Pricing for a warehouse typically depends on costs like complexity, materials used, and location.
A storage warehouse with no insulation will always cost less than a cold storage facility or a facility suitable for storing temperature-sensitive goods.
However, you can typically expect to build a turnkey warehouse for anywhere from $20-$60 per square foot including foundation, metal building, and insulation.
That means you can expect a standard 10,000-square-foot warehouse to range from $250,000 to $600,000 in total.
However, the larger you go, the less you should pay per square foot. For example, it’s unlikely that you’d pay more than about $2.5 million for a 100,000-square-foot warehouse – although you may if you want offices, machine facilities, and cold storage.
The following article reviews the total expected costs of building a warehouse.
Types Of Metal Warehouse Building Uses
Metal warehouses are increasingly used in a wide variety of applications. That makes sense considering you can often buy just the metal building for as little as $7.50 per square foot – with costs averaging between $25 and $40 for full erection and foundation.
However, it means your metal warehouse can be for more than just storage.
Agricultural storage including feed, equipment, and vehicles is important. Metal buildings provide durable and sturdy alternatives to pole barns – with modular elements that are easy to replace and repair when things go wrong.
In addition, steel I-beams are sturdier and more weather-resistant than wood, making them a longer-lasting alternative to the traditional pole barn.
Also, metal building kits are often designed with standard pole barn sizes in mind, so you can buy a building off-the-rack to fit your existing foundation – or have a building delivered and ready to assemble in as little as two weeks.
Retail storage and pick and pack are increasingly demanding – especially as more and more retail needs shift online. That means retailers need less physical storefront space and more warehouse space and fast.
Metal buildings are affordable, erect quickly, and can go from start to an outer frame and warehouse in as little as 4 weeks.
While timelines will be longer if you choose a custom-engineered building, a standard building kit will take two weeks to deliver and 1-2 weeks to construct.
Logistics and Transport
Metal buildings are ideal for traditional warehousing needs and depending on what you’re warehousing, you may not even have to insulate.
However, if you want cold storage or insulation, metal buildings are increasingly easy to insulate. In fact, you can even buy standardized insulated panels so you don’t need a second layer of insulation and internal walls.
In addition, many I-beam and C-beam steel buildings don’t require center supports. This increases the useable space for pallets and forklifts, increasing the usable size of your warehouse per square foot.
Manufacturing and Industry
Metal buildings are an ideal solution for manufacturing and industry because they are cheap, easy to ventilate, easy to control the climate in, and resistant to corrosion and fire.
That makes them a good fit for organizations using heavy machinery indoors – although it’s highly likely you’ll have to custom-engineer ventilation for the building to meet your needs.
Industrial farming requires large, easily accessible buildings. Metal warehouses are ideal for this, although you will have to make accommodations for the foundation.
For example, you can easily buy a metal building in 100 x 200 or 50 x 200 measurements for chickens or cattle – but you’ll have to install concrete piers for the supports even if you don’t want a complete concrete foundation.
Gyms and Sport Halls
If you need a large building space for sports and sport fields, metal buildings are the way to go. For example, a basketball court is 91.86 x 49.2 feet wide – or close to 5,000 square feet.
If you want a basketball stadium, you need a 10,000-square-foot or larger building to house the court, the viewing stands, storage areas, and dressing rooms.
Metal buildings are cheap, you can put whatever floor you want into them, and it’s easy to build as tall and as wide as you need without center supports, which is ideal for sporting areas.
Large commercial centers like malls, shopping areas, and large retail stores all benefit from affordable and large spaces and metal buildings are a perfect fit.
Here, metal buildings are the go-to for large retail chains for their stores and for their warehousing.
How Much Does Building A Warehouse Cost?*
Building a metal warehouse will heavily depend on factors like the size of the building, your location, the local cost of labor, and other factors like whether you’re in a city or outside of city limits.
The following price chart details turnkey (foundation, building, etc.,) costs for common sizes of metal buildings.
|Building Size (Sq. Ft.)||Cost (Low)||Cost (High)|
*Please note these costs are based on averages as of July 2023. Actual prices are subject to change based on location, specifications, and cost of materials and labor. Please use these numbers as a starting point for your own research or contact us for a location-based quote.
Cost of Building a 5,000 Sq. Ft. Warehouse
A 5,000-square-foot warehouse typically costs between $25 and $40 per square foot.
This works out to an average of $35,000-$95,000 for the metal building kit, $20,000-$45,000 for the foundation, up to $1,000 for delivery, up to $2,500 for planning permission, and $25,000-$50,000 for erection costs and labor.
If you already have the foundation or have access to cheaper labor, costs will, of course, drop.
Cost of Building a 10,000 Sq. Ft. Warehouse
A 10,000-square-foot metal building will cost roughly double that of a 5,000-square-foot building, although you’ll generally pay less per square foot for the building itself.
On the other hand, you may actually pay more per square foot for the concrete, because concrete is sold by the cubic yard, and the yardage of concrete required increases significantly when you upscale the size of a foundation.
Therefore, you can expect to pay roughly $70,000-$170,000 for the building kit. The foundation will probably range between $40,000 and $100,000, and labor costs can hover between $40,000 and $90,000.
You’ll also have additional complications like requiring more excavation and grading, which can add as much as $30,000 to the total project.
Cost of Building a 50,000 Sq. Ft. Warehouse
A 50,000-square-foot warehouse should cost you between $1,400,000 and $2,000,000. However, costs can drop as low as $850,000 if you’re building in a rural area with cheap labor and cheap concrete.
Here, the building itself should cost you between $300,000 and $950,000. You’ll pay an additional $150,000-$600,000 for the foundation. And, labor costs should be about $150,000-$450,000.
Here, the actual costs of your foundation will go up because you’ll need a heavier foundation with more reinforcement and more rebar.
However, at this size, you can expect significant bulk discounts, which will reduce the total cost per square foot.
Cost of Building a 100,000 Sq. Ft. Warehouse
A 100,000-square-foot warehouse will typically cost you upwards of $2.4 million. However, in practice, actual costs can range from about $1.9 million to about $5 million depending on what you want. This includes $700,000-$1,900,000 for the metal building itself.
You’ll also have to pay a delivery fee of several thousand dollars. In addition, foundation costs can be extremely high, starting from about $400,000 and going up to about $1.2 million.
You’ll also have to pay for a significant amount of labor, typically averaging about 4 weeks for a large crew – with costs hovering between $500,000 and $1,000,000.
Very large buildings also often incur extra costs for additional openings and driveways, because you typically want more than one access point to these sorts of buildings.
And, openings can cost from about $5,000 each – before you calculate the cost of the road and infrastructure leading up to the entrance.
5 Metal Warehouse Building Price Factors
The cost of building a metal warehouse can vary significantly from location to location, and sometimes by more than 100%. That’s because local laws, unions, and material costs vary significantly across the United States.
The following points will go into those costs and how you can predict them.
Material costs are obviously one of the most important costs of building a steel building. Here, most people look at the metal building first.
However, the foundation can be close to the same cost or more depending on what you want. For example, a basement foundation can cost as much as $40 per square foot – or almost double the average cost of steel.
On average, you’re looking at the following costs:
- $7-$19 per square foot for a prefab building kit
- $17-$38 per square foot for an engineered steel building (custom)
- $104-$160 per cubic yard for concrete. That’s $19,240-$296,000 in “just” the concrete for a 100,000-square-foot building.
- $1.25-$2.25 per square foot coverage of rebar
- $900-$5,000 per door
- $200-$5,000 per window
In addition, steel costs will vary significantly depending on what you want. For example, a building kit normally costs $5-$24 per square foot, and an engineered prefab can cost up to about $40 per square foot.
Building on-site from raw steel will cost you about $2-$4 per square foot, but labor costs and timelines will increase dramatically, which means you can end up paying more per square foot total.
2. Local Cost of Labor
The local cost of labor can also vary dramatically from region to region.
For example, nationally, you can expect to pay about $30-$40 per hour or about $300 per day per construction worker on your site. For a 10,000-square-foot building with a team of 20 people, that’s $6,000 per day, for an average of 2 weeks, or $60,000 in labor.
Of course, in rural areas, labor costs can drop to $10-$15 per hour. That will save you more than 50% on the cost of labor.
For example, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows the following averages per state:
- Texas – $18
- California – $27
- Florida – $18
- New York – $28
- Pennsylvania – $24
- New Mexico – $17
- Utah – $20
- Louisiana – $19
- Wyoming – $19.50
- West Virginia – $19.50
- Hawaii – $32
- Illinois – $31.50
- New Jersey – $21.53
- Massachusetts – $31.22
When you add on the costs of equipment, supervisors, etc., costs typically hover around $30+.
However, in areas like the East Coast, where construction workers receive $30+ in base pay per hour, you’ll pay up to $50-$60 for that same labor to cover overhead costs.
3. Foundation Costs
The foundation can be an extremely expensive part of your construction, simply because concrete and labor are not cheap.
A basic slab-on-grade foundation is the cheapest option you can choose and typically costs $4-$9 per square foot. However, with excavation costs taken into account, you could pay up to $30 per square foot for the same space.
- Concrete – $104-$160 per cubic yard
- Labor – 2-4 days of full-time labor
- Forms – $0.50-$0.80 per square foot
- Vapor barriers – $0.05-$0.20 per square foot
- Rebar – $1.25-$2.50 per square foot of coverage
- Reinforcing Mesh – $0.05-$0.20 per square foot of coverage
- Edges – $1-$5 per linear foot
- Grading and Excavation – $0.20-$5 per square foot
Essentially, costs can be quite high, sometimes as much as that of the building. However, the more suitable your building is to begin with, the more likely it is that you’ll have lower costs for the foundation.
In addition, if you want a basement foundation, you’ll pay much more for the foundation itself.
4. Finishing and Usage
In most cases, turnkey building costs provide you with a quote for a building at a usable standard.
Therefore, if you need interior walls, finishing, or other extras, it will increase the cost of your warehouse.
- Concrete Finishing – Up to $5 per square foot
- Interior Walls – $4-$18 per square foot
- Insulation – $1-$5 per square foot
- Electric and Plumbing – $1-$4 per square foot
- Drywall – $1-$4 per square foot
There are a lot of costs involved with turning a metal warehouse into a building for anything other than general storage.
Therefore, you should figure out what you need and calculate costs accordingly.
5. Other Costs
There are a lot of costs involved with building a metal building. These can include:
- Planning permission
- Soil testing and site suitability
- Design and engineering costs
- Equipment rental
- Insurance costs
- Custom colors or panels
- Peaked or gabled roofs
- Interior finishing
Therefore, you won’t be able to figure out the actual costs of building until you know what you actually want or need.
What Size Do You Require?
Right-sizing a metal building is important for keeping costs as low as possible. However, for most buyers, it’s better to have a building that is too large than too small.
Therefore, you’ll almost always want to go for extra room rather than cutting your size needs tight.
Here, you can use a few different techniques to calculate how much space you need:
- Calculate actual square-footage needs based on your intended building application. E.g., if you’re using it for agriculture, how many square feet do you need per cow and how many cows do you intend to have? This type of planning isn’t always easy because it’s not always easy to calculate exactly how much space you need for something, but averages are good enough.
- Checking industry standards or benchmarks for similar buildings. E.g., if you’re building a distribution warehouse, what’s the industry standard size?
- Review growth versus current needs and plot how much space you’ll need in 5 years, and size to that.
In most cases, if you use all three methods, you can get a good idea of what your building should look like.
For example, if you’re building a machine shop and you calculate that you’re using 15,000 square feet of space now but will likely grow by 4% year over year, and the industry standard size for a manufacturing warehouse is 20,000 square feet, that provides a very neat answer to meet your needs.
Answers won’t always be this easy, but ideally, they are.
Metal Warehouse Maintenance Costs
Metal warehouses are very low maintenance compared to other types of buildings. However, if you want to keep your metal building in good shape, you should plan to invest 1-3% of the original build cost into your warehouse per year in maintenance.
For example, if you have a 10,000-square-foot building, setting aside $4,000-$12,000 per year for paint, finishing, replacement panels, etc., should be relatively easy. And, doing so will ensure that your metal building lasts for a very long time.
- Minor Repairs
- Panel Replacement in case of tears or shears
- Replacing windows or entryways if they are damaged
Other than that, there’s very little that can go wrong with your metal building, which means maintenance costs will stay relatively low.
However, if you don’t keep up with maintenance, those costs can increase a great deal.
How Long Does Building A Warehouse Take?
Building a metal warehouse can take anywhere from about 2 weeks to over 6 weeks depending on the size and scale of the build. In addition, factors like planning permission can greatly complicate your building process.
- Planning Permission – 2 weeks to 3 months depending on the municipality
- Ordering Steel Building – 2-6+ weeks for delivery depending on kit and engineering required
- Foundation – Typically about 1 week but up to 2 including excavation, building the frame, and pouring the foundation in a single layer over the course of 1 day.
- Cure Time – Depending on the concrete you’re using, you should cure concrete for 7-28 days before building on it. The larger your building, the longer you should wait. This means that it’s advisable to wait a month between pouring the foundation and erecting your steel building.
- Steel Building Erection – 1-4 weeks depending on the size of the building and the size of the crew + equipment. A well-equipped crew of 10 can erect a 5,000-square-foot building in a week. A well-equipped crew of 20 can do the same for a 10,000-square-foot building in 2 weeks. The larger your building, the more time you’ll need to erect it – as you’ll greatly increase the square footage of paneling needed.
- Finishing – 1-6+ weeks. Depending on what you want, finishing may be very simple or it may be a process of insulating and building an interior into your warehouse. This can take a significant amount of time and isn’t predictable without knowing what you want. E.g., a walnut basketball court can take 6+ weeks, but spray insulation and foam batting may take one. Again, the larger your building, the longer even simple finishing will take.
A well-planned building with all planning and wait times taken into account, should take 2-5 months. On the other hand, if you rush the job and planning permission goes quickly or isn’t a concern, you could finish in less than a month.
Of course, it’s always better to wait and allow concrete to cure properly before building on it, so you’re always better off waiting.
Why Trust Rex Metal Buildings?
Rex Metal Buildings is a nationwide supplier of metal buildings, including turnkey solutions with foundation and metal building provided.
Our metal building kits mean we can deliver your metal building in as little as 2 weeks. However, we can also work with you to align foundation, cure time, and building delivery to ensure your entire construction project goes as quickly and as smoothly as possible.
If you’re ready to get started building, one of our team will be happy to help you find the best deal on your metal building, right-size a building kit to your needs, and get the paperwork together to apply for building permission so you can get started.
Call us at (855) 202-1242 to get started.