Commercial Framing Cost per Square Foot in 2023

Discover typical commercial framing prices and understand the factors affecting these costs.

Nelmie Jane Pardo | Updated May 10, 2023

Construction companies use steel construction instead of wood for commercial buildings, making it more expensive than framing residential homes. 

Average commercial framing costs range from $12 to $40 per square foot, which includes labor, installation, insulation, and wall coverings. Contractors use structural steel supports and light gauge steel studs to frame commercial buildings.

  • It costs around $60,000 to $200,000 to frame a small 5,000-square-foot office building.
  • Prices can soar up to $120 per square foot, depending on steel prices and other factors. 
  • Labor usually ranges from $5 to $10 per square foot, regardless of changes in the steel market. Labor accounts for up to 40% of a construction project’s budget. 

Despite higher initial costs, framing metal buildings is generally faster, more eco-friendly, and can be more cost-effective in the long run than framing wood buildings.

Commercial framing cost breakdown 

The average cost per square foot covers the following aspects: 

  • Materials for constructing the frame
  • Tools, supplies, and equipment
  • Labor
  • Transportation
  • Overhead costs
  • Cleanup of debris after project completion 

Factors affecting commercial framing costs 

Three primary factors affect commercial framing prices: 

Size and location of the project

The local geographical region where your project takes place is a significant factor that affects the final commercial framing cost. Different areas have varying going rates.

Design intricacy and customizations

Complex projects are more expensive to build overall. Intersecting walls requiring more studs and additional slopes and valleys contribute to higher material costs. 

Steel prices

Changes in steel prices affect material costs, leading to fluctuating framing costs. Materials comprise around 30% of the overall cost of installing metal framing.

FAQs about commercial framing costs

What is commercial framing?

Commercial framing is the process of constructing the skeletal structure of a building. It’s an integral part of the overall construction process. 

It involves erecting the walls, installing the floor and ceiling joists, and creating the structural support for the roof. 

Today, metal stud wall framing, also called steel stud framing or light-gauge steel framing, is the standard in commercial building construction, particularly office and apartment buildings. 

How much do framing contractors earn?

Framing contractors earn $32 per hour or $67,554 annually on average. Low earners have a salary of $20 per hour, whereas top earners make as much as $58 per hour. 

How do construction contractors estimate commercial framing costs?

Contractors examine the building plan to evaluate the complexity of the project. Additionally, they consider materials, administrative expenses, and other costs when making a bid proposal. 

How much does it cost to frame sizeable commercial buildings? 

Framing large commercial buildings measuring 30,000 square feet costs $360,000 to $1,200,000.

Written by Nelmie Jane Pardo

Nelmie Jane Pardo

Nelmie Jane Pardo is a senior contributing writer who lends insight into digital marketing methods and business solutions. She regularly writes at BusinessHue to help business owners take their online marketing to the next level.