Over the past few years, steel buildings have gained immense popularity in the commercial world because of their environment-friendly construction and cost-effectiveness. The steel structure is prefabricated at a manufacturing facility, which saves the user from spending hours at the construction site and all the hassle involved in a construction project.

Steel buildings serve a variety of purposes and come in various sizes, from 10’ X 20’ steel buildings that are used as sheds to 150’ X 300’ structures used as manufacturing facilities. The benefits offered by steel structures are uncountable. A steel building can be finished in 2 to 3 months, instead of more than 6 months required for a traditional building. Reduced labor cost spent on steel building saves you up to 30 percent of the cost of constructing a traditional building. Also, in the long term they save you money because their insurance is usually less expensive than traditional buildings.

Types of a Steel Building

On the basis of structure and design, there are three types of steel buildings: arch, pole barns, and rigid-frame.

Arch – Arch style buildings utilize a serious of interlocking steel structures that form the walls and roof of the building. These buildings are mostly used as garages, sheds, and warehouses. Arch style steel buildings cannot be customized but they are very simple to build and cost-effective. Doors and windows can only be installed in the end-walls, not the sidewalls.

Rigid Frame – Rigid frame structures allow for more customization as compared to arch-style steel buildings. Windows and doors can be installed in any walls of the structure. They provide more space as compared to arch-style steel buildings. This type of steel building is used for a variety of purposes as schools, retail stores, gymnasiums, manufacturing facilities, and much more. Rigid frame steel buildings are also known as straight-walled or red iron steel buildings.

Pole Barns – Pole barns are similar to straight-walled steel buildings, except that the steel framing is replaced with a wooden poles with walls being steel panels. Roofs can be made from wood trusses or steel trusses. Pole barns are mostly used in agricultural industry for storing crops and feed for live stock. Pole barns utilize poles as its basic foundation, which are fixed in the ground.

The size specifications of steel buildings determine its functionality. Steel buildings are of different types and sizes on the basis of construction of the roof and wall height.

Height of the structure

There are two aspects to consider – the overall height and the internal clearance. The overall height is ruled by the local building laws, but internal clearance plays a major role in your design decisions. If you want to store heavy vehicles or use the building as a warehouse, you will require a steel building with an internal clearance of 30 feet. At the low end, steel buildings with an internal height of 10 feet are sufficient for serving various purposes.

Roof of the structure

Roof structure can be modified in rigid frame steel buildings. The two common options include single slope roof and peaked roof.

  • Single Slope Roof – In this type of structure, one side of the wall is higher than the other side, with roof slanting from the higher wall to the lower wall.
  • Peaked Roof – This type of structure has a center peak and the roof runs down to the either sides.

Additional Features

You may add certain optional features to the steel structure to improve its livability and functionality. The three common types of add-ons include insulation, solar panels, functional add-ons, and cosmetic add-ons.

  • Insulation – Insulating the steel structure can help you save money in the longer run by reducing your energy bills. For commercial buildings, the minimum insulation required for roof is R-19, which is equivalent to 6 inches, and for walls it’s R-14, which is equal to 4 inches.
  • Solar Panels – You may also reduce your energy costs by installing solar panels. However, a stronger steel structure is required for supporting the additional weight of the solar panels.
  • Functional Add-ons – This category include various features that enhance the functionality of the structure such as windows, vehicle doors, walk doors, and skylights.
  • Cosmetic Add-ons – You may enhance the curb appeal of your building by various cosmetic add-ons. Expensive finishing options such as stucco, wood, and bricks can be used to enhance the overall look of the structure.

Steel Building Cost Comparison

Estimating Steel Building Cost is fairly complicated. There are many variables that affect the total cost of constructing a steel structure such as the cost of material, cost of labor, permit fees, insulation cost, foundation cost, etc.

Cost per Square Foot

Type of Steel BuildingAdditional FeaturesAverage Cost per Square Foot
Rigid frameNone$12 to $20
Rigid frameInexpensive finishing$20 to $30
Rigid frameBrick, stucco, wood finishing$40+

Steel Building Cost of materials may range from $5 to $15 per square foot depending on the quality of construction material and size of the steel building. A smaller building usually cost less per square foot in terms of construction material. Labor cost range from $2 to $6 per square foot, while foundation may incur a cost of $4 to $7 per square foot.

Overall Cost for a Steel Building

The following table presents the overall Steel Building Cost of various types and sizes of commercial steel buildings.

Type of Steel BuildingSizeOverall Cost
Rigid frame20’ X 20’$10,000 to $12,000
Arch frame20’ X 20’$6,000 to $8,000
Rigid frame40’ X 40’$16,000 to $20,000
Arch frame40’ X 40’$14,000 to $16,000
Rigid frame100’ X 100’$70,000 to $80,000
Arch frame80’ X 80’$40,000 TO $50,000
Rigid frame200’ X 200’$275,000 to $325,000
Arch frame80’ X 200’$80,000 TO $100,000

This is a general guide about prices of different types of steel buildings. The exact price of a steel building depends on various factors, which should be carefully considered by a buyer.

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