Frequently Asked Questions




I've heard the phrase "Design-Build" before, but what does it mean?

Design-Build Construction is a practice that involves an integrated process with designers, engineers, and contractors. A design-build general contractor has professional in-house design capabilities that allow them to design and build your project. In turn, as the customer, you have a single-source provider for your entire project, rather than contract with multiple service providers.

What are the benefits of Design-Build?

The Design-Build method has several key benefits, including:

  • Single-source responsibility.
  • Streamlined design process.
  • Final construction costs realized earlier in the project life cycle.
  • Decreased overall project timeline.
  • Fewer project change orders as compared to the traditional Design-Bid-Build method.
Is Design-Build more expensive?

With the contractor involved throughout the entire design process, costs can be monitored and corrected in real-time with several budget phases to ensure that the final project cost is within the client’s expectations. Therefore, Design-Build will deliver a more streamlined, cost-effective project that gets the client in their building faster. As they say, time is money.

Will we lose choices and control of the project by choosing Design-Build? / Can I help with the design and plans for my project?

The owner is involved as much as they would like to be in the project. Whether it’s just telling us what you want and need and having us take it from there or sharing input and approval for every step of the way, we welcome the collaboration. We know the construction, but you, as the client, understand your business and your processes. A collaborative effort between A.C.E. and the client will deliver the best possible finished product and meet your expectations.

Do you use your own crews on projects, or do you use subcontractors?

We self-perform a wide range of activities, including concrete flatwork, steel erection, rough carpentry, finish carpentry, door and window installation, and many special projects such as concrete patching, equipment foundations, loading docks, steel staircases, door replacements, and much more.

What is your approach to completing my project on time and within my budget?

After our design process, we present a firm construction proposal as well as a proposed construction schedule. Before completing the items, scope changes initiated by the client are estimated and presented to the client. The construction schedule has buy-in from trade partners and subcontractors to provide a realistic construction timeline that can be upheld. In the event the schedule begins to fade, corrective actions are taken to get back on track.



Project Planning

I don't know where to begin planning my new project/renovation. Where do I start?

We recommend that clients have a high-level understanding of their wants and needs to help us help them as best and efficiently as possible.Knowing the answers to the following questions is an excellent start.

  • How many square feet?
  • Office space?
  • Overhead cranes?
  • Loading docks?
  • Process-related equipment or machinery?
  • Plans for future expansion?

Thinking about big picture items can help us help you define and develop your project.

Can you help me plan out my project before we begin construction?

Yes! Give us a call! We would love to get involved at the very beginning. We can advise on how much property you will need, how big of a building or expansion you might require, and provide a roadmap of what permits and regulations need to be considered. Initial project consultations are always complimentary.

How much time should I plan on before my building/expansion project can begin?

It depends on the complexity of your project. A simple storage building will take much less time to plan than a new manufacturing facility or dental office. On average, we recommend about 12 weeks of planning time for a typical project.

I've been told that early spring is always the best time to price out a construction project. Is this true? 

Not necessarily. If the timing of your project works out where it makes sense to begin in spring, then yes, it is generally a great time to price out construction services. However, if you are thinking about delaying your late summer or fall project to next spring, you may want to reconsider. The cost of labor and materials typically increases year to year, and you could wind up spending more in construction costs. Worse yet, you could miss out on potential income and earnings by delaying your project or lose business to competitors that have more capacity.

What kind of permits are required for my project? Do you handle that process? 

At a minimum, you will likely need local permits. In the state of Wisconsin, most commercial building projects over 50,000 cubic feet will require a state-approved plan. Other potential approvals may be necessary as well, depending on your project and local zoning ordinances. Part of our Design-Build process is that we handle all submittals and permits related to the building project for our clients.



Facilities Maintenance Projects

I have a small project to handle inside of my facility, but it is still too large for my maintenance staff. Can you help?

Absolutely! Do you need to replace an exterior door? Do your loading dock stairs need replacement? Is there a section of concrete in your plant that is cracked and needs to be replaced? Give us a call - we perform several hundred “special projects” or maintenance type work year in and year out. We’ve got you covered.

I have commercial doors that need replacement. Do you do this, or should I call a door company?

We can help you with anything from a typical walk door, to specialty doors like high-speed roll-up, cold storage, and food-grade doors.

I need to add an overhead or specialty door to my building. Where do I start?

Give us a call. We can help you determine what type of door is best for your situation, and we can determine if the door installation will require structural modifications to the building. No need to call multiple people - we’ll handle everything for you.

I’m getting a new piece of industrial equipment and need a concrete foundation for it. Can you help me with the engineering and construction for it?

Yes! We have several trusted design partners that we work with to determine the structural requirements for your equipment foundation. We can facilitate the design and construction for you - all you need to do is place the equipment when we’re done.

Do you perform concrete floor replacement inside of buildings? 

Yes, we self-perform concrete flatwork with our own tradespeople. We will work around your production schedules and keep your employees safe around our work area.

Can you help with non-building related projects such as parking lots, site grading, and trailer drop lots?

Yes, we have site design professionals, surveyor services, and P.E.’s on staff that can help guide the design process and direct site design and stormwater management design.

The roof on my facility is in poor condition. Can you help?

We offer the metal over metal or slope build-up metal re-roof services. No matter what kind of roof you have, we can offer a solution that will meet your needs. Ask us about the industry-leading Butler MR-24 standing seam roof with the demonstrated success of 50 years post installation.



Building Projects

I need a large building/expansion, but metal buildings look so plain. Can a metal building be designed to be architecturally pleasing without adding a lot of costs?

Yes, we can incorporate many different materials, including stone, masonry, glass, composite panel, and architectural metal panel, that can enhance the cost-effectiveness that pre-engineered metal buildings offer.

I need a building with an overhead crane. Can metal buildings accommodate them? Up to what capacity?

Definitely. A.C.E., along with Butler Manufacturing, can design a building that can accommodate whatever crane requirements you have. This includes single girder, double girder, multiple cranes in the same runway, and column-mounted jib cranes of varying capacities ranging from light duty to heavy capacity.

Can you provide conventional steel project options as well as pre-engineered?

Yes, our partnership with Butler Manufacturing allows us to design a facility to meet your needs, no matter the situation. If a pre-engineered building does not meet the design criteria, we will the Butler Conventional Group will step in and design a project that will get the job done.

Do you perform wood or steel stud construction projects and smaller expansions or renovations?

Yes, we also design and build both steel and wood stud structures, including conventional stick framing and panelized wall framed projects ranging in size from a few thousand square feet to tens of thousands of square feet.



Roofing Projects

What type of roofing projects do you service?

We offer metal over metal or slope build-up metal re-roof services. No matter what kind of roof you have, we can offer a solution that will meet your needs. Ask us about the industry-leading Butler MR-24 standing seam roof with demonstrated 50 (yes, 50) year installations. We have excellent partnerships with specialty roofing contractors and can incorporate asphalt, EPDM, Ballasted, cedar shake, and metal shingle roof solutions with our projects.

Will a metal roof affect cell phone reception?

All building elements - drywall, wood, even glass can affect cellular reception. Metal affects reception at a higher rate, but does not block reception all together.

What will happen to a metal roof in a lightning storm? Hail storm?

Buildings with metal roofs are scientifically no more or less susceptible to a lightning strike than any other building of a similar height and size. Conversely, Metal roofs (specifically, standing seam roofs like the Butler MR-24 roof system) are far more resistant to hail damage than asphalt shingle, EPDM, and some other roof materials. In some cases, these roofs can experience hail events without having to be replaced and without reducing the lifespan of the roof.

When it rains, will it be loud on the metal roof?

The noise level for rain depends on the interior treatment inside of the building. If there is a suspended ceiling inside of the building, the noise will be similar to that of other roof surfaces. If there is no ceiling treatment on the inside of the building, the noise will be slightly elevated than that of other roof surfaces and building construction methods.

Can skylights be installed in a metal roof?

Definitely. Many different types of skylights or daylight harvesting systems can be installed in a metal roof with the assurance of long term serviceability and minimal maintenance. We do recommend that our clients consider alternate daylighting methods such as windows or light panels.

What types of roofs are possible for metal roofs?

The most common and most resilient roof configurations for standing seam roofs are either a single slope or double slope roof design. However, other roof designs such as hipped, gambrel, valleys, and ultra low-slope roofs are possible when using standing seam metal roof panels.



Pre-Engineered Metal Buildings

Can I purchase a metal building and build it myself?

You can, but not from A.C.E. or Butler Manufacturing. However, we are happy to work with you no matter how big or small your building need is.

Do you custom fabricate your metal buildings, or do you work with a manufacturing partner?

When it comes to very small, specialty enclosures or lean-to shade and shelter applications, we custom fabricate options for our clients. For new stand-alone buildings, building expansions, and large facilities, we partner with Butler Manufacturing, the industry leader in pre-engineered steel structures. We have been a Butler Builder since 1973 and a Butler Career Builder, reserved for the highest performing Butler Builders, since 1978.

What is the difference between a conventional steel building and a pre-engineered steel building?

Conventional steel buildings require structural engineering up-front before a building budget or firm pricing is realized. With A.C.E. and Butler, we can provide a firm price for a pre-engineered building with no up-front structural engineering fees. Pre-engineered steel buildings can be utilized for virtually every end-use possible such as churches, schools, athletic facilities, manufacturing, warehousing, heavy industrial applications, aircraft hangers, cold storage, and more! Check out our projects for these types of buildings here.

Are pre-engineered steel buildings insulated?

Yes, even if the building is unheated, a minimal amount of insulation is used in the roof to prevent condensation. Heated buildings are insulated to meet the pertinent code requirements. Additional insulation can be added for increased energy efficiency.

What is the difference between pole barns (or post-frame buildings) and metal buildings?

There are a few. The two main differences are that post-frame buildings, or “pole barns,” have wood structural members and components with fastened roof and wall panels. Metal buildings have structural steel frames, steel wall, and roof framing components with either fastened or standing-seam roofs and a wide array of wall panel material options. Additionally, metal buildings are able to be built larger, even up to hundreds of thousands of square feet big. Typically, wood-framed buildings have size limitations and in some cases, increased thresholds for sprinkler requirements. Metal buildings also may allow for more favorable insurance rates as they are non-combustible.

We would be happy to speak with you about your ideas and
how A.C.E. Building Service can help you build a better project.
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