Frames: the biggest value engineering tip

In every aspect of a metal building, you can tweak the cost by adjusting the finish, panel thickness, and panel profile. These changes might make a few percentage points difference in the cost. Change the framing and you have the opportunity to affect 10-20 percent savings to the metal building portion of the project.

March 19, 2014 |
Bryan Arlington

Is there a secret to competitive bidding?

Not a secret, but there are certainly ways to find a better price–and some work better than others. If there was a magic bullet, that one tool in your tool belt you just couldn’t live without, then value engineering would be it. Call it the duct tape of competitive bidding. 

In every aspect of a metal building, you can tweak the cost–adjust the finish, the panel thickness, panel profile. These are all possible adjustments that will create pricing decreases. 

Typically these kind of panel adjustments might make just a few percentage points difference, if that. Primary framing, however, is more like the value engineering homerun. Frames usually represent 30 to 40 percent of the total metal building cost. Change the framing and you have the opportunity to affect 10 to 20 percent savings to the metal building portion of the project. 

One of the most effective framing solutions is increasing the roof slope in clear span buildings that are more than 80 feet wide. As the roof slope goes up, the pricing comes down. Here’s how it works:

Let’s say you are building a 200-foot soccer complex. With a 1 to 12 roof slope, any roof weight, such as snow, pushes down on the complex and creates a lot of kick out on the columns. There is a lot of outward force because the roof structure is almost flat. To counter this, you have larger rafters and columns.

Now, let’s change the roof slope to a 3 on 12.

By transforming our soccer complex into a more arched structure with the roof slope increase you’ve created a structure that will use smaller rafters and columns.

A larger roof span increases your roof slope but saves you money.

Whenever I offer this solution, one of the first questions I get asked is: But won’t that mean more roof panels, more end wall panels and more end wall girts? Yes. It will. However, even with that extra material, you will be saving so much on the frames that you will still net savings.

If you only have the opportunity to do one value engineering change, this is it. In clear span buildings over 80 feet, this is you hitting one out of the park.

Read more on the Starbuildings blog. 

Editor's Note: This is sponsored content. All text and graphics were provided by the sponsor company.

Bryan Arlington | Metal Building Trends
Star Building Systems
Director of Estimating

Bryan Arlington, PE, started at Star in 1996 as a Design Engineer. In 1999, he moved to the Estimating Department as a Sales Engineer. After achieving Senior Sales Engineer, he was promoted to Chief Sales Engineer and then Manager of Estimating. Bryan has a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Oklahoma and is a registered professional engineer in multiple states. When not at work he enjoys spending time with his wife, Shalmarie and his two children, Jessica and Jacob. For more, visit: http://blog.starbuildings.com.

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