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Home -- Blogs -- How Much Does a Metal Building Cost?

How Much Does a Metal Building Cost?


Executive Manager: Plays a crucial role in strategic decisions and business growth.

Updated: May 24, 2024
Published: March 22, 2024
Metal buildings provide durable and customizable solutions ideal for warehouses, workshops, garages, and more. When planning a metal building project, one of the foremost questions centers on the bottom line - how much will it cost? Gaining an understanding of average pricing and the many factors impacting budgets assists in setting realistic expectations when requesting contractor quotes. Let's explore estimated metal building costs per square foot along with considerations around size, design and options elevating quoted rates for complete perspective.
Metal Building Cost

Average Metal Building Costs for 2024

Building TypeSize (sq ft)Eave HeightDesign TypeCost per Square FootTotal Estimated Cost
Basic Peaked Roof2,40024'Standard$16 - $20$38,400 - $48,000
Simple Boxed Eave2,40024'Standard$12 - $16$28,800 - $38,400
Large Workshop/Warehouse3,000 - 8,000VariedStandard$14 - $18$42,000 - $144,000
Customized Design2,400> 24'Customized, Higher LoadsVariableConsult for estimate
Basic Peaked Roof (Large)> 8,000VariedStandard< $14Consult for estimate

Basic peaked roof steel structure pricing averages $16-$20 per square foot of enclosed space for materials and installation labor. Simple boxed eave designs may run even less, in the $12-$16 per square foot range. So, for example, erecting a 40' x 60' (2,400 square foot) steel structure with a standard 24' eave height could cost an estimated $38,400-$48,000 without extras. That pricing remains relatively consistent across much of the U.S., although regional labor rates contribute some variability.

Quoted pricing also reduces on a per-foot basis for larger building sizes, given better economies of scale. Expect pricing around $14-$18 per square foot for adequately sized workshop or warehouse buildings of 3,000-8,000 square foot plans. More intricate design aspects, taller ceilings, customized engineering requirements, heavy accessory loads, and finishes put upward pressure on project quotes, however.

Primary Factors Impacting Metal Building Costs

Constructing a metal building seems straightforward at first glance after reviewing baseline square foot pricing averages. However, many key variables beyond raw size metrics greatly influence quoted outlays from reputable steel edifice suppliers and erectors. Gaining perspective on these cost drivers aids smarter budgeting conversations when requesting initial bids and comparing options:

Design Customization Factors

Moving beyond basic rectangular layouts adds notable expenses stemming from supplementary engineering to ensure structural soundness, along with purchasing specialized steel componentry and fittings to enable uniqueness. For example, requesting angled exterior walls, dramatic tapered roof heights, interior mezzanine spaces, or integrated tower elements can add 20-30% pricing premiums quickly. Optimizing dimensional standardization wherever feasible promotes affordability.

Eave Height Influences

Metal buildings exceeding 24-foot eave heights require heavier primary framing supports, including outsized rafters, built-up galvanized wall girts and purlins, plus sturdier exterior columns and bracing to maintain structural integrity. These oversized steel members, supplementary foundations and equipment/labor to install them noticeably grow project cost per square foot, sometimes exponentially. Even small manufacturing plants only needing 30 foot ceilings start seeing 50% budget increases purely related to added steel and erection expenses.

Eave Height Influences

Snow and Wind Load Demands

In regions prone to heavy snow, ice buildup, or extreme wind events, including hurricanes, metal buildings require significantly stronger vertical posts and frames, as well as enhanced shear bracing, and wall and roof connections that are resistant to higher shear, bending, and uplift stresses. Beefing these structural elements throws off basic formulary pricing qualified suppliers start bids with for locations having nominal environmental load parameters. Unique wind-rated doors and windows are also necessary.

Foundation Specification Influences

Where poor soils, high water tables, mapped geo-hazards, or similar conditions require going beyond basic poured concrete slab foundations, this injects greater variability into installation pricing. Needs like preload earthwork, engineered compacted gravel footings, helical pier supports, and such create new subcontracting, equipment, and labor costs that standard builds estimates don't capture initially before geotechnical investigations occur after contracts.

Transport Fees Variability

For smaller building parts like frames and panels, contractors utilize their own trucks and trailers to optimize deliveries cost-effectively from manufacturing plants on batched orders. However, shipping extremely oversized main primary support beams and interior columns spanning 40-70 feet via external transport trucks or freight rail grows exponentially based on route obstacles limiting sizes. Additional specialized trailers, police escorts, and infrastructure adaptations like temporary roads influence these logistics costs.

Crane and Equipment Rental Demands

Significant on-site erection equipment like 200 ton cranes become necessary when constructing larger custom metal buildings with 80-100 foot clears. These machines prove very costly to rent and move from across regions potentially. Same goes for man lifts, boom trucks and heavy forklifts essential for builds. Complex sites also sometimes mandate expensive temporary access roads and staging/material storage space if adequate space doesn't readily exist there.

Doors and Windows Volume Impacts

The more fenestrations specified including roll up bay doors, walk doors, vented windows etc., the greater impact to exterior cladding labor and materials cost to install them all structurally versus mostly blank facades. Although individual doors and windows seem reasonably priced alone around $1,000 each on average, collectively they influence overall job pricing noticeably when totalling 10-20 openings.

Carefully assessing these impact variables against preliminary cost estimates proves essential when planning major metal structure investments. Comparing bids offers insights into where suppliers see different specification challenges and cost drivers applied to a building project.

Doors And Windows Volume Impacts

Primary Metal Building Cost Components

Now that we've examined myriad factors influencing metal building quotes, reviewing cost breakdowns by the core project components provides an essential perspective when evaluating contractors' scopes of work:

  • Design - Engineering and drafting for code compliance span structural assessments, foundation load specs, wind/seismic bracing, plus door integration, among other deliverables. Expect around $1,500 minimum for basic frameworks running upwards based on location risks and customization.
  • Foundations - Prepare for roughly $3,000 in concrete material and forming labor costs for original pad footings on pilot standard 24' x 40' builds, expanding higher per square foot on larger plans or those requiring helical pier underpinnings and more based on poor soils.
  • Structural Steel - The main galvanized frames, rafters, girts and purlins run approximately $9-$12 per square foot on average depending on height and weight bearing demand levels per chosen specifications. Include supplementary parts like fasteners, braces and connectors.
  • Building Envelope System - Insulated metal wall sandwich panels for durability and insulation plus associated trim parts commonly total $2.50-$3 per square foot based on required R-value, sheeting gauge, color, and finish.
  • Doors & Glazing - Expect around $3,500 for a basic commercial steel man door and a standard 9 x 12 vehicle door, including transaction costs plus installation labor during framework erection, scaling higher for quantity.

Keep these square foot and opening benchmark estimates handy when comparing bid breakdown completeness.

Additional Metal Building Cost Considerations

While outright construction costs dominate budgets, customers wanting fully outfitted building interiors enabling their envisioned uses require further investments in MEP systems and finishes:

  • Electrical System - Complete interior lighting plans meeting task needs, significant new power wiring/conduit distribution, panel and disconnect sizing all sum rapidly into thousands in additional expenditures. Budget $5 electrical per square foot.
  • Insulation Packages - Improving wall and ceiling insulation ratings from R10 to R30 adds thicknesses for comfort and energy savings. But material/labor costs jump from, say, $3 to beyond $8 per square foot.
  • HVAC Solutions - Multi-zone advanced HVAC equipment, rigid ducting plus labor to integrate dispels temperature extremes in occupied zones but contributes $6-$10 per foot typically.
  • Specialized Finishes - Drywall lining, flooring finishes, custom wainscoting, bathroom fixtures, painting, and trim enable interior environments but can easily double basic shell costs if not carefully controlled.

Keep long-term needs in mind when weighing these and additional potential upgrades against extra investments required.

Additional Price Impacts Outside Materials and Construction

While the physical attributes of a metal building project itself primarily dictate pricing, a few additional external factors also influence costs quoted by reputable builders and erectors:

  • Regional Location - Prevailing labor, material availability, and permitting timeline differences naturally shift costs.
  • Property Preparation - Clearing, grading, access road installation, and preliminary utility routing increase site development costs prior to vertical building.
  • Tight Timelines - Compressing design review, permitting, material orders and erection to hit demanding deadlines risks premium quotes.
  • Small Projects - Anything under 5,000 square feet loses economies of scale pricing advantages over larger projects' leverage.

Again, factoring these circumstances in when anticipating bids proves prudent in setting expectations.

While Myriad Considerations Impact Final Outlays


While myriad considerations impact final outlays, newly constructed metal buildings suitable for workshops, vehicle storage, and even manufacturing plants typically run $14-$22 per square foot. Rates fluctuate based on size, design intricacy, customization extent, freight impact, and construction timeline flexibility, among numerous other aspects. Check regional pricing ranges when establishing initial budget estimates. Keep in mind that simpler buildings, which allow some supplier standardization, provide ideal cost control. Determine must-have capabilities beforehand when requesting quotes while leaving nice-to-have bells and whistles flexible if required. Use the guidance above as context for pricing variations when negotiating the optimal balance of quality, capabilities, and affordability your particular metal building requires.

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Contact Us

Make On-Demand Space Solutions Easier, Faster

SHELTER has a great team of skilled architects ready to support your project or Event at any time.

When you’re ready to start your next business, get in touch with us now, and our architects will get back to you with a quote as soon as possible.

Business Email

      [email protected]

Phone Number

      USA: +1 713-386-9281

        CN: +86 13928858552

No.1 Huanghe Section,Songshan Road, Chao Tian Industrial Zone,Shilou Town Panyu District,Guangzhou