What Are Residential Steel Buildings?
Because people tend to associate steel buildings with the commercial sector, some find the idea of a residential steel structure unusual. However, the benefits that draw companies to steel buildings also transfer to residential applications, making steel buildings a cost-effective, durable, and eco-friendly choice for your home. Steel buildings, like any other building, go through a project process.
First comes the designing aspect, in which you choose the size and shape of the building, make interior and roof choices, decide on door and window placement, and choose any aesthetic enhancements you wish to add. Most companies also offer their own pre-existing designs. Once that is complete, the building is engineered to meet your specifications and any local building codes. From there, the factory manufactures and ships the components to your construction site.
Typically, site-work is completed while the building’s manufacturing stage, as steel buildings required a foundation, generally one of poured concrete. Construction occurs upon delivery of the components. You may choose to erect the building yourself, depending on complexity of the project. You may also choose to have the vendor erect the building, or hire a local contractor.
The finish work occurs after construction has finished, turning a steel box into a building that blends in with your home and its surroundings. All that’s left is for the building inspector to complete their walk-through and approve the structure.
Types of Residential Steel Buildings
There are two primary types of steel building: arch-style (also called Quonset huts) and rigid frame style (also called red iron steel buildings).
Arch-style steel buildings are made from a series of interlocking metal ribs forming the roof and sides of the building. They first became popular during World War II. Typically the less expensive of the two options, Quonset huts are commonly used for garages and sheds. However, they are not particularly customizable and only allow doors and windows in the end walls.
Rigid frame style steel buildings include a steel skeleton frame with the roof and walls composed of flat steel panels. They offer more customization options and are an excellent choice for anyone looking to build a home. The rigid frame construction allows for easy expansion and the ability to place door and windows wherever you please.
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Benefits of Residential Steel Buildings
Residential steel buildings offer a host of benefits, some of which include:
- Cost-efficiency: Steel buildings require far less labor to erect compared to traditional construction methods, for significant savings on labor costs. They also require less maintenance, which saves money over time. And because steel offers higher resistance to weather and Acts of God than brick or wood, you spend less on insurance.
- Customization: The ability to customize both the exterior and interior helps make residential steel buildings look and feel like any other home. The idea that a steel building is just a metal box is far from the truth, as you are essentially able to make the structure look however you want.
- Durability: Steel is known for its ability to stand up to even the toughest of forces, making steel buildings some of the most durable structures on the market. They are non-combustible and resistant to leaks, pests, shrinkage, and swelling.
- Speed: Traditional construction methods often take six months or longer to complete a project. A steel building, on the other hand, typically takes only two to three months from start to finish.
How Much Do Residential Steel Buildings Cost?
The cost of a steel building is largely determined by the added aesthetics/features, its shape, its size, its style, and the vendor you choose. What follows is a general pricing guideline to provide an idea of what you can expect to pay for your residential steel building.
- The average cost for a rigid frame style steel building is between $12 and $20 per square foot, which includes materials, foundation, delivery, and construction. More finishings or a higher degree of customization can bring these costs as high as $40 to $50 per square foot.
- Material costs typically average between $5 and $15 per square foot.
- A concrete foundation has an average cost between $4 and $7 per square foot.
- Out of all the costs associated with steel buildings, labor varies the most. Labor costs average between $2 and $6 per square foot, but most companies charge highly specific hourly rates, which go up as the complexity of the project does.
As a general rule of thumb, the larger the building the higher the cost. Note that prices for insulation are not included; insulation is not always a part of steel building construction, but it is a worthwhile cost.