The Case for Day One Weathertightness Warranties

Once upon a time, a “standard warranty” was indeed the industry standard for weather tightness warranties in the metal roofing realm. To make a long story short, this meant that manufacturers supplied a “manufacturer’s standard warranty” based on an initial review of the details to ensure that the roof could be properly installed but left it up to others to ensure that the details were followed. If the roof was not properly installed and resulted in a leak then the manufacturer’s warranty did not cover it. At this point, the project had been closed out and the installer was long gone, sometimes even out of business. The owner, architect, general contractor, installer and manufacturer were then at odds with each other leading to dissatisfaction and frustration all around.

Warranty Evolution

In the mid ’90s, the Single Source or Day One warranty was born and quickly caught on throughout the metal roofing industry. Generally, this warranty required that the roofing contractor come to the manufacturer’s training course to be trained in the proper installation of their roof system(s). In addition, the manufacturer typically required inspections at the beginning, middle of the roof installation with a final inspection just before the crew demobilized from the project. Once the warranty was issued, the manufacturer was responsible to the building owner from the date of substantial completion for the weathertightness of the roof. To be sure, there are still terms and conditions to the warranty, just like with any type of product warranty. For instance, the warranties don’t cover leaks caused by natural disasters or damage caused by other trades on the roof. These warranties provide very good coverage and the best part is that the inspections greatly reduce the chance of a leak in the first place, which is what any building owner would want.

Chain of Lakes Elementary School featuring Hunter Green SuperLok® Metal Panels

There is an overwhelming agreement on all sides that the evolution toward the Day One warranty has been a good thing for the industry. It has forced installers to do things right from the outset and has compelled manufacturers to come up with good, clear details for some of the more complex architectural elements that architects want to use such as dormers, hips, etc.


Manufacturers all want their roof installations to go smoothly, to look good, be trouble-free and perform as expected for many years. To that end, they are willing to work with specifiers, roofing contractors and others to provide assistance, training and job specific help as needed. To ensure that the roofs are properly installed, the specifiers and contractors need to work together with the manufacturers to ensure good communication about the requirements for the specific project and what each party needs to make the project successful.

Evolution of the Metal Building Components Industry

Metal building components have been in use ever since iron and steel became commonly available during the 1800s. However, coordinated metal building components as we know them today really got their start during the 1900s, with a lot of significant developments happening just in the past 40 years. Here’s a quick overview:


During the 1970s, the emerging metal buildings industry was primarily focused on providing pre-engineered solutions for commercial, industrial, and agricultural customers, mostly in the range of 10,000-square-foot buildings or less. The use of lighter-weight, tapered-end steel sections and bolted end-plate connections was beginning to be developed for widespread use, based on industry research. The development of technology that allowed for new methods of steel fabrication created growth for existing companies and helped new ones to form, such as MBCI in 1976. The energy crisis of the time brought interest in creating better insulation solutions.

Metal Building Components Plant Location
MBCI Lubbock, Texas Plant


This was a period of growth along with the rest of the construction world. New plants and facilities were opening up in response to growing customer and market needs. New coating technologies were coming available that provided  better corrosion resistance and allowed for more customers to consider using metal buildings. Technical research into wind loading for walls and wind uplift for roofs brought updated means and methods to address these critical structural engineering conditions.


During this decade, the volume of metal buildings and tons of steel processed nearly doubled. More building types were being constructed out of metal building components as architects, engineers, and owners saw the flexibility, time savings, and cost efficiencies involved. Retail facilities, offices, even schools started to incorporate metal buildings and their components into their planning and construction. With this growth and expansion, technical issues such as snow loads and employee issues such as OSHA regulations were hot topics of research and focus.

Metal Building Components featuring Legacy Junior High
Legacy Junior High School Featuring PBU Metal Panels


With strong momentum and growing success around the country, the industry began to offer more-diverse product offerings and components. Insulated metal sandwich panels with both interior and exterior finishes became more common. New roofing finishes and appearances became available. Structural research into seismic effects on metal buildings was conducted in response to California earthquakes, and solutions were determined. Further work was done on energy performance of metal buildings in response to energy codes and customer requirements. Additional work was undertaken on updated engineering guidelines for tapered structural members and exterior wall and roof finishes and styles. This included the use of horizontal instead of vertical siding systems and smooth-surface solutions.

A Look at Today in the Metal Building Components Industry:

The metal building industry has clearly evolved and come a long way from somewhat humble beginnings. Today, full systems or components can be found in a wide range of buildings types, creating highly attractive solutions that are often not recognized as metal buildings. Continued industry research helps manufacturers provide high-quality products that meet the demands of the larger building industry. Continued collaboration and partnerships are helping to foster diversified product offerings and new market penetrations. Overall, the past 40 years or so have been just the beginning – the future of the industry looks strong, and prospects remain high for continued growth.

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