You have already taken the biggest step for controlling construction costs for your new building: you are building with steel, a material suited to prefabrication within a controlled environment. Once delivered to the site, it just needs to be put together (erected). Well, there may be a bit more to it than that, as pre-engineered steel building frame is significantly less expensive than other construction materials and techniques.
However, construction of any structure can get expensive without controlling costs. Below are nine areas you can save money on your metal building project.
Develop a realistic cost plan
The cost plan should include all construction costs. Developing a plan provides you with the information you need to control costs and deliver the project within the budget.
- Make decisions based on the forecast of all the alternatives.
- Tell the project team to design within the cost plan at every stage of development and build. Changes should be controlled and minimized.
- Develop the cost plan in collaboration with the architect, the contractor, and trade specialists. Bringing the team together brings special expertise into the same room. A trade contractor may have ways to reduce costs based on currently available materials or by suggesting a more durable option.
- Communicate clearly and often with the contractor to ensure all information is received and understood in a timely manner. Going back to deconstruct and reconstruct wastes time and money for both contractor and owner.
Use certified fabricators
Certified fabricators have gone to the trouble of making certain their manufacturing process follows AISC standards and is audited by a third party. Only then does the steel go through the pre-fabrication process. You can be certain the not just the incoming steel was inspected; you know it went through a rigorously planned process during fabrication.
As always, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t simply go for the lowest priced structure, do your due diligence and once you find a reputable vendor, stick with them. A good fabricator will be happy to collaborate with you to provide the best product for your needs.
Use standard steel lengths
Whenever possible, design for and use standard steel member lengths. Standard products are typically lower priced than requiring special measures. No matter the length, the weight of the entire bundle will still be the same. Standard members require no additional cutting and create no scrap.
Also, ask your vendor about the current market conditions to see if one size is cheaper than another at the time you need the bundle. The prefabrication company will probably know what sized the mills have been rolling to create more supply which will be lower cost. The vendor will also be happy to use up any remainders from other orders and cut you a good deal.
Double-check the order
Measure twice, cut once. Whether you fill out orders on a paper form or online, take the time to go back over it to check for errors, omissions, and duplications. Get communication going between the sales and estimating teams. Put together a process to follow each time a sale is made and enforce it. With a process in place, there will be fewer errors and miscommunications.
Check pieces when they arrive
There’s nothing worse than getting something half-built only to discover you have missing or broken pieces, or the wrong pieces altogether. Check everything upon delivery. Make sure everything is right; if it isn’t, you can get it corrected before the project gets too far.
Done quickly and well, you can send the broken and incorrect items back on the truck they came on and immediately order replacements so they will be delivered by the time you need them.
Use right equipment
You wouldn’t dream of digging a lake with a shovel nor would you expect to use a backhoe for a post hole. One wastes time, the other wastes money. When you get the plans, go over them thoroughly to determine exactly what you will need to move materials and erect the building.
It just makes sense that when people get hurt, there will be a drop in production, not to mention a hit to your insurance and your conscience. OSHA requires you to have a safe workplace but you should want things to be as safe as possible anyway, just to save you heartaches and headaches. Not to mention the cost savings, of course.
Fireproof cost effectively
Fireproofing doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. You have several options to choose from depending on the specifications and regulations governing the project.
- Spray-applied fireproofing: it needs little surface preparation. Then the member just needs to be clean of oil, grease, dirt, and any mill scale.
- Gypsum board: fairly inexpensive because the upgrading conventional gypsum board to fire-resistant gypsum board is generally low.
- Intumescent paints: these provide low weight-per-surface-area, high durability, and good adhesion. It’s often used on architecturally exposed structural steel to make it match the surrounding design.
Start the punch list early
If you wait until the very end to do a walkthrough to make sure everything is completed correctly, you may wind up with nasty surprises that waste time and cost money. Some companies start the punchlist a month before completion.
In addition, make someone accountable for the punchlist and for ensuring anything incomplete or incorrect has been taken care of before the end of the project.
If you begin with a realistic plan, use certified fabricators, and request standard members as much as possible, you will have come a long way in adhering to your budget for a new building. Make sure you have the orders correct and check items as they arrive will save both time and money while showing due diligence. End as you began, by carefully checking that everything is completed correctly as far before the project due date as possible to mitigate time overruns due to errors and omissions.
Following these tips can save money, time, and headaches for both contractor and client.