The Complete Guide to Commercial Steel Building Costs, Types & Top Manufacturers
Last Updated: September 22, 2023
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Summary: Commercial Steel Building Pricing #
On average, you can expect to pay between $15 & $25 per square foot for a standard rigid frame commercial metal building.
Commercial steel buildings were once limited to structures such as skyscrapers, barns, airplane hangars, and metal storage buildings. But, due to improved cost effectiveness, greater refinement, and better construction techniques, metal buildings can now be used in a wide range of applications. Commercial metal building technology has come far and now offers so many construction options. It can be a daunting task to determine the exact type of structure that is right for your business. In order to help you with your purchase, this buying guide identifies the major types of steel buildings, explains their benefits, and offers general pricing information.
The Benefits of Commercial Steel Buildings #
Compared with traditional construction techniques, metal building construction provides a number of advantages, including:
- Affordability: All of the components of prefabricated metal buildings (also known as prefab metal buildings) are produced to order in a factory. Once pre-engineered steel buildings arrive at the construction site they only need to be bolted together, a process that results in dramatically reduced labor costs.
- Fast construction: The prefabrication process described above also means that your commercial steel building can be up, running, and helping you make money in a matter of weeks instead of months. It's also quick and simple to expand or modify pre-engineered metal buildings.
- Maintenance free: Once completed, commercial metal buildings may not require upkeep for as long as 30 years, and you won't have to worry about fire damage.
- Environmentally friendly: Using steel as a construction material results in fewer trees being cut down in ecologically sensitive areas. Plus, the metal is easy and desirable to recycle, and steel commercial buildings can be very energy efficient when properly insulated.
Types of Metal Commercial Buildings #
Here are some of the main types of steel building structures:
Rigid Frame - The most common type. Rigid frames have solid steel rafters and columns that provide strength. Good for large clearspan buildings.
Arch Style - Steel arches support the roof and sidewall girts. Allows wide open interiors without interior columns.
Single Slope - Simple design with vertical sidewalls and angled steel roof beams. Good for sheds, shops, etc.
Lean-to - Single sloped roof that ties into existing building. Used to create covered workspace.
Pre-Engineered - Manufactured steel frame components that bolt together on site. Faster and most affordable option.
Conventional Stick-Built - Steel members cut and erected in place. More labor intensive but fully customizable.
Butler MR-24 Roof System - Structural roof panels and girts create clearspan interiors.
Tension Fabric - Steel rigid frames with tensioned fabric roof and walls. Allows natural light.
The structural design is tailored to the building's use and required spans. Prefab steel systems make construction fast and economical.
Common Uses for Commercial Steel Buildings #
Here are the main use types of commercial steel buildings and average costs per square foot:
Commercial Steel Building Types
Warehouses - Basic open span structures for storage and distribution. Cost around $12-$20/sq ft.
Manufacturing - Customized for factory production lines. Around $18-$25/sq ft.
Retail Stores - May include glass storefronts and interior buildouts. $100-$200/sq ft.
Offices - Steel framing with interior finishings and partitions. $150-$250/sq ft.
Arenas - Large open spaces for sports and events. $80-$250/sq ft.
Aircraft Hangars - Extra height and width for planes. $70-$150/sq ft.
Government - Secure buildings like armories and vehicle shops. $125-$175/sq ft.
Costs vary based on location, size, height requirements, level of customization, included amenities, and more. But steel offers an affordable building solution for most commercial uses.
Commercial Steel Buildings Average Costs #
Commercial steel buildings can range significantly in cost per square foot based on the building's use and features.
Basic prefab steel warehouses generally run $10-20/sq ft for the shell. A 10,000 sq ft warehouse would cost $100,000-$200,000.
More complex commercial office buildings with interior buildouts usually run $100-250/sq ft. A 10,000 sq ft office could cost $1-2.5 million.
Major Cost Components:
Steel frame - $12-25/sq ft for standard prefab structural framing.
Foundation - Reinforced concrete slab $5-10/sq ft.
Envelope - Wall and roof panels $5-15/sq ft installed.
Doors/Windows - Rollup doors, entries, windows $15-30/sq ft.
Interior - Partitions, lighting, finishes $30-100/sq ft+.
MEP - Electrical, plumbing, HVAC $10-30/sq ft.
Site Work - Grading, utilities $5-10/sq ft.
Steel building cost per square foot can vary immensely based on the requirements and finishes. But steel provides durable and adaptable commercial space.
Commercial Steel Building Prices Paid #
We interviewed several businesses who purchased commercial metal buildings and found out how much they paid. Here are some real-life commercial steel building cost examples:
A small retail store in Florida had a 3,000 square foot steel building erected in 2021 for $185,000. This included the foundation, steel frame, roofing, electric, plumbing, and HVAC.
A warehouse facility in Texas constructed a 40,000 square foot prefab steel structure in 2020 for $680,000. It featured 24 foot ceiling heights and two grade-level rollup doors.
A medical office in New York built a 15,000 square foot two-story steel building in 2019 for $2.1 million. This included a full interior buildout with walls, lighting, finishes.
An industrial manufacturing plant in Michigan had a 150,000 square foot steel production facility built in 2018 for $9.5 million. The customized design included cranes, conveyors, and heavy floor loads.
A recreational sports business in California erected a 10,000 square foot steel arena in 2017 for $1.2 million. The structure houses basketball courts, lockers, bleachers and more.
As shown, commercial steel buildings can vary greatly in cost depending on the specific requirements. But steel often provides the most cost-efficient building solution.
Top Steel Building Companies #
Here are some of the top commercial steel building dealers and key details:
- Known for high-quality custom metal buildings made in the USA
- Prices range from $12-$20 per sq ft installed
- Offer a 40 year limited warranty
- Reviews mention good quality materials, professional installation, and excellent customer service
American Steel Span
- Offers pre-engineered and custom metal buildings
- Prices start around $16 per sq ft
- Backed by a 50 year limited warranty
- Reviews praise ease of purchase, timely construction, knowledgeable reps
Rigid Global Buildings
- Specializes in custom engineered steel buildings
- Prices range $15-$22 per sq ft
- Lifetime limited warranty on hot-dipped galvanized steel
- Reviews mention great project management, communication, and attention to detail
- Nationwide dealer for steel buildings
- Pricing averages $15-$18 per sq ft
- Offer a 30 year limited warranty
- Reviews note professional installation, quality materials, and good value
Heritage Building Systems
- Designs and installs metal buildings across the U.S.
- Prices start around $14 per sq ft
- Backed by a 40 year limited warranty
- Reviews highlight quality, customized options, timely construction
Points to Consider before Purchasing a Business Metal Building #
Consider the following factors when looking for your ideal building to help ensure a smooth purchase process.
- Requisites: What are your requirements? Consider your current needs as well as what you envision happening in the future.
- Size: Your building needs to house your employees, as well as any growth you expect to occur. Don't forget the equipment you house, products, and activities conducted within its walls. For example, if you need a large production area, figure that in as part of your size needs.
- Insulation: As with traditional buildings, insulation keeps the cold and heat outside as well as providing soundproofing against outside noises as well as those originating from within.
- Feasibility: Make sure that your business will work with this setup and that colleagues and clients adapt to the new environment.
Questions to Ask a Steel Building Dealer #
Here are some key questions to ask a commercial steel building dealer before purchasing:
What is the building made of?
- You'll want to know the gauge (thickness) of steel they use for the framing, roofing, and siding. The thicker the gauge, the more durable the building.
What is the warranty?
- Reputable dealers will offer a warranty of 20-30 years or more against defects in materials and workmanship. Make sure you understand exactly what is and isn't covered.
Who will do the installation?
- Ask if the dealer's own qualified construction crew will install the building or if they subcontract the work out. You want an experienced installation team.
Can you provide referrals from past clients?
- Ask for contact information for previous customers so you can ask them directly about their experience.
Do you handle permitting/foundation work?
- See if the dealer can handle permitting, sitework, and arranging for utilities to be connected. These things can add to your costs if not included.
What customization options are available?
- See what options you have for doors, windows, insulation, color, and other features so the building meets your needs.
Can I see a price quote with full breakdown?
- Get a detailed written quote so you know exactly what is included and can compare pricing.
Watch: Erecting 50' x 100' Metal Building #
Watch this video to see how a 50' x 100' metal building is installed in 3 days!