Why the Cost of Metal Buildings Differ Drastically

If you’re a first-time buyer, you may be asking yourself “how much does a steel building cost?” While we are able to provide you with price ranges below for planning purposes, steel is a complex commodity and there are several factors that affect the cost of metal buildings.

We always recommend requesting an accurate quote since the cost of a steel building can change drastically from company to company due to estimating accuracy, purchasing power and current sales.

The cost of metal buildings can even change day by day if an unexpected price increase hits the global steel industry due to a spike in demand, lack of supply, or world affairs.

The Factors Affecting the Cost of Metal Buildings

When it comes to the cost of metal buildings, one common misconception is that there is one standard price for each building size. When our customers ask us how much does a steel building cost, it is common to ask us for a “price list” or “catalog of prices,” like you see in leading shed brand advertisements.

While we understand why a first time buyer may come to expect a standard list of steel building costs, generating an accurate list of metal building costs for each building kit would require a daily estimate of every size in every zip code throughout the United States in addition to accounting for these factors:

  1. Design: Adding doors, windows and other customizations along with engineering your building for the codes and loads associated with your area will affect pricing.
  2. The Price of Steel: Can change daily especially during a trade war or after an unexpected event.
  3. Economies of Scale: The price per square foot for steel buildings typically drops at the 5,000 SQFT threshold. The next price break tends to happen after the building is larger than 10,000 SQFT.

No matter where you are in the process of building, your team at General Steel will make sure you understand what your building will cost according to current steel prices and what we expect the price to be should you decide to postpone your project.

Frequently Asked Pricing Questions

How do wind speeds affect pricing?
Higher wind speeds in an area result in a higher price. For example, a building designed for Miami-Dade County is more expensive because it requires engineering for 175 mph wind than a building designed for the “The Windy City,” because a building being constructed in Chicago only requires a 90 mph rating.
Is it cheaper to make my building wider or longer?
Steel buildings can have a clear span width of up to 300′ which requires more steel. An increase in length conversely doesn’t change the price as drastically as making the building wider or taller.
How does snow load affect the price of my building?
If you were planning on erecting a steel building in Alaska you would need a building rated for 120 pounds per square foot of snow, which would be more expensive than a building constructed in many areas of Colorado which only requires a rating of 43.
Do open areas increase the price?
Many people are drawn to open wall steel buildings or even a leanto attached to an enclosed structure. This style of building requires an increase in the corresponding wind load because there are no walls to deflect a gust of wind which in turn lifts up on the roof. This increase in wind load engineering would result in an increase in price.
Does the seismic conditions in my area affect pricing?
Metal buildings are also engineered to withstand seismic conditions. A building designed for San Francisco needs a seismic rating of 320 over 90. That rating makes the building designed for San Fran more expensive than a building headed to North Dakota that requires a seismic rating of just 20 over 10.

Source; General Steel Corporation

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