Thinking of building a metal residential or commercial structure in 2024?
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You pick the manufacturer and company to work with.
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Get our wholesale pricing for all metal building kits.
You pick the manufacturer and company to work with.
Then you need to know what kind of outlay of expenses you can expect for your project.
In this post, we are going to provide an in-depth answer to your question about metal building prices. You can find the quick answer in the section directly below, and read further for more detail on the factors that can push costs for metal buildings up or down.
Costs For Metal Buildings As We Enter 2024
Metal buildings are very affordable to construct, bringing residential and commercial projects within reach.
If you are purchasing a prefab metal building kit, on average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $25 per square foot.
If you are purchasing a turnkey metal building (including the cost for the foundation, the delivery of the building, and its construction), then the cost rises to an average of $24 to $43 per square foot.
As you can see, there is a significant difference between the cost solely for the kit and for the project as a whole. If you fail to account for all of the metal building costs that go beyond the kit, you will greatly underestimate what you need to budget for.
It is extremely important to come up with a detailed, itemized list of estimated costs for your metal building project. As we will discuss shortly, there are a lot of factors that can impact the cost to build a metal structure.
Why Metal Construction is a Solid Investment
One thing that is useful to know upfront is that a metal building is less costly over the long run than it may seem initially.
Metal buildings offer the following cost-saving benefits:
- Stable in harsh weather conditions
- Durable and long-lasting
As a result of their minimal upkeep requirements, you should find that choosing metal buildings helps you keep costs low not only now, but over the years to come.
Factors Affecting Metal Building Pricing
You probably noticed that the range for metal building prices is pretty significant. Now let’s talk about what factors might land you toward the higher or lower end of that range.
1. The type of metal you choose
There are a number of different types of metal that are used in construction, and some materials cost more than others. For instance, you will pay more for galvanized steel than regular steel. Aluminum is pretty cost-effective, while copper can be pricey.
Our main focus in this post is on steel building costs. Any time we do not specify a material, assume we are talking about steel.
2. Fluctuations in pricing for metal
If you follow commodities prices, you will notice that the cost of any type of metal is constantly in flux. Here are some of the factors that can cause the cost of metal to go up or down:
- The general state of the global economy
- The cost of oil (steel’s price is closely tied to oil’s)
- Geopolitical events
- The season
- Trade tariffs and surcharges
- Supply and demand
- Recycled steel availability
With so many factors, it can be hard to predict if prices will rise or fall, but you can look up analyses to try and help you time your materials purchases.
3. Type of building
The type of steel building you erect also can have an impact on how much it will cost. For example, Quonset huts can sometimes be less expensive to build than traditional steel buildings (a Quonset hut features a curved roof for a half-cylinder shape).
4. Size of building
The larger your building is, the more it is going to cost overall. But you will notice that the cost per square foot is less, which actually can make a big structure more cost-effective in some respects than a small one. By opting for a large structure, you can get a better deal on the cost of the material itself.
5. Layout and features
A lot of what is going to impact the cost of a metal building comes down to the shape of the structure and what kinds of features and finishing you choose. Here are some factors that can make a metal building more or less expensive:
- Layout: A building that has a fairly simple shape, like a basic square or rectangle, is going to be less expensive to construct than something with an unusual, elaborate shape. Both straight and curved surfaces can be affordable, but again, only if they feature basic shapes. If you try to turn your structure into a work of modern art that doubles as a functional steel sculpture, then it is going to cost you a lot more.
- Doors and windows: The number of doors and windows, their placement, their size, shape and type, and their energy efficiency will all have an influence on the cost of your metal structure.
- Roof: Both the type of metal roof you choose for your building and its pitch will impact the pricing. Stick with a .5 to 1:12 roof pitch if you want to keep your roof as affordable as possible. Also, a roof that needs to be extra strong to bear the load of heavy snow will be more expensive than one that does not.
- Architectural embellishments: A building that has a relatively simple appearance without complex architectural motifs will be more affordable than one that includes some unique and elaborate architectural features.
- Insulation: The thicker the insulation you purchase and the higher the quality of the insulation, the more expensive your metal building will be. That said, we do recommend that you be willing to pay extra in this area. In the long run, it will be worth it. Insulation with a high R-value will make for a more energy-efficient structure. You will be able to reduce your spending on heat and air conditioning.
- Finishing: This refers to the work that is done to paint, plaster, distemper and so on. Your building’s finishing provides a layer of protection for the metal, and also has a major impact on the appearance of the structure. Costs can vary a lot in this area, depending on what you want.
Before you can even dive into your steel building construction project, the first thing you are going to need to do is research the building codes and zoning requirements for the jurisdiction where you will place the structure.
The zoning requirements and building codes may specify that your building layout accommodate certain dimensions, or that the structure includes specific features. Say, for example, that you are building in a hurricane zone. Your structure may cost more to build since it will need to be strong enough to fulfill these requirements.
Then there is the matter of the site. Let’s say you have to construct a building that will sit on a surface with a grade, rather than one that is entirely flat. This will be a more complex and involved project requiring a custom layout.
Next, you need to think about how your geography will impact the costs associated with the delivery of your prefab building kit.
If the kit is being delivered from the opposite end of the country, that will be more expensive than if you are ordering from a facility close by. So, when possible, you may want to purchase from a metal building company that is in your state or region.
Also, if your geography contains certain impediments, that could make delivery more expensive. It is easier and less expensive to deliver a metal building to a site on a flat plain than it is to deliver one across a mountain range.
A typical price range for delivery for a metal building is 4-7% of the price of the total package. But again, with a particularly challenging delivery, you could be looking at a higher expense.
7. Additional Costs
Next, we need to consider everything around the construction itself. These include costs like:
- Architectural plans: If you are not an architect yourself, you are going to need to purchase plans. At the lower end, you may pay a few hundred dollars for a custom floor plan. At the upper end, you could pay several thousand dollars. If you prefer, you can buy a plan without customization. This will cost you less money.
- Permit fees: When you file for a building permit, you will need to pay a fee. This could be around $550 at the lower end, and as high as $2,000 at the upper end. It depends on where you live as well as the layout of your building and its features. Within any given jurisdiction, simpler projects usually have less expensive permits than more complicated ones.
- Site preparation: It is rare for a building site to just be ready to go when you get it, unless you purchased land with a ready foundation on it. You may need to clear out unwanted obstructions and/or perform grading. And that is after you survey your site, come up with a site plan, and test the soil. Combined, these costs are going to add up to thousands of dollars.
- Foundation: For most types of construction, you can expect a cost of $4-$8 per square foot for your foundation. We are assuming here that the type of foundation you will build on is a concrete slab foundation. What accounts for the range in prices? Some factors include the soil conditions, the price of concrete at the time you purchase it, how thick you need the foundation to be, various aspect of the site, and the cost of labor.
- Electrical and plumbing: Each of these individually will usually cost you somewhere between $2 and $6 per square foot.
- Interior framing and drywall: To cover these costs, you will need between $8 and $18 per square foot.
- Construction: Finally, you will need to consider the cost of construction. This typically ranges anywhere from $5 to $10 per square foot for a metal building.
Metal prefab buildings where the components are manufactured in a facility and then shipped to the site for quick and easy assembly tend to be very cost-effective. The labor involved is minimal, as is the demand for special skills or tools.
Indeed, Quonset huts are especially affordable to erect, because they were designed to be. The history of Quonset huts dates back to World War II, when the Navy contracted a company called Fuller Construction to come up with a design for buildings that would be portable and easy for typical personnel to assemble.
That means that even if you only have basic building skills and tools, you could potentially build a Quonset hut on your own or with a little help from family or friends.
A great way to cut back on the installation costs for a metal building are to do it yourself. But you do need to bear in mind that it will probably take you longer to install your building on your own than if you had professionals come in and do it. You might be taking time out of your job. The lost wages are a cost you would need to take under consideration.
Some people opt for a halfway solution. For example, they might decide to pay contractors to install the building on the site, after which they themselves will do the finishing.
Visualizing the Breakdown of Costs
By the time you finish constructing your metal building, the building kit itself will probably account for a little less than 50% of the total cost for your project.
The two largest costs aside from the kit will be the construction and foundation. Together, these will account for a little more than a quarter of the total costs, in all likelihood (perhaps a little less, if you are doing a lot yourself).
Site preparation, delivery, insulation, accessories and finishing will account for what is left of the costs.
Metal Building Prices Chart
To give you an idea what metal buildings in various sizes might cost, you can take a look at this chart provided by Carport Central, a company that specializes in metal building kits. They offer a breakdown for buildings in southern states, northern states, and Florida.
Remember, that is just one example of a chart of metal building pricing estimates. Based on the factors we have discussed in this post, your own estimate for a metal structure might come out as more or less expensive than the estimates you see in this chart.
Build an Affordable Metal Residential or Commercial Structure
You have a deeper understanding now of some of the factors that impact metal building prices.
Metal buildings are cost-effective to build, especially if you use a prefab metal kit. What is more, they can stand the test of time without much maintenance, making them affordable over the years ahead.
If you are ready to get a quote on your metal building project, click any of the links below to visit our recommended steel building companies.