6 Things You Must Know About Metal Building Foundations

August 19th, 2019

So you have decided to erect a metal structure building for your next commercial purpose, and are all set to lay the foundation. Before you move ahead, make sure you know everything about the foundations for your metal building.

1) Metal Building Foundation Types

When it comes to foundations for metal structure buildings, you will come across several types of foundations and even foundational systems. The most common type of foundation that even steel buildings are built on are the floating slabs or concrete slabs. These solid slabs create a concrete floor for the structure while supporting the steel framing. The other common types of foundations include piers and perimeter walls. Metal structure building that requires gravel or dirt ground surface use piers as foundations. Concrete piers are poured deep within the soil, with one pier supporting each steel column of the framing. The piers tie together below ground to eliminate shifting. Perimeter walls or foundational footings distribute the weight of the entire metal building on the major load-bearing members of the foundations. These steel building foundations pour around the exterior of the structure, supporting the exterior steel framing walls.

2) Choosing Foundations

Out of all the foundational types and systems, you need to choose the one that suits your projects the most. While deciding which foundation type will be ideal for your metal structure building, you must consider the following factors:

- Soil type

- Local frost lines

- Building’s approximate final weight

- Dimensions of the metal building

- Weight of equipment or vehicles that will be in your metal building once it’s ready

- Building Reactions

- Location and number of anchor bolts to attach steel framing columns

Once all these factors are in your control, you can decide which foundation type and the system will be able to hold the load of your metal building and not result in any mishaps in the future. The foundations should also match the purpose of your building so that it can take the wear and tear of the building.

3) Code Compliance and Permit Requirements

Are you wondering if your metal building and its foundation require permits and code compliance? The answer is ‘Yes’. Obtaining the required permits and ensuring that your metal structure building complies with the local codes is crucial. In most cases, you will definitely require a construction permit from your local building authority. Building codes were created with a noble ambition of preventing death, injury, and major property damage caused by inferior construction. An unauthorized building can result in fines. If you complete the structure and then find out you are violating local building codes, you may be required to tear down the building. Therefore, before you begin any construction, obtain your building permits. 

4) Foundation Laying Steps

Laying the foundation of your metal structure building is a 7-8-step process. Here’s how it looks like.

a) Getting a permit: As discussed above, the permit will be obtained from your local building council.

b) Site selection: You will have to find a suitable location to erect your metal building. In this step, you will have to buy the land and complete all the necessary land-related obligations.

c) Site preparation: The land will be surveyed by a professional. Once done, the actual preparation will begin. The preparation includes trees and rocks removal, ground levelling, and smoothing of land.

d) Foundation selection: Your steel building contractor will figure out which foundation type and the system will be ideal for the plot.

e) Getting materials: Based on the type of foundation, the steel building contractor will get adequate quantity of raw materials. 

f) Ground mount foundation: Your contractor will dig post holes that are at least 10-inches wide and 30-inches deep, every four to five feet along the perimeter, depending on your building plans.

g) Foundation laying: This is when the actual foundation slabs or footings will layed.

h) Curing: Once the foundation is layed, it will be allowed to cure perfectly. Optimal curing conditions are between 50° and 90°F. 

5) Different Foundations for Distinct Conditions

The most common systems of foundations are tie rods, hairpins with slabs, mats, trench footing, and moment-resisting foundations. As mentioned above, you need to consider various factors to ensure that you pick the right system for your building project. Tie-rod and hairpin systems serve as simple and effective foundation options when a slab will be used as the floor of the building. Moment-resisting foundations do not rely on a slab. They work well in structures with no slab such as agricultural buildings and interior pits or trenches. Regions with stable, clay soils could utilize moment-resisting foundations, which do not depend on a slab on grade for support. Land with poor soil conditions requires either a mat foundation or the ones with steady piers. 

6) Winter Isn’t Ideal for Foundation Laying

When planning to construct a new metal structure building, you should prefer spring or summer to do so. This is because laying foundations in winters has its own side effects. Laying a foundation in winter is challenging because the moisture from frost or frozen ground can crack your foundation and sabotage your entire metal building project. The concrete for your foundation needs to be above 50°F for three to seven days to ensure the concrete maintains its strength and form. Although there are ways to lay concrete in the winter, they just add up to more labour costs and more money out of your pocket. If you are tight of timelines, the best way to plan your steel building project is to purchase the land and raw materials in the winter and build in the spring or summer.

Knowing everything about your upcoming building project is essential so that you are aware of the progress of your project and aren’t fooled by your contractor. When you hire reputed steel building contractors, like Northern Weldarc, you don’t have to worry about getting fooled or cheated. We take pride in providing efficient and practical construction services to our clients across Canada.

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