How do I determine the total tonnage of steel on a project?

April 12, 2022
ask an estimator
Welcome to our advice column where our estimators offer thoughtful answers to your questions on estimating. Go here to this form to submit an anonymous question.

When you are measuring the linear feet of steel for an upcoming project, but your supplier is selling steel by the ton, you will need to calculate the total weight (pounds) and then convert to tons (2,000 lbs).

Step 1: Using a takeoff software, determine the total lineal feet of each steel shape on the project (WF Beams, HSS tube steel, C Channels, L Angles, Flat Bar, etc). Keep each different cross section separate. For instance, separate the lineal feet totals of HSS 4x4x1/2 and 6x6x1/2.

Step 2: Use a steel conversion table to convert each sections total length to lbs. There are publicly available sources (such as Coyote Steel’s table here and professional sources such as the AISC Steel Construction Manual.

Step 3: Total up the lbs between all your cross sections to get total lbs of steel on the project.

Step 4: Divide total lbs by 2000 to convert lbs to Tons. 2000 lbs = 1 US Ton.

Ask an estimator your question

1build provides an easy-to-use integration with construction supplier catalogs and purchasing systems. Get access to millions of construction materials with our API today