Building Accessory Basics: Installation-Ready versus Assembly Required

In today’s world of instant gratification, companies are looking to turn out products—and finish projects—on quicker timelines than before. That includes those that support the metal building industry. In addition to working out the right dimensions, colors and finishes for your steel building accessories, you have to decide between products that come assembled and ready to go in, and those that require added elbow grease. Here are some points to consider when deciding your best route, and choosing accessories that will serve your structures well.

Choosing accessories that will serve your structures well

By Travis Wendt

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Knowing Project Timelines

Time is money, right? Efficient, seamless installations benefit both yourself and your structure’s end user. The good news is, both pre-assembled and assembly-required accessories go in fairly quickly. While you will see some time savings with a product that doesn’t need to be put together, the difference tends to be negligible.

On a related—and arguably more important—note, you should consider your metal building accessories as part of your overall building envelope. In other words, factor them into your plan from the start. We take calls all the time from companies needing last-minute accessories. And while we’re glad to help, it makes life easier for everybody (and helps you sidestep delays and potential rush fees) when you begin the accessory conversation early on.

Make the Installation Easy

It takes countless parts, pieces and people working together to ensure a quality metal building project. And anywhere you can make things a little easier throughout the process, you should. In our experience, installation is fairly easy across the board, so long as you utilize the tools given to you.

Most any metal building accessory you purchase will come with printed sheets telling you exactly how to put them together (if need be) and install them. In addition, we’ve started creating short-and-sweet installation videos that take you through the process step-by-step. You can access our videos by scanning a quick response (QR) code on the printed sheet. Whichever accessory route you go, we encourage you to remind crew members that the papers included are there for a reason. Sure, a qualified construction pro could likely figure it out on their own. But taking just a few minutes to see the intended installation process can help things come together a whole lot quicker and with fewer hiccups along the way.

Quality Consideration

The best metal building accessories are those you can trust to last a long, long time. We find that certain fully assembled accessories have a higher likelihood of incurring loosened screws and other minor damage during transport. If left unchecked, those imperfections can lead to a product that’s less watertight, allows for air leakage and is less effective. If you do opt for a plug-and-play type product, be sure to give it a thorough once-over, checking all screws and moving pieces before installing it.

Taking that quality talk a step further, we recommend doing business with a steel building accessory provider that carries out thorough product testing and can make engineering data available to you. That takes one more task off your plate and ensures the product will work as intended. Remember, accessories put together in the field aren’t guaranteed to meet engineering specs, as your provider can’t ensure the products were assembled the right way.

Whichever path your company opts for, when you find a company whose products you trust—and whose business practices work for you—consider incorporating their other products into your build. Bulk orders often result in cost savings, and you’re likely to enjoy the same quality service you’ve come to expect from previous interactions. In addition, since most companies develop their offerings to work together, you’re likely to have a more dependable finished product. And a system that costs a bit more, but can be trusted to last the long haul, is well worth the investment.

Travis Wendt is owner and president of Metallic Products, Houston. To learn more, call (800) 356-7746 or visit

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