Banner img

Why is Steel Considered The Best Material For Aviation Building Construction?

As you probably know, most aviation building construction projects rely on prefabricated steel structures. If you’re a discerning buyer or curious customer, you may wonder what makes the selection of these steel structures so appealing. Do you think it’s as simple as just being the lowest price? Or that it’s a matter of tradition, because “it’s always been done that way”? What’s your theory? You may be surprised to learn that pre-engineered steel aviation structures are the #1 choice because they outperform all other aviation building construction choices head-to-head in every category, from price and timing to durability and protection.

The Evolution of Aviation Metal Buildings

Did you know that aircraft storage and maintenance structures used to be primarily constructed of wood and concrete? The Wright Brothers constructed their first aircraft hangar from wood in 1902. Their first hangar was used for storage and repair. As if it were a sign of things to come, that hangar in North Carolina was damaged when they returned from their time in Ohio, and had to be repaired while they waited for their glider to return. During WWII, the US Navy built 17 airship hangars made of wood. These behemoth hangars ultimately were recognized as some of the world’s largest freestanding timber structures. Today, seven of those structures remain, all at former Naval Air Stations. Four are still standing in California: two at Moffett Federal Field, and two in Tustin. There is one hangar at the Tillamook Air Museum in Oregon, and two at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst/Naval Support Activity in Lakehurst, New Jersey. Over time, construction materials and structures evolved with technology. Modern facilities are now made of steel. Today, the construction solution of choice for aviation buildings is prefabricated steel structures, thanks to a broad array of competitive advantages over other materials, including:

  • Inherent superior material safety
  • Sustainability and durability
  • Design choice and flexibility
  • 33% faster construction times
  • The customizability of pre-engineered steel construction
  • Overall affordability, delivering a much lower price per square foot
  • Protection from outdoor elements


Safety First

Safety is the #1 concern for pilots and passengers related to air travel. And there’s no more significant perceived threat to air travel safety than poorly maintained aircraft. According to Fiix, a Rockwell automation company that helps plan and track airline maintenance, maintenance problems have contributed to 42% of fatal airline accidents in the US and 12% of all aircraft accidents overall. Although the overall number of accidents remains small, you’ve got to know that your equipment is operating at peak condition and has been carefully protected while on the ground. After all, you’re about to confidently launch yourself and others thousands of feet into the air so that you can travel at a speed of several hundred miles an hour. That’s why aviation metal buildings have proven to be a superior choice for aviation building construction, in part due to the number of ways that they secure the aircraft inside. Pre-engineered steel aviation structures by nature are both non-combustible and corrosion-resistant. That helps mitigate the damage even if a small fire does break out inside your structure. Since keeping an aircraft in top condition is a matter of life and death, it becomes easy to see why aviation building construction using prefabricated steel structures is considered the ideal choice to store, maintain, and protect aircraft.


Aviation metal buildings are built to stay clean and dry inside while withstanding nearly everything nature tries to throw at them, including heavy winds and rain, hail, ice and snow, earthquakes, and even the sun’s potentially harmful UV rays. Keeping your aircraft well protected from the elements is becoming an even more significant concern as the number of extreme weather events continues to increase. While no one can accurately predict future weather events, you can provide a durable structure to mitigate the impact. If needed, you can even level up your structure’s protection by adding insulation to combat the effects of extreme heat or cold. Unlike other materials, prefabricated steel structures require minimal maintenance, whereas other aviation building construction materials are continually susceptible to damage from ongoing harmful issues like rust, mildew, rot, and pests. As a result, life expectancy on these durable aviation metal buildings can be measured in decades.

Design Flexibility

No material provides more flexibility in construction than pre-engineered aviation metal buildings, specially developed and customized to meet the needs of aircraft owners. These prefabricated buildings can be flexibly designed for the specific requirements you have today while considering your possible future expansions of tomorrow. Do you imagine your aviation construction building project as a standalone or multi-unit? A private or commercial hangar? What about a T-hangar? Or are you looking to build a storage, maintenance, and repair hangar? Do you prefer doors on the side or the ends? You will find that aviation building construction made with prefabricated steel can accommodate nearly any configuration or need that you can imagine.

Timing-Saving, Accelerated Construction Schedule

According to industry estimates, owners who choose to complete their aviation building construction with prefabricated steel materials cut total construction time by 33%. Imagine if we could do that in our daily life. That would be the equivalent of getting eight hours of work done in about five and a half hours. Or cutting your daily commute time from two hours to about 1 hour and twenty minutes, or even getting your 30-minute exercise routine done in 20 minutes. So how can you possibly save so much construction time? The time-saving is partly due to the elimination of the onsite labor hours required for traditional jobsite measuring, cutting, and welding. But pre-engineered structures also eliminate costly weather delays. It’s not unusual for weather to wreak havoc on conventional aviation building construction project schedules. First, you get behind schedule from weather delays. Then, you often are delayed again when delayed contractors and subcontractors move on to other jobs and deprioritize your project. An additional bonus of pre-engineered metal buildings is that they comply with strict national industry standards. Because your prefabricated materials arrive building-code compliant, you need not worry about timely, costly building inspector hassles. Together, these time-savers also positively impact the overall cost, as outlined below.

Saving Time Equals Saving Money

Several factors work to your financial advantage in this formula. Aviation metal buildings offer a lower price per square foot than other construction choices. Not only are the high-quality galvanized steel prefabricated materials themselves less expensive, but the accelerated construction time also lowers your overall cost, based on:

  • Lower labor costs—you will need to fund fewer total hours to complete the construction
  • Less opportunity to make costly errors during the build, thus saving overruns on materials and labor
  • Limited delays—having less building time means fewer chances of being delayed by weather and/or losing your contractor and subcontractor crews to other jobs
  • Lower security costs—quick construction means fewer total hours needed for job site security services
  • Lower insurance—with a shorter construction window, you can expect a lower builder risk premium
  • Faster move-in—you can start reaping the ownership benefits of their aviation metal building even faster

Steel Construction Customizability

Many different standard configurations of pre-engineered structures already exist for aviation building construction. By using those existing steel structure configurations as a solid starting point, you can then customize the specific details of your structure to suit your exact specifications for size, type, and even appearance. You can make this structure reflect your own style and personality. You can stand out from the crowd. For example, you can easily customize your interior design plans to include the spaces you want and need. Consider how you could create the space to have incremental revenue opportunities or value-added features that would set you apart, such as:

  • Maintenance rooms
  • Workshops
  • Waiting rooms
  • Office spaces
  • Conference rooms
  • Restrooms

Aviation Building Construction Choices Made Simple

Typically, when we are faced with making a choice, we weigh the strengths against the weaknesses. We carefully consider whether the positives outweigh the negatives. We typically must compromise some feature that we desire, in order to choose some other feature that is a bigger priority. Many times, the best choice (like organic food) has a drawback (more expensive). In the case of aircraft structures, aviation metal buildings deliver a delightfully unusual mix of predominantly upside value with no significant downside.


With an aviation metal building, you start with sturdy, durable steel that won’t settle over time. You can flexibly customize your design to your specifications. Your cost of materials is lower per square foot than other aviation building construction options, yet it provides superior protection inside (fire) and out. You can complete your aviation building construction project faster, with lower construction labor, insurance, and security costs. Your new building will be completed in 1/3 less time and provide superior protection from damaging outside elements. Your new installation will last for decades without being subjected to damage from natural pests, mildew, or rot. If you decide to modify your building as your needs change, you can do so quickly and easily.

What’s not to like?

Get your project going today with a quote for Coastal Steel Structures, the leader in prefabricated aviation hangars. We offer the largest network of pre-engineered metal buildings and offer the highest quality guarantee. Call us today at 888-681-4109 to find out more.


Are you ready to start your steel building journey? Request a quote today and speak to one of our experienced team members to set you up for success and make your vision a reality!

Go to Top