Estimating Structural Steel

Tips for Estimating Structural Steel

Image Source/Getty Images

Estimating Structural Steel

Structural steel prices can vary widely from one day to another. Having a good estimate done is crucial to be the low bidder on the job. We will present you with some tips and examples on how to get the best estimate for the structural steel.

When estimating structural steel, you must consider the location of where the material is purchased and the quantity that is been purchased.

Warehouse prices will apply to small orders and mill prices will apply to large orders. Remember, that prices offered by supplier or manufacturer are as of time of delivery. Maybe you must think to incorporate escalation clauses into the contract to deal with unexpected rising material costs. The framing system of a building continues to typically account for 10% to 12% of the building cost.

Estimating Procedure

Structural steel normally is priced by weight, so you must understand what sections you are going to use and the meaning of the lettering of structural sections. For example, the standard method for specifying the dimensions of an American Wide Flange Beam is, for example, W 6 x 25, which are 6 inches deep with a weight of 25 lb/ft.

  • Prepare your take off by grouping steel by their grade.
  • Group your material per section or member type.
  • Continue grouping by method of tied connection.
  • Group structural steel by their location on the project.
  • Maintain sequence of take off by columns and details.
  • Specify the beams and details per floor.
  • Take off quantities for bracing and flooring under a separate area.
  • Remember to estimate the quantities of plates, connectors and accessories.

For example, consider having the material listed on the table in your design.

Complete the table with the type of section, quantity used, length of pieces, total length required of each particular section, and the weight per linear feet. When finished, the addition of the last column will give you an estimate of how many pounds of steel are needed ​for your project.

Computing Structural Steel Weight

MaterialSectionNumberLength(ft)Total LengthWt/FtTotal Wt(Pounds)
W 14 X 132120201322640
W 14 X 120130301203600
W 16 X 40520100404000
W 27 X 9413030942820
W 18 X 5023060503000
W 14 X 431202043860
W 18 X 8431545843780
W 14 X 10981512010913080
W 24 X 6813434682312
W 16 X 261252526650