Metal Building Systems Offer A Wide Range Of Benefits

By Shawn Zuver,

Some people refer to metal building systems as pre-engineered, while others think of them as custom-engineered - because they can literally be engineered to the specific needs of any low-rise construction need. And, of course, to many people they are simply metal buildings. Whatever you call them, metal building systems offer a tremendous range of advantages that help them meet the design and functions required by a particular project.

In no particular order, here are several benefits that you might want to consider.

Design flexibility. At, we’ve seen some amazing applications for metal building systems, such as: kiosks, single- and multi-family homes, self-storage units, all types of retail uses, offices, government structures, health care facilities, schools, churches and aircraft hangars. It’s hard to think of any low-rise building type that hasn’t used a metal building system at one time or another, many with distinctive appearances that couldn’t have been created with other construction methods.

Expansion capability. I used to be surprised by the number of buildings that were expanded with metal systems; now it’s commonplace. Most architects and metal building contractors begin their consultations with potential customers by questioning their future growth potential, so they can prepare their drawings with future expansion in mind. Metal building systems are a perfect choice when a building owner expects growth - and, as we all know, most of them expect growth at some point in the future.

Speed of construction. The metal building systems industry prides itself on quick turnaround. Building manufacturers love to tell stories of a special project that shipped from their plant in record time, while the best metal building contractors thrive on challenging production schedules that allow an owner to turn the key within a tight deadline.

Cost. Because of the efficiencies of systems building - like speed of construction, or life-cycle costs of metal roofing - there are typically cost advantages to using metal building systems. Depending on other construction methods that are being considered, the cost benefit can be very significant.

Structural integrity. When properly designed, engineered and constructed, metal building systems have shown impressive structural integrity in extreme situations like earthquakes and high-wind events such as hurricanes. The industry continues to conduct research, from steelmaking through manufacturing processes and construction techniques, to ensure the integrity and long lifespan of completed projects.

Environmental friendliness. Increasingly-important considerations in almost every phase of our everyday life, environmental issues are no stranger to metal building systems. The steel used for building framing is recyclable, as are the steel, aluminum and other metals used for roofing, walls, gutters and related building products. The potential for energy efficiency is yet another way that metal buildings are Earth friendly. Metal building systems and metal panels can also help earn points toward a structure's LEED Certification.

Add all of these benefits together, and they make up a persuasive case for using metal building systems…and these are only a handful of benefits that are offered. When planning your next project - whether you’re an architect, builder or building owner/developer - a metal building system is well worth considering.

An excellent resource for additional information is the Metal Building Manufacturers Association's website, To find qualified metal building systems contractors, check out the Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Association website at And to view info from some leading metal building suppliers, take a look at this list in our Product Showcase.

Shawn Zuver is editorial/content director for He has been covering the metal construction industry, including residential and non-residential construction, since 1985. To contact Shawn, email

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