Getting a Good Cost Estimate for Structural Steel

Structural steel can be a great building material for industrial needs, but it does take some sleuthing to get a good cost estimate on steel. There are a few different factors that will affect the amount and quality of steel you'll need, so follow these steps to get an accurate reading on your total steel costs. 

Have a Structural Engineer on Hand

The first thing to do is hire a structural engineer to consult you on your plans. The engineer should check out your structure to make sure that it's efficient and designed to maximize the strength of structural steel.

Find a Good Manufacturer

The next step is to find a great manufacturer with a record for providing high-quality structural steel. Since the tensile strength of steel can vary a lot, be sure to get some statistics on the tested tensile strength from each manufacturer. Keep in mind that while you may get a better deal from one manufacturer, your total costs may be less with a different manufacturer if their steel is stronger, since you'll need less steel to complete the job. 

Choose the Type of Structural Steel 

There are a few different variations of structural steel. Not only does the age of steel matter for its strength, but also the way it's processed; some manufacturers use special heating methods to increase the tensile strength of their structural steel. 

Estimate the Amount of Steel 

Finding the total amount of steel needed depends on you completing the steps above. Since each type of steel will result in a slightly different design outcome, you'll need to consult your structural engineer. Based on the type of steel you've chosen, the engineer can advise you on how much you'll need to complete your project. There is also some cost-estimating software available that can give you an idea of how much steel you'll need for a project. 

Once you have chosen the steel manufacturer and estimated the amount you'll need, it's a short trip to figure out the total cost estimate for your project. Be sure to leave at least 10–15% of your budget as an emergency fund in case your estimate doesn't cover the actual amount you'll need. 

Getting an accurate estimate for your steel needs can be a lengthy process, but it's worth the effort to make sure that your project guidelines fall within your budget and you can obtain high-quality steel of the type you need.