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Old 11-17-2016, 07:24 AM
dtrojcak dtrojcak is offline
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Default Pipe vs I-beam for main columns

I've received quotes for a 40x60 metal building from several builders.
Some are using 4.5" schedule 40 pipe for main columns.
Some are using 8" or 10" I-beams.

The I-beam buildings are $10-15k higher than the pipe.
Are I-beams worth that much more money?

TIA,
Dennis
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Old 11-17-2016, 10:45 AM
Grizz Grizz is offline
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a big part of the price difference is the purchase cost of I beam compared to pipe, I beam seems a lot more expensive most of the time. pipe or rectilinear tubing should be cheaper and stronger due to it's ability to better withstand twisting force.
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Old 11-17-2016, 11:17 AM
dtrojcak dtrojcak is offline
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Just to make sure I'm understanding you correctly, you're saying that a 4.5" sch40 pipe column would actually be stronger than a 8" or 10" I-beam column?

My initial thoughts were that the I-beam would be stronger, but probably overkill for this building and definitely not worth the $10k-15k price tag.
I've looked at a few buildings so far and a lot have 4"x4" square tubing for columns.

I don't want to cheap out on the building, but I don't want to waste money on unnecessary stuff either.
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Old 11-17-2016, 11:36 AM
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Are these engineered buildings or just quotes from local contractors?
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Old 11-17-2016, 11:45 AM
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Nor an engineer by any means, but for me, the pipe would be the way to go. Not saying it is stronger than the beams, but my opinion is that is would do the job. For 15K less, it is a no brainer to me.
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Last edited by milomilo; 11-17-2016 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 11-17-2016, 12:10 PM
dtrojcak dtrojcak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry lingle View Post
Are these engineered buildings or just quotes from local contractors?
From what the guys have told me, these do not have the engineered certifications, but it is built the same way.
Basically because I do not need wind rating certication, they can do it a little cheaper because it is not officially certified by an engineer, but they build all of their buildings the same way.
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Old 11-17-2016, 12:12 PM
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The pipe is a cleaner post, if that's all you need.

The I-beam allows you to run conduit and air/waterpiping down
to outlets tucked neatly inside the flanges.

The w/f colums would allow you to add a swinging jib crane easily
if the connection into the roof is accounted for.
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Old 11-17-2016, 12:13 PM
dtrojcak dtrojcak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milomilo View Post
Nor an engineer by any means, but for me, the pipe wold be the way to go. Not saying it is stronger than the beams, but my opinion is that is would do the job. For 15K less, it is a no brainer to me.
This is my thoughts as well.
The company using the pipes is not a mom and pop operation.
They've been doing this for years.
IMO, they couldn't stay in business if they built inferior buildings.
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Old 11-17-2016, 12:34 PM
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Some thoughts that come to my head. I am not an engineer but the fabricator that builds what the engineers come up with.

1. Commercial building? If you are paying a builder to build it for you, you want to make sure he does not cut corners. You say it does not need wind rating, but will it be to code in your area? I live in northern michigan, and more and more, we have to build to hurricane force winds, even though our chances of being in a hurricane are almost zilch. Our shop has been in business for over 60 years, and more and more boss is turning people away unless they have engineered prints to build from because of liability issues. We usually overbuild anyways, but some of these drawings we are getting are really going overboard!

2. Round vs square tube or I-Beams. Most of what we work with is square tube. We would prefer to work and fab with square tube for several reasons.
a. easier to align the top and bottom plates up.
b. better to weld gussets on to the tube if needed.
c. they don't roll away as easily.
d. Usually the contractors that have to frame wood walls to our steel posts find it easier to attach wood to square vs round.

But I realize that pipe is generally cheaper cost wise, but sometimes you have to think ahead to see if it is really cheaper in the long run, or will it make it more difficult for someone else to do the next part of the job.

Very seldon I see I-Beam posts in my work. I have done a few, but probably less than 2% of the jobs I do.

One job I am working on now, we have both square tube and round pipe columns. 7x7x1/2" square, and 6" schedule 80 and 4" schedule 80 pipe. I am not really looking forward to installing 800# columns by hand in a remodeling project, but it is what will be providing my paycheck for a while.

Bottom line, if you are good with round posts, they should hold up the building, if they are built right, and you can save some $. But make sure you do have your ducks in a row, in case some inspector comes around.
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Old 11-17-2016, 01:32 PM
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Most of the "professional" steel buildings that I have seen use I-beams for columns. I think there's a reason for that. HSS tube would also be a good choice but to me pipe just screams "cheap".

A lot of variables involved and only you know what you really need and what you can afford. Just remember that a 40 x 60 steel building is not a 1 or 2 year investment. This thing is going to last you a lifetime so you might as well get it right the first time...
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