If you have never bought a steel building before, or even if you’re an old pro at it, here are some helpful tips to follow, traps to avoid, and buzzwords to watch out for. This forum is designed to share the Premier team’s wealth of knowledge to help you avoid getting stuck in a Steel Trap.
Recently, I had a customer call in saying that another company was going to give him a great deal on a “distressed” building. The back story was that someone had ordered this building and wasn’t able to pay for the balance after it was fabricated at the plant. Sounds like a great deal, right? My dad always says if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. The “distressed building” ploy is one we’re hearing more and more about these days. Here’s how to avoid it.
It’s easy to imagine this great new building sitting at the plant with no destination and no customer. The plant doesn’t want it and they’ve probably already gotten partial payment on it. Why can’t I use it for my project? The first problem is that each building is specifically designed to meet the requirements of the county it is bound for. We call them the “Loads & Codes.” Every county in America has unique requirements for wind-load, snow-load, seismic-load, construction techniques, and much more. Unless the “distressed building” was designed for your exact same county, the chances of it meeting those requirements are pretty remote.
The second problem with this great deal is that any design changes you might need to make, even simple ones like moving a door, adding a window, will result in voiding the sealed engineering drawings. This can result in losing your building permit and not getting your CO. The solution always ends up being added fees and change orders that can quickly exceed the cost of starting your building order from scratch.
The third reason to avoid the distressed building ploy is because it is a Ploy! Over the last few quarters, the cost of steel as continued to drop. Any building that was fabricated several months ago would have cost more to make than starting over with raw materials today. Why would a stranger want to sell you a building for less than he’s got in it? That doesn’t make any sense.
If you still can’t resist the temptation to buy a distressed building, make sure that your contract states that your building will come with sealed drawing from a licensed engineer, will meet all local construction requirements and will include your modifications at no cost.