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What is the Dollar Value of Speed?

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What is the Dollar Value of Speed?

Dave Rutherford | February 2, 2016

One of the often-cited benefits of metal building systems is the speed of construction, but what does that really mean? One thing it means is money. Speed has a real impact on the bottom line, in ways that are obvious and in some that you might not be aware of.

First of all, if the building is part of a commercial enterprise, then it’s part of the process of making money… when it is in service. Whether it’s in service or not, it’s costing money in property taxes, insurance, and possibly loans, even while it’s still under construction. So, the sooner you get a new building into service, the sooner it starts off-setting its costs and helping to make money.

Then there’s the impact of speed on the cost of construction. When putting up a metal building system, labor is the biggest savings. The longer it takes to build, the more man-hours are spent, the higher the labor costs. Jobsite labor is generally the most expensive. Prefabrication means faster onsite construction, and less onsite labor.

Fast construction also reduces contractor’s overhead. The contractor has insurance, possibly rented equipment, loans with mounting interest, and other time-based costs that he has to pass on to the owner. Fast construction lowers those costs and allows the contractor to make a more competitive bid.

Where does the speed come from? First and foremost, from the efficiency of the system itself. Prefabrication in a factory setting with modern manufacturing methods is very rapid. Onsite erection of prefabricated steel is likewise rapid, since it eliminates many of the labor-intensive onsite tasks associated with other construction systems.

During construction, there are certain critical points in the process whose timing has a big impact on the overall speed of completion. The concrete foundation has to cure for 28 days to reach 90% of its ultimate strength, there’s no speeding it up. With a metal building system, major parts of the structure are made in the factory, and that can happen simultaneously with concrete curing. By the time the concrete is ready, much of the building’s frame has already been created, and merely awaits erecting onsite. This is one of the sources of speed.

Since the building is quick to erect, it can be enclosed sooner, another critical point. Once the building is enclosed, the various trades work indoors, protected from the elements. This is another source of speed.

So, when planning a new building, it’s worth considering the speed of a metal building system as more than just a convenience: it’s also an asset.

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