Metal Building Standard for Contractors and Erectors

Star steel structure

Standards. Do you have them?

As an individual, do you hold yourself to some sort of touchstone—ethically or performance wise? Or just in general, do you measure things against a system you trust, holding merchandise and creations of all sorts to high benchmarks so that quality is nearly guaranteed?

If you do or you don’t—whether you think about standards all the time or if you’ve never considered them once in your life, it doesn’t matter. Standards are constantly influencing your life. They’re in the background, spurring on competition and raising the performance bar—catapulting some companies and people to the top, while dropping others like a bad habit. They’re part of the progression of the human race, and in this blog post’s case—the metal building industry.

We’re talking about the newest accreditation program called AC478. In 2013, the International Accreditation Service (IAS) started meeting with the Metal Building Contractors & Erectors Association (MBCEA) to develop an accreditation program for the erection of metal buildings. The goal was to create a set of criteria steel building erectors could follow to ensure aptitude, and to offer IAS-accreditation in return. And on February 9, 2015, the goal was achieved.

Now, AC478 accreditation is alive and zigzagging its way through the metal building world, and if you’re interested, just make sure you’re ready. According to IAS eNews, AC478 reviews things like experience, personnel, organization, management procedures, and adherence to International Building Code. It’s thorough, and passing inspection could point to company competency.

But not everyone is thrilled by AC478. According to Gary T. Smith, president of Thomas Phoenix International Inc. and the Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Association, there has been some AC478 criticism from workers, and Smith seems to be challenging that sentiment.

“Can someone please explain to me what is going on? When did my burly, steel-building erector compatriots turn into a bunch of scaredy cats? We develop a game changer of a program that will make us better and stronger; that will separate the good guys from the rascals; that is a confirmation of all the stuff we have been saying we do all along and still I hear bitching and moaning. “Ooh, too much paperwork.” “How come the union endorses it?” “Why so many inspections?” And lions and tigers and bears, oh my,” says Smith in an article from Metal Construction News.

There’s a lot to consider. And from Star’s perspective, we believe that just like anything in life, there are pros and cons to AC478. But instead of listing those, we want to know what you think—the boots on the ground—the real people affected by the reality of AC478. There’s actually a huge lack of chatter about this topic, so please shout out your opinion. Are you annoyed by AC478 or happily fist bumping it? Have you been accredited? Why or why not?

Let’s talk metal building standards and get one step closer to seeing what this new accreditation is doing for our industry.

Gary Smith. (2015, November 4). An Opportunity We Can’t Afford to Miss. [Blog].

IAS eNews. (2015, November 1). IAS launches new accreditation program for inspection practices of metal building assemblers. [Blog].

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Star Building Systems

Founded in 1927, Star Building Systems has seen and done it all, from supplying tool sheds for oil derrick drilling sites in the early oil boom days to hangar buildings during World War II. We set the industry standard for innovation and technology. Most importantly, we have the best builders in the business.


  • Avatar
    Reply February 1, 2016

    Lee McCoy

    Unfortunately in the Bahamas, there is not even a contractors certification by the Government. We are constantly “out bid” by fly-by-night contractors without even as much as a business license. The Bahamas Contractors Association has proposed several options over the years to the government but is unfortunately still not recognized or had policies enacted.

    TMC would welcome an international certification program in the Bahamas, because even local companies with “manufacturer certifications” have done, and continue to do, horrible jobs. The foreign companies who come in also do sub-par work and get away with it with little to no recourse – typically sending a supervisor then using unskilled labour ($230/week is our minimum wage – what skills do you think you get for that?)

    Maybe one day…in the mean time, we will work to better ourselves and let our reputation speak volumes!

    • Star Building Systems
      Reply February 4, 2016

      Star Building Systems

      Lee, we know that TMC’s reputation and buildings speak for themselves! Hopefully some certification process will be coming to the Bahamas soon and the Bahamas Contractors Association will be heard. We understand that must be a frustrating process. Thanks for the feedback.

  • Avatar
    Reply April 25, 2016

    Luke Smith

    I know that if I was going to have a building constructed on my property, I would want it made from metal. I did not know that there is a standard to follow when constructing a building. I like how there are people that are working to my our lives much safer.

    • Star Building Systems
      Reply April 29, 2016

      Star Building Systems

      We love that feedback Luke and definitely take our standards seriously!

  • Avatar
    Reply February 7, 2018

    Elsa Anderson

    I was just thinking about getting a steel building constructed in our backyard to serve as our shed. It’s nice to know that Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Associations have standards they are following to make sure that the buildings that shall be made have quality. That is reassuring to learn as it would probably make my investment worth it. Thanks!

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