Metal Building Codes & Building Permits – Things to Know

By Mark Hiatt   |   Posted In: Prefab Metal Buildings

Metal Building Codes

Getting a brand-new prefab metal building is exciting. However, we have to talk about something that most customers don’t find exciting at all – building codes and permits. These permits and codes are often confusing and overwhelming. There’s no need to worry about that, though! Here at Carport Central, we want to make sure you understand your metal building from start to finish. That means we want you to understand building codes and permits, too!

Why Do Building Codes Matter?

What’s the point of building codes? It’s a question we have all wondered about at some point, whether we were buying a house or installing a metal building. Building codes seem like a tedious, unnecessary set of rules to follow. Are they, though? Building codes are actually the buyer’s safety net. Metal building codes ensure that every structure is held to a standard that makes it safe and livable. After all, we all want our structures to be safe and to last for years to come.

Building codes work by making the builder accountable to the government. A house must meet certain qualifications to ensure safety and longevity. These codes involve everything from wiring and plumbing to structural integrity. This helps ensure that your house won’t catch fire due to faulty wiring and your toilet won’t spring a leak. There are building codes for more than just houses. There are also metal building codes. This is a set of requirements that all prefab metal buildings must meet. Metal building codes keep your foundations from cracking and your building from falling apart. These codes help ensure that your new metal building will never cause injury, death, or financial ruin because of the expensive repairs shoddy construction requires.

Building codes for metal building structures can be long and confusing. Plus, they change every year to ensure the highest standard of safety is met. This article is meant to help you understand the current metal building codes and how to ensure that your structure is up to current standards.

The Golden Standard: The International Code Council

We know that building codes are a set of standards that all metal buildings have to meet, but what exactly are those standards? What do you do if standards differ? That is the exact conundrum the United States was in until 1994. Each state had its own set of standards, and the lack of uniformity was confusing. Metal buildings in Florida had to be able to survive hurricanes, but there’s no need for metal buildings in Maine to have those certifications. That’s why the US government created the International Code Council (ICC) in 1994 to bring uniformity to the metal building industry.

The ICC produced a standard set of codes that had to be accepted across the nation. These were the basic rules and requirements that would apply to prefab metal buildings regardless of unique circumstances. The idea was that the states could make the code stricter, but they could not do less than the ICC standard. States like California and Louisiana that suffer from frequent natural disasters have stricter codes than states following the ICC code.

Building Code Changes for 2021

There are currently two major changes to the international building code for metal building structures underway. Both of these changes have to do with wind loads. Wind loads are defined as the force that is exerted on a structure by the wind. The rest of the code will remain the same for the time being.

1. Different Wind Load Standards for Different Styles

This proposed change focuses on the fact that, currently, all metal buildings are held to the same requirement for wind loads. The issue is that not all buildings are the same, so not all buildings experience wind pressure the same way. A tall, narrow building will be more affected by high winds than a short, wide building will be. This proposed change will make the requirements different for tall, narrow buildings versus short, wide buildings.

2. Different Calculations

Currently, there are two calculations used to measure wind pressure. The first is the Envelope Procedure, and the second is the Directional Procedure. The current goal is to combine these two calculations, to make determining a conclusive wind pressure easier. This process is likely to take a while, as some discrepancies between the results of the two calculations have been identified.

Getting Started with Metal Building Permits

Metal building codes are important. You cannot have a new prefab metal building without meeting them. The first step you need to take to make sure your steel structure meets the building codes set by the ICC and your state is to get a metal building permit. This is a time-consuming process; it can take months from start to finish. Here’s a quick overview of the permit process:

1. Contact your local building code department and figure out what the requirements are in your area.
2. Take those requirements to your metal building provider and get your blueprints and engineering drawings done.
3. Take those permits to the building code office to be approved. Keep in mind, there will be an application fee.

Building Permits

The process is relatively straightforward. However, there may be a long road of revisions you need to make. If the office does not approve your current building drawings, you will have to get them redrawn with the necessary changes made. The best thing you can do is make sure you know what the requirements are for your area before you bring your drawings and blueprints in for approval.

Once you’re approved, that’s it! You have your building permit for your new metal building!

Carport Central Got You Covered

Carport Central is here to provide you with the best metal building and help walk you through the permitting process. All of our metal buildings are up to the ICC code, and we can add additional certifications to ensure your metal building is perfect for your location. Carport Central’s prefab metal buildings are durable and rugged; we’ve got you covered. If you have any questions about your new metal building or about building codes, don’t hesitate to reach out to our phenomenal staff of building specialists. They are on call to help you bring your dream building to life. Call us today at (980) 321-9898!


  • Mark Hiatt

    Mark Hiatt brings over 20 years of commercial construction experience as a licensed engineer in NC, SC, and VA. Design-and-build is his specialty, and he serves both as a structural engineer for American Building Network and as an engineering consultant for Carport Central.

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