Metal Building FAQ’s

Your Questions Answered: Metal Building FAQs

While many different factors help determine the cost of a pre-engineered metal building, knowing the size of the building you wish to buy gives you a good place to start. While steel prices fluctuate quite a bit from week to week and month to month, a steel building is typically going to cost you somewhere in the ballpark of $18-$25 per square foot for materials. This includes the full metal building kit but does not include the concrete, erection, insulation and accessories.

The market price and economies of steel, the customizations you make to your steel building and whether you insulate it at the time of purchase all help determine its final price. However, the following should give you a general idea of how much prefabricated metal buildings in some of today’s most popular sizes may cost.

30’x40’ Metal Buildings

At $18-$25 per square foot, a 30’x40’, or 1,200 square-foot base steel building, is going to cost somewhere between about $21,600 and $30,000.

40’x60’ Metal Buildings

At $18-$25 per square foot, a 40’x60’, or 2,400 square-foot base steel building, is going to cost somewhere between about $43,200 and $60,000.

60’x80’ Metal Buildings

At $18-$25 per square foot, a 60’x80’, or 4,800 square-foot base steel building, is going to cost somewhere between about $86,400 and $120,000.

50’x100’ Metal Buildings

At $18-$25 per square foot, a 50’x100’, or 5,000 square-foot base steel building, is going to cost somewhere between about $90,000 and $125,000.

100’x100’ Metal Buildings

At $18-$25 per square foot, a 100’x100’, or 10,000 square-foot base steel building, is going to cost somewhere between about $180,000 and $250,000.

The estimates above refer to the costs involved in purchasing the materials needed to construct your metal building. If you plan to have a contractor erect your building on your behalf, you will also have to budget for erection-related expenses. Where you plan to raise your building, how you plan to use it and how complex its design is all help determine the per-square-foot price of erecting it.

Metal Building PurchaseWhen you purchase a metal building, it pays to do your research beforehand to make sure your building checks all the boxes and meets your needs and budget. The more time you take when buying your building, the lower the chances of making a potentially costly error when doing so. Here are six important elements to consider when buying a metal building.

1. Intended Use

The way you plan to use your building can impact everything from whether and how to insulate it to what you need to do to ventilate it. When you plan to use your building for a specific purpose, MBO can help you determine what you need to do to make it appropriate for your needs.

2. Building and Engineering Code Requirements

When you erect a steel building in a particular location, the building and engineering codes in place in that community dictate what you must do to enhance strength and durability with respect for the climate. MBO can help you determine the wind load, snow load and other requirements your building must meet before you can erect it in your preferred location.

3. The Build Site

Before you can erect your steel building, you need to have a foundation in place. If the land you plan to build on is not level, you need to make arrangements to have it leveled before you can move forward with construction. Once a building is up it’s tough to move, so take your time when deciding where to raise it and make sure you do it somewhere it can remain long-term.

4. The Erection Process

Before your building arrives at your build site, you need to have a plan in place for erecting it. MBO partners with a wide network of reliable contractors and building erectors in all 50 states and can put you in touch with someone qualified to do the job in your area.

5. Insulation Needs

If you are erecting a carport or a similar roof-only structure, you can skip insulating it, but most other building types need insulation if you want to use them year-round. MBO can assist you in determining the most effective and economical way to insulate your building, which can lead to major savings through the years in terms of lowered electric bills.

6. Customization Options

Metal buildings are easy to customize, and you’ll want to have a grasp on the accessories and customization options you need to keep your building looking and functioning as intended. Customizations can include anything from mezzanines or gutters and downspouts that keep water from collecting near the building to doors, windows, awnings and overhangs.

By taking the time to consider all aspects of your steel building, you can improve the chances of it having everything you need and avoid the expense of having to make changes or modifications after-the-fact.

Building CodesAs someone in the market for a prefabricated steel building, you must confer with your local building department so you can identify the engineering and building codes to which your building must comply. You may have a city, town, county or parish building department. This is where you should turn before constructing your building to make sure it meets the requirements of your geographic area.

The building engineer then uses these codes to engineer your building to precise specifications so that it stands strong in the face of heavy winds, snowfall and similar climate-related considerations. If you’re constructing your building in a Florida hurricane zone, for example, you have to comply with different engineering requirements than you would if you’re raising a structure in, say, the heart of the Colorado mountains. So, when speaking with your local building department, make sure to get the following information:

  • Building Code information – which year or version of the IBC does your community follow?
  • Wind speed requirements and exposure information (Exposure B means your building will rise in a more protected area, while Exposure C refers to structures that exist in areas with no protection, such as on top of a hill.)
  • Ground snow load requirements
  • Any Energy Codes in Place

When you ask your building department for this information, you should also ask whether it plans to adopt any new codes in the near future. It is always wise to have your building engineered using the most up-to-date code information available.

Additional Questions for Your Building Department

When you have a particular site in mind for your steel building, you should meet with your building department as early as possible to streamline the approval and construction processes. You should ask how long it will take you to secure the building permit and how much it will cost you. You should also inquire about the following:

  • Are there any property setbacks? You may have to meet specific regulations in terms of how far your metal building sits from the property line.
  • What is the allowable square footage? Unless your building is quite small, you need to secure a building permit before constructing it.
  • Are there any height restrictions? Many communities regulate how high your building can be, so ask about whether any height restrictions exist before finalizing your building’s design.
  • Do you have to adhere to other specific design criteria? Some communities have rules about using certain materials, such as stucco or brick, and some require that a certain percentage of your building’s surface area has windows, among other examples of specific design criteria.

Sound intense? Obtaining this information is usually not as hard as it sounds, and doing your due diligence helps keep costs low by helping you avoid having to redo anything that doesn’t apply with the code requirements of your area.

If you decide to shop preowned steel buildings, rather than constructing one from the ground up, know that Metal Building Outlet maintains an extensive inventory of available buildings that comply with a wide variety of code requirements.

Our discounted steel inventory is vast and changes daily. Having your building department’s engineering requirements ready for your project specialist will allow them to perform a more efficient, accurate search through our inventory. This allows us to save you time and money while finding you the best building or components to meet your project needs.

Metal Building Exterior FinishesPre-engineered metal buildings are far-superior to wood buildings when it comes to structural integrity and ease of erection, but some potential buyers have concerns about their buildings looking too industrial. Contrary to popular belief, steel buildings don’t have to look like factories or metal boxes. There are numerous tactics you can use to give your metal building the precise look you desire, and one economical method involves installing exterior siding.

When customers, employees or others approach your metal building, the exterior gives them their first impression. Adding a colorful or artistic exterior façade to your structure enhances its curb appeal, and it may, too, help it blend well with other buildings already on the property or in the community. So, what are some of the best options when it comes to adding an exterior façade to your metal building?

Concrete, Brick or Stone Siding

Many MBO customers enhance the looks of their buildings by adding concrete, brick or stone veneers to the exterior. Maybe you want to give the building a more professional, upscale appearance, or maybe you need to adhere to specific municipal requirements as far as your building’s style.

Wood Siding

Certain building types, such as barns, farm buildings and equestrian arenas, among others, look great with the addition of wood siding. Because the wood adheres to the existing steel panels, it can enhance your building’s appearance without compromising strength or durability.

Stucco Siding

Stucco gives you another affordable way to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your metal building. Particularly popular in the Southwest, stucco siding is easy to maintain. It also offers insulative properties, helping your building maintain comfortable and consistent temperatures year-round.

Foam-Insulated Siding

If you want to improve the appearance of your metal building and make it more energy efficient, consider adding foam-insulated panels. MBO has foam-insulated panels in a variety of styles and designs including corrugated, stucco, wave and embossed, and they all make your building more comfortable while giving it a cleaner, more elegant and professional appearance.

If you’re on the fence about buying a metal building because you’re fearful it might look boring and grey, rest assured there are numerous techniques you can use to enhance its aesthetic appeal. Adding an exterior façade is among the more economical options you can use to make your building look exactly as you’d like.

Following metal building construction safety guidelines when erecting you building should be your first priority, nothing is more critical than maintaining a safe work environment. Any job that involves heavy machinery, steel beams and rooftops also involves inherent risk, but there are steps we recommend that our clients, contractors and building erectors take to enhance worksite safety and help prevent accidents.

In addition to exercising common sense and not working during adverse weather conditions, it is imperative that everyone on your jobsite follow all Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other local, state and federal guidelines and safety measures when erecting your building. It is also essential that everyone involved have access to emergency phone numbers as well as first aid equipment and procedural information.

Metal Building Outlet also stresses the importance of taking the following steps when raising your steel building.

Construction SafetyAlways Wear & Use Proper Safety Gear

Always make sure everyone on your jobsite wears eye protection, leather gloves, a hardhat, a safety vest and steel-toed shoes, or rubber-soled shoes for roof work. Adequate fall protection is also essential, with more than 40% of construction worker deaths resulting from falls. Follow all OSHA standards precisely and utilize personal fall arrest systems and safety nets to prevent falls in the open spans that exist between columns and beams.

Always Tie Yourself Off When Installing the Roof

In building erection, “tying off” means making use of your fall protection system so you don’t fall in the event of a trip or slip. This is one of the single-most important steps you can take to protect yourself on the jobsite. A PFA system includes anchorage, body support and connecting elements, and OSHA requires the use of one anytime you face a vertical drop of 6’ or more.

Utilize Temporary Bracing

While erection is ongoing, always secure your project using temporary bracing. A small gust of wind that a completed building could easily withstand can wreak havoc on a partially finished one that isn’t secured by bracing. Using temporary bracing keeps your main framing materials upright and secure while you complete the remainder of the building.

Be Wind-Aware

It’s worth mentioning twice – don’t make the mistake of trying to work in adverse conditions. Wind can make it much more difficult to install the sheeting, and accidents and injuries can occur as a result. Exercise care and caution in windy situations, and know when it’s too windy to work.

Maintain a Strong Jobsite Safety Culture

Make jobsite safety a priority by creating systems and safety protocols to guide your team through every step in the labor process, from unloading and moving the building components to lifting them and using specific types of equipment. Hold daily safety meetings each morning where you outline goals, emphasize safety protocols and make sure your workers take accountability for their own safety and that of everyone else on the jobsite.

Cost of OwnershipBudget is always a major consideration when you’re in the market for a metal building. You really must consider not only upfront costs, but also the cost of ownership over the lifetime of the building. The estimation is similar to that which you might do when buying a new car. Say you’re choosing between a brand-new, $30,000 car that’s a bit over your budget and a preowned $20,000 vehicle, which is closer to what you envisioned spending. At first glance, the used model might be your best bet…until you factor in the long-term costs of fuel.

The Car Analogy

Say that used car gives you about 15 mph, while the other, newer vehicle runs on solar or battery power, making fuel practically free. In this case, you’d save about $300 a month on fuel costs, and you’d make up that $10,000 difference in the initial price of the car in a little over two years. Then, rather than throw that $300 in your fuel tank every month thereafter, you could use it to put toward other expenses, automotive or otherwise.

The Fuel Factor

Like cars, steel buildings are fuel burners. In a large, climate-controlled space, you can save a tremendous amount of money by insulating it at the time of construction. Even a lower-level insulation package can save you $100 a month or more, which comes out to $24,000 in savings over a 20-year span.

Other Ways to Reduce Ownership Costs

You can also save a lot of money over the life of your metal building by reducing your reliance on energy-sucking mechanical or light fixtures. Fans that kick on and off to regulate interior temperatures in a heated or cooled building are a major source of lost income, and they are subject to heavy wear and tear over time. With a properly insulated system, though, you can as much as double the lifespan of your mechanical systems when compared against those running inefficiently in a poorly insulated space.

Small portable heaters are also a major expense, and they have the potential to add hundreds of dollars in energy costs to your bill each month. Investing in a smart thermostat allows you to lower building temperatures during colder morning or evening hours, or during non-working hours, lowering energy expenses as a result.

Inventory materials

The easiest time to inventory materials is when you initially unload them. Make immediate notes on the shipping bill of any damaged or missing parts prior to signing for and accepting the material. If there are any missing or damaged components, promptly notify your supplier.

Air leaks are also common and are the number-one cause of energy loss in steel buildings, with most of the air escaping through your building’s doors or windows. Most insulated steel building doors contain R-7 insulation, but foam-filled doors with seals can offer up to R-27 insulating properties, and the cost difference between them is negligible.

The Smart Choice for Cost-Conscious Consumers

When you operate a climate-controlled space (and keep in mind – your building is an energy-burning investment you can never shut off!), you must consider how much you’ll pay in energy expenses over the life of it. Because your building’s insulation system has a sizable impact on your energy bills for every month you own the building, this is clearly not the area in which to cut costs.

So, rather than ask if you can afford to make your building energy efficient at the time of its purchase, think “big picture” and ask yourself…can you afford not to?

Metal Building Siding OptionsWhen it comes to sheer strength and durability, it’s tough to top pre-engineered metal buildings. These days, metal buildings can offer far more than just structural integrity and easy customization – they can also offer ample aesthetic appeal.

Just as you can add wood, concrete, stone, brick or other siding to a wooden building to enhance its exterior appeal, you can do the same with a metal one. Adding siding to your metal building can help you accomplish any number of different stylistic objectives. It can help you match your building to existing ones on a property or within a particular area, for example. It also gives you a chance to incorporate your signature style, company colors or what have you into your metal building design.

If you’d like to add siding to your metal building, know that it may enhance strength and durability in addition to visual appeal. Many MBOC customers add the following siding options to their buildings, among others.


Durable, great-looking and easy to source and install, corrugated metal siding is a popular customization option among MBO buyers. Corrugated metal siding also comes in a wide array of colors, allowing you to choose one that fits your needs and preferences.


Adding brick veneers to your metal building is a great way to make it look more like a traditional building. Ideal for schools, municipal buildings, retail stores and health care buildings, among others, brick veneers give your building an upscale look for a fraction of the price of standard brick. As an added bonus, brick veneers can boost thermal performance and moisture- and fire-resistance.


Like brick veneers, faux stone panels and veneers can dramatically enhance the look of your steel building. Lightweight and easy to install against metal, stone veneers are timeless in terms of appearance and come in a wide range of colors and styles.


Adding wood siding to your metal building’s exterior can give it a more timeless, traditional look. Durable and attractive, wood veneers may require the use of clear finishes and semi-transparent stains every so often to maintain their aesthetic appeal.


Many MBO customers also add foam-insulated panels to their buildings, which helps enhance energy efficiency while resulting in a clean, finished look. We offer foam-insulated panels in corrugated, stucco and embossed designs, among other options.

One of the biggest perks associated with owning a steel building is the fact that they last the long haul while requiring only minimal upkeep. By adding siding options that enhance your building’s exterior appeal, you can help ensure that it appeals to the eye and looks as great as it functions for years to come.

Unloading Metal BuildingsWhen you purchase a pre-engineered metal building, one of the perks associated with doing so is that your building gets delivered directly to your jobsite in clearly marked packages, streamlining erection and lowering associated expenses. Before your building arrives at your jobsite, though, there are certain steps you can take to ensure a smooth delivery, and there are also several things you can do to make the unloading process as seamless and stress-free as possible.

So, before your building arrives at your jobsite, be sure to:

Prioritize safety

Some steel building components can weigh thousands of pounds, so it is essential that you have enough manpower – and proper lifting equipment, i.e. a crane, forklift and so on – on-hand during delivery to get everything unloaded and ready for erection.

Obtain “builder’s risk” insurance

Purchasing a steel building involves a substantial investment, so you should always make sure you have insurance coverage in the event that building materials suffer damage due to unloading, construction or inclement weather. Typically, your contractor will not carry insurance to cover damaged materials, so it is up to you to secure what’s called “builder’s risk” insurance to protect your purchase.

Have payment readily available

If your building manufacturer requires cash-on-delivery using certified funds (meaning no personal or company checks), be prepared to pay it upon the tractor-trailer’s arrival. Have your check ready to go before the truck arrives to avoid unnecessary extra steps or delays.

Prepare the jobsite

Because you will have a specific window in which to unload your building, it is critical that you prepare your jobsite for delivery ahead of time. In addition to having the building’s foundation firmly in place, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of space available for unloading and storing materials. Also, in terms of the supply dunnage, you’ll want to make sure that you have wooden material and blocking you can use to keep the steel materials off the ground and allow them to drain moisture. You should also make sure there aren’t any obstructions that will make it difficult for a tractor-trailer to access your space.

Once your jobsite is ready for delivery and the truck has arrived for unloading, be sure to:

Inventory materials

The easiest time to inventory materials is when you initially unload them. Make immediate notes on the shipping bill of any damaged or missing parts prior to signing for and accepting the material. If there are any missing or damaged components, promptly notify your supplier.

Avoid crimping steel panels

When you have especially long sheeting or panels, you run the risk of crimping or folding the entire bundle if you aren’t careful, but a spreader bar can help you avoid this. A type of lifting device that helps distribute a load to make it easier to work with, a spreader bar helps spread weight evenly, making it easier for fork-lift operators to manage. You can also use two forklifts for especially long panels.

Chances are, you’ve already invested a good deal of time and money into your steel building, so you probably want to use it soon as you possibly can. By taking these steps, you can make the delivery and unloading process that much easier, which in turn lets you utilize your building that much faster.

MBO TeamWhen the global COVID-19 pandemic first began, Metal Building Outlet, Corp., shifted its operations to allow employees to work from the comfort and safety of their own homes. MBOC made this pivot to protect not only our employees, but also our customers. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the current state of the virus and our emphasis on metal building company safety, we plan to continue to operate remotely through 2021.

While working remotely may not be appropriate for all professionals or industries, MBO has found the transition to be a seamless one. We’ve also found that working virtually doesn’t inhibit production, turn times or the high degree of customer service you’ve come to expect from your preferred metal building supplier. Why?

We have skilled, technically advanced employees.

Even before the onset of the pandemic, MBO’s workforce was comprised of highly skilled, technologically advanced industry professionals, many of whom already performed much of their work remotely. Because our metal building company caters to customers in all 50 states, our employees are well-versed in what it takes to see jobs through from conception to completion and otherwise manage customer expectations in a virtual format.

We maintain an information-heavy, user-friendly website.

At MBO, we also strive to make information about steel buildings and their purchase and erection readily accessible on our website. From our 3D design & price tool to our used building database, we make every effort to make the information you need available and easy to find.

We’re poised to meet increased demand.

At MBO, we’ve operated our metal building company in a 100%-remote atmosphere for close to a year now. The pre-engineered metal building industry has undergone rapid growth during this time as lumber mills have shuttered and lumber has become increasingly scarce. Our workforce has demonstrated an ability to cater to the growing number of metal building customers that has emerged within recent months while upholding the same operational and customer service standards that made MBO a fast success more than 35 years ago.

While our employees may work from home this year, you, the customer, should anticipate business as usual. MBOC looks forward to serving you, setting a new standard for all metal building companies and continuing to meet the needs of the nation’s metal building buyers, regardless of what happens in the days, weeks and months to come.