Total Envelope Solutions for Metal Buildings

Total Envelope Solutions for Metal Buildings

Posted on March 15, 2018 by Ceco Building Systems

The task of designing and constructing a metal building requires many components that need to be designed, fabricated, coordinated, shipped, and installed. Consequently, a number of different people and companies need to be involved in the process, which increases the chances for miscommunications, delays, and unexpected outcomes.


For these reasons and more, many building owners and general contractors are seeking metal building manufacturers that can act as a single source for as many of the parts and pieces of the building as possible. General contractors will commonly handle the site work, foundation, and concrete floor slab, and partner with a metal building company for the structural steel. In some traditional scenarios, the general contractor then needs to coordinate all of the subsequent materials and trades to enclose the building. Finding a company that can provide more than just the structural steel can greatly simplify project management, streamline the construction process, and avoid debates over responsibilities between individual trades.


What types of services are we talking about? Here is a representative list:

  • Design and Coordination: Manufacturers’ technical teams can work with project architects, engineers, owners and contractors to review options, verify material compatibility, and coordinate the final selection of all products and materials.
  • Structural Steel Package: In addition to the structural steel columns, beams, girts, and purlins, all associated structural items can be designed, coordinated, and provided. This includes things like the right type, size, and quantity of fasteners, plates, angles, and miscellaneous steel items.
  • Steel Erection: Some companies will not only provide the structural steel package, they also can arrange for the erection and assembly on the project site. This service can extend to other components as well.
  • Roof and Wall Panels: Enclosing the structural steel frame to create a total envelope means creating full, weathertight roofs and walls. Metal building companies offer a wide variety of metal panels that do just that. Further, they can offer the option of cutting openings for windows, doors, skylights, etc. in the factory, or accommodate for field sizing and cutting.
  • Roof Curbs: Including this common and often needed accessory with the roof panel and steel package helps in several ways. First, it streamlines a sometimes uncertain roof opening condition. Second, it helps assure that proper weathertightness is achieved. Third, by coming from the same manufacturer as the roof panels, it helps maintain roofing warranties.
  • Insulation: Here again, there are options. Insulated metal panels can be specified and used; they provide rigid insulation between an exterior and interior metal skin and are secured to the steel structure. Or, the building manufacturer can provide common types of batt insulation that is sized and designed to fit in the structure and complies with energy-code requirements.
  • Windows and Skylights: These often necessary building elements can look simple but often require careful attention to details to assure their proper fit, operation, and weathertightness. They can be full-functioning window and skylight units or fixed translucent panels in a roof or wall system. Either way, including them with the total envelope package helps to assure their successful performance.
  • Doors: In metal buildings these can take several forms. There will likely be the need for personnel doors, which can be provided and coordinated similar to windows with the requisite array of options for standard sizes, finishes, and glazing. However, there may also be a need for doors to suit vehicular or equipment access. In this case, coiling metal doors are often the preferred option since they don’t require the same clearances or supports as overhead panel doors or vertical lift doors. Coiling metal doors can often be supplied by the metal building manufacturer as part of an integrated, coordinated package.
  • Accessories: In addition to roof curbs, there are many other miscellaneous and project-specific items that can be part of the metal building envelope package. These could include flashings, sealants, trim pieces, and infill panels of different types.


Overall, it should be clear by now that identifying a single source for design coordination, ordering, delivery, and even installation of a complete structural and building envelope package simplifies the construction process. This strategy helps the project to progress more smoothly. When there are less design and detailing issues for coordination with other people, products, or companies, there are more known entities, and therefore it becomes more possible to control the process and outcome.


To find out more about the single-source capabilities of metal building structure and total envelope packages, contact your local Ceco representative.