steel buildings

Benefits and Cost of Steel Buildings

Steel is widely used in construction, with this industry accounting for more than 50% of steel demand worldwide. In this light, it makes sense for business proprietors and homeowners to wonder, ”Should I choose a steel building?”

Steel offers many benefits for those wanting to erect a garage, warehouse, barn, or workshop on their properties. So, the next question is, “How much do steel buildings cost?”


Keep reading to discover answers to your questions about buying or building a steel building.

What Are Steel Buildings Used For?

Versatility is one of the best benefits of steel construction. Steel buildings suit a wide range of applications, and they’re available in sizes ranging from 30′ by 40′ to 80′ by 150′ and more.

You can use a steel building for any of the following purposes:

  • Churches
  • Industry
  • Commercial pursuits
  • Garages
  • Airplane Hangars
  • Equestrian stables and arenas
  • Schools
  • Sports facilities
  • Warehouses
  • Workshops
  • Carports

There are some very good reasons, why steel and metal buildings are so widely used, but first let’s take a look at the cost of steel buildings.

Is it Cheaper to Build a Steel Building?

According to figures published by the NAHB, steel prices are relatively stable after skyrocketing during the pandemic. Despite increases of 19% across the board for other construction materials, steel prices are inching down in 2022.

Currently, steel costs between $10 and $25 per square foot depending on the quality of the metal. Yet there are many other factors apart from the size that can impact the cost of building a steel structure.

These include:

Your Location

Permitting costs are one of the first expenses involved in building a steel building. These can vary widely from neighborhood to neighborhood.

The availability of steel in your area as well as transportation costs to your work site also depend on where you live.

Most steel buildings require large trucks for transportation. If your property doesn’t allow access to these vehicles, you may incur extra costs.

Different manufacturers’ prices vary according to the cost to produce steel buildings in your area. Labor costs can vary from area to area, too.

The weather in your location also has a major impact on the grade of steel you’ll need for your building. It will also impact the recommended R-levels for insulating it.

The Foundation

Steel structures rest on footings, which means you don’t need a traditional foundation when you build one. Most buildings need a floor surface, though, so you will need to account for the cost of this when building your structure.

The average price of a concrete slab is between $4 and $7 per foot.

You’ll also need to pay to have your building site leveled to accommodate your foundation or concrete slab.


If you want to add insulation to your building, you’ll need to factor in 50 cents to $3 per square foot. Drywall, sanding, and painting, will cost at least another $2 per square foot, too.

Additional Features

The number of windows and doors will add to the cost of your building. These elements are highly customizable and vary widely in cost.

Some steel structure prices include a specified number of doors and windows, but you’ll need to pay extra if you want to add more.

If required, wiring and plumbing will also add to the final cost of your building.

When you take all of the above into account, a steel building can cost between $15,000 and $350,000 depending on the size you need.

Steel Buildings vs. Other Materials

Is steel construction cheaper than other types of materials? In most cases, it is, and here’s why:

Steel Buildings vs Concrete Buildings Costs

Pound for pound, concrete is cheaper than steel. Yet, a lot more goes into construction costs than simple price-per-foot calculations.

Steel’s superior strength means you need a lot less of it to construct a safe, sturdy building. Plus, you can also opt for recycled steel to bring the cost of your building down.

Concrete buildings require deep foundations and a skilled workforce. Prefab steel buildings are much easier and quicker to install, resulting in lower labor costs.

Most prefab steel buildings include roofing. When you build a concrete structure, you’ll pay extra to install the roof.

The additional labor, materials, and time involved in concrete construction inevitably result in higher overall costs.


Steel Buildings vs Wood Buildings Costs

The difference in costs between erecting a wood vs a steel building are the same as those for concrete, i.e. labor, foundations, time, and roofing.

There are two more areas where steel will save you money when compared to wood. Since steel is strong, fire-resistant, and impervious to insect attacks, you’ll pay much lower insurance rates to cover your building and its contents.

Are Steel Buildings Worth It?

We’ve already covered some of the time and cost-saving benefits of steel, but there’s more to this construction material. The benefits of steel include:


When you decide to buy a prefabricated steel building, you can choose from a variety of colors to suit your home or business. You can easily expand your building as your needs increase, and add as many windows and doors as you please.

Steel buildings are aesthetically pleasing to the eye, with a high degree of conformity. Each panel of steel is identical to create a neat, uniform finish which isn’t always the case with other types of buildings.

It’s easy to customize your steel building according to the space available since you can combine buildings or attach your steel structure to an existing one if you desire.

Since steel sheets take up less space than other construction methods, you get more floor space for your buck when you build with steel.

Clear-span buildings accommodate more space and allow for greater maneuverability for forklifts or other large equipment inside the building.

Strength and Durability

Natural disasters are a major threat to buildings across the world. Steel structures can withstand high winds, large hail stones, severe rainstorms, and snow.

Treated steel won’t rust despite heavy rainfall, and it will never rot or crumble due to weather exposure.

Steel is extremely fire-resistant, with a much higher melting point than other metals. It won’t ignite as concrete or wood does, either.

Steel is dense and able to withstand much more tension than wood or concrete.

Low Maintenance

Thanks to its durability, you needn’t worry about maintaining your steel building apart from cleaning it occasionally. You don’t need to repaint it, treat it against insects, or worry about it breaking or cracking on impact.

A good quality steel building maintains its good looks and stays structurally sound for decades. Due to steel’s long lifespan, manufacturers provide excellent warranties of up to 20 years on their products.

Steel is Environmentally-Friendly

Steel is widely considered one of the most eco-friendly building materials for good reason. For starters, manufacturers build prefab steel buildings off-site. So, there’s almost no waste created during construction.

Other environmental benefits of steel include:

Steel is Recyclable

Steel is also one of the most recyclable and recycled materials on earth.

It is 100% recyclable, which means recyclers reuse every part of it. There’s no wastage involved.

You can also buy second-hand steel buildings and give them a new lease on life by dismantling them and moving them to a different location, or using them where they stand.

No Toxins

You don’t need to maintain a steel building with chemical treatments or paint. In this way, it doesn’t introduce any pollutants into the environment. 

Steel Helps Reduce Carbon Emissions

Steel roofs are one of the best materials for installing solar panels, making it easy to implement sustainable energy in your building.

Steel is also easy to insulate, making it a good choice for those who want to reduce carbon emissions relating to heating and cooling their building.

Recycling steel produces fewer carbon emissions than forging new steel, too. A shorter construction time means fewer carbon emissions during the construction process.

Due to steel’s environmental benefits, you may benefit from attractive tax incentives when you choose a steel structure.

It’s Safer to Build With Steel

There are fewer people involved in erecting a steel building than with other types of construction. The building process is well-defined and controlled, with set lifting points in the assembly.

These aspects greatly reduce the chance of accidents on site, making steel construction one of the safest methods there is.

Metal Building Prices

From the above, it’s easy to see why steel is a favored construction material across the globe. It’s strong, durable, easy to maintain, eco-friendly, and cost-effective.

The cost of steel buildings depends on various factors, so it’s important to specify exactly what you need when requesting quotes for your construction.

Customizations, extras, and inclusions may vary depending on the steel building manufacturer, so it’s important to compare quotes carefully before you decide.

You can get started by comparing the costs of various steel buildings right here.


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