How to Estimate Steel Requirements for Your Project

Steel supplies for fabrication projectProjects that involve steel can vary a great deal in terms of price based on a variety of different factors. In fact, the price can vary a great deal on just a day to day basis. Taking the proper steps to construct an estimate is critical to coming up with an accurate price for any proje
ct involving steel.

Here are some of the factors that can influence the final price of your steel job:

  • Where the steel is purchased
  • How much steel you will need to complete the job

Typically, steel is priced out based on its weight, which is why the quantity will be such an integral component to your cost estimations. It is also the main reason why it will be so important for you to use extreme caution in taking the measurements for the amount of steel you will need to complete the job. In America for instance, the standard method for the steel specifications of a wide flange beam is W 6 x 25, which are 6 inches deep with a weight of 25 lb/ft.

Experts in the field recommend that you use the following estimating procedure for all of your projects

  • Prepare 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

Tools and Materials

Aside from the steel itself, your project is likely also going to require the use of many other tools and materials to complete. Castings, fittings, hardware, tools, and much more will all be necessary and they must be accounted for in the preparation of your price estimate. Make sure to also remember to account for any disposable materials that will be needed because they can become a valuable portion of your estimate.


Depending on the type of project, you may be looking to achieve different types of finishes of the steel. Certain jobs actually require different finishes. The techniques needed to achieve these finishes usually add a great deal of expense to any project.

Man Hours and Labor Costs

Labor costs are yet another factor to take into consideration when calculating the costs of your project. Determine how many people will be needed and multiply that by the estimated number of hours to complete the job and the hourly cost of each person.

For any questions related to steel or projects related to it contact Swanton Welding today.

Download the Ultimate Metal Fab Guide