Pricing and Costs of Prefabricated Buildings

By Kathryn Keep, writer
Jun 27, 2011
Image Credit: Monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images

Get the right prefab building at the right price

Today's commercial prefabricated structures are economical, efficient, and environmentally friendly. Compared with traditional construction, prefabricated buildings cost less because a factory does up to 90% of the building before it ever reaches your site. Time is money, so getting your building up and running quickly is of utmost importance.

Pricing and costs of prefabricated buildings vary considerably based on size, materials, and features. It's free and just makes sense to get several quotes. Of course, the building itself isn't your only expense. Delivery costs can range from a very small amount such as $1.50 per mile to several hundred dollars. Costs of planning, construction, assembly, and connection to utilities must also be part of your budget.

Know what you need before getting quotes. There are many options in shape, size, and configuration in prefabricated structures, but these three are the most common choices:

1. Prefabricated steel buildings - your best bet when you need to enclose a large space

2. Modular buildings - for flexibility and more traditional appearance

3. Mobile offices - when you need a simple small space

Buy prefabricated steel buildings

As a general figure, a pre-built steel building will cost anywhere from $16-$40 a square foot, with most popular options being somewhere in the middle.

Buy a modular prefab building

A modular prefabricated building usually costs $35 to $100 per square foot, depending upon the level of customization. Modular buildings allow for the most customization and flexibility.

Rent or buy smaller prefab buildings

While not a permanent solution, you can rent a small mobile office for $100 to $500 a month. Renting can be more favorable tax-wise as it is an operating expense rather than capital, but if you need your building for more than three years, buying a new or used one might be your best bet.
  • Cut costs by pre-cooling your building. While it seems intuitive that shutting off the air conditioning in your prefab structures when everyone goes home at night saves energy, that isn't necessarily true. A study by Purdue University proved that commercial buildings have more potential in storing thermal energy and overnight cooling can result in less need for cooling during the day ultimately meaning lower electricity bills.
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