While metal buildings are much easier and faster to install than traditionally framed structures, they still require some basic preparation steps. Skipping even one of the essential site preparation tasks can result in damage to the metal building, or at least a structure that doesn’t meet all of your needs. Taking your time to prep your site thoroughly will speed up installation and prevent future issues like flooding from increasing the costs of ownership. We have put together an FAQ to answer the most frequently asked questions
Choose the Location
The perfect spot for a metal building should have more space than the structure will occupy. Trying to squeeze a metal building into a space that is just big enough makes installation harder and complicates maintenance. Look for a spot that is at least slightly higher than the surrounding ground. This encourages good drainage and keeps your metal building from flooding. Don’t forget to check local restrictions on building placement like property line and roadway setbacks, especially if you plan to pour a concrete foundation.
Get Permission to Build
In even many rural areas now, counties and towns have established extensive permitting requirements for adding new structures to your property. The pre-engineered design of a metal building may allow you to avoid the need for permits, but only your local building authority can tell you what’s required. Check into permit requirements and costs before choosing a spot for your building or even the size you want. You may find that choosing a slightly smaller structure can help you avoid permits and inspections all together, which is likely worth giving up a bit of storage space.
Remove Brush and Other Debris
Even if you plan to simply install your carport or metal garage on bare ground, you’ll need to clear away any lingering vegetation and other debris first. You can do this work yourself, but if you’re hiring someone professional for the grading and leveling of the soil, you might as well let them do it. A grading company will come with heavy equipment that will make quick work of even the thickest brush. Leaving behind even a few plant roots or sprigs of grass will result in foundation issues, whether you pour a concrete slab or simply install the metal building over the soil.
Grade the Soil
Grading is the process of leveling out the soil and creating a slight slope around the edges of the installation area to encourage good drainage. Unless you already own a backhoe or front-end loader, you’ll likely need the help of the professionals to handle this task. Grading may be all you need before installation if you’re just planning to use a soil foundation for your metal building. If you want to pour a concrete slab instead, have the grading service excavate the foundation area to speed up the process.
Running a power line or some plumbing to your new metal building is a great way to make it more useful as a workshop or guest suite. Plan to run the underground utility connections before pouring a concrete foundation or having the metal building assembled. Underground utilities are weather resistant and don’t clutter up your view, but these lines are much easier to install first to avoid the need to cut into the metal siding or concrete to accommodate the equipment later.
Build a Foundation
Once you’ve chosen the right spot, cleared and graded it, and installed any necessary utilities, you’re finally ready to pour your concrete foundation. You can skip this step if you’ve chosen what’s known as a ground mount installation that requires only smooth and level soil. The concrete will need anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to cure before the building can go on top. Installing the structure too quickly can crack the concrete and compromise the stability of the foundation. Curing time varies depending on the temperature and humidity after pouring, so set aside plenty of time to let your foundation rest in case of unexpected rainstorms that slow down the process.
With the right site prep, your metal building will last for years with minimal maintenance. Make sure you consider the differences between concrete and soil foundation installation styles before beginning site prep since it’s a lot more work to add a concrete slab later than from the beginning.