, ,

How Much Does a Steel Building Cost?

Last Updated on March 4, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Steel buildings are becoming an increasingly popular choice for commercial and residential construction projects due to their durability, design flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. But how much does a steel building cost?

This is an important question for anyone considering investing in a prefabricated metal structure. While steel buildings are very economical long-term, the upfront costs can be a big factor in the decision-making process.

This article will provide a thorough overview of the different factors that influence steel building pricing, typical cost ranges, and tips for keeping your metal building project within budget. With the right information and planning, you can erect a high-quality steel building that meets your needs without breaking the bank.

How Much Does a Steel Building Cost?

On average, you can expect to pay $16-$20 per square foot for a basic steel building. But costs can range anywhere from $10-$35 per square foot based on various factors.

Some typical steel building costs:

  • Small steel garage – 500 sq ft = $8,000 – $12,000
  • Medium warehouse – 5,000 sq ft = $80,000 – $100,000
  • Large commercial building – 25,000 sq ft = $250,000 – $500,000

Keep in mind that more complex buildings with higher-end finishes and features will be on the higher end of these cost ranges.

Prefabricated steel building kits can help reduce costs, often coming in around $12-$16 per square foot including the metal panels, frames, and accessories. Local installation costs will still apply.

Strong Building Systems writes that an average 60×100 steel building kit will cost between $108,000 and $120,000, or $18-$20 per square foot. The total cost of a 60×100 sq ft building can start at around $50,000, with the shell costing between $114,000 and $150,000.

According to Buildings Guide, prefab metal building kit packages are priced between $15 and $25 per square foot. On average, turnkey-installed steel buildings cost between $24 and $43 per square foot, including the kit, a 4-inch concrete foundation, delivery, and construction.

At Viking Steel Structures, steel building costs per square foot typically range from $24,360 to $77,455 for various sizes and configurations. Prices are highly competitive and supported by quick delivery and installation services.

What Influences the Cost of Steel Buildings?

Several important considerations impact the overall steel building cost:

  • Size – The total square footage and dimensions determine the amount of materials needed. Generally, larger steel buildings over 20,000 sq ft cost substantially more overall than smaller ones under 5,000 sq ft.
  • Location – Construction expenses can vary regionally from $100-$300 per sq ft based on local labor rates, material costs, and building codes. Rural areas are usually the most affordable.
  • Design Complexity – Simple rectangular buildings with few corners or details cost less than those with complex rooflines, angles, and features. Unique architectural elements drive up costs.
  • Steel Prices – As a commodity, raw steel prices fluctuate over time based on supply and demand. Higher steel prices raise overall building expenses.
  • Features – Added features like large windows, Roll Up doors, interior finishes, insulation, and HVAC systems add significant costs on top of basic construction.
  • Labor – Hiring experienced contractors will influence the total installed price. DIY building construction can save 25% or more in labor expenses.
  • Permits – Meeting local building codes and permit requirements can increase costs. Always thoroughly research regulations.
  • Foundation – Extensive site preparation and reinforced concrete slab foundations can add tens of thousands in costs depending on location, soil conditions, and other factors.

Carefully considering these variables will help estimate potential project expenses. Consult with steel building specialists early in the design process to develop an accurate budget.

You might also like our articles about the cost to build a house, rent an office trailer, or a porta-potty.

Budgeting for Your Steel Building

Steel Building TypeCareful planning and budgeting will help control costs on your steel building project. Here are some useful tips:

  • Get quotes from 3+ contractors to compare fair market pricing
  • Opt for a simple design like a rectangular layout with higher sidewall height rather than a complex design
  • Choose an energy-efficient size and optimize insulation to save on lifetime heating and cooling costs
  • Buy in off-peak seasons when demand is lower
  • See if you qualify for construction financing that works for your budget and cash flow
  • Research and apply for any available tax credits, rebates, or incentives for construction, energy efficiency, or steel materials
  • Use online steel building cost calculators to estimate a realistic budget

Also factor in expenses for the foundation, insulation, utilities, permits, site prep, and finishing work. Leaving any major costs out of your budget can lead to big headaches down the road.

Long-Term Value of Steel Buildings

While the upfront price tag for steel buildings may seem high compared to wood, over the lifetime of the structure steel is extremely cost-effective.

Advantages that boost value:

  • Durability – Steel lasts 50+ years with minimal upkeep
  • Energy efficiency – Steel buildings have stable temperature control
  • Customizability – Steel can be modified and expanded

Steel building owners can recoup their investment several times over thanks to low maintenance costs and versatile design. Additionally, steel structures hold their value very well, making them highly desirable in the commercial real estate market when it comes time to sell.

Final Words

When planned carefully and budgeted accurately, a steel building can be an incredibly smart long-term investment. Typical costs fall in the range of $10-$35 per square foot depending on size, location, features, and other factors.

While steel buildings carry more upfront expenses than wood, their durability, energy efficiency, customizability, and maintenance savings make them cost-effective for decades to come.

Do your research, get multiple quotes, and talk to steel building specialists to ensure your project stays on budget. With the right guidance, you can erect a high-quality steel building tailored to your needs at a very competitive price.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average cost of a 40×60 metal building?

For a 40×60 (2,400 square foot) steel building, the average cost is typically between $35,000 – $60,000 installed. Basic pole barn-style buildings in this size range around $35,000-$45,000. More complex designs with insulation, rollup doors, windows, and other options can run $45,000 – $60,000 or more. Always get multiple quotes.

What are the pros and cons of a steel building?

Pros: long lifespan, durability, design flexibility, energy efficiency, fire/wind resistance, versatility, and low maintenance.

Cons: higher upfront cost, conducting temperature, potentially complicated construction, re-sale value depends on location.

Do steel buildings hold value?

Yes, steel buildings generally hold their value very well due to their durability and low maintenance costs. The resale value depends partially on location – steel buildings on commercial properties or in-demand areas will be worth more long-term. With proper care and maintenance, steel buildings can retain 70-80% of their value over decades of use.

2 replies
  1. Trevor Scott McGowen
    Trevor Scott McGowen says:

    Your article is great but when it comes time to talk to these companies all those numbers go right out the door! A 40×80 building starts at 160K and with upgrades 350k and that’s only if they will even deliver to New Hampshire. Don’t even mention to them about a second story or they tell you to build a stick building inside there steel building, like that makes sense let alone economical sense! Then where do you get people to build it. Construction crews want to build the way they always have i.e.. stick built… I’ve been trying to get a building put up for 18 months and all I have is the site work that my brother in law and I did.
    Please revise your article to say these numbers are only good if you own a construction company and your employees are willing to work for free. If you don’t then just move the decimal point one place to the right, $20,000.00 to $200,000.00 this would be much more accurate and save people a lot of frustration when they talk to the sales personnel.
    Trevor McGowen


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *