Attributes and Advantages of Steel Buildings

“Pre-Engineered Steel Buildings (PEB Steel),” “Pre-Fabricated Steel Buildings,” and “Steel Building Kits”

The term “pre-engineered” is often applied to metal building systems, to denote the fact that, in choosing the design of their building, customers will be selecting from variations of design configurations which have been specially engineered to fit together in a vast array of combinations, to meet the unique requirements of specific end-uses.  The term “pre-fabricated,” is also applied to indicate the high level of pre-site construction work that goes on at the factory, before pre-fabricated steel buildings are sent to the construction site.  When pre-engineered and pre-fabricated steel buildings arrive at the site, very little work is required to erect them.  Examples of these which require the least amount of work, are sometimes called “Do It Yourself Steel Building Kits,” or simply, steel building kits.

Metal Building Systems Advantages

Because of their pre-engineered (or pre-fabricated) attributes, and due to distinct properties of metal and steel, metal building systems structures have decisive advantages over buildings constructed out of other materials.  These include:

Shorter Construction Time:

It typically takes less time to construct a steel building systems structure than other building types.  This is because the pre-engineered metal building systems components are designed and pre-built to be easy to assemble.  Processes that take place on the construction site with other building materials, take place before metal building systems components have even left the factory.   Smaller buildings that would take weeks to build, can be up in days.  Larger buildings, that would take months, can be up in weeks.  10,000 square ft commercial structures can be completed in just under three months, etc. 

Lower Construction Costs:

Because metal building systems components have been specially engineered to fit together easily, and because the components are cut and prepped in-plant, using automation, cost of assembly is significantly reduced.  When metal building systems components arrive at the construction site, the skill level required for their assembly is substantially lower.  Your construction costs may be reduced by 60%. 

Construction Method Costs Per Square Foot
Materials Labor Total Cost
Stud Frame $19-29 $10-25 $39-54
Post Frame $20-30 $10-25 $30-55
Steel Frame $9-12 $10-15 $10-27

 Ease of Expansion:

Steel building systems have a dynamic design, which can be modified quickly and economically before, during, and after the building is completed, to accommodate all types of expansion.  Metal building systems typically can be expanded by removing the end or sidewalls, erecting new framework, and adding matching wall and roof panels.  Your building can grow at the same rate as your structural requirements. 

 Durability and Weather Resistance:

Steel is one of the strongest building materials available today, and can withstand extreme weather conditions including high winds, severe snow storms, hurricanes, and even earthquakes. Steel is also not susceptible to termites, creeping, cracks, splitting, rotting, and fire. There are now options for reinforcing steel against vandalism and fire, and most reputable steel building manufacturers offer 25 year warranty on their structures, providing you with immediate security on your investment.  Metal buildings systems structures are also treated with special coatings like galvalume, that protect their paint and surfaces from rust.  Reputable manufacturers typically warranty their paint and coatings over decades. 

 Highly Efficient Material-Utilization:

State-of-the-art computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) processes are used to fabricate structural members with high strength-to-weight ratio, minimizing raw material costs and waste.  Steel itself has the highest strength-to-weight ration of any construction material, at about 25 times greater than wood (steel frames are actually lighter).

 Insurance Advantages:

Because of its superior strength and fire retardant nature, steel has been proven to withstand extremely harsh conditions, leading insurance companies in most areas to offer rebates of up to 40% to insure metal building systems structures.

Minimal Maintenance:

Metal building systems require little to no maintenance, and their surfaces are easy to clean with soap and water. 

Single-source Assurance:

One party is responsible for all of the separate components that make up a metal building systems structure.  Customer and construction manager do not have to maintain a list of where each component came from, in case repairs under warranty are required. 

Attractive Finish:

Steel construction technology has come a long way since steel “Quonset Huts” hit the market over half a century ago.  Nowadays, steel buildings can be finished with the same exterior coverings that structures made of any other building material are.  Choose to add a finish that will allow your steel building to match seamlessly with its surroundings, whether they be your stucco house, your garage of wood and masonry, or your paneled storage building.  Choose any of these traditional finishes, or use a set of wall and roofing panels with an aesthetic colour and surface-texture combination. 

Sustainability: Building Green with Steel

The energy consumption due to the construction and maintenance of buildings, constitutes a sizeable portion of our eco-footprint.  When you choose a steel building systems structure for your construction project, however, you can be guaranteed that you are making an environmentally responsible decision.  To confirm this, take a quick look at:

“A typical 2000-square-foot home requires about 40 to 50 trees, about an acre’s worth.  With steel, only the equivalent of about six scrapped automobiles is needed.”

-The Steel Recycling Institute

Environmental Benefits of Building with Steel

  • Material recycled and 100% recyclable – every bit of North American steel forged contains recycled steel, and is 100% recyclable. 
  • Highly efficient use of materials
  • Long life cycles – metal building systems structures last a long time
  • Most steel products don’t release pollutants (like some treated wood products) – be sure to ask your manufacturer if they use environmentally friendly paint and coatings
  • Reduced heat island effect: buildings featuring cool metal roofing reduce impact on microclimate and habitat
  • Energy efficient – steel buildings heat and cooling loss statistics (especially around doors, windows, foundation, and roofing) are significantly lower than other types of construction