Steel Building Prices: How Much Does a Metal Building Cost?

Published May 31, 2017 by Whirlwind Team

steel building prices

For every metal building project, you need to develop a realistic budget, and it helps to know the factors that impact the price of a metal building kit or other steel construction. Unlike purchasing a shed for your back yard, steel building vendors usually don’t have a standard price list or a catalog of prices. Multiple design choices and daily changes in regulations and markets make this unfeasible.

The cost of a metal building can differ significantly depending on:

  • Estimating accuracy
  • Purchasing power of the vendor
  • Current sales
  • Availability of promotions

A spike in demand, lack of supply, and other things out of your control, such as world affairs, contribute to the daily price of raw steel.

Still, you can prepare for budgeting and potential purchase price through an awareness of the factors that affect metal building prices.

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Construction factors that impact the steel building prices

Land and grading

Grading reshapes the surface of the land to a planned slope, a common practice to handle drainage and the level required for a foundation. Grading is crucial if the natural grade of your building site is uneven.

Grading controls run-off and soil erosion while creating a suitable site for your metal building.

The site location also impacts the labor and equipment you will need. Steep grades will need to be terraced to create a hard, flat surface, requiring more hours and specialty equipment.

Materials

Steel is a commodity and, as such, is affected by a variety of global factors including:

  • Natural disasters
  • Political unrest
  • Expanded construction with increasing wealth
  • Changes in import taxes

This is a brief list of items that can impact the price and availability of steel and other materials.

Labor

The availability of experienced labor changes from region to region. In higher demand areas you can expect to pay higher wages to secure the best workers. In remote areas of the country, you may be forced to bring in outside laborers because there is no one available near your site, another expense since they will need living accommodations and may demand a premium for traveling.

Labor near a city may be easier to obtain at a competitive rate depending on how much construction is being conducted in the area. Popular areas such as Dallas/Fort Worth may have less labor availability than a place with fewer companies or people moving to it.

Weather can slow work. Regional norms like rain, snow, high winds, and extreme heat can dictate the style of roof and the load bearing requirements.

Equipment

Equipment is also a consideration. Will you lease or buy the equipment yourself or will the contractor supply it? Equipment costs depend on:

  • Wear and tear
  • Gas prices
  • Vehicle wear
  • Other overhead

Certainly, the more complex your building design or project, the more complicated the shape, the more time and materials will be needed to implement it. Wider buildings tend to have greater safety requirements as do tall buildings since labor will need to work at height. Safety equipment will be another expense.

Both wide and tall buildings also need more specialized (and expensive) installation equipment.

Permits

Permits are a commonly forgotten expense. You typically need several types of permits, all of which must be paid for.

  • Building permits required before beginning the project
  • State and city filing, application, and inspection fees
  • Local requirements

Costs differ across the country based on the type of construction.

Building factors contributing to cost of steel construction

Building dimensions

Steel is priced per pound of raw steel. The amount of steel required for the project depends on the total square feet plus the height of your building.

Size matters and so does shape. Building dimensions are the most important factor in determining the price. The bigger the building, the bigger your budget needs to be. Also, the size of your building may be limited by local regulations, so take that into account when selecting a building site.

The critical dimensions for pricing are width and height. Steel buildings can have a clear span width of up to 300 feet but will require more steel. Building length has less impact on price.

Other considerations for determining both building dimension and the need for additional steel include:

  • Roof pitch
  • Wind load requirements
  • Snow load requirements
  • Designs with open steel walls or attached lean-to affecting wind load

Foundation

The size and weight of your building plus the type of soil determines foundation size and thickness. A correctly designed and poured foundation is essential to the durability of your steel building. Remember, once the building is sitting on it, you will be hard pressed to correct any defects in the foundation.

It is best all-around to hire a professional to construct the foundation, such as a professional civic engineer who is familiar with local seismic requirements, soil types, and geography.

Concrete prices, labor, and equipment factor into the cost of the foundation as well.

Style or design

Complex styles and designs increase the price of a steel building project. More labor-hours and special equipment may be needed to execute your plan.

On the other hand, Quonset huts and traditional buildings with a pitched roof will cost less to erect.

Accessories

Many people don't realize it, but the price of a steel building kit does not include doors, windows, gutters, and insulation. These will be priced separately within the quote.

Choosing the right metal building supplier

Who supplies your steel building has an impact on its cost. A supplier or vendor with more buying power or leverage can pass along any cost savings to its customers.

On the other hand, poor estimating and design errors resulting in change orders drive the price up.

What about erection?

Are you planning to erect the building yourself? If so, gather all the necessary tools and safety equipment before you get started. If you prefer a general contractor to handle the construction, look for a local builder or professional experienced in metal building construction.

Doing it yourself might save you a few bucks if you are capable of safely erecting your steel structure but if you have any doubt, going with a professional could save your back and your project. Mistakes, even your own, add unexpected costs to your building.


Everything from the land the building sits on to the price of steel and labor impacts how much you will pay for your steel building project. Larger projects will have larger price tags, and events that are not within your control can increase or decrease the supply of labor and materials.

Just be sure to speak to an experienced metal building professional who will know all the ins and outs of estimating steel buildings.

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