Structural Steel 101

If you need to build a commercial structure—whether it be a warehouse, storage facility, office building, barn, or any other type of building—you might want to consider constructing it out of metal.

Let’s consider some real-world uses for commercial metal buildings, the benefits of building out of metal, some key considerations and pricing.

Why Choose A Commercial Metal Building?

Here are a few great reasons to consider choosing a metal for your commercial building:

  • Withstand the elements: A metal structure is a great option in any area, but particularly in regions which are prone to earthquakes, hurricanes, forest fires, floods, and other harsh climate conditions. Steel is much stronger than wood, and a metal structure can last through conditions which might severely damage or destroy a building made out of a weaker material.
  • Low-maintenance: Because metal is so hardy, less time, effort and money needs to be put into its maintenance.
  • No pest problems: Pests that eat wood do not eat metal. That means you won’t have to worry nearly as much about infestations of termites or other unwanted occupants.
  • High longevity: As metal is not subject to organic degradation like wood, a structure made of it can last in excellent condition for a very long period of time.
  • Cost-effective: For all of the reasons discussed above, a metal building can help you to save significantly on business costs over its lifetime in comparison to other types of structures. It can also be quite affordable to construct if you plan with care.
  • A steel building can be an eco-friendly choice for your business. You can use recycled materials in construction, and if the building is ever demolished, the materials can be recycled again. Heating and cooling can also be energy-efficient and affordable with the right insulation.
  • You can often get a competitive warranty on a metal building since it is truly expected to stand the test of time. Additionally, your insurance company may be willing to cut you a break on covering your commercial property if it is a metal structure.

Common Uses of Steel for Commercial Buildings

There are countless ways that you can use metal in a commercial context.

Metal can be used to build:

Those are just some common examples.

Incidentally, you will find that metal is also a fantastic choice for a residential building, just as it is for a commercial structure.

So you might also consider it if, for example, you are building a home and a shop at the same time, popularly referred to as a “shop house”, or perhaps even a mixed-use structure.

Important Considerations When Building a Commercial Metal Structure

Here are a few things to think about when you are planning your commercial industrial project:

  • The foundation. Different types of foundations are ideal for different types of structures as well as different sites.
  • The material. Steel is probably the top choice for most projects, but there are other types of metal you can use as well.
  • The style of building. You can choose between rigid frame structures, open truss buildings, metal pole barns, arched quonset huts, and other styles of metal construction.
  • Insulation. Owing to metal’s thermal bridging property, it is essential to invest in top-grade insulation. Some of your insulation options include spray foam, rigid board insulation, batt and blanket, bubble insulation and loose fill insulation.
  • Features and finishing. Think about doors, windows, interior finishing options (i.e. drywall or wood) and exterior finishing options (i.e. stone, stucco, brick, or wood).
  • Construction method. You can build a metal structure from scratch, or you can opt for a prefab, modular or pre-engineered metal building. If you purchase a metal building kit, you may be able to construct your building yourself.

What Does a Commercial Metal Building Cost?

The total cost for a metal building depends on the factors listed above along with other details concerning both the structure itself and the approach you take to erecting it.

But to give you a ballpark idea, you can build a rigid frame metal structure for around $7 per square foot.

You can construct a Quonset hut structure for as low as $5.5 per square foot.

Types Of Commercial Metal Structures