How Much Does a Steel Building Cost?

Steel Building Cost
Steel Building Cost

Steel is a complex material to purchase, and because of that, many factors affect the cost of a steel building. However, in this article, we’re going to do our best to give you a good idea of how much you can expect to end up paying for a steel building and some of the factors that are going to affect that price.

What Factors Affect the Price of a Steel Building?

Steel Building Cost

There are a few factors that can change the cost of a steel building, some of which are: estimating accuracy, purchasing power, current sales, and other promotions. These factors fluctuate so much that the cost of a steel building can change day by day, especially if there is an unexpected price increase in the steel industry – this can be due to a spike in demand, lack of supply, or even world affairs. So, when you’re looking into purchasing a steel building, you need to keep these factors in mind because they can drastically change the price of steel.

How to Get an Accurate Price Idea

Steel Building Cost

While there is no “price list” or “catalog of prices” that you can flip through to find the price of the steel building you want to make, there are a few ways that you can figure out about how much you will end up paying for a steel building. To do this, we will go over some of the most common factors that will affect the overall price that you’ll pay for a steel building.

There are a few common factors that affect the cost of steel buildings:

1. Building Design

Steel buildings come in an array of building designs. You can purchase a steel building that you build out of the box all the way to completely customizable structures. Each different type of building design that you look into is going to come with a variety of expenses that you will have to pay for. But the cheapest option that you can get is the buildings that you build straight out of a box because they are generically designed, and there isn’t much customization involved.

On average, this is how the final price of your steel building will be determined:

  • For the base building itself, without any added features, the cost of the materials is about $7-$10 per square foot. But this is only for the four walls gable styled building; once we get into the more customized buildings, the prices will increase.
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    When you add accessories to the building, you’re looking at a 20% commission for the supplier on the original cost of the accessories being used. This will also depend greatly on if you’re purchasing them at direct pricing and the type, brand, and style of the accessories you’ve chosen.
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    If your building requires a foundation, you’ll be looking at about $8 per square foot of material. This will vary greatly depending on the soil type, geography, and square footage of the building you want. Added costs will apply if the foundation requires specialized additions (i.e., stem walls).
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    Finally, the construction of the building will cost you about $10 per square foot. This is to cover the cost of the men who will come out and construct the building for you and is easy to save if you choose to do the construction yourself.

Keep in mind that these are estimates and they can depend on the supplier you end up going with and the overall design of your building. But on average you’re looking at spending these amounts to have your building constructed.

2. Price of Steel

As we mentioned above, the price of steel fluctuates a lot because of all the global factors that play into it. For example, if there is a natural disaster in a steel-producing area that destroys the steelmaking plant, the price of steel is bound to increase. Because of this, the price of steel can increase and decrease daily depending on the global factors that affect the price changes.

3. Type of Steel Used

There are three common types of steel used in the construction of buildings and depending on which is used for your building it can affect the final cost.

Plain carbon steel, or mild steel, is the most common type of steel used in constructing buildings – which means that it is the least expensive type to be used. This type of steel is incredibly strong, durable, and ensures a sturdy build. It doesn’t crack when it’s bent and is therefore incredibly flexible, plus it’s ductile and can endure natural disasters like earthquakes without the steel being damaged.

Rebar Steel, which is more commonly known as reinforcing steel, is used as a tension device. This type of steel is used most commonly for reinforced concrete or reinforced masonry structures. While it’s most commonly used with concrete, this type of steel provides resistance, durability, and stiffness that isn’t found in any other type of steel.

Structural steel is used to make beams to support buildings. This type of steel is molded into I-Beams, Z Shape, HSS Shape, L Shape, C-Beam, T Shaped, and many more to be used as structural support. Structural steel can be morphed into any shape that is needed in the construction process, is ductile, strong and durable.

So, depending on which type of steel, or how much of each type, is used in your steel building the final cost can be affected because each one takes different amounts of steel and time to create.

4. Economies of Scale

Whom you choose as a supplier of your steel building is going to affect the final price of the building. Some suppliers have a higher/better buying power over others; this means that you have the chance of receiving lower costs through them than through a different supplier. Plus, it can mean that you will be spending less on design flaws and costly change orders that might result from a lower buying power steel building supplier.

Think about it this way; if you were to go to a small-town steel supplier, you'd end up spending a lot more money than if you went to a bigger franchise. This is because the smaller steel supplier can’t purchase as much steel from producers for a lower cost, and therefore has to offer the steel to you at a price close to what he paid. But with big franchise suppliers, they have the power to purchase large quantities of steel for a low price and offer it to you for a price close to what they paid for it.

5. Professional vs. DIY

When constructing your steel building, you need to consider if you’re going to construct the building by yourself or if you’re going to hire a professional. If you decide that you’re going to take the project on by yourself or with friends and family, you’ll be spending a lot less on supplies and labor overall. By doing the project yourself, you’re looking at spending about $25-$30 per square foot of material. All of which would be delivered to your building site and ready to be used.

If you decide to hire professionals to come out and construct the building for you, you’re looking at spending about $120-$125 per square foot of material. This covers the cost of delivering the material and the labor that will go into constructing the building. But by choosing to go with professional builders, you’ll know that the building was constructed properly and will be done in a short time frame. But you will end up spending more money overall just for the amount of labor that will go into the construction itself.

Questions to Ask Yourself

After reading over some of the common factors that affect the overall price of your steel building, there are a few questions that you can ask yourself to help you come to an estimated price:

  • How big of a building do you want to build? Consider this in terms of length and width so that you can find the square feet of building space that will be required to construct a building of that size. This will allow you to figure out about how much material you’ll need to purchase and an estimated price for that material.
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    What style do you want the building to be? Are you looking for a more traditional building with a pitched roof or do you want a Quonset hut style building (which has an arched roof)? If you decide to go with a Quonset hut style building, you can potentially design and construct your building for about 30% less than if you went with a traditional style building.
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    Do you want a basic prefabricated steel building, or do you want a completely customized one? By choosing a prefab building, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of money overall because the design is basic and readily available. But if you want something more customized, you’ll need to work closely with professionals and suppliers to make sure that it’s done the way you want it to be done.
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    What size and thickness do the building's foundation need to be? On average a 3” slab of foundation can run about $4-$8 per square foot depending on the labor associated with the installation, the type of concrete used, the price of said concrete, and more.
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    Are you going to have a professional construct the building for you or are you going to do it yourself? As we mentioned before, by hiring a professional to construct the building for you can expect to spend anywhere from $3-$10 per square foot. But if you choose to construct the steel building by yourself, you can save that added cost.

These are only a few questions, but they will at least get you started on thinking about the overall finished look that you’re want to achieve for your steel building. By figuring out the answers to these, you’ll be able to ask yourself more and more questions that will help you find an estimated cost for your dream building.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the most common factors that affect the final price that you pay when looking into constructing a steel building. The biggest thing you need to focus on, however, is the final design of the building you want to create. Ask yourself some questions and really spend an adequate amount of time thinking about the building that you want to create, then start looking into the estimated prices that you’re facing. Remember, the prices will change depending on the supplier you choose to go with, so you might want to consider getting a few different quotes before you pick one to commit to initially.

You also need to consider the location of where you’re going to place the steel building. Are you going to need a foundation? Is the area the building is going known to accumulate high amounts of snow or will it need to withstand seismic activity or high winds? All of this location and geographically focused questions are going to affect how the steel building is designed and the number of extra materials that will have to go into the building. So, you need to consider the location where the building will be placed and work from there.

After all of these things, you’ll be able to get an estimated final cost on the steel building of your dreams, and the numbers all rely on estimated and averaged figures. Therefore, the best thing that you can do is to talk to a steel building supplier and figure out what all of your wants and desires are going to cost you as the building is being designed and finally constructed.

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