If you are currently in the market for purchasing a steel building, you’re probably familiar with the extent of their utility. Metal buildings now make up more than 50% of low-rise, non-residential buildings in the U.S., and that comes at no surprise! The benefits of opting for a steel building over a traditionally constructed wood building are immense – they are extremely durable and weather-resistant, expandable, more cost-efficient, require very little maintenance, come ready for quick assembly, and offer any number of custom designs. As it turns out, steel is an incredibly versatile building material, making these pre-engineered buildings an increasingly popular choice for manufacturing plants, warehouses, churches and worship centers, retail stores, agricultural buildings, gymnasiums, and more.
But when it comes to figuring out cost for your ideal steel building, a common misconception is that there is a standard, predictable price for each building size. Actually, the cost of steel buildings covers a huge range – it could land anywhere between $3,000 for a small building to over $150,000 for a large, industrial-sized building. Now, the cost of your building – generally – will be based on the square foot; but that amount can vary tremendously depending on several factors. Here, we’ve come up with a list of the largest impacts on the overall cost of your steel building:
Simply put, the design of your steel building will have the biggest impact on your out-the-door cost. This is mainly because the size, shape, and customizations you choose to include (or not include) will have a huge effect on how much steel is used, as well as the overall construction costs. The exciting news is that there are endless options for customizing your building, but you must consider the following when choosing: dimensions, wind conditions, snow conditions, open areas needed, and seismic conditions.
Keep in mind that geographical location will control much of your design options, as certain accommodations will be necessary to keep the building durable and a worthwhile investment. But luckily, there are many expert suppliers on the market that can guide you and provide you with many different options to meet your geo-specific needs.
There is a great deal of custom features you can add to your steel building, as well, if you choose to do so. They include:
- Energy-saving paints and coatings
- Solar panels
- Light fixtures
- HVAC ductwork
- Various windows and doors
- Roof, wall, and trim color
- Quonset style roof (which could be up to 30% cheaper)
Something else to consider is that different locations will have different codes and requirements for steel building erection, which may impact your design as well. If a certain area has hyper-specific building coding, it may require you to purchase specific accommodations which can drive up your out-the-door price.
Price of Steel
During your steel building search, it is very important to keep in mind that the price of steel fluctuates rapidly, depending on supply and demand. Prices can even change on a daily basis. Your best bet is to keep a close eye on steel pricing trends and watch for when it dips. For instance, recently the price of steel has dropped significantly, but industry experts predict it will surge again soon. Certain seasons tend to have an influence on demand, as well. If you’re able to make a move on your purchase when the market is at a low point (for example, buy in the winter months and wait for warmer weather to erect), you may be able to find yourself a great deal.
Of course, the amount of steel you’ll need to purchase depends on how big or small your building is going to be. Larger buildings tend to be more cost-effective overall, since the price per square foot is lower. You will also tend to save more money if you can keep your building’s dimensions within standard sizes, rather than irregular sizes (say, a 31’x46’ building). Although we cannot determine exactly what your steel building will cost (your supplier will have many things particular to your needs to go over with you when arranging your quote), below is an example of building costs depending on size:
The final cost of each steel building size reflects a price per square foot calculation. The range here is anywhere from $7.85 per square foot to $12.33. You can also see that as the building size goes up, the price per square foot will go down. Even still, if you are looking to purchase a 100×200 building, you will probably be looking at above $150,000.
Shipping & Construction Costs
After discussing design options and pricing with your chosen supplier, you will need to ship the building to your lot. The builder will most likely pass these costs onto the buyer. Several things will impact the final cost for shipping, including the amount of fuel needed by the driver and the cost for fuel in your area. A general rule of thumb for delivery is to expect about 8% of the quote subtotal. Most suppliers will then update your quote after shipping and delivery are discussed.
Keep in mind that construction and labor costs will vary, depending on factors like erector labor costs, building dimensions, building style, time of year, and proximity to your supplier (a great reason to stay local!). Additionally, you will likely need to save room for necessities like concrete foundation and insulation when finalizing your construction expenses.
Buying Power of your Supplier
A great reason to choose a dependable supplier, rather than handling your buying needs on your own, is that the price of steel often goes down when bought in bulk. When steel suppliers make large volume purchases, they often have some advantage over the market and can cut a better deal. So, the good news is that you’ll often find that the best deals come from suppliers that go above and beyond just quoting and delivering pre-manufactured steel buildings – and there are plenty of wonderful suppliers out there that love to help where they can! The bad news is that you’ll have to watch out for suspiciously low quotes – if you simply choose the lowest price offered to you when comparing quotes, you may end up receiving poor quality materials with low durability, and it will be a wasted investment. So make sure you ask lots of questions of your suppliers when shopping around!
Ultimately, your cost per square foot will be most heavily based on your geographical location and weather conditions in your area, roofing requirements, quality of steel and its current pricing, and desired customizations. Make sure to think through your budget for the project when you reach out to your local suppliers to receive a quote and be as descriptive as possible of your needs when you get them on the phone. There are certainly ways to save money overall and getting educated on the components that affect price is the best place to start! You can always ask your suppliers for advice on how to maintain the most superior quality and functionality on your budget.
We know this process can be daunting, and that’s why we love to help out! 360Connect streamlines the process for you by putting you in touch with up to 5 suppliers in your area, all with the touch of a button. So instead of researching and calling suppliers over and over, let us save you time and effort by giving you up to 5 free, no obligation quotes that you can compare and contrast so you can find the best deal possible. Give us a try online and let us know how we can make your search simpler!
Remember that for the best buying experience possible, we recommend comparing just 3-5 different suppliers and what they have to offer (don’t over-complicate the decision by comparing too many options!) and prepare for your call with these tips to get the most out of your phone call with each supplier.