Compare the Top Rated Steel Building Brands - 2018 Best & Most Popular Steel Building Manufacturers
Although steel buildings have been a popular construction choice since the debut of the Quonset hut during World War II, they were mostly relegated to industrial industries. But, new technologies and innovations broadened the appeal of this cheaper, faster alternative.
In this guide, we discuss the best and most popular steel building manufacturers of 2018. We also describe what to look for in a steel building, potential add-ons, and how to choose the right company for your construction project.
Benefits of Owning a Steel Building
Price and speed are the main advantages of a steel building, and both are thanks to the prefabricated nature of the components. Typical construction projects take six months or more to complete but steel builds average less than half that time, leading to significant savings on labor costs.
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Another benefit is the material itself, which saves money on insurance since it's less expensive than wood and concrete (and offers greater fire resistance). It also is a more environmentally friendly choice with an 88 percent recycling rate.
Steel buildings also last for decades without the maintenance required by conventional construction materials. They're noncombustible; they don't leak, shrink, or swell due to climate changes such as humidity; and they resist pests like termites.
Choosing the Right Steel Building Company
When choosing between vendors, you want to consider the following:
- The types of buildings they specialize in
- The range of services they offer
- The building materials they use
- Whether they offer engineering services
- The level of customer service provided
- Whether the company is certified
Types of buildings
There is an enormous variety of steel building types available, but most companies choose to specialize. They may focus on a particular size or instead categorize by functionality. Sizes range from 10' x 20' to 150' x 300'. Common functions include factories, garages, warehouses, and agricultural buildings. But, these have expanded to include retail and office space and even residential buildings.
Finally, you also find companies that house their own design staff, allowing you to customize construction of your steel building.
Not all steel building companies offer the same types of services. Some simply manufacture the building components and sell them as kits. Then, you as the client either assemble the building yourself or hire a contractor. They may also connect you with a contractor who has the necessary certification to complete construction (check whether the manufacturer or contractor provides the warranty).
Some steel building manufacturers also offer building rentals if your need is only short-term.
Steel building materials
The main materials used for the building's exterior include:
- Galvanized or Galvalume steel with an alloy coating that extends the material's life in a corrosive environment, such as the salt air of coastal areas.
- Heavy gauge steel panels should include a sealing finish process, weather-resistant paint, and corrugation for strength.
- Steel labeled as "recycled content" usually includes up to 80 percent recycled materials.
Manufacturers also vary according to the types of engineering services they offer, with some staffing in-house design teams and others outsourcing this role. Others specialize in specific types of buildings, such as those used for barns and storage, and don't offer customization. Finally, some vendors offer fully customized, design-build services.
Ideally, your chosen steel building manufacturer offers support throughout the process, from design and purchase through construction and even after you take possession to address and resolve any issues you experience. Before signing anything, clarify the company's methods for supporting its customers and how easy (or difficult) reaching them will be.
Ideally, the company offers a combination of online, phone, and live support, including representatives to assist during the design and construction phases.
The intention of certification is ensure potential clients that the manufacturer provides quality products. Look for the following:
- American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC): This trade association's guidelines evaluate each step of the construction process
- LEED: This certification indicates environmentally-friendly products
- Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA): Partners with IAS to inspect steel buildings for quality
Steel Building Companies
The following are the 14 most popular steel building companies for 2018.
Rigid Global Buildings
Rigid Global Buildings manufactures steel, metal, hybrid, and pre-engineered buildings as well as metal building components (such as roofs, wall panels, accessories, and trim). The manufacturer is known for high-quality engineering and manufacturing, backing it all with solid customer support services.
RHINO Steel Building Systems
This Texas-based company is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year. They offer design services that allow you to configure your building to your preferred specifications. RHINO also provides prefabricated options designed for specific functions, including agriculture, sports and recreation, aircraft hangars, and churches.
General Steel Buildings
General Steel Buildings collaborates with an extensive network of contractors to ensure quality construction of its prefabricated steel buildings. The manufacturer's buildings are used for auto shops, garages, breweries, churches, workshops, and more.
General Steel is a company that has been supplying pre-engineered steel buildings for more than 20 years. The company works with a network of local contractors to help customers construct and assemble buildings.
Curvco Steel Structures
With nearly four decades in the business. Curvco Steel Structures offers models ranging from 10' to 140' in width and available in any length. They offer a wide array of buildings, including agricultural and commercial applications, workshops for residential or industrial use, airplane hangars, garage kits, and even prefabricated steel homes.
From its base in Colorado, Armstrong Steel offers customers innovative technologies, in-house detailers and draftsmen, and dedicated project managers. Their entire team is designed to streamline your project for fast turnaround at a great price.
VersaTube is the manufacturer of choice for the DIY builder. Anyone with average strength and access to common tools can lift and assemble the components of their steel building kits. Delivery includes everything you need to construct your new building and the manufacturer's Slip-Fit Connections make assembly a cinch.
Miracle Truss Buildings
Miracle Truss Buildings is another DIY favorite that is manufactured in the United States. The company uses hybrid web steel truss designs with clear span ceilings and offers a 50-year warranty on its frames.
Worldwide Steel Buildings
Founded in 1983, Worldwide Steel Buildings is one of the oldest names in the business, famous for selling quality steel building kits so customers can building their own workshop or garage. Of course, they also design buildings for agriculture, sports, horse arenas, residential homes, and more, supporting it all with a 50-year structural warranty.
Olympia Steel Buildings
Olympia Steel Buildings manufactures prefabricated structures and components for a variety of industries, including commercial, automotive, industrial, agricultural, recreational, and storage. In addition, they offer construction services as well as DIY erection options.
Freedom Steel is an industry leader whose designs include gable symmetrical, single slope, and roof systems. They manufacture a variety of steel buildings, including barns, riding arenas, aircraft hangars, and storage buildings. Their AISC-certified factory also provides state engineer sealed and approved blueprints and anchor bolt summaries.
Heritage Building Systems
In business since 1979, Heritage Building Systems built its name designing customized steel buildings. Prefabricated options include agricultural, commercial, industrial, metal workshop, and mini storage buildings. Customization options include doors, framing, metal panels, walls, windows, and other accessories.
Braemar Steel Buildings
Braemar Steel Buildings designs both out-of-the-box solutions and customizable structures for both residential and commercial applications. From its base in Colorado, Braemer supplies steel buildings to all 50 states plus parts of the Caribbean.
American Steel Buildings
American Steel Buildings is recognized around the world for offering high-quality products at a great price. Their flexible, clear span engineering design requires no interior steel columns, making Americanideal for facilities requiring obstacle-free interiors, including aircraft hangars, industrial centers, gymnasiums, warehouses, church sanctuaries, riding arenas, and sports complexes.
Family-owned and operated, Future Buildings strives to always exceed customer expectations by creating high-quality buildings at an affordable cost. And, since Future owns its own production facility, customers enjoy factory-direct prices.
Steel Building Add-Ons
The pricing you see for steel buildings generally covers only the basic structure. Add-ons are those features that turn a large metal box into a building. The most common add-on is insulation. Today's building codes often require insulation, even for storage facilities. Insulation adds to your initial cost but saves money in the long run on energy bills. If you also add a vapor barrier to your roof and walls, you help protect your building from condensation.
Utilitarian add-ons include:
- Pedestrian doors
- Vehicle doors
- Windows and skylights
- Gutters and downspouts
- Roof-mounted solar panels (check weight requirements)
Of course, you can also choose add-ons designed to improve the building's aesthetics. Typically, this means exterior choices such as building color and finishing options such as brick, stucco, or wood.
Adding partitions or interior walls is usually done by the contractor you hire to erect the building, not by the manufacturer.
Additional Considerations when Purchasing a Steel Building
In addition to considering the specs of the building itself and how they meet your needs, it's helpful to understand maintenance needs and the building codes and regulations in your area.
Maintaining your steel building
Regular preventive maintenance protects your investment and helps guarantee the safety of employees, clients, and customers. At a minimum, perform routine checks every six months. Ideally, your dealer agreement includes these bi-annual inspections. Make notes of issues that need attention. If you notice repairs or renovations are needed, schedule a building inspection right away. Keep detailed records of all inspections and repairs.
It's also a good idea to inspect your steel building after a heavy storm, such as hail or heavy rain or snowfall. Gutters and downspouts are valuable add-ons to protect your building against precipitation.
Building codes and permits
Even though erecting a steel building differs from conventional construction in myriad ways, you still have to meet building codes and other regulatory requirements. Check your local government website to determine zoning, fire safety regulations, and more.
In addition, you need to file a building permit, which requires submitting a certified blueprint and any other required information. This may include:
- The building's dimensions
- The building's purpose or function
- The building's location
- The foundation's details
- Building schedules
- A letter of structural assurance
Again, your local government website should include permitting requirements. Your dealer representative should be well-versed in local building codes and permitting.