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How to Build a Metal Building

Want to know how to build your own metal building?

Steel frame of metal building

If you’re wondering how to build a metal building, you’ve come to the right place. As a seasoned building supplier specializing in steel building construction, I’m here to walk you through the DIY steel building process.

Constructing a metal structure like a metal building may seem overwhelming at first glance. However, let me assure you that your dream metal building—be it a garage, pole barn, or a modern barndominium—is within your reach. So go ahead and ask how to build a metal barn, or how to build a metal shop. You will learn how in this article.

Forget the misconception that erecting your own steel building involves hiring a general contractor and using heavy equipment. With this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to build a steel building for a cost-effective DIY building project with a team of 2.

What to Consider Before Starting the DIY steel building construction process

Before we begin learning how to build a metal building, there are several key considerations that can make your construction project run smoother and more efficient.

Budgeting and Financing Your Metal Building Project

Understanding your budget is a crucial step in any building construction project. Smart project planning and budgeting allow you to allocate resources efficiently, ensuring you can complete your dream metal building without financial strain. Keep an eye on steel prices; capitalizing on low rates can significantly reduce your overall cost. Additionally, consider the average square foot of your metal building as it will directly impact your budget.

Choosing Your Metal Building Construction Approach

When it comes to the metal building construction process, you have multiple options:

  • DIY Metal Building Kits: Ideal for those who have some level of construction experience.

  • Self-Build (Being Your Own General Contractor): You manage the construction project and hire professionals for specific tasks like site preparation.

  • GC Build (Hiring a General Contractor): A general contractor manages the entire building project, ensuring structural integrity and compliance with local building codes.

Each approach has its pros and cons, so choose the one that best suits your needs and expertise.

Securing Permits and Understanding Building Codes

Before you begin the erection process of your steel building, it’s essential to obtain the necessary permits. Failure to do so can result in legal complications and may even require the deconstruction of your metal structure.

Preparing the Ground for Your Steel Building

Start by ensuring you have level ground on which to erect your steel building. If necessary, level the ground using heavy equipment or other methods most convenient for you.

Site Preparation and Safety Precautions

While you’ve already leveled the ground, also consider any obstructions like overhead power lines and underground pipes. Professional site preparation can save you from costly mistakes down the line.

Pouring the Concrete Slab for Your Metal Building

Next, you’ll need to create a solid foundation for your steel building. Follow your metal building kit’s step-by-step plan for pouring a concrete slab that matches the dimensions of your building design. Ensure that the slab is properly set and free from debris like protective paper strips.

Reading the Manufacturer’s Directions

As a seasoned building supplier and structural engineer, I can’t stress enough the importance of reading the accompanying instructions before beginning construction. Always read the manufacturer’s directions to avoid any complications.

Inventory Check for Your Metal Building Kit

Upon receiving your metal building kit, offload all the building materials, including steel frame building components, roof panels, and wall sheeting. Conduct an inventory check following the accompanying purchase order to ensure you have all the necessary building accessories and metal components.

Recommended Tools for Building Your Own Metal Building

  • Safety Glasses

  • 100’ Tape Measure

  • 25’ Tape Measure

  • Ball Peen Hammer

  • Claw Hammer

  • Screwdriver

  • 15/16” Spud Wrench

  • 15/16” Box Wrench

  • 1/2” Open Wrench

  • Drive Ratchet and Sockets

  • Tri-Square

  • Shovel

  • 3/8” Drill –1800 RPM Drill Speed Recommended

  • 50’ Electric Extension Cords

  • 10” Tin Snips 

  • 10” Vice Grips

  • 20’ Extension Ladder

  • 4’ Level

  • Broom

  • Metal Cutting Blade

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Build a Metal Building with a DIY Kit

Our metal building kits come with detailed assembly instructions tailored for each construction project. While each kit is custom-made, the following steps provide a general overview applicable to all steel-frame buildings.


Laying the Concrete Slab Foundation

Hiring a qualified general contractor to lay the foundation is crucial for the structural integrity of your metal building. If you have experience with laying a concrete slab, then by all means, proceed with your DIY metal building construction process. Our kits include step-by-step instructions for laying a concrete pad.

Setting the Steel Frame Trusses

Place the truss legs on either side of the debris-free concrete slab. Follow the accompanying diagram and directions to ensure proper alignment.

Installing the Wall Girts and Secondary Framing

Known as wall studs or secondary framing, girts are pre-engineered metal components placed at two-foot centers to add strength to the walls. Use the recommended tools for easy installation.

Primary and Secondary Framing for Structural Integrity

In addition to setting trusses, consider installing columns or pre-assembled primary frames. Rafter frames are also essential for the structural integrity of your steel building.

Hoisting the Roof Girders

Assemble the girders on level ground, and once they are ready, lift them into their designated positions.

Positioning the Roof Purlins

Like girts, purlins are also placed at two-foot centers to ensure maximum strength and structural integrity.

Wall and Roof Assembly for Energy Efficiency

Insulation is not just an add-on; it’s essential for temperature control and energy efficiency in your metal building. Make sure to adequately insulate your structure.

Constructing the End Walls

Use end-wall columns and side plates to complete the construction of the end walls, ensuring your building meets local building codes.

Framing the Openings for Doors and Windows

Frame the framed openings for doors and windows. The number of openings will depend on the building options you choose.

Installing Doors and Windows in Your Steel Building

Follow the instructions provided with your steel building kit to install any doors or windows. Note that overhead doors will require different framing, included in the kit.

Attaching Wall and Roof Panels

Secure sheet metal roof panels and wall sheeting to the structure. Follow the directions and match up the sections for a watertight barrier.

Finishing Touches and Building Accessories

Once the main construction project is complete, focus on installing trim and flashing. You can also add gutters and downspouts for better water management. Deluxe trim kits and other optional building accessories when building a metal building.

Post-Construction Phase: Final Steps in How to Build a Metal Building


After completing the construction of your metal building, there are some final considerations to ensure the longevity and safety of your structure.

Safety and Compliance for Your Metal Building

Always adhere to OSHA safety standards and safety precautions during the metal building construction process. Essential safety equipment includes gloves, hard hats, boots, and goggles to ensure a safe building project.

Common Mistakes to Avoid During the Erection Process of Your Metal Building

The following is an overview of mistakes to avoid when you build a metal building. For more detailed information, be sure to read our article “Mistakes to Avoid When You Build a Metal Building.” In the meantime, avoid these pitfalls for a smoother construction process:

  • Not obtaining proper permits or adhering to local building codes

  • Poor site preparation and inadequate project planning

  • Not following the manufacturer’s directions for your metal building kit

  • Cutting metal components or altering pre-engineered metal parts

  • Ignoring safety precautions and failing to use essential safety equipment

If You Need Professional Help: Options for Erecting Steel Buildings

If the DIY approach to building your own metal building seems too daunting, remember that many builders, both experienced and novice, have successfully assembled their steel structures. Additionally, you can seek the assistance of skilled metal building contractors or consult a reputable building supplier in your area for guidance on your construction project.

Ready to Build a Metal Building? Start Today!

With this comprehensive guide on how to build a metal building, you’re well-equipped to tackle your own construction project. Whether you’re a seasoned builder or taking on your first metal structure, our DIY metal building kits are designed to provide an effortless and rewarding construction experience.

You now have the knowledge and tools to build your own steel building with confidence! Don’t wait—take the next step in realizing your dream metal building. Click the button below to use our online tool, where you can design and then build the metal building that perfectly meets your storage needs.

We Know how to build steel building kits Across the US, Including:

Adam Cotter
Adam Cotter

Adam Cotter is a certified structural engineer and owner of Metal Buildings Unlimited, as well as Cotter Enterprises, INC. Located in Enterprise, AL, his family has owned a construction and development firm in Alabama for over 30 years. When he isn’t designing metal building floor plans, Adam enjoys golfing, fishing, and spending time with family.

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