What is the square foot cost of a steel building?

prefab metal building

When considering the square foot (SF, sq ft, PSF) cost of a steel building, you should take a few different factors into consideration. 

First of all, you will need to choose the style of building preferred. Straight walled or rigid frame buildings are very popular, can be finished with masonry, brick or stucco on the exterior walls (if desired) and are extremely sturdy and strong. Materials for an average sized, residential steel building can range $7 per square foot for large buildings such as a 80x100 building and go up to $10 PSF for a small 30x40 building. These prices are for the building shell. You will need to account for accessories (including doors and windows) as well as a delivery charge and labor costs to construct the building. If you added 20% for accessories and 8-10% for delivery, you will have a fairly accurate cost before installation. Building the steel structure yourself will eliminate labor costs entirely. Remember that buildings with a larger finished size cost less per square foot than smaller or average sized buildings. Labor costs can run $3-10 / SF.

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Quonset Hut (or arch buildings) structures are another choice in prefab buildings. They have arched roofs and are also durable, exceptionally strong (even more so than straight walled buildings due to added stability of the arch) and easily assembled. Quonsets cost less for materials and will start from $5 PSF before accessories, delivery and labor.

Also consider the location of the building and whether a foundation and a floor will need to be laid to complete the installation. This can add from $4 to $8 per square foot to the cost for either style of metal building.

Therefore, we can summarize the total cost of a steel building project as follows:

Ballpark Building Costs

Quonset Hut Buildings

Quonset Hut Steel Building (arch building designs)
  • Base building: $5-7 / SF
  • Accessories: +20%
  • Foundation: $4-8 / SF
  • Construction Cost: $3-10 / SF

Straight Wall Buildings

Pre-engineered residential steel building
  • Base building: $7-10 / SF
  • Accessories: +20%
  • Foundation: $4-8 / SF
  • Construction Cost: $3-10 / SF

* For more information on design options refer to the building design page

NOTE: With smaller buildings (less than 5,000SF) you could easily save the $3-10 per SF construction cost if you self-build. These buildings are shipped with all necessary hardware and detailed erection instructions. For larger buildings this saving could easily equate to between $20,000-$50,000.