Top 5 Things to Consider When Planning a Steel Building


Contracting a steel building is a big endeavour, but these tips will help you get started!

When you are planning to construct any building, there are a number of considerations. While steel buildings are lower maintenance and seamlessly erected, once shortlisted as an option for your project it still involves some preliminary planning.


1. Choosing the Right Contractor for the Job

While the decision to go with steel as a building material may have been an easy one, choosing a contractor for the project can be daunting.

One of the things you need to consider when choosing a contractor for your steel building is experience. Steel building contracting is not a small feat, each step of the design process is intricate and a contractor who is not specialized in steel structures can be a major roadblock for the project.

Make sure you ask for references from the contractor you choose and complete your own independent background check where possible. Look for reviews, positive and negative, and ask their reference specific questions about the timing, costs and integrity associated with the their experience working with the contractor.

Check your contract thoroughly to make sure the contractor you chose commits to participating in every step of the process.


2. The Layout and Orientation of Your Steel Building

The layout and orientation of your building are some of the first things you will want to decide before building your steel structure.

One of the first steps in building your steel building is making important decisions about the space itself. What are the space requirements for the facility, for example– the shipping bay, the shop, the main office, storage areas Once you have decided what type of space and layout you want for your steel building, the areas will need to be arranged accordingly to maximize the efficiency and potential of your design.

The many options for span, or building width is one of the main advantages of building a steel structure. However, the building width also determines the building’s cost per square foot.

The larger the building width, the higher the cost per square foot.. You can save costs by customized planning of the layout and limiting the building’s width, or by including interior columns in optimum locations to maximize space and limit the span of the main frames.

The orientation of your building is the other critical variable to decide on while planning the construction of a steel building. This will depend on what you are using your building for. For example; If you are constructing a steel building primarily used for office space, you may want the sun to shine through in the morning. Therefore, your steel structure should face towards the south. If you want workers to have quick access to lockers rooms and lunch rooms from the shop area or provide the required facilities for both indoor and outdoor operations, building orientation and layout needs to be done right in the early planning of a new building.

planning a steel building

3. The Location and Amount of Bracing

The exterior walls of your steel building will require some form of lateral bracing. When choosing the location for this lateral support, framed openings like garage doors and shipping bay entrances must be taken into consideration.

Cross-bracing is the most cost-effective option for the lateral support of steel buildings. Cross-bracing is required in every third of the fourth bay. The amount of bracing required will depend on crane loads, building span, and building loads.

There cannot be bays with truck or man doors in areas with cross bracing. Windows are permitted i​​​​​​​f the cross-brace is positioned behind the window.

You can add other options like portal frames, but this can add to the cost of your steel building, so proper planning and layout for this design element is paramount.


4. Your Insulation of Choice

Changes to the energy codes, which are requiring higher insulation ratings, are making insulation a more cost impactful design consideration and with metal buildings, there are plenty of options available to suit the buildings function, climatic conditions, and the site’s environment. If you want to reduce your energy consumption, lower your power bill, prevent condensation, and give you steel building some soundproofing, There are various ways to insulate a metal building and choosing the correct system will save money and increase building performance.

Steel buildings can be insulated with insulation systems Which include Batt insulation, rigid insulation, and insulated metal panels.

Typically, batt insulation with a durable vapor barrier laminated to the backside is used as a cost-effective way to insulate steel buildings. However, this type of insulation aren’t always practical for a specific building use or location. Rigid insulating options, whether it be independent boards or insulated metal panels, provide a superior insulating system but come with a premium cost. In addition there are rain screen systems and different built up roof and wall assemblies available. Ensure your builder can consult on all of your options.

Choosing a type of insulation is very important, this decision will be a factor in the cost of contracting your steel building and potentially save you money in the future.


5. The Possibility of Future expansion

When a business grows and needs to expand its headquarters, this can be a roadblock to a cost effective expansion as some types of building are not easily extended. Steel buildings are easy to expand after completion. This makes steel a great option to house a business that is primed for growth.


JDG Construction Is Here to Help You

Planning the construction of your steel building is a big job and you may need some assistance during the process. Since 1985, JDG Construction has helped individuals and businesses with the construction of their steel buildings.

JDG’s team can answer any questions you have about the design process and begin construction of your steel building whenever you are ready. We are one of the most recognized leaders in steel innovation for a reason!

planning steel buidling

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About The Author

JDG Construction Management - the Vancouver Steel Building Company that specialized in steel construction buildings. In their 35-year history the company has introduced new building designs with guarantees of using the highest grades of steel available and competitive pricing. JDG Construction has successfully constructed steel buildings in Canada and the United States including: Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario in Canada, and the States of Washington and Nevada in the USA.
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