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Need a Contractor To Put Up a Steel Building?

The 7 Reasons You Don’t Need a Contractor

A common concern about metal buildings is whether hiring a contractor is necessary.  During my years in the industry I’ve helped hundreds if not thousands of people plan for, design, purchase, and erect metal buildings.

It’s understandable that so many works are worried about hiring an erector or contractor.  Perhaps they don’t have construction experience, maybe they’re busy, or perhaps the municipality in which they are building requires a license to perform construction activities.

Fortunately, when asking whether or not you need a contractor for your steel building project, the answer is almost always “No.”


1. Ease of Construction

Pre-engineered Metal Buildings owe their popularity to a number of reasons, but we can boil it down to 2 distinguishing features.

  1. They’re super affordable
  2. They’re very easy to erect

A steel building has been designed from the ground up to make it as easy as possible for the layman to erect themselves. You can think of steel buildings as nothing more than REALLY big erector sets.

2. Project Management Services

When stepping into unknown territory, it’s always best to have someone with experience there to guide you through the finishing touches. Many metal building providers offer project management services to their customers. I can’t speak to the merits of other company’s services, but I can attest to the expertise of Great Western Building Systems’ Project Managers. They’re here to walk you through every step of the process: from acquiring building permits to choosing the right doors and windows, to getting the building erected and even long term post-construction care and maintenance.

3. Heavy Machinery is Not Needed

Many of the customers I’ve worked with have been concerned about the tools and machinery required to erect a building. They ask me if they’re going to need to rent a crane, and with it the skilled labor to operate it.

Luckily, most steel buildings require little more than a scissor lift or front end loader. The toughest part of erecting a metal building is setting your main frames. The reason it’s tough is because you need to lift the assembled frames off the ground high enough to set them on your foundation’s anchor bolts. As long as the building is less than 20’ feet tall, you can typically accomplish this with a front end loader.

4. 2-3 People are Probably All You Need for Labor

Since metal buildings are so easy to assemble, you probably won’t need a bunch of skilled laborers to put yours together. More often than not, you can bribe a few friends to spend some time helping you erect it.

Skilled crews of 2-3 people can typically put a steel building up at 1,500SF per day. It’s not unreasonable to assume that you and a small band of friends could knock out a smaller building over a long weekend.

5. Believe it or not, you probably already possess the necessary skills to erect your building.

These buildings are not difficult to put up. (Starting to notice a theme here?)

Have you ever purchased a piece of furniture that still had some assembly required? Perhaps from IKEA or Sears? Your steel building is really no different from that, it’s just on a grander scale.

If you can follow simple instructions like Tab A goes into Slot A, drill – then you can erect a metal building.

6. Purchasing directly from the source

Contractors often tout their existing relationships with Pre-engineered Metal Building manufacturers as a way for you to save money on your project. Makes sense, right? You leverage their purchasing power for your project.

Here’s the dirty little secret they don’t want you to know. More often than not, they get the same pricing that is available to you. The steel building industry is as competitive as they come. There really isn’t room for retail pricing. Call your provider, negotiate aggressively and you can save yourself thousands in Contractor mark-ups.

7. Permitting is easy

Many of our customers at Great Western are concerned about getting their permits awarded without a contractor in the mix. I’m here to tell you that it’s super easy to get your permits.

Once you’ve placed your engineering deposit with us we provide you with permit drawings. These drawings are typically all that the permitting department in your municipality requires.


Do you have concerns that weren’t addressed here? We’re happy to help. Give us a call or fill out this price estimate request form and we’ll do our best to make your steel building project as smooth and painless as possible.