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Styles of Steel Buildings

Steel Buildings Buyers' Guide

Arch style (quonset) and rigid frame are the two most popular and widepsread types of steel building. A further type, known as the pole barn has partially open sides, sometimes finished with wood. These are ideal for agricultural use - because they omit the extras needed for accommodating humans they are much cheaper.

Arch Style Steel Buildings

Arch style steel buildings are similar to Nissen huts or quonset huts. From the front or back, they are either semicircular or have a rounded ridge and rounded eaves.

Domestic sheds and garages, and small commercial storage units often use the arch style. These structures are the quickest, cheapest and easiest commercial steel buildings to construct.

The disadvantage of quonset huts is that they are not adaptable. You can specify doors and windows only in the end walls, and the interior height clearance reduces significantly when you move from the centre to the sides.

Rigid Frame Steel Buildings

Most businesses opt for rigid frame metal buildings. They have a steel framework faced with steel panels for the walls and roof, and allow you to position doors and windows on any side. You can also build an extension without much difficulty should your business expand.

If you want an open space inside your metal building without intrusive vertical supports, a rigid frame clear span design can give you a width up to 46 m (150 ft). If you want anything wider than this, you'll have to accept the need for vertical supports for the roof and use a rigid frame modular design. That said, with a rigid frame modular metal building you can have widths greater than 300 m (1,000 ft).

(Please note: 'modular buildings' is also a description of small buildings that are factory finished and transported to site virtually complete.)

Steel Buildings Design
Steel Building Considerations

Number of Floors
Commercial metal buildings don’t have to be single storey. You can have additional floors and a mezzanine.

Commercial metal buildings can place large open spaces under cover. When you design your metal building, consider its purpose and how much width, depth and height you require. Don’t exceed your needs for the sake of it because you’ll pay far more than you need to.

Building and local planning regulations may restrict the height of your metal building. But if you have a certain amount of flexibility, bear in mind that a 3 m (10 ft) clearance is sufficient for many purposes, and up to 9 m (30 ft) is as high as you’ll want for a large warehouse or aircraft hangar.

Roof Types
Rigid frame metal buildings come with a choice of roof types. A single slope roof slants from a high wall on one side to a lower wall on the other. A gable has a triangular shape with a peak in the middle.

The pitch of the roof affects the appearance of your metal building and the interior height. For commercial metal buildings the smallest pitch is around 70 and the steepest 300.

With an arch style metal building, the uniformly curved design doesn’t distinguish between roof and walls. Some arch style metal buildings incorporate vertical sections of wall or sloping roofs but the design options are still limited.

If you intend to use your metal building for basic storage, then you may decide against insulation. If not, you’ll need a suitable insulation membrane or cladding that meets the regulations for new buildings. Your commercial metal building supplier will have the details and costs.

Other points to consider
Don’t forget to include an adequate number of pedestrian and vehicle doors plus windows and skylights. As with conventional buildings, opt for double-glazing to save energy. You’ll also need gutters, downpipes and drainage.

When you use our free quote request form for commercial steel buildings suppliers remember to tick these extras or add them in the appropriate box.

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