What Is a Pre-Engineered Steel Building?
As someone in search of an affordable, reliable residential or commercial building solution, you may be familiar with the term, “pre-engineered steel building,” but you may not be entirely clear on exactly what that means and entails. Whether referred to as “pre-engineered,” “prefabricated,” “premanufactured” or “preconstructed,” these buildings accommodate a broad range of structural needs, and they provide an economical alternative to more conventional building designs, such as block concrete, steel studs or structural functionality, while simplifying the design and erection processes.
In its simplest terms, a pre-engineered steel building is one that manufacturers design and fabricate in-house to meet certain specifications and building code and load requirements. While purchasing this type of building is an easy way to ensure compliance to local building codes, it also provides you with numerous options for customization, meaning you can modify multiple aspects of your building based on you or your business’s unique needs.
Among the primary benefits of pre-engineered metal buildings is that they are inherently easy for qualified installers to erect, which reduces your construction period and labor costs considerably. When you purchase this type of building kit, all steel building components arrive at your job site precut, welded and ready to bolt together, and they come in clearly labeled packages that simplify the erection process even further.
What is the Difference Between a Metal Building and a Pole Barn?
Simply put, a pole barn’s framing is made completely from wood with metal exterior panels, whereas a metal barn or metal building is made from steel framing and metal exterior panels. There are several factors to consider when deciding between the two options for your farm, ranch, or property.
POLE BARN VS METAL BARN
Often times individuals that opt for a pole barn do so to save on cost. Materials are typically cheaper to purchase for pole barn construction, which use low rib lighter gauge exterior meal panels, flat trims and poles that go into the ground. Compared to a metal building that has concrete piles or a foundation. However, you get what you pay for. A pole barn will show wear and tear and break down much quicker than a metal barn. Not to mention, wood also expands and contracts while metal does not.
In addition to a longer lifespan, higher quality heavy gauge metal panels, an open interior below the roof and better structural support, a metal barn gives you more customized options for personalization. A metal barn also provides more clearances on the inside and adds a feeling of openness.
A metal barn building has several roofing options. You can determine the height based on your specific needs. What is the purpose of the barn? Do you plan to store a large RV, boat, or tall building materials? You can accommodate for space with a second-floor mezzanine.
Pole barns don’t allow as much control over roofing design. The structural support only allows for a specific height with head room limited to the bottom of the wood rafter and typically a 4:12 roof pitch.
When choosing a metal barn, owners have the option to decide on the type of siding and support that best suits their needs. Depending on the geographic location, some steel buildings may need to account for weather, such as heavy snow, high winds, or large hail.
In order for Pole Barns to support unpredicted weather or harsh climates, you would have to increase the truss spacing which limits you to a certain width, pole buildings cannot span to adjust for wider widths. They can only withstand so much when it comes to environmental factors.
The construction process is also very different between metal barns and pole barns. A pole barn requires a lot of wood to build the supports, siding, roofing, and indoor features. And don’t forget about the screws, anchors, and other parts and pieces for assembly.
Metal barns are typically much easier to build. For example, Steel Structures Unlimited, LLC. offers pre-welded kits that are ready for quick and easy construction. These kits take out all of the hassles of determining the materials needed and lengthy build times.
Do I Have to Follow Local Building Codes When Buying My Metal Building?
Building Code Requirements for Metal Buildings
As someone considering purchasing a pre-engineered steel building kit, you may have questions about whether your building will need to conform to any particular building code requirements when you erect it. The short answer is, yes, you do need to make sure your building will adhere to any county or state building code and zoning regulations currently in place at your jobsite, but you do not need to let that scare you away from purchasing one. Building codes are designed and enforced by local officials to ensure the safety and security of its occupants.
At Steel Structures Unlimited, we have a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to conform to building code requirements, that you request, across North America, and we can help you ensure that your metal building, regardless of its intended use, adheres to any requested code requirements currently in place in your area.
Why Building Codes & Zoning Ordinances Matter
When you wish to erect a metal building on a specific site for a particular purpose, you need to first find out whether your desired site is zoned appropriately for your intended use. More specifically, you need to check with your local government agency to find out whether your build site is zoned for a certain type of use, such as commercial, residential, mixed-use or what have you, and whether the zoning at your build site is in line with your construction plans.
Once you determine that your build site is, in fact, zoned appropriately, you will need to find out what site-specific building codes are currently in place in your area so that you can make sure your prefabricated structure adheres to them. Building codes vary from city to city and region to region, but they typically set guidelines for builders that are respective to the surrounding landscape and climate. For example, buildings constructed in coastal locations prone to hurricane activity typically need high wind speed ratings, while buildings constructed in areas prone to heavy snowfall typically need structures with high snow loads. The elevation of your property or build site also determines the required code.
Why Adhering to Code Requirements Is Critical
While building codes, at their core, seek to prevent injuries and fatalities that inferior construction can cause, there are numerous other reasons your building needs to comply with them. For starters, if you ever wish to sell your building, you will likely have a very difficult time if it doesn’t comply with code requirements. Furthermore, anyone who wishes to purchase your pre-engineered steel building will likely have a hard time securing a loan to do so. You also run the risk of facing substantial fines and penalties for failing to adhere to local building codes, and you may also have to make expensive adjustments or additions to your building to make it suitable for your building use (e.g., collateral loads and energy codes).
In summary, yes, we strongly recommend that you make sure that your building adheres to local building codes before you raise it at your build site, as failing to do so can lead to considerable trouble and expense down the line.
What is the Average Cost for a Pre-engineered Steel Building?
Have you ever wondered “How much does a steel building cost per sq ft?” You may have heard that steel buildings offer affordable, economical construction solutions for today’s cost-conscious buyers, but you may be asking yourself what, exactly, that really means. While ultimately, how much you can expect to pay per square foot for a metal building can range broadly based on local building code requirements, the customization options you choose and other variables. Generally speaking, most pre-engineered metal buildings cost somewhere between $16 and $20 per square foot.
In terms of basic material costs, you can expect to start at around $10 per square foot, but the $16-to-$20 per-square-foot amount comes into play once you factor in customizations, address wind, snow or seismic needs or otherwise make modifications to meet building code requirements in place in your area.
Factors Contributing to Your Steel Building Price Per Sq Ft.
- Building Size or Square Footage
- Building Loads – Wind Speed, Snow Loads, Seismic Activity
- Building Complexity
- Roof Pitch and Design
- Customizable Accessories or Add Ons
- Gutters and Downspouts
- Insulation Packages
- Windows and Doors
- Exterior / Interior Finishes
- Construction Costs
If you’re looking to make your building as affordable as possible, we can aid you in your efforts to create an economical design. As you can imagine, less-complex designs tend to come with lower price tags, and you can also often lower your cost per square foot by relying on standard roof pitches, as opposed to varying or intricate ones. In summary, while the final price of your prefabricated steel building will vary based on several key factors, this should give you a general idea of what you can expect to pay so you can begin to devise a plan and budget accordingly.
How Building Codes Can Impact the Price of Your Building
We hear the question “What is the average cost of a steel building?” time and time again. While one might think this is easy to answer, they may not realize that there are several factors contributing to the cost of a steel building; local codes being a main driving force in the final price. Local building departments enforce code requirements for buildings such as wind speed, snow loads, and seismic activity. These codes can impact the structural components of the building, in turn effecting the overall price. Collateral loads (what you hang from your ceiling, such as sprinkler systems) and local energy codes (for insulation) can also affect the cost.
EXAMPLE: 50X100X16 2:12 PITCH BUILDING WITH (1) 14×16 AND (1)3070 FRAMED OPENING
Below is an example of the same building, in 4 different geographical areas, with different local codes.
|Code||Snow Load||Wind Speed||Price|
|Denver, CO||IBC 15||30 psf||115 mph||$33,701|
|Miami, FL||IBC 15||0 psf||175 mph||$36,813|
|Pheonix, AZ||IBC 15||0 psf||115 mph||$30,718|
|Myrtle Beach, SC||IBC 15||7 psf||148 mph||$33,025|
*Average pricing is based on current price of steel, which is subject to change at any time.
What Roof Pitch is Best for My Pre-engineered Steel Buildings?
When designing a pre-engineered metal building, one of the main decisions you will have to make involves what type of roof pitch you’d like your structure to have. The roof pitch, or the slope of your building’s roof, determines how many inches your roof rises for every 12 inches of horizontal space, and there are advantages and disadvantages to high and low roof pitches.
Generally speaking, lower roof pitches are more cost-effective, so unless you want a certain exterior aesthetic or if you want a higher clearance in the interior of your building, you may find it beneficial to opt for a building with a lower roof pitch. Most of the time, our customer’s do exactly this, relying on standard roof pitches ranging between 1:12 and 5:12. Any roof pitch higher than a 5:12 requires custom engineering which could hike up the cost of your building. In addition to this, when you have a higher pitch, you will need to order a colored roof because the roof is seen. This will add to your building cost as well.
It used to be thought if you live a snowy area, you will need a higher roof pitch. This mentality is a thing of the past. It really doesn’t matter if you have a 1:12 roof pitch or a 6:12 pitch, as long as the building is engineered to code. Local snow codes are set for this exact reason. In fact mini storage buildings are designed with a standard lower pitch of .5:12 because owners want to avoid the snow falling in front of the individual unit doors.
Steel Structures Unlimited, LLC has the experience and knowledge to help you determine the right pitch for your building. Whether you need a gable roof or a single slope roof, we can help you!
Get a Price Quote.
Can I Erect My Metal Building Myself?
Steel Structures Unlimited, LLC offers several types of metal building kits that can be the perfect solution for the DIY contractor. Our pre-engineered steel buildings come pre-punched, pre-cut, pre-welded, and labeled for easy-to-understand erection.
Literally thousands of our customers have erected their own buildings, though we realize it is not for everyone. A pre-engineered metal building kit eliminates the hassle of cutting, measuring, and determining which pieces go together. Even though ready-made kits with parts numbered for easy identification allow for the builder to erect the building themselves, it still can be a physically challenging process.
Building owners will need additional equipment to help lift heavy parts (especially on larger buildings) so the project requires a bit of upfront planning and preparation. Make a trip to your local hardware store or equipment rental facility to secure the tools needed to get started.
Before erecting your building, it’s important not to forget about OSHA. Builders must follow OSHA regulations for metal buildings to ensure safety. A simple search through OSHA’s online resources will help guide you through the process.
Once you’ve secured all of the necessary tools and equipment, ensure all of the parts and pieces are present before you begin. This can typically be done by reviewing the materials packet that is provided with the pre-engineered building kit. Steel Structures Unlimited buildings always include a simple to follow step-by-step manual that starts with a materials checklist.
Once you’re all set up for construction, study the building plans and erection guide thoroughly! Unlike simple furniture assembly, making a mistake during the construction process of your building can be time-consuming to remedy.
You might be thinking, “Am I qualified to erect my metal building?” Although each kit comes with everything you need to make assembly quick and easy, it’s recommended that the builder has some prior construction experience, or that you include or employ an individual that is experienced with the trade and all the safety practices that go along with it. If you have questions before starting the process, most instruction guides contain a helpline along with email contact information to reach a professional.
At Steel Structures Unlimited, we strive to make the building process as painless as possible for all of our customers. Our team of building specialists is here to help you every step of the way.
Considering purchasing a pre-engineered metal building for commercial or industrial use in your area? Get a Steel Building Price Quote Today.
What’s Included With A Prefab Metal Building?
At Steel Structures Unlimited, we field a lot of similar questions from our customers, many of whom are wondering what, exactly, their prefabricated metal building purchase includes. While there are near-endless opportunities for customization when it comes to your steel building, there are many essential features that come standard with every Steel Structures Unlimited building sold, fabricated and delivered.
So, just what is it you get when you order a pre-manufactured metal building from our team?
First and foremost, your building purchase includes a structure comprised exclusively from 50 to 55 KSI high-strength plate steel. All of our buildings feature solid I-beam built-up main frame construction and submerged arc-welded frames, while A-325 high-strength bolts hold together your building’s primary framing.
Your pre-engineered metal building also includes factory-primed girts, purlins and frames, pre-punched framing members and mastic sealant on its roof, which helps prevent leaks, while G90 galvanized gable sheeting angles serve as additional standard features. Every Steel Structures Unlimited fabricated building package includes:
- Engineered Certified Plans & Drawings
- Primary & Secondary Framing
- Roof & Wall Sheeting with Siphon Groove
- Complete Trim & Closure Package
- Long Life Fasteners
- Mastic Sealant
- Ridge Cap
- Pre-Marked Parts
- In House Manufacturing From One Of Our 3 Local US Factories
- Delivery to Site
Exclusive Seal Tight Features
Exclusive Seal Tight Features bring unmatched quality to our buildings. When installed properly, our exclusive special building features help create a complete building system.
Steel Structures Unlimited’s Standard Features
- Base Trim Standard on All Buildings
- Full Wrap Trim on Doors, Windows, Gables, Eaves, and Corners
- Siphon Groove Sheeting with Hi-Rib Panels to Disperse Water to Prevent Soggy Insulation & Rusty Fasteners
- Double-Sided Flange Bracing on Frames with extra bolts
- Extra Rugged Main Frame Haunch for High Winds and Seismic Loads
- Base Sheeting Notch
- Colored Base Trim
- Extended Die-Formed Corrugated Ridge Cap up to 4:12 Roof Pitch
- Girt & Purlin Overlap with Bypass Application
- G90 Galvanized Purlin Bridging & Girt Sag Angle
- Engineered and Manufactured to Meet or Exceed Local Building Codes Supplied by the Customer or Dealer
- In House Manufacturing From One Of Our 3 Local US Factories
- Delivery to Site
*Due to ongoing product improvements and material specifications, Sunward reserves the right to change specifications without notice.
- Insulation Packages
- Insulated Metal Panels
- Thermal Blocks
- Solar Panels
- Gutters & Downspouts
- Exterior Finishes
Galvalume Plus Also Available
* Note – Actual colors may vary based on screen and monitor resolution / settings. Color charts and / or metal color chips are available and should be reviewed before choosing final building colors.
In addition to the highest-quality fundamentals, which maximize strength and durability, your building purchase also includes engineer-certified permit and erection drawings as well as engineer-certified anchor bolt plans and a letter of certification.
Erection & Delivery Inclusions, Accommodations
In addition to supplying the components you need for your steel building, itself, we strive to make the delivery and erection process as seamless and possible. How? First, we pre-mark our building components to streamline and simplify the erection process.
While these are the key features that come standard with every Steel Structures Unlimited prefabricated building purchase, there are numerous other elements you can incorporate to meet your unique needs. Get your quote today!
How Can I Customize My Steel Building?
At Steel Structures Unlimited, we field a wide range of questions from our clients, and one we commonly hear involves exactly how potential buyers can customize their pre-engineered steel buildings to meet their unique needs. The short answer is, there are near-endless methods you can utilize you customize your metal building and adapt it to your needs, and if you can dream it, chances are, the Steel Structures Unlimited team can help you make it a reality.
More specifically, some of the methods you can use to adapt your prefabricated steel building to fit your needs, and those of your geographic location, include adding:
Unless you’re lucky enough to live in an area where temperatures are comfortable and consistent year-round, you may want to consider adding insulation to your metal building. In addition to making it appropriate for year-round use, insulation can substantially reduce your energy bills, and it can also help muffle sound and otherwise keep building users comfortable, regardless of weather and climate patterns. Insulation is available in a broad range of R-values, and you can also utilize solar panels and other elements to maximize energy efficiency at your property.
If you are looking to create a steel building for use in the automotive or aviation industry, or if you need an easily accessible space where you can store large equipment and other goods, adding garage doors to your pre-engineered steel building can help you accomplish these and other objectives.
Interior & Exterior Facades & Wainscoting
Adding interior or exterior facades or wainscoting is a great way to enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of your building, and this may prove particularly beneficial if you are operating a commercial enterprise within it. From brick, stone and stucco veneers to custom architectural panels, you can utilize any number of interior and exterior facades to set your building apart from the pack and enhance its curb appeal. Adding wainscoting to your metal building can also give it an extra degree of sophistication and decorative flair.
Windows & Skylights
You can also utilize windows and skylights when designing your prefabricated steel building to allow natural sunlight and warmth inside. From basic square or rectangular windows to more elaborate, eye-catching shapes and designs, windows can give your metal building an airy, distinctive look and feel. Adding skylights, meanwhile, can reduce glare and energy consumption, resulting in lower energy bills.
Adding LED lights to your building is a cost-effective way to illuminate your space, and particularly if your metal building has high, hard-to-access ceilings where you wish to install overhead lighting. While LED lights do not require frequent changing, LED bulbs are also more energy efficient than standard models, which can reduce energy bills substantially over time.
In addition to the aforementioned elements, your opportunities for customizing your pre-engineered steel building are almost limitless. From custom sizes and designs ideal for a multitude of different uses to roof/wall colors and trim options, you can rely on any number of customization options to make sure your metal building meets your unique needs.
Whether you’re looking to improve aesthetics, boost functionality, improve energy efficiency or otherwise accommodate a specific need, the team at Steel Structures Unlimited can help you design a metal building in line with both vision and budget.
Is Steel The Best Option For Mini Storage Buildings?
If you’re in the Self-Storage business you know how important a quality, well-functioning mini storage building is. The safety and security of your client’s belongings depends on a sound structure to house them in. Maintaining your property and facility is key to drawing in new customers and keeping existing clients happy. If the doors stick on the storage unit or are in disrepair it makes the customer feel like their stuff is not being properly cared for. Having heavy duty, easy operating roll up doors and secure lock options provides them with a sense of security.
Steel building designs are extremely flexible and offer endless customization options. Our prefabricated mini storage units are manufactured into building kits, specially crafted for easy erection. The building components are labeled in order to identify each part quickly in the field. Your mini storage building can be fabricated to the exact dimensions needed for your land space and they are available in numerous color combinations.
Since the mini storage structures are made from durable, high-quality steel components, they also stand up to harsh weather, such as snow, hail, high winds, and more. Pre-fabricated mini storage buildings require little maintenance and offer 40-year limited paint warranties.
Interested in a steel mini storage building? Get a Self-Storage Building Quote Now.
What’s the Difference Between Gable vs. Single Slope vs. Monitor Style Roofs for Steel Buildings?
When designing a pre-engineered steel building from the ground up, you’ll need to make certain decisions about the type of roof you’d like, with three common options being either gabled, single-sloped or monitor style. Just how do the three types differ, and how might you determine which type might best meet your needs?
Gable roofs are best familiarized on most standard houses, meaning they take the shape of an upside-down “V” and have rafters angled alongside a central ridge. Gable roofs can come in any number of different roof pitches, and they can be proportionate in design, meaning both slopes are the same size, or they can feature offset peaks, meaning they are unsymmetrical by design. Gable roofs are often desirable among buyers who have a certain aesthetic in mind and prefer the triangular look.
Single Slope Roofs
Single-slope roofs, as the name implies, slope in only one direction, and they can serve a variety of purposes and come in an array of different roof pitches based on need. This type of roof design relies on strong framing underneath to support it, and many of our buyers opt for this roof style when they are looking to add “lean-to” structures onto existing gable-roof buildings. Single-slope building attachments are available in both open and enclosed styles, and you can affix the lean-to either at the same height of the existing gable building, or at a lower one based on your preference.
Monitor Style Roofs
The monitor-style roof has a raised center aisle, and the long sides of the monitor often boast clerestory windows or louvers that allow light or ventilation to penetrate the areas under the roof.
Ultimately, the roof type that will better suit your needs will depend on certain factors and desired aesthetics. If you aren’t sure which type of roof best accommodates you, given your building’s intended usage, we can work with you to help you make the right decision.