A client posed this question:
“We are planning to build a horse riding arena. We’ve talked with several all steel building companies. They say their buildings are going to be far less expensive than a pole building. Is this true?”
Maybe, but probably not.
If a very large clearspan (say 100 feet or wider) is required, then all steel could be the answer. We have done actual cost comparisons against all steel riding arenas. We used the most common width arenas (60 to 80 feet) with all the features and load conditions comparable (snow, wind and seismic). All steel arena packages provided direct from the manufacturer at “wholesale” pricing typically are 30-40% more in price than a pole building. In all instances, we had delivery charges included.
Beyond just the price differences for the building kit, the all-steel version is going to require paying extra for an engineer to provide a foundation plan. Hiring a contractor to construct? For erecting the all steel building, expect to pay double what a contractor will charge for pole building construction.
From a practicality standpoint – because of the inward sloping angle of all steel frames and the large concrete piers which must be poured to anchor them, the entire interior space of all-steel buildings cannot usually be safely used for riding. We know of many all steel building owners who have had to construct an interior liner five to six feet on the inside of their walls to protect themselves and their horses from the frames and the piers.
Besides the added cost of the liner wall, it also entails having to order a building 10 to 12 feet greater in width and length than a pole building!
And speaking of liner walls….even if the other things were not an issue – how easy would it be to attach tongue-and-grooved 2×6, plywood or osb to steel frames which are spaced 20 to 30 feet apart? It is just not happening.