One of the first questions we are asked is “how much does a bolted steel tank cost”? Unfortunately, the answer is a little complex as the price of a bolted tank is impacted by a variety of factors. Elements include storage tank design specification, relevant local building codes, quality of raw materials, scope of work included in the contract, manufacturer experience and tank installation team skills/training.
The various design specifications such as AWWA D103, NFPA 22 and API 12B determine tank appurtenances, shell design, steel thickness and even tank size in some cases. For example, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) D103 standard applies to all bolted tanks used for potable water storage and mandates the interior epoxy coating is NSF 61 certified. Bolted tanks for fire protection need to comply with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 22 standards which requires specific tank components such as tank heating systems when needed and reinforced concrete ringwall foundation. When a bolted tank is used for oil storage, the American Petroleum Institute (API) 12B standard is commonly used as a reference but tanks do not have to comply. However, for customers desiring a guaranteed level of quality, the API 12B monogram program ensures the tank meets very specific design criteria and the bolted tank manufacturer is API Spec Q1 / ISO 9001:2008 certified.
In addition to international industry standards, local build codes influence bolted tank parameters such as wind load and snow load where applicable. These various loads will change storage tank aspects such as shell thickness, roof structure and bolted tank foundation/anchorage requirements.
The quality of the raw materials used to construct the bolted steel tank also directly impacts the cost. Poor quality materials used by some manufacturers can reduce the initial purchase price but many times the long term cost is considerably more. Conversely, our bolted steel tanks are fabricated of superior quality materials and will achieve longer service life and be a greater value compared to lower quality tanks. Ironically, in some applications, companies charge more for materials due to sales hype instead of tested and verified superior performance. This is why is it so important to research the proven durability of the materials used in a tank.
The scope of work and what items are included in the purchase contract also can make a significant cost difference. For example, some bolted tank manufacturers do not include off-loading of the storage tank at the job site, tank disinfection and exclude the cost to build a tank storage bottom. Many glass fused to steel bolted tanks use an embedded shell ring wall and in order to eliminate the tank bottom and reduce the cost of the tank. Unfortunately, the foundation cost with a glass fused to steel tanks with embedded shell ring wall will be considerably higher due to the special foundation required to serve as a tank bottom.
The final elements which impact the cost of an epoxy bolted tank are the experience of the tank manufacturer and the skill of the installation team. New bolted tank manufacturers that have not established their reputation are more risky to purchase from. Therefore, they have to lower their prices in order to entice customers away from a proven company. In addition, the skill and experience of the field teams affects bolted tank prices. Highly trained and expert tank installers are more costly to employ compared to temporary laborers.
The lowest price can mean lowest quality but not always. Conversely, the highest price does not mean highest quality. This is why we always recommend conducting your research and requesting a price quote in the early planning stages of a project. Five minutes can save you considerable time and money later!