How to build a 40' x 60' metal building

Last updated: 5 June 2024
40x60 shop

With a prefab building kit, you can erect your pre-engineered, commercial-grade metal structure in as little as 4 to 6 days. All the necessary components are included, and you can DIY build or hire a local steel erector for assembly.

This article will briefly overview the planning, design, and construction process and provide links to related resources.

For details on available kit packages, costs, and prices, see our main 40x60 metal building page.

Step 1: Planning

How to plan a prefab building project

Constructing a steel building is a big undertaking that requires careful planning and execution to be successful. Awareness of the different steps involved in the process ensures your project runs smoothly and successfully. Here are some things you need to know to make your project successful:

Determine Requirements

To begin, it is essential to understand the desired form and purpose of the building. This may vary depending on whether it is being used as a residence, business, or agricultural building. Make sure to account for all items to be housed in the structure and ensure it will fit in the available 2,400 square feet.

Decide on a Budget

Erecting a new structure can be costly, but the final costs can be reduced with careful planning. You will need to factor in the cost of the building kit package, additional accessories (doors, windows, etc.), the foundation, permit fees, construction, insulation (if required), and interior finishing. Taking the time to budget for all of these components upfront will help ensure that any unexpected costs do not blindside you.

Typical installed (turnkey) costs:

  • Basic structure with no interior finishing - $20-$50 per sq ft.
  • Homes with a full interior build-out - $100+ per sq ft.

Choose a Height

The height of your building will largely depend on its intended purpose. Regarding steel buildings, it's important to note that the height is measured from the eave. Additionally, any doors should be placed at least two feet below the eave.

Some typical building heights include:

End Use Height Range
Garage / Shop 10'-18'
Barns 12’-22’
One story home 10’-14’
Tw0 story home 18’-26’

NOTE: Standard buildings are limited to 30 feet in height. Special engineering will be required if you need to go higher than this.

 

The most popular 40x60 steel building dimensions are our 40x60x12, 40x60x14, and 40x60x16 metal building kit packages.

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Specify the Number of Framed Openings

All door and window openings require an engineered frame. You must decide how many framed openings are required and what size each should be.

Standard kits usually include one framed opening for a walk door and one for an overhead door. Be aware that each additional framed opening will add to the overall cost because of the required steel.

A popular alternative to the 40x60 is our 60x40 metal building kit. This is generally specified when large openings are required on the front of the structure for aircraft hangars and large agricultural sheds.

Metal building framed openings for doors

Metal building framed openings for doors

Be aware that a 60x40 building is more expensive than a 40x60 building because it has a higher roof peak and, therefore, requires more steel to produce.

Building Site Surveying

Before erecting a new structure, you’ll need to ensure that the proposed site is suitable and can, in fact, be built on. This includes ensuring that there are no setbacks that would prevent construction, that utilities can be easily accessed and routed to the job site, and that the ground can support the weight of the building.

You also need to check for any easements on the property that could restrict where and what you build. Finally, you should create a map of the area, including any access routes. A local structural engineer can assist you with this preliminary project stage.

Apply for Permits (if required)

In most cases, a building permit WILL be required. Exceptions include rural and farm properties; verify this when speaking to your local building department. Once you have chosen a site for your structure, start the permit process by contacting the building department.

Be prepared to provide plans, property title documents, and other details about the build. Having as many details as possible about your project will help make the process go more smoothly.

pre-construction planning for a building construction project

 

Our suppliers engineer your building to meet codes for wind, snow, and seismic conditions in your area. Ensuring your building is safe and up to code.

 

For more details, read our guide to planning a construction project and this very good thread on GarageJournal about planning a 40x60x16 building.

Arrange Financing (if required)

You have a few options available when it comes to financing a steel building. You can either pay for the kit outright, finance it through a lending institution, or lease it. If you decide to finance, you must find a suitable lender and provide all your building details before applying for the loan.

Leasing is another option that may be available to you. It can be a great way to get your kit without paying for it all upfront. Some suppliers also provide financing options, so be sure to ask when you speak to them.

See our article on financing steel buildings for additional information.

Step 2: Design

How to design a 40 x 60 steel building

When designing your new structure, you don't need to hire an architect (unless you want to). Our experienced suppliers will advise you on design options to ensure you get the right building in functionality and style. Here are the main design aspects you will need to consider:

Choose a Roof Style and Pitch

Your intended end use will dictate the roof style and pitch of your 40x60 building. For example, homes can have gable, single-slope, monitor, or gambrel roofs, while garages and workshops typically have gable or single-slope roofs. Barns will usually have gable, monitor, or gambrel roofs.

Roof pitch

Roof pitch

 

40x60 metal warehouse building 30x50 four car garage
1:12 Gable 1.5:12 Single Slope

 

40x60 metal barn with gambrel roof 40x60 monitor style metal home
Gambrel 40x60 Barn Monitor

 

Roof Style Available Pitches
Gable 1:12 to 4:12 *
Single slope (shed roof) 1:12 or 2:12
Gambrel (Dutch barn) Upper roof 2:12-3:12
Lower roof 5:12-6:12
Monitor - (American barn) Upper roof: 4:12 - 6:12
Lower roof: 3:12 - 5:12

* steeper pitches are available but require special engineering

Decide on a Floor Plan

If you plan on using your 40 x 60 steel building as a home, shop house, horse barn, or dog boarding kennel, you'll need to choose a floor plan that best fits your needs and makes the most of the available space. Research various layouts by following these simple steps:

Step-1: Research available 40x60 floor plans online and shortlist the most suitable ones. You can also check out our 40 x 60 metal building floor plans on our  floor plans page to get an idea of what's possible. There are also many good (free) online floor plan tools.

Step 2: Make a complete list of what will be stored in the structure. Consider both your current and future requirements.

Step 3: Once you know what will work for your particular setup, plan your layout on graph paper (using a scale of 1 square = 1 foot). Place scaled cutouts of your inventory, livestock, equipment, or rooms on the floor plan to see how everything will fit.

Floor plan for 40x60 shop with loft office and parts storage

Pick Custom Options

The base building kit package usually meets most customers' needs, but various customization options are available to make the building suit your specific needs. Common customizations include:

Color options: With over 20 colors for siding, roofing, and wainscoting, you can mix and match to get the desired look.

Door options: Choose from sectional and roll-up overhead doors and sliding or bi-fold doors, and pick sizes, styles, and colors that work for your intended use.

Siding options: All kits include pre-painted, 26-gauge PBR metal roofing and siding panels. For an alternative appearance, you can replace the metal siding with vinyl, stucco, Hardie board, or faux brick panels.

Structural options: Add exterior features, including door canopies, roof overhangs, a structural mezzanine, or a lean-to.

For more, see our design center for further details on all customization and design options.

Step 3: Ordering and contracting

How to get the right building kit at the best price

Now that you know the style, height, and design you want, you are ready to find a reputable company that can supply the 40x60 building kit.

We can help with this stage of the project. Tell us a little about your project, and we'll match you with FOUR suppliers who will provide you with competing quotes. Start the quote process here.

Once you've found a supplier you're happy with, a deposit (typically 20-30%) will be required before they can begin manufacturing your custom building. After placing your order, you will receive a set of engineered drawings and foundation plans stamped by an engineer registered in your state. Most suppliers offer a full set of engineering plans, but some charge extra for foundation plans, so be sure to confirm this with the supplier.

The last step is to request estimates from a local erection crew with experience in constructing steel-framed buildings (or a general contractor) to erect the building. You're ready to build your new structure with all the necessary plans and estimates.

At this point, you will also be able to:

  • Approach your local building department begin the permit process, and
  • talk to lenders (if financing is required).
CAD drawing for 40 x 60 building

CAD drawing for 40 x 60 building

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Step 4: Pre-construction

Prep the Job Site

The job site must be prepared before pouring the foundation for your new structure. This typically comprises clearing the site of any debris, adding fill (road base or similar) where appropriate, and compacting and grading the site.

Run Utilities to the Job Site

Before pouring the foundation, you must bring in a plumber to lay the pipes and an electrician to run a conduit for the power lines. If you use your well as your water supply, you must check that the current pump and pressure tank can handle the additional demand.

For more, see our building site prep page.

Site preparation for a metal building project

Pour the Concrete Slab Foundation

Steel buildings require a slab-on-grade foundation. The foundation and anchor bolts are not included in the price of the kit.

For budgetary purposes, you should allow $4-$8/sq ft for the foundation. To obtain a building permit and meet code requirements, you will need a foundation plan from a licensed structural engineer.

We STRONGLY recommend that you have the foundation poured by a professional crew unless you have previous experience in installing foundations. A 4” slab will work for most end uses, but a 6” foundation will be required if heavy machinery is to be stored or operated in the building.

At this stage, you may also want to consider adding in-floor heating. As a reminder, ensure utilities are roughed in before the pour. Read our guide to foundations for more details.

 

Concrete slab foundation

Steel building concrete slab foundation

Step 5: Construction

Here is a brief overview of prepping for building kit delivery and details on the various construction options. For more, see our article on construction.

Prep for Delivery

Most 40x60 building kits are ready for delivery 4–16 weeks after you place your order. Before starting construction, ensure you have lifting equipment (e.g., a backhoe, a forklift, etc.) and a place to store the framing, siding, and framing packages at your job site.

Usually, the final balance of payment will also be due upon delivery.

Construction Options

Constructing your own building is a big undertaking but can also be a rewarding experience. There are three ways you can go about it, and the option you choose will depend on your budget, skill level, and overall project goals.

DIY Build: Doing-it-yourself construction can save you 20-30% on the total project cost, but it requires some construction experience and careful planning. All kits come with numbered parts and full instructions. As the foundation is a critical part of the build, we strongly recommend hiring a professional foundation crew for this build stage.

Self-Build: For a less hands-on approach, you could act as the general contractor (GC) for the project and hire/manage the erection crew, the foundation team, and any other subcontractors. You will also need to pull all the required permits. This option can save you 10-20% on general contractor fees.

General Contractor (GC) Build: Hiring a general contractor to manage your build project will be the most costly option, but it is also the fastest way to get the job done. A good general contractor will bring a wealth of experience to the project and can provide ideas you might not have thought of.

An experienced general contractor can also speed up the build time by getting permit approvals quicker due to their knowledge of the process and their relationships with the building department and local inspectors. General contractors typically charge 10-20% of the project cost.

steel building installation

Step 6: Finishing

Interior Finishing

The level of interior finishing required for your 40x60 building will largely depend on what you will use your building for and local climatic conditions. Metal frame building interiors can be extremely basic or fully finished with separate rooms.

Here is a quick run through the various aspects of finishing a building's interior space.

Wiring Plumbing & Finishing

You will need to hire local subcontractors to handle the wiring, plumbing, flooring, and any internal framing needed, as our suppliers ONLY provide the building shell package (framing, roofing, and siding).

Add Insulation

Fiberglass and spray foam insulation are the two most popular choices for achieving energy efficiency in metal-framed buildings.

insulation for a red iron building

Fiberglass batts or blankets are the most common type of insulation used in prefabricated steel buildings. It provides excellent thermal resistance, prevents condensation, and is easy to install. Fiberglass is available in various R-values, making it suitable for most locations and the most affordable option.

Spray foam insulation is also a popular choice for metal structures. It is sprayed inside the building envelope and provides high R-values. Sprayed foam insulation is more expensive than fiberglass but provides a better seal against air and moisture and can provide superior sound deadening. This product is also flame-resistant, making it an ideal choice for buildings located in fire-prone areas. it is also more difficult to install and is best left to a professional insulation installer.

For more, see our guide to insulating metal buildings.

Add Interior Framing (if required)

Many prefab buildings consist of a single, large, open space, while others may be divided into sections for specific purposes, such as an office, bathroom, or storage area. If you plan to use your new structure for multiple purposes or intend to divide the interior space into separate rooms, you must hire a local framing company to complete this project stage. The framing can be either 2x4 lumber or light gauge steel studs. 

Walkthrough and Final Inspection

Building inspections are important to ensure that your project is completed safely and to code. A final inspection is required at the end of the build in order to obtain a certificate of occupancy. This certificate verifies that your building was successfully completed and is now safe.

See our page on interiors for additional details.

interior framing for a steel building

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