What is an Average Commercial Building Cost per Square Foot?

commercial storage building

An average commercial steel building costs between $16 and $20 per square foot, including building package (I-Beams, purlins, girts etc.) , delivery, foundation and the cost of construction. Since many retail & commercial buildings require additional finishing like insulation or façade customization, the cost may rise to $30 or $40 per square foot (SF). Insulating a commercial steel building is a necessary expense but is also a very good investment. In addition to moderating the temperature in a steel building, insulation can improve the acoustics by damping sound. It can also equate to significant energy cost savings.

Please note, because there are so many variables involved (interior & exterior finish being the main contributors) with commercial steel buildings, price figures for the average code per square foot can vary dramatically. Local building regulations can influence the cost of a steel commercial building. For example, buildings in colder climates may need to handle a large volume of snow, while buildings in areas that are prone to hurricanes need to be resistant to high winds. Before signing a contract for a prefabricated steel commercial building, it pays to check into local building requirements and make sure the building will satisfy building codes. In addition, most local jurisdictions require a building permit for the construction of a commercial steel building.

Commercial Building Construction Cost Comparison:

Construction Method

Costs Per Sq Ft



Total Cost

Stud Frame




Post Frame




Steel Frame




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Where will your building be located?


There are some facts that are helpful to know when you’re considering putting up a metal building. First of all, there are three different sources you can choose from:


They often sell to the public so you don’t pay for the markup of a middleman. Besides, you might be able to work with a designer to customize your building according to your requirements and desires. However, the manufacturer only makes the buildings; he will not assemble it for you. You’ll have to find someone to put it up or put it up yourself if you’re good at DIY. Also, your foundation will not be included. Insulation may or may not be available from the manufacturer.


This might work for you if you have a pretty good idea of what you want. He can research the various manufacturers, bargain for the best price, and take care of buying the building and getting it delivered. You’ll still need to take care of foundation and insulation on your own.

General Contractors

They usually have a preferred manufacturer or broker. The general contractor will arrange for the purchase, delivery, and assembly as a part of their own contract with you. Markup on the building will probably be a part of their bill to you. This is the fastest and easiest way to do it, but it may not be the most cost-effective.

Looking for Residential Building Prices? See the estimate calculator or our 40x60 building article

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