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4 Important Considerations Before Buying a Prefabricated Steel Building for Commercial Use

Commercial buildings are, as their name implies, structures built for the purpose of conducting commerce. This covers a broad spectrum including warehousing, box stores, office buildings and practically every other kind of enterprise.

These steel buildings are constructed with heavy, even abusive use in mind. They must endure heavy public foot traffic, the use of heavy duty equipment like forklifts and heavy loads like stacked storage of heavy items.

If you are considering buying a prefabricated steel building for commercial use, we have put together some helpful information to guide you with your purchase.


The all-important first step with any construction project is covering the legalities. Check the local construction codes for the building location.

Do not presume prefabricated steel buildings are permissible for your chosen location. Avoid those project-ending surprises after you have already spent considerable sums or committed to the purchase.

These codes and standards differ from state to state and even within certain regions of each state. Check and double check when necessary for the needed permits and strictly adhere to local building standards.


After making sure your building can be built where you want it, the next most critical consideration is of course, the cost. Failure to adequately and precisely price a construction project is among the most common, and financially damaging errors made.

A good rule for avoiding such project-ending catastrophes is to add in 30 percent for overruns. Pricing in the construction industry has a nasty way of being somewhat fluid. This means they can change, sometimes drastically. Account for this from the planning phase by including money for unforeseen costs.

Getting the Best Pricing

We live in a price-competitive economy, and construction is among the most competitive. To get the best pricing, simply conduct some comparative shopping.

Break up your project into its basic components: site preparation, ingress/egress and parking layout, slab or foundation, erecting the structure, plumbing, electrical and interior finish.

Get prices for each of these with specifics like materials used, construction methods and guarantees.

Be sure you are comparing like items (oranges to oranges) for your pricing. If you notice wide differences with pricing the same item from company to company, ask why. Make sure the contractors are pricing the same materials and construction methods.

Best Quality

Always seek quality and even be willing to pay more for it. The quality of the construction, especially when that building is for public use, must be an intrinsic decision factor.

Poor quality construction reflects poorly upon your business. Worse yet, it can expose you to legal action from those who frequent the business should any part of the structure fail and cause personal injury.

Steel comes in gauges or thicknesses. These gauges are basically measurements of how strong the steel is. 26 gauge steel for the walls and roof is a good, sufficiently strong gauge for most steel building uses.

As you speak with each potential builder of your project, compare construction quality and the materials used as it best aligns with the pricing available for that level of quality.

Never sacrifice quality for price. Be wary of companies offering drastically reduced prices. It usually means the quality is equally reduced.

Construction Time Frame

Time frame and construction schedule are always a major consideration for any construction project. Opening a business in a new facility is a big financial and scheduling commitment for a company.

Prefabricated does not mean these buildings arrive on the site fully assembled and ready to erect and bolt down. They do however arrive with all the holes for connections pre-drilled and the rough electrical and rough plumbing in place. This should and usually does decrease the time frame a stick-build requires.

Delays in construction delay openings. These delayed openings can negatively affect company reputations and consequent earnings. Make sure the contractor you choose is willing to commit to a completion date and a CO (Certificate of Occupancy).

While circumstances beyond anyone’s control can and invariably do arise with construction, building in ‘lost days’ is a good measure to ensure the project is completed by its stated deadline. Companies should be willing to include penalties for construction delayed beyond even the allotted ‘lost days’.


Following these general guidelines can help those contemplating the purchase of a prefabricated steel building for their business.