The cost of commercial construction can, at times, impact how a commercial building is designed and built. The choice of materials, labor as well as the inclusion of unique design features can become compromised if commercial construction budgets are restricted or overspent.
In regards to insulation costs in commercial construction, architects can be asked by their clients “How much does insulation cost?” as they seek ways to minimize the construction budget.
Typically in commercial construction, the exterior of the building is covered by rigid foam board such as XPS. These rigid pre-cut panels are fastened to the commercial structure with multiple periodic penetrations. Once installed, any gaps and joints are sealed or taped. It’s believed that this method of exterior insulation is cost effective and the most effective way to insulate a commercial building. However, there can be a more cost effective alternative for the insulation cost in commercial construction.
2014 building construction cost research data available through R.S. Means, breaks down the installed cost for XPS rigid foam board in a commercial building featuring a CMU masonry wall assembly to $34.30 per square foot. This total amount includes gypsum drywall that has been taped and finished, 8 inch CMU block, a polyethylene and rubberized asphalt sheet barrier, the brick veneer and 3 inch extruded polystyrene insulation panels.
If the commercial building uses a steel frame assembly, the installed cost for the assembly featuring rigid XPS foam board is $29.31 per square foot. The assembly includes gypsum drywall that has been taped and finished, metal stud and track (16” off center), gypsum sheathing with embedded glass mats, a polyethylene and rubberized asphalt sheet barrier, the brick veneer and 3 inch extruded polystyrene insulation panels.
When considering how much the spray foam insulation cost for commercial constriction is, architects may be surprised to realize that spray foam insulation is a far more cost effective, superior performing and overall better product.
The same 2014 research data from R.S. Means shows that the total installed cost of a continuous insulation application using closed cell spray foam in a CMU masonry wall totals $31.93 per square foot. That equates to a $2.37 per square foot savings which can add up very quickly in commercial construction.
If we consider a steel frame assembly, there too are savings to be realized using closed cell spray foam insulation. The total installed cost per square foot in a steel frame assembly is $26.94. This too offers a $2.37 per square foot savings.
The aforementioned costs and details provide a general insulation cost comparison of commercial air barrier assemblies. Additional costs such as scaffolding which can vary are not included in these examples. There may also be other factors that can affect the price but by working with the manufacturers, architects can get a good sense of what the cost break down for their specific project would be and how spray foam insulation can play a vital role in helping keep construction costs down while providing superior insulating and air sealing performance.