Metal Building Erector Certifications

Having a trained work crew is an essential part of running a metal building erection company. Especially during this time of a skilled labor shortage, it is essential that the people who are working for your company are trained and experienced.

Training is key to having a safe and reliable workforce

By Marcy Marro
Photo courtesy of Thomas Phoenix International

As Gary Smith, founder of Thomas Phoenix International, Eastampton, N.J., notes, “The days of scribbling a certification card are over. Today, you can even be held criminally liable if someone gets injured without proper training.”

Smith says one way for companies to show that you mean what you say is to demonstrate a commitment to training. Training certifications are a tangible asset for companies and workers, and “investing in workers’ continuing education pays dividends with improved safety, production and morale,” he says.

Standard Training

Smith lays out the standard training framework for metal building erectors, ranging from the certifications that should be completed within the first six months of employment to the end of the first and second years, in addition to foreman/journeyman training. He also suggests considering leadership courses and personal development objectives, which include involving key personnel in industry events.

During the first six months of employment, Smith recommends training in driving safety, fall protection, fall hazards safety, connector safety, GHS/Hazcom [Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals/Hazard Communication], controlled decking zone and field assembly training. By the end of the first year, employees should have certification by the Metal Buildings Institute, OSHA 10, rough terrain forklift safety and operation, and aerial work platform safety and operation. By the end of an employee’s second year of work, they should have training in crane signal person, rigging 1, and cutting torch and hot work safety. For foremen and journeymen, Smith recommends completing OSHA 30 and first aid/CPR/AED training.

Training can be completed online or through local trade schools.

Metal Buildings Institute’s Online Video Training

The Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Association (MBCEA), through the Metal Buildings Institute, offers 11 module online video training program series that were created by building erectors for those involved in the construction of metal buildings. The training series offers instruction in both English and Spanish, and is available for reuse once purchased.

The training modules include:

  1. Tools of the Trade
  2. Unloading, Material Handling, and Staging
  3. Framing
  4. Windows & Doors
  5. Fiberglass Insulation
  6. Wall Sheeting
  7. Exposed Fastener & Lap Seam Roofs
  8. Standing Seam Roofs
  9. Roof Penetrations and Curbs
  10. Flashing, Trim and Gutters
  11. Internal Gutters and Transitions

Videos 12, Tips from Experienced Erectors, and 13, Train-the-Trainer, are free upon account creation. To learn more, visit www.mbidvd.org.

Photo courtesy of Thomas Phoenix International


Smith helped develop AC478, the “Accreditation Criteria for Inspection Practices of Metal Building Assemblers,” which is a program spearheaded by the MBCEA in consultation with Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA). AC478 is an independently verified standard of practice for metal building assemblers that helps companies set up minimum training and timelines for their employees. To achieve it, erectors need to have trained crews, and a plan for continued training.

The AC478 program is accredited through the International Accreditation Service and is based on requirements in IAS Accreditation Criteria AC478 and the International Building Code. Accreditation involves an assessment of a company’s management system including the assembly processes, internal safety, training programs, periodic job-site inspections, and more. IAS accreditation establishes a benchmark for companies qualified to assemble and erect metal buildings.

The program is open to contractors and erectors already substantially involved in the metal building industry. While you don’t need to be a member of the MBCEA to apply, members receive free consultative support and template documents. Examples of required documentation include management system, standard operating procedures, training program, safety program and job-site specific safety plans.

To learn more, visit www.mbcea.org/ac478/.

AISC Certified Erectors

The America Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) offers Erector Certifications, which show a dedication to quality by confirming companies are doing what they say they do. The AISC Certification ensures companies have the personnel, knowledge, organization, equipment, experience, capability, procedures and commitment to produce quality work.

AISC Certification goes beyond product inspection requirements by examining a company’s quality management systems. AISC-Certified companies are required to have complete quality management systems that cover the entire erection process from quality goals to employee training to product delivery. The program helps reduce unnecessary costs while ensuring the quality of the process.

To learn more, visit www.aisc.org/certification/certified-erectors/.

Photo courtesy of Thomas Phoenix International

Manufacturer Training

In addition to OSHA training and AC478, individual manufacturers may offer training programs for builders and erectors on their specific products.

NCI Building Systems Inc.

Houston-based NCI Building Systems Inc. offers an introduction to Metal Building Assembly Seminar, which is a two-and-a-half day course consisting of classroom and hands-on assembly of a metal building mock-up. Classroom instruction looks at basic metal building information, in addition to covering NCI installation drawings and learning to identify various metal building components and applications. Panel and trim installation is also covered, along with common pitfalls to avoid when erecting metal buildings. The hands-on section involves the assembly of steel framing members and secondaries, roof sheeting, wall panels and trim. While this is not a certification class, seminars are recommended for individuals with a beginner level of metal building knowledge who are involved with the purchase and erecting of NCI buildings.

The NCI family of metal buildings brands include Star Building Systems, Oklahoma City; Ceco Building Systems, Rocky Mount, N.C.; Garco Building Systems, Airway Heights, Wash.; Metallic Building Co., Houston; A&S Building Systems, Andersonville, Tenn.; Mesco Building Solutions, Irving, Texas; Mid-West Steel Building Co., Houston; Heritage Building Systems, North Little Rock, Ark.; Robertson Building Systems, Ancaster, Ontario, Canada; All American Systems, Houston.

To learn more, visit www.ncibuildingsystems.com/customer-solutions/training-and-certification/introduction-to-metal-building-assembly.

SBC Building Systems

SBC Building Systems, Ambridge, Pa., offers an erector certification training program to ensure certified erectors are trained and available in compliance with mandatory standing seam roof (SSR) erection procedures and weathertightness warranty requirements. The erector certification program also covers an overview of basic building erection techniques and critical elements for fundamental successful erection; SSR roof system erection principles; factory-sponsored or factory-supported warranties; completed building maintenance; systems construction energy code compliance module; and energy code compliance for metal building systems. To learn more, visit www.sbcbldgsystems.com/erector-certification/.

Varco Pruden Buildings

Memphis, Tenn.-based Varco Pruden Buildings, a division of BlueScope Buildings North America Inc., offers its builders training through its VP University. Classes in Varco Pruden’s proprietary building design, pricing and graphic modeling software, is available in classroom settings, or via webinars, recorded videos and training manuals. Additionally, Stephen Hudak, training coordinator for Varco Pruden Buildings, says this year, the company is launching a series of eLearning opportunities for professionals to learn at their own pace and time.

For field personnel, Varco Pruden provides construction techniques in the proper methods to erect a VP building, while also being able to take certification classes on how to correctly install the VP SSR roof system. VP University’s website offers a library of training videos, downloadable lessons and schedules for upcoming training sessions. Five times a year, VP University conducts a series of “webinar boot camps” on topics including product, building design and sessions from various partners.

“A new student to VP University can take basic and advanced product training to learn the various steel building components, how to best use them, and how to value engineer their building to meet their customers’ needs while saving money,” explains Hudak.

For more information, visit www.vp.com.