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Factors Affecting the Cost of Metal Buildings

By General Steel Metal Buildings

When it comes to the cost of metal buildings for RV and boat storage, one common misconception is that there is one standard price for each building size. When our customers ask us how much a steel building costs, it is common to ask us for a “price list” or “catalog of prices,” like you see in leading shed brand advertisements. 

We always recommend requesting an accurate quote since the cost of a steel building can change drastically from company to company due to estimating accuracy, purchasing power and current sales. The cost of metal buildings can even change day by day if an unexpected price increase hits the global steel industry due to a spike in demand, lack of supply or world affairs.

While we understand why a first-time buyer may come to expect a standard list of steel building costs, generating an accurate list of metal building costs for each building kit would require a daily estimate of every size in every zip code throughout the United States in addition to accounting for these factors:

Design

Adding doors, windows and other customizations along with engineering your building for the codes and loads associated with your area will affect pricing.

The Price of Steel

Steel prices can change daily, especially during a trade war or after an unexpected event.

Economies of Scale

The price per square foot for steel buildings typically drops at the 5,000 square feet threshold. The next price break tends to happen after the building is larger than 10,000 square feet, and so on.

Wind Speeds 

Higher wind speeds can result in a higher price. For example, a building designed for Miami-Dade County is more expensive because it requires engineering for 175 miles per hour wind than a building designed for the “The Windy City,” because a building being constructed in Chicago only requires a 90 miles per hour rating. 

Your building contractor will be able to discuss wind speeds in your specific area and estimate your price accordingly.

Steel Buildings in Cold Climates

As the winter months approach across the northern hemisphere, it’s time to get ready for heavy snow loads and high winds. Snowfall combined with frequent days of high winds and potential for dangerous blizzards make it important to know the ins and outs of constructing a steel building in cold climates.

Calculating Snow Loads

Steel buildings are perfectly suited for handling the heavy snowfall in the northern states, but it’s important to get an accurate snow load estimate to ensure your steel building won’t fail under the pressure.

Calculating a snow load can be complicated as several factors come into play, including the type of snow, the weight of snow and the shape of your roof, among other things.

Did you know: A building with a 1:12 roof pitch is considerably cheaper than higher roof pitches such as a 6:12, and the 1:12 pitched roof can be engineered to withstand the weight of your local snow loads?

Roof pitch is especially significant for snow. A steel building with a high-pitched roof will help clear snow and snow melt. It is important to select durable steel buildings that can shoulder the load. A builder familiar with snow and wind loads will be able to provide accurate estimates and pay attention to detail that will guarantee the safety of your steel building.

2022 in Review and a Look at 2023

The price of U.S. steel has continued to drop since May 2022, bottoming out in November 2022. Even with a late-year increase, prices for steel decreased around 12% in 2022. The sharp drop from May to July was due to a variety of factors, including China’s strict COVID-19 lockdowns, the war in Ukraine and Europe’s related energy crisis, and a decline in demand as inflation and rising interest rates increased the risk of a global recession.

The last two months of the year saw steel prices rebound slightly as China relaxed its COVID-19 restrictions, increasing confidence that the world’s leading steel consumer will continue to uptick in demand in 2023.

General Steel Buildings is headquartered in Littleton, Colo. For more information, visit the company’s website.

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