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Choosing a Site for Your Metal Building

choosing a site

Metal buildings are a popular type of construction for everything from hangars, storage units, and manufacturing facilities to shopping centers and entertainment venues. In the US, over 28,000 metal building are constructed each year.

If you’re building a new metal building, the first consideration is site selection. Countless personal and legal considerations exist when selecting a site, and, if you are unfamiliar with the issues, consider hiring a professional to help. To get you oriented, let’s take a look at a few big issues.

What’s in this guide?


An ideal location is a highly individual choice, but it’s a critical choice. To make your project a success, it’s important to develop a clear idea of what you want and need before you start. Depending on your buildings use you may want to consider the following:

Building positioning Utilities access
Zoning requirements Soil and water issues
Deed restrictions Customers and markets
Views Suppliers and supply chain
Rail and highways access Future expansion requirements
Site development costs Purchase and development costs
Setbacks, Well & Septic Building on a slope
Wind and sun exposure Abutting properties

Any of these factors can make or break a location’s suitability. Site location is a complicated endeavor. So, involving professionals before you buy or finalize a location is worthwhile.


Your potential site’s first consideration  is zoning. Zoning laws stipulate the allowed use(s) within defined sectors, the types of structures that can be built, e.g., residential or commercial, a building’s size, density of structures, e.g., number of buildings per acre, floor-area to land-area ratio, and minimum open space. Usually, a zoning permit is required before any other progress can be made on your project.

A zoning permit is not the same as a building permit. A zoning permit only applies to the land use and type of structure you want to build. A building permit focuses solely on the building itself. It ensures the details of the building you intend to construct meet legal requirements for safety and accessibility. Usually, both a zoning and a building permit are required. See our article on Building Codes and Permits for Metal Buildings for more information.


Soils vary widely in strength and stability. Ideally, the soil at your chosen location wi