Reducing the price of a shed

12 May

How can I reduce the price of my commercial structure?

If you want to build a commercial steel building but you’re on a tight budget, there are several things you can do to bring the price down. Looking at simpler designs, doing away with complicated extras and choosing standard sizes where possible will all help with getting you a cheaper shed proposal.

Before you start – think about orientation

Firstly, orienting the shed in the most efficient manner can offer considerable cost savings. Structural engineers are always aiming for the most efficient design, not just for cost-efficiency, but also as an environmentally sound choice, as some structures are overengineered for their purpose.

This diagram is taken from our webinar with Structural Engineer Julian Luvara, who explains how the orientation of your building can have a substantial effect on its efficiency.

Watch our webinar: Engineering a cost-effective structure

In addition to sound engineering at the outset, there are some big-ticket items such as the roof, the overall design of the shed, and its location that can often be tweaked to bring the cost down substantially.

4 things you can do to get a cheaper commercial structure

1. Simplify your design

Whilst a building with all the bells and whistles might look fantastic and function brilliantly, all those little extras come at a cost. Items such as roller shutters, windows, special facades, awnings, dado walls and custom components add to the bottom line, so if you can do away with any unnecessary extras you will end up saving money on your project.

However, in some cases, certain extras such as facades may be required to meet planning schemes. The Steelcorp design team can offer advice on what is a must-have and what is an optional extra.

Some extras are important for the functionality of the structure, but there is a range of options to choose from. At the cheaper end of the scale, standard galvanized roller shutters are available, which technically do the same job as their more expensive powder-coated counterparts.

Likewise, we tend to use premium insulation but other cheaper options are available, or you can opt for only insulating the roof rather than the whole shed.

The overall design of the shed is an important consideration too: a structure that is longer rather than wider means smaller clear spans and a simpler design.

2. Go for a standard roof

Opting for a standard gable roof with a standard pitch is much cheaper than engineering a very steep roof or a skillion roof.

We’ve published a deep-dive into gable vs skillion roofs for commercial buildings, however, the main point to note is that a gable roof is a more efficient design requiring less material, making it more cost-effective.

Likewise, a design using web truss rafters offers the most straightforward approach to supporting your roof whilst offering excellent strength and rigidity.

Exterior material choices can be adjusted too, for example, a ZINCALUME® roof might not be as attractive as COLORBOND® however it’s cheaper and still provides good long-term performance.


3. Choose your land wisely

If you don’t already own a property, then it’s important to understand how much the overlay or covenant requirements can affect your shed design.

For a simple, straightforward and cost-effective project, look for land that doesn’t have easements in awkward places, cultural significance overlays, bushfire overlays or other special requirements that create more complexity and red tape.

A freestanding structure is also easier and cheaper than bolting a new design onto an existing building. So, a clear and open site without existing structures that need to be designed around will often result in a cheaper project.

4. Build it yourself: the owner-builder approach

Perhaps the biggest impact you can have on the price of your shed is choosing to be an owner builder instead of enlisting a commercial builder to construct your commercial building.

But buyer beware: being an owner builder isn’t for everyone.

What you need to know about being an owner builder

If you’re considering going down this path, we strongly recommend taking a look at our Steeltalk webinar series, particularly Episode 4 where we cover the pros and cons of this approach.

Our clients are often surprised to learn that the shed itself only accounts for about 10 – 20% of the overall project cost, so whilst some costs such as planning and architectural services are unavoidable, there is plenty of scope for saving on building fees, civil costs and even fire service costs which become mandatory for buildings over 500sqm.

Ultimately, if you are looking for a bargain-basement shed, Steelcorp is probably not the right fit for you. However, if you’d like to take advantage of our bespoke design service, high-quality Australian Made materials and collaborative approach to building a simple and cost-effective commercial structure, we’re happy to help.

Steelcorp is one of Wangaratta’s most respected steel structure designers, specialising in large commercial sheds. We’re here to provide advice and support, and we can design a structure that fits most budgets. Give our team a call to find out more about our process.