The Butler Difference [Video]

George Ray of Associated Contractors talks with Butler Manufacturing’s Josh Long about the differences between Butler buildings and other pre-engineered metal buildings.

The Butler Difference

*remarks edited for clarity*

GEORGE: Good morning, I’m George Ray with Associated Contractors and I’m joined this morning with Josh Long from Butler Manufacturing. We’re here to talk about the Butler Difference. What we want to talk about today is why not all metal buildings are the same, and we call that the “Butler Difference.” We partnered with Butler Manufacturing and it kind of goes both ways: Butler is the best at what they do in pre-engineered metal buildings, and we think we [Associated Contractors] are the best at construction in northwest Pennsylvania. So, what we want to talk about today is what makes Butler Manufacturing different from all these other pre-engineered metal buildings. You know a couple things about Butler that I’ll talk about today: their versatility, their research, and their product offerings. 

Butler Manufacturing is getting ready to celebrate its 100th birthday next year, so they’ve been around a really long time and they’ve changed and innovated and created new products for the market. They’re the only pre-engineered metal building dealer that has a research center, which is pretty awesome I’ve been there. They make sure their products are going to last for a long time, so what I’d like to do is talk to Josh today about the different types of pre-engineered metal buildings that Butler offers. I know there are two different scenarios: the widespan system and the landmark system. 

JOSH: Right, so the widespan system is a standard metal building utilizing mainframes and purlins. The landmark system is one that uses a long bay system where there is a bar joist type member that we call truss berlin which is manufactured by Butler Manufacturing themselves, as opposed to ordering out from a third party bar choice vendor.

GEORGE: Yeah, and the usefulness of that is interior columns.

JOSH: Correct, it reduces the number of columns in the number of frames in the landmark system that allows you more flexibility for warehousing and manufacturing to create a better layout for your operation.

GEORGE: Josh, what’re some of the features that Butler Manufacturing offers that you don’t find in other pre-engineered metal buildings?

JOSH: Well, from a structural standpoint, one of the things that we provide that others don’t in most cases is rod bracing in the walls. A lot of our competitors will be using cheaper cable bracing, but rod bracing is a much stronger member as part of the bracing system of the pre-engineered metal building. We also strictly utilize a kynar finish for our wall panels and roof panels other manufacturers will offer either as an option, or as their standard a silicone polyester finish, which is a lesser quality paint finish. We only use the highest quality finish and then one of the big things that we also use is going to be punching in our systems. We punch the purlins, we punch the girts so that the roof panel and wall panel will all maintain a modularity and for straight runs which is something that is unique to only Butler Manufacturing.

GEORGE: I can speak to that. I don’t know if you remember as a kid ever playing with an Erector Set, but they were all pre-punched and you could only use the holes that were available to put it together and when you did that, you got plumb buildings, you got level buildings, you got everything correct. And that is a unique feature of Butler; that pre-punching to make sure everything is in a line so I think that’s one probably one of the best features out there in pre-engineered metal buildings.

JOSH: It is certainly a unique feature to Butler Manufacturing. One of the advantages to pre-punching allows us to use a screw bolt which is much stronger than the pre-drillers or self-drilling fasteners that our competition tends to use.

GEORGE: We have some fasteners shown there, and you can certainly see there’s a huge difference in the actual size of the fasteners that are in a Butler building as opposed to all of our competition. One of the other unique features of Butler Manufacturing’s is their rivet. Those rivets you see on the end there are a large rivet compared to what everybody else uses. The pull-out force in those are extreme, and they really do provide added benefit to the owner as far as buildings staying together. You know, one of the big reasons why a person builds a new building is they’re trying to protect something inside, and in protecting something inside, that means a roof system and Butler has what I consider the premier roof system. I know if I was building a new building I can tell you right now what roof it would have on and it’d be the MR-24 roof system. Let’s talk about some of the features of the Butler MR-24.

JOSH: Well, the Butler MR-24 is a standing seam concealed fastener roof system that was developed actually in the 00’s, so it’s a it’s a system that’s been in the industry for a long time but it has yet to ever be improved upon by anyone else, so it’s the system that Butler continues to use. Some of the features to the MR-24 that’s different from what other manufacturers do is going to be in the seaming of the roof system. Butler Manufacturing uses a Pittsburgh seam on it, utilizing a mechanical seamer that actually creates the weather-tight integrity of the roof system. If you imagine the top of a pop can that has the seam on it that’s water tight, that’s the same seam that Butler is putting on their roof system.

GEORGE: That would be this area right here, as you can see that seam right there. There is no way any type of water or moisture is going to get through there.

JOSH: Correct. Another feature that Butler Manufacturing has in the roof system are the clips that we use. The clip is designed to fit into that seam as well, so it’s integral to it. It allows for movement of the roof system through thermal expansion and contraction, and with the fasteners that we use and the pre-punching solution in the roof, Butler can utilize one fastener as opposed to other manufacturers trying to use two. The advantage of using one fastener is that the single fastener is as strong as the two fasteners that other manufacturers attempt to use, but it also allows us to ensure that the clip is installed straight. Utilizing two fasteners can actually allow the clip to get off-center, which can bind the roof through in its expansion and contraction. A couple other features that Butler Manufacturing utilizes in the MR-24 is rake trim that fastens in to close off the ends of the building. It’s seamed into the roof system utilizing the exact same Pittsburgh seam. Our competition tends to use fasteners through the panel, in which every fastener in the roof becomes a leak point, so by utilizing a seamed rake trim, it eliminates all the fasteners that are in the roof system. Butler also utilizes a similar approach to the rake trim or the ridge trim where what fasteners are there are all concealed within the roof system, making it virtually impossible for those fat for any fasteners up along the ridge to leak as well. 

GEORGE: Here’s a picture of the panel and it’s not always necessary as it depends on the width of the building. But when you have to splice two panels together on a longer span of building, Butler is the only one that has created this particular splice that can actually occur over top of a purlin.

JOSH: Absolutely, and that’s a great point!

GEORGE: Every other competitor out there has to put a screw-down through here displace these panels together and of course if we screw it over top of a purlin and attach it to the purlin they don’t get expansion and contraction

JOSH: Well what other manufacturers do actually to cover for their laps is they move that lap anywhere between a foot to inches up from the purlin, so when somebody’s installing it, the weight of an individual on top of this rib will actually create a depression in the rib itself while it’s being installed. They’re using fasteners to dry from the top to the bottom to draw a plate up from the back side, making it difficult to get a solid connection when they put this splice together. What Butler does is we put our lap directly over the purlins so it’s solid, and as you can see from the plate we use in the back which actually has studs that come from the bottom up. And then there’s the factory welded studs that are on that plate that come from the back side of the panel up through the panels. We use a lock nut on top, so we’re fastening, we are ensuring that we get a solid connection point at each fastener location because most leaks at laps come from fasteners that have either stripped or did not hit the mark on the first go-around. They felt solid at the time of installation but they break loose later and that’s when a leak occurs. 

GEORGE: You know some of the other features that Butler has is a complete system. So, you know we always tell people, “Hey, if we can keep stuff off your roof let’s keep let’s keep less penetrations through your roof, you don’t have to worry about it,” but there’s certain things that have to go on a roof. It could be an HVAC unit, it could be exhaust fans, and Butler has designed the roof curbs and penetrations that again allow you to do that and maintain the integrity of the roof.  

JOSH: Butler Manufacturing has partnered up with different curb suppliers to provide a curb system specifically designed for the Butler roof system, so not all curbs are alike. Some of the curb systems are designed as a generic curb that will fit on any roof system, but for Butler to warrant the roof system, they do mandate what curbs can be put on the system because there are curbs that are specifically designed to maintain the Butler MR-24 integrity.

GEORGE: Yeah, pretty great stuff one last thing I’d like to talk about the roof system is, you know, today everybody’s worried about energy. Energy costs have gone up and we’re trying to put more and more insulation into our roof systems and into our wall systems. 

JOSH: Butler actually has come up with a couple of different roof systems, all utilizing mr-24 as the top layer of the system, but they’re utilizing different insulation systems, and in different products, we can achieve higher R-values and U-values in the roof system. One way we do that is with the roof clip that you can see there. We have three different size roof clips: a short clip, a tall clip, and an extra-tall clip. With the extra-tall clip, we can get upwards of nine and a quarter inches of insulation which will achieve essentially an R roof system. The TBS system is a system where we put insulation down over the purlins just like we normally would, then we come back in with a subpurlin that goes on top of that system and then we roll out another layer of insulation and then we install our roof system just as we normally would. We also have systems for rigid board insulation and utilizing the deck underneath the roof system as well, so there’s a lot of flexibility and opportunities to utilize the system that works best for the clients and use it with the Butler system.   

GEORGE: Yeah, so as we’ve seen, the roof system as I believe is a superior roof system to anything else out there. One last thing I’d like to talk about is you know you’ve got to put something on the walls, and Butler has a whole variety of wall panel systems, but again, I’m going to talk about one of them right now, and that’s the e-shadow wall that has come out again for energy reasons. 

JOSH: Yeah, the e-shadow wall basically uses the standard Butler shadow rib panel or shadow wall panel that attaches to the girts on the walls, but what it what makes the e-shadow wall different is we utilize a six inch block that that goes behind the panel and actually acts as a continuous thermal break between the fasteners through the panel to the girt that the fasteners attach through, so those blocks are installed which allows us to achieve a much higher R-value due to allowing more insulation into the system. Those blocks actually also act as a standoff to allow greater expansion of the insulation.  

GEORGE: Yeah, it’s a pretty cool system we’ve used in the last couple years and has provided interior comfort at a much lower energy price to our customers. 

JOSH: Well one of the things that really sets Butler apart from the rest of the competition is within Butler’s research lab, we actually hot box test all of our systems: our roof panels, our wall panels with various insulation systems. So everything that Butler puts out product-wise has been tested and we can tell the client exactly what the R-values are and what the U-values are if that information is required. Butler is about the only manufacturer in the industry that does such a thing.  

GEORGE: Yeah, that’s true. I know I’ve used that information before to give to a building official who was doing an inspection and wasn’t sure whether we were meeting energy code. When I showed him the test from Butler Manufacturing, there were no questions after that. it showed what was needed. I hope the presentation today provided you a little more information on pre-engineered metal buildings and the Butler Difference. We thank you for giving us your time and being with us today. If you need more information please contact us on our site or don’t hesitate to give us a call at 814-724-8200. Thank you, Josh!

JOSH: Thank you.

About Author

blog author

George Ray

George Ray is the owner of ACI and has been working in the construction industry for over 40 years. George has worked in the field in numerous roles including Laborer, Carpenter, Superintendent, as well as office roles including Estimator, Project Manager, Sales, Controller, VP, and President. He has extensive experience with pre-engineered buildings and design build.

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