Building Trends: Pre-Engineered Steel vs Traditional Construction

Steel revolutionized construction, allowing for a wider variety of architectural styles than stone, more strength than wood, and added versatility when building with concrete. However, not all steel buildings are created equal. Rockford Structures relies on pre-engineered steel building techniques that have some distinct advantages over conventional steel buildings.

Steel Construction Methodology

Broadly speaking, there are two ways to build a steel structure. Conventional steel buildings use components that have been individually designed, and those components are fabricated, cut, and welded on-site. Rockford Structures designs and fabricates in-house. Here, building components are pre-assembled in sections, with final assembly at the construction site. 

The Pre-Engineered Advantage

While both methods share the major benefits that come with any steel structure, there are some key advantages of pre-engineered buildings.


Custom fabrication for each piece would make a certain intuitive sense. However, having a system of standardized parts makes for quicker fabrication and construction, as well as easier repairs if they should be needed. It also means a simpler structure, which is beneficial if you decide to expand your building later on.


While the build process is highly standardized, the planning and architectural phases are not. If anything, that standardization opens up a wider range of architectural options than cost or logistics would permit on other types of buildings. This is especially true since pre-engineered buildings can offer clear spans up to 120 meters (131 yards, or nearly 394 feet) without additional structural supports; a traditional steel building requires additional supports every 40 meters on average.


More than wooden structures or even traditional steel buildings, a pre-engineered structure is more efficient by design. That efficiency stems, in no small part, from the fact that the building is a system instead of a series of discrete parts. That systematic approach brings other benefits, including lighter structural weight, higher load-bearing, simplified foundations, and better seismic stability. 

High Speed = Lower Costs

Fabrication, delivery, and assembly are all much faster in a pre-engineered building. That speed, combined with a more efficient use of materials, leads to a price per square foot that’s lower than a conventional steel building.


Our work takes us far afield, so our structures are built to the most rigorous international standards. 


Because Rockford Structures provides end-to-end services, there’s minimal risk and no finger-pointing in the rare instances when something needs to be fixed.

Why Rockford Structures?

Besides a history in the Rockford, IL area that spans more than five decades, Rockford Structures has been a Star pre-engineered franchise dealer since conception in 1966. With a brace of prestigious awards, and a roster of blue-chip clients that includes FedEx, Kuhn North America, and Walgreens, Rockford Structures provides end-to-end solutions. We’re with you every step of the way, from design and planning to construction and completion. To make your architectural vision a reality, request a consultation today.