Building a steel structure poses the question of whether to “weld-up” or “bolt-up,” the two most common routes of steel building construction. In your research you’ve likely come across both options and now wonder, “Well which is better?” Let’s review some of the major differences between the two.
- Weld-up buildings are made on the jobsite. Typically the components – the steel frames – are measured, cut, and welded together on the field.
- Bolt-up buildings, on the other hand, are manufactured off site in a factory. These prefabricated structures do not need to be welded and are assembled with – you guessed it – bolts.
Upfront costs for weld-up are less than those for bolt-ups because they are not pre-engineered. The only way to save money with bolt-ups is through labor. Weld-ups require skilled labor unlike bolt-ups, which can be done without it. When it comes to maintenance, neither bolt-ups nor weld-ups require much of it.
Both weld-up and bolt-up buildings require high quality materials to maintain structural integrity. Whether you decide on weld-ups or bolt-ups, you’ll need the best steel to create a solid foundation for the project. Visit our sister company, Bulldog Steel, for your steel manufacturing and component needs!
Weld-up building materials are usually delivered quickly as they are cut and measured onsite. Certain specifications are put into the design and engineering of bolt-ups so these building packages may be delivered after several months. The framing package and pre-engineered sheets are not usually supplied through the same manufacturing company. If both are from the same company, they are usually sent at different times. Bolt-up structures do, however, go up faster than weld-up buildings.
Construction & Deconstruction
Bolt-ups often have a less complicated construction process that does not require a particular specialty or skill. Unlike weld-ups, they are pre-engineered and meant to be efficiently erected. Typically, DIYers and first timers will choose bolt-ups because of the easier assembly. It usually requires the proper tools and following a set of instructions. However, certain structures like hotels, are more complicated to bolt-up. Further, bolt-ups are not quality checked often and still do require some welding. Once both of these structures are constructed, keep in mind that they can be quite difficult to amend.
While we offer both options, our preference is weld-ups with benefits in long term cost efficiency and durability. With the proper skill and expertise put into the creation of a weld-up building, the results are a reliable and precise structure. Which option will you choose for your next project?