Billboard fabrication

I have poured concrete in the past, and done steel welding fabrication. My question is how common, if at all, is it for a sign company to build their own signs. Single monopole or flag style structures specifically, instead of ordering from a common manufacturer, and paying for their labor and delivery. I understand the need for an engineered blueprint that is required by many cities for installation. However, it looks to me like that blueprint can be obtained from billboard manufactures for a fee. However, it hasn’t been brought up about who, can and cannot, construct a 12x24 or 14x48 structure. I have access to a crane, hoists, heavy arc welders, portable welders and the like. Steel is available daily within blocks, and I have the trailers to move it. Is this practical? And if not why? Legal, code, law, or other reasons? My local codes do not prohibit the construction of a sign by myself except for the engineered bluprint that is required. Thanks for your time and I wish everyone the best. God Bless



I do not know any law that says you cannot build your own billboard. It has to be built to the specifications on the permit,and to the specs of the submitted engineered drawing. But there’s not rules I’m aware of that limit who can and cannot build structures.

That being said, building monopoles is really hard. The type of welding and cutting is extremely precise and any screw up will cause the sign to collapse. You can probably build I-beams O.K., since they are just I-beams, stringers and walks. The same with wooden units. But before you try and build a monopole, I’d really do some soul-searching. The stakes are incredibly high (death and/or horrendous property damage), so I would make sure that it’s within my ability to do 100% properly.

From what I’ve noticed, any decent billboard company outsources this and buys from a manufacturer. As Frank said, the stakes are too high. I would imagine that if you buy from one of the major structure fabricators out there, and something goes wrong, you have some recourse against that manufacturer. If you made it yourself, all liability is on you.

If I were going to risk it, I would want it to be a low-height structure that would not damage anything except vacant land if it were to fall over or collapse.

I’ve only ever had one structure completely collapse. It was a 14’ x 48’ on wooden telephone poles, about 40’ tall. It was probably around 25 years old when I bought it. There was a storm with winds up to 100 mph, and the whole thing snapped at the ground and came crashing down. It had so much force that it rammed the light fixtures three feet into the earth. Anything underneath would have been crushed – a car, house or person. Once you have seen how much force these signs exert, it will give you second thoughts on being responsible for the engineering and fabrication on them.