Metal buildings can be installed in many different locations, but all types and sizes of structures require similar site preparations. It takes more than just clearing off a spot and calling for installation, especially in urban and rural areas with zoning restrictions and codes regarding accessory buildings. Regardless of whether you want to use your new metal building as a workshop, garage, carport, barn, or other structure, you'll need to follow these steps to prepare the site for installation.
Checking Zoning Restrictions
Start by visiting your local building authority at the city or county level to determine what zoning restrictions affect your metal building plans. You may have to keep your structures a certain distance away from your property edges due to rules known as setbacks. Many areas also put limitations on the size of accessory structures, requiring permits for anything over a specific size such as 12 feet by 12 feet. Other areas allow for the installation of pre-engineered metal building kits without permits, while others require permits for all new construction. If you go ahead with adding a metal building without meeting zoning and code requirements and securing the proper permits, you can end up paying plenty of fines and disassembling the structure.
You'll likely need to get one or more building permits to properly add a metal building to your property. In many areas, the first permit needed is for the foundation. The building department handling the inspections and supplying the permits can guide you through the specific process for your area. Requirements and processes for building permits can vary from one county to the next, so only a conversation with the office in charge of your specific neighborhood will yield the precise information you need.
Clearing the Area
Once you've made sure you're legally cleared to add the metal building you want, you can began clearing away any debris or structures standing in your way. Companies that offer grading services will usually include basic bush hogging and clearing services for only a little more, but you may need to hire a demolition service if you have a garage, carport, or other structure where you'd like to add a metal building.
Leveling and Grading
Getting down to the raw soil is just the beginning for the grading stage of site preparation. Loose soil and wetlands need removal and stabilization before a metal building goes into place. Topsoil must be removed as well, along with many subsoils, until the grading contractor reaches a compacted and stable soil. The same process will also produce a leveled surface ready for foundation installation.
Some soils are stable enough to simply need grading and leveling. Other sites with loose or wet soil may require compaction services from a soil engineer. Soil compaction requires ramming equipment to evenly build a stable base of compacted soil. Since even small metal buildings need a reliable foundation to prevent settling and shifting, you can't install a structure without proper compaction.
Pouring a Foundation
Open carports installed over the bare ground may only need excavation and poured concrete around the posts supporting the roof. For larger and enclosed metal buildings, a concrete foundation is usually poured to create a durable floor and to prevent the structure from settling under its own weight. A slab foundation distributes the weight of the building out over a much larger area than post anchors. Concrete foundations must also be poured to a specific depth based on how deep frost forms in the soil in your area. Don't forget to estimate the costs of any foundations required for your metal building when budgeting for the installation and site preparation.
With this information, you should know how to proceed with preparing your site for a metal building. Reach out for guidance from your local building authorities before making any plans for permitting and approvals. Don't forget to contact the local utility companies as well if you're interested in running power or plumbing to your new metal building.