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A Trustworthy Metal Building Supplier Checklist

Finding a trustworthy metal building supplier can be a real challenge. A building contractor has the advantage of purchasing multiple buildings over a given period of time. The contractor’s past experience with various metal building suppliers help form his future buying decision. But if you are only buying one building in a lifetime how do you make an informed decision?

There is no one magic characteristic that will guarantee that you obtain a perfect building. However, requiring your prospective supplier to meet multiple characteristics can significantly increase the likelihood of finding a trustworthy metal building supplier.

Metal Building Supplier

#1) Engineer Stamped Drawings:

When an engineer receives a license from a state, he will obtain a seal, or stamp, to apply to his drawings. The engineer’s stamp will include, among other things, the engineer’s printed name and his license number. The stamp tells the reader of the drawings that the work was performed, or directly supervised, by the licensed engineer named on the stamp. That engineer is personally vouching for the accuracy and appropriateness of the drawings.

There is no good reason to purchase a steel building from a supplier that does not provide stamped anchor bolt and building erection drawings. A metal building is an engineered product. You want to know that a licensed engineer devoted time to reviewing your project.

Recommendation: Make sure your contract includes text stating that your anchor bolt and building erection drawings are stamped by an engineer licensed by the state in which the building is being built.  Do not simply rely on a salesman stating that your drawings will be stamped by an engineer. Get the requirement included in your order documents and then verify that the drawings provided are actually stamped.


#2) AC472 Accredited:

AC472 accreditation is a comprehensive, third-party accreditation program for the inspection of metal building manufacturers. It is based on the requirements of Chapter 17 of the International Building Code® and provides code officials with a means to approve the inspection programs of manufacturers involved in the fabrication of metal building systems. An AC472 accredited company has been placed through a rigorous examination to confirm that it has the personnel, organization, experience, procedures, knowledge, equipment, capability and commitment to produce work of the required quality. Purchasing your metal building from a manufacturer that is AC472 accredited is a positive step towards improving your chances of getting a building that meets your requirements.

Recommendation: Require that your building is manufactured by an AC472 accredited company. You can independently verify that a manufacturer is accredited by visiting the IASwebsite.


#3) Payment Terms:

Payment terms will vary from one manufacturer to another but the industry norm is to require a down payment at the time of order and the remaining balance paid at the time of delivery. Let’s address the down payment and job site payment separately.

  • Down Payment – The down payment amount is 20% to 25% of the total cost of the building. Be suspicious of a company asking for more than 25% down payment – that is not typical. There may be a valid reason for the requirement but be assured there are plenty of sellers that will not require that much of a deposit.
  • Job Site Payment – The remaining balance of the amount due is paid at the job site when the material is unloaded and accounted for. Be suspicious of suppliers that require you to prepay. That is, pay the full amount before it is shipped to your job site.

Recommendation: Read the payment terms on the order document. Verify that the down payment amount is not more than 25% of the total contract amount. Also verify that remaining balance of the amount due is payable at the job site and not prior to delivery.


#4) MBMA Member:

The Metal Building Manufacturers Association is the trade association of the metal building manufacturing industry and has been instrumental in defining and promoting the common interests of metal building manufacturers in the United States. MBMA members are actively involved in the development of their industry and the improvement of their product and service.

There are more than forty metal building manufacturers that are members of the MBMA. So there are plenty of companies from which to choose.

Recommendation: Require that your building be manufactured by a MBMA member. You can independently verify that a manufacturer is a member by visiting the MBMA website.

#5) BBB Accredited:

The BBB’s mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. There are 113 BBBs serving communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than 3 million local and national businesses and charities. The BBB assigns letter grades from A+ (highest) to F (lowest).

Recommendation: Require that your metal building manufacturer be BBB accredited and inquire about their BBB rating. You can independently verify about a business’s BBB rating by visiting the website.


When you find a metal building supplier that meets all of these requirements and has a good price, you have likely found a trustworthy supplier.

Posted in: Metal Building Supplier

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