Why Consider a Pre-Engineered Metal Building


If you’re the type of person who eyes the construction of every new building you enter, you’re probably noticing that pre-engineered metal buildings (PEMBs) are taking over the construction landscape. But in case you’re not familiar with the term, it is exactly what it sounds like: a building made of steel components that have been pre-designed to specific dimensions, angles, and load requirements. 

While often utilized for industrial building applications, PEMBs have secured a sizeable share of the general commercial construction market, accounting for over 70 percent, and the PEMB market is estimated to reach $34 billion by 2028. These numbers reveal that there are considerable advantages to using a PEMB, and it may be worth considering one for your next project. 

Below we’ll highlight various short and long-term benefits of pre-engineered metal buildings.


Short-Term: Cost, Schedule, Customizability, and Compatibility

Multiple short-term benefits make PEMBs worth considering for your next building need. Cost and schedule savings, customizability, and systems compatibility are all advantages that you will benefit from right away as you start your PEMB project. 

How can I get the most out of my budget? is often the number one question clients ask when beginning the design phase with a project team. The all-important next question is typically How soon can the building be done? Cost and schedule are typically the highest priorities, and pre-engineered metal buildings deliver on both. 

The nature of a pre-engineered building is that it is 100% designed and pre-fabricated for assembly when it arrives on site. This complete system approach means savings in structural components design, manufacturing, and, most notably, erection costs. 

Differing from traditional framed construction, all components of a PEMB are designed, fabricated, and delivered by one manufacturer, leading to streamlined assembly at the correction site. An erection schedule for a PEMB is at least 30% faster than conventional construction, according to MBMA. Think of building with a complete Erector Set versus building with Legos and popsicle sticks. You can build something great with both, but the Erector Set has been fabricated just for you and has all the components you need to quickly assemble.

Shortened construction timelines translate to lower labor costs and faster building occupancy, reducing lost profits from longer construction times.

One common misconception about using PEMBs is that owners are required to compromise on design and aesthetics. This stigma often derives from the popular use of PEMBs in the industrial market, but it is false. 

Pre-engineered buildings can be customized to suit all your design wants and needs. Numerous types of metal wall and roof panels, fascias, eaves, clerestories, and colors and textures, along with design options to accommodate concrete wall panels, curtain walls, block walls, and other wall systems make PEMBs highly customizable. 

As pre-engineered buildings are completely designed and fabricated by a single vendor in a controlled shop environment, compatibility of all structural components and accessories is assured. Precise manufacturing of all components greatly reduces the chance for omissions, errors, and conflicts during construction, again saving time and money. 

Long-Term: Longevity, Low Maintenance, and Sustainability 

Longevity. It’s one of the top reasons to consider a pre-engineered building for your next project. 

The inherent strength of steel makes PEMBS strong, durable, and long-lasting. While wood construction is still the right choice for some owners, steel will not rot, warp, or lose strength over time. It cannot be compromised by pests, and moisture has no effect on the structural integrity of steel. Pre-engineered metal buildings are known for their resistance to natural elements. From high wings and heavy rain to resisting fire and even earthquake and flood damage, a PEMB is built to last and last. Excluding exotic materials like titanium, steel is the strongest building material. There is a reason Superman is called Man of Steel!

A key feature of the longevity of PEMBs is that most come standard with warranties like 50-year structural, 25-year paint, 25-year roof, and 20-year weather-tightness. Your investment is well-protected. 

Since PEMBs are remarkably durable and weather resistant, they require substantially less maintenance, another long-term benefit. PEMBs are painted with shop-applied Galvalume, Kynar, or other highly durable and easy to maintain coatings. There will be no need to paint your building in 15 years. Rust and corrosion will be non-existent. Minor repairs and preventative maintenance are just about the only maintenance tasks required for pre-engineered metal buildings. 

Today’s world requires that economic and environmental sustainability remain in the foreground of all construction efforts. A PEMB is a great choice at meeting sustainability goals and requirements. Steel products used in PEMBs contain a significant percentage of recycled materials and can again be recycled at the end of their life cycle. Shop fabrication of components means less construction waste in the field, yet another cost savings. Building components can even include fully insulated metal panels to meet any r-value required for energy efficiency and “cool roofs” that keep roof surface temperature lower than traditional roofing materials.

The MBMA’s Energy Design Guide for Metal Building Systems and MBCI’s Sustainability are great resources on how PEMB materials meet and exceed today’s sustainability practices. 

Worth Consideration

There is a time and place for all types of construction. As seen above, pre-engineered metal buildings are an excellent option for many applications. The numerous short and long-term benefits to PEMBs are well worth considering during the design of your next project!

August 26th, 2021 |