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Wanting To Build One Of Those Metal Building Workshops

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CNC Dude

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#1
It's been a while so here is a quick summary: Sold my house 3 months ago. My workshop was a 2 car garage which is why I have been wanting to move to a house with a 1 acre lot and no HOA, so I can build one of those metal buildings (somewhere in between 1500 and 2400 SQFT). This is in the Dallas Forth Worth region. Ideally I would buy a house with a workshop, but this has been proving to be ridiculously hard, so am thinking about buying the house and then build the workshop.

So as you can imagine, there are a trillion questions!

1. Which building supplier to use? Have looked at Rhino, Mueller and Morton. Morton seems ridiculously expensive although I hear these are the best. What I have heard about Rhino is that they just deliver and that's it. Then I don't know much about Mueller but I imagine they are somewhere in there. Experience with any of these? Any other builders which you recommend?

2. I know most of you have built your own workshop. I really do not have the time to do this so I need to hire somebody to do it all. Yes, it is going to cost more, but unfortunately it is that or NOTHING. Experiences with contracting a third party provider for this? Where to start?

3. I would like the workshop to have electricity and water. I imagine if I hire a builder they will take care of all of this. Any input on this seemingly simple topic? It is usually the simple ones the ones which bite the harder...

4. If you had a third party to build the building, did you take care of subcontracting them all or was there a firm which managed all of this stuff?

5. What kind of budget should I be looking into? I hear about $20/SQFT. Is this is still the norm, or has it gone up/down?

6. Any other recommendation you feel like offering? Any pitfalls I should be aware of?

Thanks for your input!

PS Ooops! Forgot that I want it to be insulated as well. I imagine this can be added later, though.
 

Boswell

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#2
I live outside of Austin and originally looked at metal buildings but decided to go with conventional wood frame contructions with metal siding and metal roof. Less unknowns and was able to find a contractor that I had experience with. Some things to think about that you did not mention
1. Increased load bearing on the concrete floor
2. 3 phase power?
3. high roof to allow room for a crane in the future
4. Tall loading door for easy equipment insertion.
5. Consider a small "office" area that is walled and insulated from main shop. You can Cool and heat this area when you don't want to heat or cool the entire area. You can use this are for your drawing and planning space

and the most important thing to remember. BIGGER IS BETTER when it comes to shop size. You can can always use less space that you have but not the other way around.

I look forward to seeing more about your planning and construction.
 

Bob Korves

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#3
Before you buy a house or property, do your due diligence by talking to the planning commission, building inspection department, HOA if applicable, and anyone else who might have power to constrain you, Check the building codes for the area. Do NOT trust a real estate agent to give you correct information. I have a friend who wanted to build a 2400 square foot shop on his property, it was large enough and remote enough. but because of the location the building department told him he could not have an outbuilding larger than 50% of the house size. He added a giant trophy room to his house to be able to build the shop. Another friend building a shop was really constrained when he was told that all buildings combined could not be more than a certain percentage of the lot size, which caused him to build a much smaller shop than he wanted to. Accept no information from anyone but the ultimate source of authority, in writing.

Edit: Don't assume that what you see in an area is something you can do as well. Often the rules change, usually becoming more constrictive, as urban sprawl and sensibilities change. What a neighbor has right next door might be quite impossible for you to duplicate today.
 
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CNC Dude

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Fantastic input, thanks! Another question:

When deciding on a foundation, I read that there are all sorts of concrete parameters such as PSI, thickness in inches, reinforcement, etc. On a slab which is meant to support heavy machinery such as the one we often use, what do you recommend?

Or should I assume that pretty much any foundation should work for the great majority of home/hobby workshops out there?
 

Bob Korves

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It all depends on the actual size and point loadings of the largest machines you ever plan to install there, the soil, rock, or swamp below, and weather and seismic patterns. You tell them the pounds per square foot loading you need and they give you a quote for it. You can ask for one portion of the floor to be stronger than the rest. Ordinary stuff like Bridgeport series one mills and lathes under a couple tons will usually work on fairly standard foundations. Think about the weight of a large diesel pickup on each tire. You are talking about a pretty big home shop, so it depends on what you might decide you want to put in there, including later on. Stuff like medium fork lifts and tractors are actually heavier load producers than most ordinary H-M machines are.
 

jim18655

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Make sure to read the contract if you decide on a metal building. The low prices that are quoted may not include installation, crane service, trucking fees, footings, etc. Adding an extra door can significantly increase the cost. We have a company in my area advertising steel buildings at an extremely low price until you find out it's the base price undelivered and construction extra.
 

savarin

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wrat

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A few things i've learned.

1. get it insulated. 1st and foremost get it insulated. My metal building is 60 x 100. 1/4th of it (60 x 25) is insulated with an insulated wall dividing it off. I can heat that. It's also cooler. The uninsulated side is comfy about 3 weeks of the year. Then it's too hot or too cold. You can't throw enough heat into an uninsulated building to get it warm. Too many radiating surfaces.

2. Don't get talked into hydronic heating. The pipes in the floors? Don't do it. Great for a house. Lousy for a shop. Why? Because you're either heating it 24/7 and draining your money or you just can't keep up with the cold. Hydronic heating works on lower ceilings more than higher ceilings for fairly obvious reasons. Ordinary torpedo or radiant pipes is far better for the comparatively few hours you'll spend there.

3. Build a box inside. Something like an office. That room can be your cold room for doing your books, designs, and such. Air conditioning an entire shop is luxurious, but big fans are nice enough on all but the hottest of days. I have a couple of fans. I also have an office for when it's just too darned hot.

4. Have a bathroom. Even if you're close to your house, you'll not want to track into the house -- and be reminded of it -- during those moments it sneaks up on you. This may seem strange now, but the day will come when it's fairly commonplace. Your own bathroom is the gift that keeps on giving.

5. Get all the electrical service you can. If you can get 3phase, do it. If you can get a 400amp drop, do it. Do the heavy lifting, here. You will always want more outlets and bigger breakers. Maybe you can put those in yourself (and the conduit). I have. But the box needs to be all it can be, even if you think you don't need it. Mine is puny and I've had to build generator rooms. Not so good.

6. You don't need near the windows they think you should have. Windows add $$. Windows subtract critical hanging space. Windows are less secure than walls. If needful, you can put windows into your man-doors. I have a couple of windows in my overhead doors, too. If you need to see out, install any of these new super cheap camera monitoring systems out there and have half-dozen viewpoints to choose from.

7. Speaking of overhead doors, be sure to have one. A big one. At least doublewide, if at all possible. Be sure it's insulated. Powered is an option. Insulated is not. Speaking of man doors, have 2 exits (fire codes will dictate). I have one that opens out and one that opens in. While in DFW, you might not see this, but here in KS, I've had snow drift up on one door so I went to the other on the side of the building to gain entrance. Also had to do this after an ice storm had frozen the north door shut.

8. Size and volume. Obviously, you want all the square footage you can get. Sure. Who doesn't? But carefully consider the realities of eave height. That is, area doesn't exist in a vacuum. My building has 14' eaves and 16' ridge. Well, now, that office of mine? I've built more rooms on top for other functions. I can build rooms above and still keep reasonably open floor space below. If the eave was a mere 10', it would be far easier to heat, and i would be far less frustrated with the cold, but the storage would be minimal. Are you building airplanes or statues? If airplanes, then you need all the floor space you can get. If statues, then you need some real height (they're surprisingly tall). None of us are rich enough to have the building we want, but there's some decisions to make in these dimensions. In a metal building, your overhead door can easily be full eave height, or nearly so.

9. For me, there is nothing harder to organize and keep organized than wide open floor space. You'll need shelves, dividers, walls, desks, tables, etc. Not just machines; you'll need work cells. Building 'cubby holes' for various functions like grinding or welding will be a welcome addition. Keeping wood dust separate from metal functions is also welcome and don't even get me started on fiberglass or painting. You'll want to do all of these somewhere along the line, even if you don't want to right now, so having a way to keep them separate will be worth it in the long run.

10. And finally, don't be obsessed to get things 'turnkey' ready. We're all in this because we like to *do* things, not just watch TV. I've gained enormous satisfaction from making many modifications and improvements to my building. Of course, mine started life as an agricultural shed with 3/4 of the floor as gravel, so just the concrete was cause for celebration. If you can get a 'basic' building; get it bought off and inspected; and then have enough loot left over for a dozen more outlets you can do yourself (just as an example), it's a very satisfying experience. Or with some carpentry, build that office. Or even some plumbing. Working ON your shop is generally as fulfilling as working IN your shop.

I've talked enough.



Wrat
 

brav65

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#9
First off great advice from Bob and Wrat! I would reach out to people you know who are in construction. You might find that conventional construction may be cheaper if you do it as owner/builder and hire all the trades/subcontractors yourself. You would then be able to work as cash flow allowed.

Metal building are nice as they can be a turnkey solution, but you will still need MEP's which you will need to contract yourself. Speach in your area for single man architectural or engineering firms as they could give you an idea of current costs.

I built homes in the Houston area from 2007 to 2010 and was spending about $25 a foot for unfinished space. I would think Dallas would be similar.

Structurally, speak with and engineer, but my gut says a 6" slab with a 12" turndown on the perimeter would handl anything you would be able to throw at it.

Good luck!
 

Stonebriar

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#10
A couple of metal building companies in the area are Athens Steel and Red Dot. They both do turn key, they manufacture and erect, they will subcontract the foundation if you want them to handle that for you. I have had a building built by both of them and like the Athens Steel building the best.

Rick
 

Jbar

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Concrete can be a significant cost. You don't necessarily need to put in all the concrete during the initial build. Some guys pour a percentage right away and add to it as budget/needs warrant.
 

CNC Dude

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Thanks to all for your input! It is great to see lots of convergence on ideas. Like putting a bathroom! Boy, how many fights with my wife can I avert with such a simple addition.

I will look into the other companies. I got a quote from Mueller and it seems that it falls on the ball park of the $20/SQFT which I had read on multiple threads.

Now all I am lacking is a house ;-)
 
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#13
I built a 40x80' Muller building with help from a few friends. Most of the red iron went up with just two people. I don't know how the zoning is in your county, but make sure you check prior to purchase.
Mueller was awesome to deal with and they always answered or returned my calls promptly. The quality of the kit is very nice as is the fit and finish.

I opted to insulate the space with R-30 and love it. A much better choice than the 3" stuff offered. I also ran mechanical ventilation with 12K cfm swamp cooler that keeps the space cool and comfy during the summer months. I also upgraded to Jannis doors (4- 10'x12').

The entire project took me about 18 months but I saved a lot allowing for the upgrades. In all it cost around $25/sf.
I need to add that a fork lift is a must for all phases of the build.

IMG_0400.JPG IMG_0408.JPG
IMG_0459.JPG
 

Jbar

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#14
Firestopper
Did the $25/sqft include concrete?
 

Stonebriar

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Around this area (north Texas) foundation for a building runs around $6.00 per square foot.
 
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#16
$25/sf includes everything from concrete to fixtures.
Sorry for the late reply, been down for the count lately but will answer questions.

Concrete ran me $98/yd (3000 psi with reinforced fibers).

BTW, Mueller provided the engineering for the building but the foundation plan/design requires a local engineering stamp.

The 14 x 40 x 80 kit with four bay openings, one man door,extra base angle (200') and two 10' roof vents ran $24K delivered.
The concrete by far was the next biggest cost and close to what I spent on the building, but I added a wash rack and 7' sidewalk along the N end as well as trench drain and front apron. I have not described the inside systems included in the $25/sf but my point is, a building this size can be built for well under $25/sf. It just depends on how much your able to do yourself. Example: The quote for "skinning" the building was well over $14K. It took me three weeks to skin (part time) and saved for interior upgrades.
The foundation lay-out is the most critical. The anchor bolts need to be dead on for smooth sailing ahead. I can't remember how many times I pulled the 100' tape to verify but it was OCD for sure. haha
 

NCjeeper

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#17
Any updates? I am steel building shopping also.
 

bfd

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#18
had a local co build mine 30x 50 all that I could build due to local rules. 1000 sq ft plus so much percentage of my house. all complete at about$45000 dollars still paying for it just 8000 left bill
 

CNC Dude

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My update: Still stuck in an apartment as it has been impossible to find a house where I can build a metal building. A requirement is my wife must like the house and that takes us to the 600K realm which is of course preposterous. Any "affordable to us" home resides in HOA infested soil which means even the nails have to be made out of wood... Or brick... Oh! it must also be invisible! Those buildings are so awesome...

Anyway, in the last five months, here is what I have learnt:

1. Seems metal buildings are in the ~$10/SQFT for the building. When you add everything else (concrete, labor/assembly, insulation, plumbing, electricity), they go up to anywhere in between $25 to $30 per SQFT.
2. Apparently welded is about 20% less than bolt up.
3. Concrete works can be anywhere in between $5 to $10. An option we entertained was to build a house and let the builder take care of the metal building workshop. In this case you could maximize material/labor costs and get the concrete the cheapest possible (e.g. bulk pricing). Unfortunately this is completely useless information for anybody with an existing home.

Not a lot of information, as I have really not been able to move forward anyway. But hey! Maybe by 2020 I can come back to this thread and give some meaningful piece of information back to the community! Heck, I promise to come back to this thread on March 15, 2020 and give an update whatever it might be ;-)
 
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