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The Basics of Metal Buildings

Why Choose an Atlas Metal Building?

Expect Dedicated Customer Service Long After the Sale

Your satisfaction is our #1 priority. That's why you get sales, manufacturing, engineering, installation and customer service all under one roof. From your first question to the finishing touches on your building, we make sure your experience is as smooth and pleasant as possible. All of our contractor work is guaranteed, and we take pride in our history of repeat business with satisfied customers

Popular Industry Terms and Definitions

Enclosed Building: A structure with a complete roof and walls

Piers: A platform supported on pillars or girders, used as a landing stage

Eave Strut: A required framing member of the roof system. It serves a dual purpose. It is double sloped which is necessary to secure the roof sheeting on the correct slope and the wall sheeting on a 90 degree angle

"Z" Purlin: A required roof framing member which runs perpendicular to the rafters the length of the structure to which the roof sheeting is secured. They are spaced about 4' from the Eave Struts up to the peak

Roof Gusset Brace: Used to strengthen the connection between the column post and the rafter or can be used to reduce the unbraced length between the rafters when installed from the rafter bottom chord or flange up to the roof purlin. It is usually installed on a 30-45 degree angle. These are not used on every Series and not necessary for every application. They add to the structural rigidity and are used when necessary

Eave Height: The measure from the bottom of the splash plank to the intersection of the underside of the roofing at the outside edge of the sidewall columns

Combo: A partially closed/partially open shelter

Roof Pitch: The measure of the steepness of a roof. For example, a 1:12 pitch means that for every 1 inch travelled vertically you also travel 12 inches horizontally

Slab: A large, thick, flat piece of concrete that typically is rectangular in shape

Erection: The action of erecting an object or structure

Load Types (these can be separated into 5 categories)

1. Live Load: The weight people or goods in a building

2. Dead Load: The intrinsic weight of a structure, excluding the weight of any extra add-ons

3. Collateral Load: The weight on the inside of the building pulling down, such as a sprinkler system, HVAC (heating and air conditioning), lighting, drop ceiling, speaker systems, etc.

4. Snow Load: The weight of snow on top of the roof pushing down

5. Wind Load: The force on a structure arising from the impact of wind

Warren Truss: A signature style used in the Residential Industry which is pre-assembled. We used the term "modified" to indicate that this is specific to our structure and also is not pre-assembled or welded as in the Admiral Series. This makes for easier handling and more economical shipping. This modified rafter is put together on site.

What You Should Know Before You Buy

1. Know Your Basics

2. Ask the Hard Questions

3. Choose a Solution That's Right for You

You want your metal building and the company you buy it from to be right for you. Right for your situation and budget. But buying a metal building can be tricky. Just a few mistakes can lead to more headaches and costs than you bargained for. Avoid surprises by answering the most important questions long before you pick a particular model. Regardless of which company you buy your building from, use these three steps to ensure you are completely satisfied at the end.

1. Know Your Basics

What are all the ways I want to use my building?

This is different from what the building is (a shop, garage, tractor shed, restaurant, etc.). Instead, how will you use your building. For example, many customers start with the goal of keeping equipment and/or vehicles out of the weather. Later, some discover they should have planned their space to also perform maintenance or repairs on that equipment and/or vehicles. Other factors like the height of the building, the size, type and placement of doors and insulation can also be affected by the specifics of the building purpose. If you take time to first consider all the ways you would like the building to serve you, you will be much more satisfied with the finished product

Will my building require a permit?

Not all buildings will require a permit, but those that do will need to meet local zoning and building codes. Depending on where your building is placed, zoning laws may limit the building's size, height, appearance, or door configuration. The easiest way to know what limits your building might face is to look around you. If you see something in your area that looks like what you need, you're unlikely to be denied based on zoning issues.

Whether you need to meet local building codes will be determined by how you plan to use the building. A building used for hay storage, for example, can simply be strong and durable, while a retail space must be designed and engineered to meet codes. Location is another factor. In the state of Georgia, for example, buildings must be able to withstand wind loads from 90 to 120 mph.

If your building must meet codes, you may be limited to the types of buildings designed to comply with them, especially if your building does not offer customizations. If they do, bear in mind that certain customizations can also require a sign-off from an engineer, which will add time and expense. Bottom line: look for a provider who can help you balance your needs with code requirements in a way that is both affordable and efficient.

2. Ask the Hard Questions

Do you make the buildings you sell?

Many companies are distributors or dealers that simply purchase a building from a manufacturer which they mark up and sell to the customer. Customers do receive a toll-free number to call if they encounter problems including storage of materials, damaged items or fabrication errors. However, since the manufacturer sold to the dealer, they often won't know the end customer. This can result in poor service and in some cases a failure to correct the problem.

You can avoid service issues like these by dealing with a provider that makes the buildings it sells. Or at least be sure your provider has in-house customer service, technical support and engineering.

Can I see one of your finished buildings?

You can learn much more by walking through a completed building than you can from a photograph. Terms that may not be familiar to you like "eave height" or "ladder truss" will make much more sense if you can see them in context.

Look for a building company that can walk you through completed structures to help you understand the differences between them and find the solution that works best for you.

What will be my total cost?

Buying a building is a lot like buying a car. Some companies advertise a low base price that does not include all of the costs. Accessories (doors, windows, insulation, etc.) can often be tacked on at the end of the transaction, making the cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars higher than expected. There are also other costs to consider including the foundation, pouring the concrete, installation engineer stamps and county permits.

Even if you plan to save money by using a kit to install the building yourself, some kits do not include all of the components needed to install. Instead, they include a list of supplies you will need to find and purchase on your own.

Make sure to work out the full costs to erect your building from start to finish with your provider before making the final decision.

3. Choose a Solution That's Right for You

Knowing exactly what type of metal building will suit your needs before you commit to a purchase is crucial, and our team can assist with refining your search for the perfect structure. Certain parameters unique to your location (such as terrain, seasonal weather patterns, local ordinances, etc.) can dramatically affect the metal building you finally choose. Our team can help you choose the appropriate solutions for match your unique circumstances. 


Atlas understands the importance of considering potential future expansion when researching metal building options. Increased capacity, automation and structure expansion are all variables to consider even before your metal building is up and running. We are expertly poised to help you and your product grow and adapt as technology evolves. 

Choosing the right metal building may seem intimidating but our team is standing by to ensure that your experience is pleasant and straightforward. We offer all essential services under one roof and we are qualified to inform and answer any questions from start to finish. Our record of repeat business with satisfied clients speaks for itself, and we look forward to collaborating during your metal building purchasing process.

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