By Shawn Zuver, DesignandBuildwithMetal.com
We live in a world where price is important to most people, including those of us involved in the construction industry. Through the years we’ve experienced large fluctuations in the prices that are paid for labor, fuel, land and construction products—including
lumber, insulation, drywall, anything that’s oil-based such as asphalt roofing, as well as products nearer to our segment of the industry such as steel, aluminum, copper and other metals.
Despite the fluctuations in price, often times going up and not as frequently trending downward, it seems to me that many people become too focused on cost while overlooking the all-important issue of quality.
Past columns that I've posted on DesignandBuildwithMetal.com addressed pricing of metal construction products - including metal roofing, wall panels and metal buildings. In each article, I pointed out the vast number of variables that come into play when
addressing price—everything from project complexity to myriads of material options.
It’s my opinion that while price is important, far greater consideration should be given to the quality of the materials and services that are being evaluated. Once the quality of a product or material is found to be acceptable, only then should
the cost come into play. It’s an exercise that nearly all of us apply in at least some areas of our lives, and it’s one that I believe should be followed faithfully in construction.
When I’m faced with a question of price for metal construction products - whether roofing, wall panels or framing systems - I like to start my response by talking about material quality. I find that a discussion of car purchases is a great place
to draw some comparisons.
There are dizzying amounts of cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, cross-overs and other selections available from a variety of manufacturers in bucketloads of models and options like gas engines, rechargeable electric power and hybrids. Most people don’t
start by pinpointing the one with the lowest price; they first determine the precise model that fits their needs and wants. Once their selection is narrowed, then the vehicle’s price (or monthly payment amount) enters the equation to find out
the best available value—at least in most cases.
To bring the analogy into the construction world, consider the home you live in—whether you own or rent/lease. It’s possible that you may have looked away from dozens or hundreds of available homes on your way to finding the one that fit your
wants and needs. Reasons for rejection may have been purely aesthetic - you prefer brick over siding, for example. Or they could have been function - one bathroom for several kids may be a bit tough to navigate. Or maybe you passed by a home because
of a lack of available amenities - like no nearby shopping options. Whatever the reason, you culled the universe of available homes to find the one that best meets your wants and needs at a price you’re comfortable paying - presenting you with
the one you considered to be the best value.
So, as you consider metal construction products for your facility or home - or for projects that you’ll be designing or building - I’d like to suggest that you consider the quality that the products offer before jumping to the lowest-priced
construction materials that are available. A metal roof could have a higher installed price than asphalt shingles or a TPO roof, but metal may likely offer advantages that outweigh a higher initial price - such as lower life-cycle cost, increased
aesthetics and less maintenance. The same is true of metal wall panels and other metal accessories. And while higher steel prices may mean that you’re paying more for a metal building system this year than you would have at times in the past,
you should consider the speed of construction that you’ll likely experience, as well as the design flexibility and structural integrity.
I’m not saying that price is never important. Instead, I’m suggesting that you take the extra time to explore the benefits that metal construction products have to offer. When it comes to price, in some cases you’ll find that metal is
the low-cost alternative and in others you’ll find that it doesn’t have the lowest initial cost. In my opinion, regardless the price, you’ll find that metal construction products - supplied and installed by quality companies - will
always offer you a solid value.
To find quality metal construction product suppliers, check out our Product Showcase and Supplier Directory.