Steel Buildings

Steel Buildings

Quick Tips on How to Buy Steel Frame Structures

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There are three major ways to purchase steel frame structures:

  1. General contractors (GC) are the people who will actually put up your building. Typically a GC will get a general idea of the type of structure you need, talk to a broker or several manufacturers, then present the options to you. In some cases, a GC may have a preferred manufacturer that they will always turn to.

  2. Brokers work with multiple factories. Like GCs, they will consult with you to determine your needs, and then provide a proposal based on the manufacturer who can best meet your needs. However, their involvement ends once the pieces are shipped. You'll need to set up the building yourself or hire a GC.

  3. The manufacturers who actually create the steel frame structures do sell directly to customers in many cases. They will create and ship the building based on existing specifications you choose from, or can work with you to design a more customized building. Once again, you must handle the building construction.

Don’t forget to factor the costs associated with each of the above options into your purchase decision. When working with a GC, you can expect to pay for both the cost of the materials, which can run by some estimates about $50 per steel column and $200 per steel beam, as well as the labor to install it. This is often estimated per ton at around $1,100, per crew, per ton, per day. Other quotes may be based on the square footage of the job itself, ranging from $580 to $2,000 per square foot.

When working with brokers and manufacturers, you purchase direct but will then have to either build the structure yourself or hire a GC and crew to do it for you. According to some estimates, it may be more affordable to purchase everything through a single provider, as the GC will have established relationships with manufacturers and may be able to get you discounts on the raw materials.

It’s worth noting that steel is a commodity that tends to fluctuate. This fluctuation will impact the base price of your raw materials. Currently costing around $695 to $918 per ton, depending on the type of steel, it’s currently at a high point when compared to prices taken from the past three years.

Choosing steel frame structures providers

Because of their experience, GCs are a better way to go if you're not familiar with planning and managing construction projects, especially if you have a GC who you work with on a regular basis and who understands your business. Do make sure you choose a GC with experience putting up steel frame structures.

Brokers have more expertise with steel frame structures and can have leverage with multiple manufacturers - their relationships can help you save money. They can often help you find the best deal, and can put you in touch with qualified contractors in your area if you do not have one.

If you have more experience with building projects and know exactly what you want, you may be able to save money by going directly to a manufacturer. Cutting out the middleman also eliminates potential finger-pointing at later stages if anything goes wrong. Going direct can also be a good idea if your project is very small-scale - smaller arch-style steel structures that you'll erect yourself, for example.

Once you know what to look for in a provider, it's time to find providers to meet with who will build your steel building structures. Start by submitting a free BuyerZone request for steel building structures quotes. You'll get matched up with as many as six different providers who will review your business needs and map out the appropriate solutions.

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