April 18, 2017
Should You Hire a General Contractor or Act as Your Own GC for Your Steel Building Project?
When you decide you want to get a quote for a steel building, the first question that may come to mind is, “How much is this going to cost?” Many people then think: “I don’t want to get ripped off!” or “I want to do this as cheaply as possible.”
But the word “cheap” has a negative connotation for a reason, and Heritage does not sell “cheap” buildings. When it comes to an investment, like a steel building that you plan to use for decades, doesn’t it make sense to make sure you instead get a good value? Value is not defined as the lowest price you can get for an item. It is defined as “the relative worth, merit or importance of an item.”
Steel is a sturdy and long-lasting material. Our buildings are warranted for decades and, if installed correctly, will last for generations. We are confident in the product we deliver, and the quality and experience of our customer service staff, and we assure you that our building kits are an excellent value. And a good value is never a rip-off.
Many people assume that the cost of a steel building is based on square footage, or simply length times width. It’s important to understand that while the size of a building does play a role in the cost, it is not even the most important factor in determining cost.
Steel is sold by weight – the heavier your building, the more it will cost for both the building and the freight.
What adds more steel, i.e. additional weight, to a building? Eave height, interior columns, additional bracing, bay size, framed openings, and heavier panel gauge just to name a few. Geographical areas with above-average wind or snowfall have specific design requirements that increase cost. Some of these cost-adding features may be necessitated by the building’s end-use; some may be influenced by your aesthetic preferences.
There are also many building enhancements you may either want or need to be included on your building. Some examples are canopies and purlin extensions, lean-to’s, a standing-seam roof, or your chosen base condition, among others. These are optional, and don’t affect the functionality of your building, but they each have their own merit and usefulness.
Your “building” consists only of the frame and the sheeting. But building cost is only one of the items to consider when determining a budget, and it’s generally a fraction of the total project cost.
Anything not part of the steel framing or sheeting that will be installed on the building is considered an accessory. Accessories that you will purchase from a third-party, either a partner of Heritage’s or on your own, include windows, walk doors, vehicle doors and insulation, among others. If some or all of your accessories will come from one of our partners, these can be included in your Heritage price quote.
If they will be purchased elsewhere, it’s important to make decisions about which you will choose and from where as soon as possible – size and location of items like overhead doors can affect the building price and should be communicated as clearly as possible to a Project Consultant.
With accessories, you generally get what you pay for. It’s like buying a car – the base model is functional, it gets you from point A to point B, and it’s affordable. However, the longevity or soundness of it may not be the same as the mid-range or luxury version of that car. When you think of accessories, think of them as the parts of your building that it only makes sense to get as much longevity out of as you can, so they can match the long lifespan of the building itself.
It’s a good rule of thumb to purchase the best-quality accessories you can afford. Would you rather buy the cheapest option of anything – be it a car or an overhead door – only to have to repair or replace it sooner, or invest more now in an upgraded version so it will function better for longer?
Beyond the building and accessories, it’s important to think about the land on which you plan to build and the type of foundation you require. There may be necessary site excavation work, there will definitely be concrete costs, and, depending on whether you plan to hire a general contractor or install the building yourself, installation and finishing costs.
It’s important to consider these site and erection costs when thinking about the layout of your building. The location of the doors, the roof pitch, the type of columns (straight vs. tapered), and the girt placement (flush vs. bypass) are just a few of the items that can affect the concrete and/or erection costs, as well as the usable space in your building.