rain, or snow in your area then certified metal buildings will most likely be non-negotiable.
Ready to make your choice between a non-certified and certified metal carport now? Explore our options for both types of designs and see what's available in your area.