Custom-Designed Industrial Steel Buildings

Get a custom-designed industrial steel building perfectly suited to your requirements, and enjoy the cost savings that come along with choosing steel.

When you deal with our expert team, custom doesn’t have to mean expensive. You don’t have to try to shoehorn your business into a prefab building that isn’t just right.

Choose from a variety of features, including uncluttered, column-free design, oversized entries, different levels of insulation, and more.

Engineer Designed and Approved Structures

All of our industrial steel buildings are engineer-certified using the newest modern technology. Our expert manufacturing is backed by a variety of warranty protection.

  • 25 year warranty on wall & roof silicone polyester finish
  • 25 year warranty on roof galvalume
  • 1 year standard warranty on absolutely all materials
  • 20 year roof weather-tightness warranty

Buildings that Provide the Highest Defense Against Incident

Enjoy the confidence in knowing that your structure is made to last. Your fire-resistant and weather proof building will be a reliable and integral part of your business for years to come.

Steel Doesn’t Mean Compromising Comfort & Energy Efficiency

When maintaining a comfortable temperature affordably is important, there are a range of insulation options to select that are easily integrated. Your space will be affordable to heat in winter and cool in summer.

Get Your Building Faster

Choose a traditional structure for your industrial or manufacturing building and you’ll most likely wait a long time for design and construction delivery.

Steel allows you the same advantages as traditional construction, but with less waiting time and lower cost. All projects vary, but most ship within 6-12 weeks.

To further expedite the process, we recommend you take advantage of our building erection services as well. We rely only on contractors with whom we’ve built long-term relationships with.

8 Tips For Using Rental Storage Units

Over the years we’ve been tenants in several storage units, because sometimes you just need more space. There’s lots of reasons to rent one, but there’s also lots of tips and tricks to pick up along the way that they don’t mention at the front desk when you sign up! Here’s a few things we’ve learned in our adventures of paid storage, all of which we wish we would have known before hand

1. Pallets, Pallets, Pallets: Keeping your items off the floor is almost essential. It might sound silly, but before renting your unit, there’s no way to promise that the melting snow won’t come under the door, or the adjacent unit won’t have a spill that soaks its way into your heirloom sofa.

2. Wrap What You Can : Each time we use a storage unit, we wrap what we can in industrial plastic wrap. That way, we know that things are sealed up tight and it won’t collect dust or creepy crawlies while it’s doing time. Check out Uline for easy ordering of large rolls.

3. Use A Hefty Small Lock: Although most units have security in them, that doesn’t mean they’ll always be paying attention. Find an all-weather pad lock that has a short arm to ensure a bolt cutter can’t slide it’s way in to be sliced open!

4. Label, Label, Label: Even though you know exactly what you’re putting in your storage unit at the time you open it, that doesn’t mean in 6 months when you need back in it that you won’t be digging for ages and opening random boxes until you find what you’re after. Label everything. The hidden, the obvious, and you can even go as far as to make a checklist that hangs inside the door telling you where something might be (back right corner under the desk = cameras to sell on eBay).

5. Plan For Temperature Changes: Although this might not be an issue in some parts of the country, there are a few things that don’t like the cold or the heat and should either be double wrapped or well insulated or not stored at all. Electronics, vinyl records, old photos (if humid), things of that nature all come out a little less awesome when not stored properly.

6. Winter? Carry Sand!: Most outdoor storage units are built so water drains away from doors and to one central location. …. in theory. Quite often what happens is large ice slicks can form outside the door, making it almost impossible to get to your goods without risking life and limb. Carry cat litter, sand or even spare sheets of plywood to help you unload or access your items.

7. Protect The Space: While we’re concerned about protecting what we put in the unit, protecting the unit itself is also important — there can be heavy fines for scarring the unit during your tenancy. If you rent one to use for, say, your freelance furniture flipping or restoration business, make sure to plastic off the walls and floors to catch glue drips and sprays (not that we’ve ever accidentally spray painted the inside wall pink before…. oops).

8. Bust Out Your Tetris Skills: Even the smallest storage unit can hold a great deal, just make sure you use the space wisely which means packing things all the way to the ceiling. Bringing in plywood to lay across several boxes can help stabilize layers as your stacking it up, up and up! It will take the pressure off the tops of your boxes and help keep things safe.

Do you have a storage unit tip you wish someone would have told you before renting your first one? Let us know in the comments below!

Burj Khalifa

 Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Height: 2,717 feet

Completion Date: 2010

An innovative tripedal design, along with the projecting shapes of its edges to cut through the wind like the front of a boat to reduce turbulence, both affording greater stability, are but a few of the smart ways the Burj Khalifa succeeded in rising to its record-setting height. The building soars more than 700 feet over its nearest competitor.

The race upward as accelerated In the last couple decades, as governments and citizens have pulled together the means for erecting record-breaking tall buildings, particularly in emerging economies in East Asia and the Middle East. “It’s a recognition that they want to project their image out into the global scene,” says Daniel Safarik of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) located at the Illinois Institute of Technology. “One easy way physically to do that, in a relative sense, is with a skyscraper.”

The same designer of the Burj Khalifa, Adrian Smith, has drawn up an even more ambitious project, the Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia. It is slated to open in 2017 and soar to 3,281 feet—a full kilometer.

About Steel Buildings Turned Into Homes

Projects Greater than $75 Million

NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte, N.C.

Building Team
Owner/Developer: City of Charlotte; NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte, N.C.
Owner’s Representative: NASCAR, Charlotte, N.C.
Architect: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners LLP, New York
Architect: Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, Charlotte, N.C.
Structural Engineer: Leslie E. Robertson Associates, RLLP, New York
General Contractor: BE&K Building Group, Charlotte, N.C.
Steel Fabricator: SteelFab, Inc., Charlotte, N.C.
Steel Detailer: Hutchins & Associates, Clemmons, N.C.
Steel Erector: Williams Erection Company, Smyrna, Ga.
Bender/Roller: SteelFab, Inc., Charlotte, N.C.
Design-Build Contractor for Ribbon: Zahner, Kansas City, Mo.
Consultant: Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Inc., New York
Consultant: Jaros Baum & Bolles, New York
Photograph: Paul Warchol Photography Inc.

In approaching the challenge of designing a Hall of Fame for NASCAR, the project’s design team sought to capture the essential spirit of NASCAR and its sport in architectural form. In exploring the possibilities for expressing speed and spectacle, the team was drawn to the arena of action, the racecourse, where fans and race teams come together each race week for the spectacle of race day.

Curving, sloped forms are evocative not only of the dynamic and changing sinuous shape of the racetrack but also of the perception of speed, which is at the heart of the NASCAR spectacle.

The expression of these forms could only have been achieved through the use of steel, as cladding and as structure, encompassing several long-span elements, architecturally exposed structural steel (AESS) elements, and employing innovative approaches to connections, steel detailing, and the interface of structural steel with stone, glass, and steel as a finish material.

The Hall of Fame consists of four basic elements:
• A large glazed oval shape forming a Great Hall serves as the symbolic core of the Hall of Fame.
• A rectangular volume houses visitor services, including entry and exhibit space on upper floors.
• An expressed Hall of Honor is situated as an iconic element within the Great Hall.
• A broadcast studio enlivens the Hall of Fame Plaza, the sweeping forecourt that welcomes visitors.

The results of the teams’ explorations of speed and spectacle evolved into an architectural element – the Ribbon – 5,000 stainless steel panels that envelope the full-block building in a form that speaks to the imagery and spirit of NASCAR. Made of stainless steel in a lustrous angel-hair finish that softly reflects light and accentuates its dynamic aspect, the Ribbon is a sculpted form that changes as it wraps around the building.

Within the Great Hall, a signature element of a curved banked ramp leads the visitor from the main floor to exhibit levels above. The ramp contains a display of race cars frozen in a moment from a race, capturing in another way the speed and spectacle that is the essence of the sport.

Steel trusses are used to achieve significant spans in the project:

• A set of trusses spanning 175 feet achieve a grand column-free ballroom • A 100-foot-long, bi-level footbridge, supported by a pair of one-story-deep trusses, links the ballroom with the existing Charlotte
Convention Center.
• Two- and three-story-high trusses cantilever 30 feet over the broadcast studio.

Among the AESS elements in the project is the Vierendeel frame supporting the glass fac?ade of the Great Hall. The lateral-load-resisting system at this fac?ade also functions as the braced frame that supports the Ribbon.

The project’s structural bid set was issued six months before the 100% CD set. The steel tender was divided into multiple packages to enable steel detailing and fabrication of portions of the project to proceed before the full design was complete. A 3D model was used in the steel detailing to identify and resolve potential conflicts in the field. These efforts and effective team communication allowed the long scheduled public opening to occur on time.

Choosing the Right Wear Resistant Steel Plate Grade

Steel plate has become widely used in the construction and manufacturing industries, and projects cannot exist without it. What many people fail to realize is how not all steel plate has been created equal. In fact, a lot of steel plate grades have unique traits that will make them better for more specific applications. For example, structural steel grade A514 T-1 has been designed so that it has been heat treated. That means that you have higher strength capabilities, and it will weld better. In addition, it is more durable in sub-degree temperatures, so it is better for sub-temperature states.

Different Steel for Different Applications

Wear resistant steel or AR360 steel, has been designed for carbon manganese specification. That means that it will be wear resistant, and in many cases, it will resist twice as well as what you receive with ordinary plate steel. Wear resistant steel sees a lot of use in the development of heavy construction equipment. The truth, however, is that you have to choose the right grade steel plate for the application. You have a lot of different varieties, and you should take the time to choose the correct one.

Many Varieties of Steel Plate Grade

One steel plate grade will be better for mining projects while another works best for welding. AR360 steel has a minimum Brinell rating of 360, and it can withstand a tensile strength of around 177,000 psi. AR400 is another abrasion resistant steel, and it gives you a high degree of strength and hardness. This type of steel has the ability to protect against impact abrasion, and it has sometimes been used for mining equipment. AR500, a steel plate grade that has been manufactured through heat treatment, has a strong hardening and welding and forming capabilities. You have exceptional protection from wear and slide wear and heavy wear. AR500 can withstand high impact stress, and the temperature does not matter much.

Choosing the Right Resistant Steel

When choosing a steel for your application, you have to look at how it will hold up over the long term. The resistant steel that is best for your application will last longer, and it will be made to withstand the pressures of the application. Many times the steel will have a specific resistance built into it for that application. For example, AR400 has been designed so that it resists corrosion and conditions of the atmosphere.

Picking the right steel for the right job is essential. It comes down to doing a little research before you decide on a steel plate grade. If you simply choose any type of steel and it’s not intended for that type of use, that is when people run into problems with durability and wear. The first step to buying the steel plate grade is realizing that there are different types.

Arizona Turf Wholesalers: Why Choose Fake Lawn

Every home owner definitely dreams of a perfect green lawn; however, not everyone able to make time and effort to maintain one. There is always something fascinating about the well-maintained grass; you can throw a ball, lying down on a hot day, or just sitting out on one warm night; green grass lawn is always a pleasure. Maintaining the ever green grass requires lots of time, effort, and also money. On the other hand, an ever green lawn is also not environmental friendly; that is why Arizona Turf Wholesalers can be a great choice for a great looking lawn.

Why fake lawns?

You surely wonder why the ever green lawn is not environmental friendly. Unfortunately, the truth is that millions gallons of clear and drinkable water are thrown away to water the lawns for year round. In addition, for about thousands of gas-powered mowers used to keep the watered grass in neat condition. Do you know that it puts pollution in the air 11 times more than a car every hour? Sadly to say that it is actually the truth which proves that it is not an environment friendly thing. Also, ever green lawn needs constant fertilizing but you should know that the residue of the fertilizer can run and polluting the sea. In addition, the sound from mowers and blowers from different lawn on different day is just a nerve wrecking noise. That is why the choice of fake lawn from Arizona Turf Wholesalers can be the great choice for an ever green lawn which also good for the planet.

If you care about the environment and want the great ever green lawn as well; the fake lawn can be the great option as it safe for the planets, eco friendly and also safe water. Arizona Turf Depot is one of the top fake grass and turf suppliers in Phoenix, Arizona. The fake grass from Arizona Turf Wholesalers can be used to make your lawn beautiful as well as make the football green. Our fake grass has several benefits which surely will put your heart at ease as it is not harming the environment. Our synthetic grass is earth safe since it does not need to be cut using the gas powered mowers, lead free, no pesticides need, no toxic, and also will not leave stain as well as has good mold and mildew resistance.

In addition, the synthetic grass is also pet friendly, made of recyclable materials, and appears in fresh cut shape without the need to regular mowing. If you care about the fresh water left in the planet; you can put your heart at ease since the artificial grass literary does not need to be watered. It almost requires no maintenance at all and does not need to reseed or replanting for the new grass for a beautiful lawn. Speaking of no maintenance, artificial grass also provides good drainage system which makes it more resembles the real green grass.

What to consider when installing the artificial grass?

Synthetic grass indeed sounds very fascinating for you can get the ever green beautiful lawn without the need to maintain it. Even though the price is not cheap; however, the beauty and maintenance free can cover the whole things up. But, before you installing the fake grass of turf from Arizona turf wholesalers, here are few things that you need to consider.

The weather – you may think that even though fake grass and turf is maintenance free since it cannot be ruined. Unfortunately, if the weather and natural condition in your area is prone to natural hazard; it can lead to fake grass damages. Some fake products indeed require dedicated maintenance for couple of days to make the thing last long. That is why it is essential to know the material of the grass.

Choose quality over price – in this kind of economy condition, most people consider of getting cheap price. However, the old saying for what you get is what you pay is always true. You can think of buying the artificial grass or turf as a long term investment; that is why you should put quality over price.

Consider your traffic – even though some artificial grass or turf can be considered traffic durable, but, some fake grasses are designed for less frequent foot traffic.

One of London’s Best Concrete Suppliers

Supplying high quality ready mix concrete is not just a craft; it is an area of expertise. If your suppliers do not understand their product, that means that they do not understand supplying at all and are not worthy of the craft. We take our craft very seriously and would like to make you a part of our very exclusive supplying experience.

We offer our clients in London with some of the highest quality material and a variety of ready mixed concrete in whatever quantity our clients’ desire. With our clients’ happiness in mind, we make it our priority to provide top of the line concrete mixes which would bring nothing but a smile to the customer’s face.

We recommend our c20 concrete or c35 concrete. Both c20 concrete and c35 concrete are some of the highest quality products we offer and they are, without a doubt, the best options out there if you are in search of something affordable, but of a good quality. Our ready-made concrete mixes are of such a quality that you would not need to turn to any other supplier and even if you did, you would continuously compare their standards with our benchmark worthy standards.

What sets us apart from the rest is the fact that we are dedicated to show our customers what we are made of and the level we can achieve as concrete suppliers in London. Clients can also take advantage of the concrete pumping services we offer and we guarantee that all and any of our services will not let you down.

Use our concrete supplying services and we will be sure to give you what you need along with service with a smile. There is absolutely no order too big or too small for us to supply and we take pride in the amount of orders we can handle with the efficiency we make use of.

Order now and we can guarantee that you will get a timely delivery with the exact amount and quality you require. Being leading concrete suppliers in London means that we provide the material to your specifications, whether domestic or commercial, large or small; we have whatever you need and we guarantee that you will get what you need at an affordable price at your convenience (you name the time and place and we will send our supply to you).

Hire the Best AC Contractor in Phoenix

Air conditioning system is an important part of the home. It provides comfort during the summer season. People often suffer from the humidity and heat when they are at home. If they want to deal with these discomforts, they must have an air conditioning Phoenix repair and maintenance service. A reliable AC repair company will help them with quick air conditioning replacement or repairs. Finding an honest contractor is quite imperative for many reasons. First of all, people need to hire an expert that works in a safe manner. Given the fact that faulty service can be quite costly and dangerous, a professional AC contractor is a compulsory necessity.

1It’s Important to Compare HVAC Contractors

The simplest way to find a reliable AC conditioning contractor is through the internet. People only need to look for contractors who belong to seasoned organizations. There are some groups that focus on this industry. Each of them has strict codes and guidelines to maintain the quality and safety of their services. If necessary, the customers should talk to those potential contractors either in person or by phone. Are their employees insured and bonded? It’s important to get a contractor that is insured even if it’s an individual AC specialist. Injuries and damages happen. That’s why an insured contractor is needed.

A good air conditioning contractor has referrals from the clients. People should ask for information about recent customers. The purpose is to find information whether or not such service is reliable. The next thing to ask is whether or not the contractor provides a free quote. It’s important to know the details about the price and description of the project. Good contractors may inspect their customers’ house to find out the details. A license is also important. Customers should choose a licensed air conditioning contractor. Not to mention they must do some research online. Professional contractors have an official website, after all.

Once they have narrowed down their choice to some air conditioning Phoenix contractors, they can start checking them with BBB. It’s useful to find whether or not there is a history of complaints. A professional air conditioning contractor doesn’t only help the customers to repair their HVAC system but they also help to install the system into their home. Thanks to the internet. People can compare and review several contractors at once without leaving the house. Before hiring a contractor, they must know both pros and cons of the company. This helps them to make the best choice.

2Why Do People Need a Reliable Contractor?

There are both local and online contractors. People should review these companies thoroughly before they hire one. At least, they need to check the companies’ background and services. Installing and repairing HVAC system takes much knowledge. It also requires proper equipment. Customers should make sure they choose a contractor that owns both experience and technical tools. Otherwise, the result will be disappointing. HVAC contractors are numerous but there are only a few reliable services out there. If people need to install or repair an air conditioning system, they need to pick a highly skilled contractor that has years of expertise.

The prime reason people don’t use an air conditioning contractor is the risk of a scam. They have read some negative news regarding scam HVAC services. Given the fact there are many unreliable companies, they must be more aware of the options. At least, they need to get a contractor that owns a license and a warranty. Poor quality HVAC services may cause disappointment. They work without insurance and they don’t really care about customers’ satisfaction. As the result, the air conditioning system isn’t going better. Professional AC contractors should know how to perform a thorough maintenance, too. They need to check leaks, refrigerant amount, oil motors, thermostat accuracy, and more.

There are many options of air conditioning Phoenix contractors. Not all of them are reliable, though. The best contractor provides the most satisfying work. They can help homeowners conduct regular HVAC maintenance and repair. They won’t cost arms and legs, in fact. People in Phoenix should take advantage of a reliable contractor like Morehart AC. They specialize in heating and air repair. There are other services people can get including duct repair, air balancing, and HVAC installation. They are licensed. Plus, they have gained lots of customers’ positive reviews.

The Toughest of Steel for the Toughest of Jobs

Economically speaking, steel is one of the most essential materials around the world. We rely on it for housing, transportation, food and energy production, and lots more. With so much depending on this one material, steel production companies and distributors, like Alro, have to make sure their steel is the sturdiest and safest to use.
Alro’s carbon steel expanded metal is made to withstand the daily routines of life. Whether it’s used to build high-traffic railways or for small reinforced walkways, our expanded metal won’t let you down. Because of the precise blend of materials, including along with our stretched and slit design, our metal possesses superior strength and safety. Our expanded metals are also slip-resistant, and won’t unravel when cut.
Our expanded metal conveniently comes in five different grades: flat expanded, perforated sheet, stainless steel flat expanded, stainless steel standard expanded, and standard expanded.
Flat expanded metal is our most versatile expanded metal. It’s made by taking standard expanded sheets and putting them through a cold roll which flattens and decreases the strands and bonds. This elongates the diamond pattern of the metal for maximum effectiveness. It also comes in stainless steel flat expanded which can be used for a variety of projects.
Perforated sheet metal is perfect for architectural and screening use. Holes are stamped or punched through the sheet metal which strengthens the bonds, and in turn, allows the metal to be so heavy-duty.
Standard expanded is metal that comes straight from the press. The uniform angle of the bonds and strands makes stainless steel standard expanded metal flexible but extremely durable. It is also offered in stainless steel standard expanded.
For more information about our expanded metal, and other great products we proudly offer, check out at our website or give us a call at 888-888-2576.

Fitness Tips Guys Are Gonna Love

Well, guys, becoming fit is all about taking care of yourself. Exercising also will encourage your spouse, girl friend or significant other, showing her that you care about your relationship. And if you’re a dad, then getting in shape will set the example for your children. Here’s the top fitness tips for guys — you’re gonna love them!


  1. Wear the right shoes. Brand isn’t so important when it comes to footwear. You need shoes that fit right and are padded, provide some give when you’re on the go and feel right. Poorly fitting shoes are not just a distraction, but can impede your exercise regimen whether you’re running or doing squats explains Fitness 19.


  1. Make no excuses. So, you missed a workout. No big deal, right? Unfortunately, it is a big deal as one miss can lead to two or three — before you know it you’re out of your routine. If you’re sorely pressed for time, then reduce the length of your workout. You may not be able to run for 45 minutes, but an intense 10-minute workout is better than nothing at all.


  1. Quit avoiding the difficult routines. Maybe exercise is not a challenge for you. But what may be lacking is a routine you’re avoiding, such as bench presses. Make a point to do the routine you hate first each time — it doesn’t matter if you’re not particularly good at it — you will get better, but only if you attempt it in the first place.


  1. Avoid the pain killers. You ache, you feel tired and you find yourself reaching for your favorite pain killer medicine, in this case Advil or Tylenol. Avoid the pain killers because they may suppress muscle growth after your workout. Instead, take a hot shower or relax in the sauna.


  1. Take a break when you’re sick. If you are sick, don’t exercise — give your body time to heal. Besides, your trainer and everyone else you come in contact with will be glad that you stayed home to mend.


  1. Stretch between sets. Don’t immediately go from set to set without stretching. By stretching for up to 30 seconds, you’ll increase your strength accordingly.


  1. Become a meat eater. Likely, you already are eating meat. When working out, it is important that you consume upwards of 8 ounces of meat per day. Meat will build muscle better than anything else you consume, so lose the vegetable-dominated diet to consume more meat.


  1. Improve your balancing act. In every sport, workout or exercise regimen, balance is a critical component and one that must not be overlooked. You should incorporate balance in your routine by standing on one leg an moving a medicine ball from hand to hand as well as lift it over your head. You’ll come away from these short acts a better balancer, a critical feat for any exercise routine.


  1. Be mindful of injuries. No pain, no gain — right? Well, pain can lead to injuries and injuries can put you out of commission. Every four to six weeks, it is okay to let up on the pedal for upwards of a week. That easing will enable your body to heal and prevent long-term injuries.


  1. Hit your goals. You have goals in mind, don’t you? The best approach for reaching a major goal is to set a date for it to be reached. Then, set targets for reaching your goal with incremental deadlines in place. Just as you work well with deadlines on the job, you can do likewise when you’re at the gym.


Fitness Tips


Your trainer will help you reach your goals and will provide the tips you need for your individualized workout. Commit yourself to working out on a regular basis and you’ll become stronger and better for it.




Insulate Your Steel Building: Everything You Need to Know

Insulation is an important building topic, especially in this era of sustainable building. Insulation is key to keeping a building’s interior comfortable and reducing the need for energy-consumptive heating and cooling. It is also important for moisture control and muffling sounds – both of which are serious considerations when designing and constructing a metal building.

metal building insulation

Insulation Goes Beyond Energy Efficiency

There are plenty of opportunities to make your building more energy efficient, including adequate insulation. However, insulation in a metal building goes beyond the basics of energy efficiency. When combined with the right radiant barrier (more on that below) insulation is integral to your building’s moisture control system, and moisture control is essential for the longevity of steel and metal building components, interior comfort and improved indoor air quality.

Your metal building insulation will also buffer sound transmission – both from the outside in, to the the sounds of machines, voices, equipment, livestock, etc., created inside the building.

Here are some considerations to help you decide if you need insulation and, if so, which type and quantity will be best for your project.

Does My Metal Building Even Need Insulation?

In most cases, if you are designing a metal building as a residence, office, school structure or any other facility that will have human occupants, the answer is yes. Even metal warehouses and auto shops can benefit from a modicum of insulation, even if it is only serves as the aforementioned sound buffer.

If you’re building a hobby shop, extra garage or industrial building and you live in a relatively moderate climate, you may be able to skip insulation altogether. Plan and design for the long-term and evaluate whether or not some amount of insulation will be helpful in terms of physical comfort as well as sound buffering.

If you decide your building needs insulation, there are other factors to consider.

Use a Radiant Barrier

A radiant barrier is used between the metal exterior and the insulation, mitigating heat transfer. One of the wonderful things about metal buildings is their ability to emit heat, but this can also be a detriment, depending on your climate. Installing a radiant barrier of some sort, helps to reduce heat transfer in either direction, which will also reduce condensation that can lead to rust and corrosion.

You can apply a radiant barrier on its own, or purchase insulation products with the radiant barrier affixed directly to the insulation material. There are two types of radiant barriers:

  • Non-perforated (also called vapor barriers)
  • Perforated

Your region’s temperatures and humidity levels will determine which is right for you. Perforated radiant barriers allow water vapors to pass through, eliminating the risk of condensation. When in doubt, perforated is typically the safest bet, especially if humidity is an issue.

Determine the R-Value Necessary in Your Geographic Location

The R-Value of insulation indicates a products ability to resist heat transfer. The higher the R-Value, the more resistant it is. If one of your insulating goals is to achieve greater interior comfort and energy efficiency, you will want to determine the best R-Value for insulation installed in a metal building in your climate.

Keep in mind that many of the R-Value charts found online are for wood-framed buildings, which are entirely different than metal buildings when it comes to heat transfer. If energy-efficiency is important to you visit the Metal Building Insulation Energy Code Compliance Guide, available at

Types of Insulation and Their Optimal Applications

Once you’ve determined the best R-Value for your geographic location and needs, it’s time to decide which type of insulation will be best for your metal building. If you’re upgrading or adding insulation to an existing metal building, keep in mind that the most cost-effective way to do it is ceiling/attic first (most heat is transferred via roof/attic spaces) and then working down through interior wall and crawl spaces.

In most cases, you’ll be using one or a combination of the following insulation types:

  • Batt and Blanket. This is the most common type of insulation, and is installed in roofs, walls or floors, and works best for stud spacing of 16-24 inches or a standard joist. It’s comprised of mineral wool or fiberglass and is usually the most affordable type of insulation, although it needs to be installed properly in order to perform to its intended R-value. It can gap, bunch, or shift in strong air currents, rendering it useless. In hangars, warehouses and less-finished metal buildings, blanket insulation is often visible. It can be ordered with a radiant barrier backing.
  • Loose-fill insulation. This is a popular option for green building enthusiasts because some types of loose-fill are made from recycled products. It is slightly more expensive but, because the loose-fill can be blown into tight corners and uniquely shaped spaces, the investment is recouped via better insulation and reduced air leads. Choosing loose-fill that contains cellulose fiber increases the insulating value by 30 percent compared with rock wool or other materials. You will need to install a separate radiant barrier if you go this route.
  • Spray foam insulation. This is another popular option. It’s one of the most expensive, but it’s also very effective. The foaming agent and a polymer such as polyurethane are sprayed directly where you want them and provide an excellent seal in addition to high R-value. Spray foam insulation’s ability to create an air barrier is especially appealing to steel and metal building owners.
  • Rigid board insulation. Made from polyurethane, fiberglass or polystyrene, rigid board can be cut to your desired thickness. They are often used in buildings where there is a more significant fire risk due to their heat resistance. It is easy for DIYers to use but let certain accommodations will need to be made, like longer fasteners and extended panel lengths, so let your building manufacturer know if you plan to go this route.

Insulation Options For Metal or Steel Buildings

Metal and steel buildings may be durable, but this choice of construction materials also presents a challenge when looking for insulation to use on such buildings. Choosing the right insulation for a metal building kit helps to reduce energy consumption and, in some states, allow those constructing the building to claim tax incentives for making the effort to save energy. Steel and metal panels alone offer no protection from the outside temperature, meaning there is no natural barrier to heat and cold. Adding the right type of insulation helps to control the conduction of outside temperatures. The result will be a building that stays cooler in warmer months and warmer once the temperature drops. There are four basic types of insulation, all of which can have their place in a metal or steel buildings.

Loose-fill Insulation

Loose Fill Insulation

This type of insulation consists of loose fibers or fiber pellets. These fibers are blown into building cavities with special equipment. Loose-fill insulation can be more expensive, but does fill corners better and reduces air leakage. Additionally, this type of insulation provides a better sound barrier. Cellulose fiber is made from recycled newspapers that have been chemically treated to be flame retardant and resistant to moisture. This is a good option when looking to take advantage of green construction perks. Loose fill insulation is generally used in walls, attics and floors where it is applied through a moist-spray technique or a dry-pack process. Rock wool or fiberglass provides fuller coverage that is better for steel or metal buildings where it is applied using a Blow-in-Blanket system that blows the insulation into open stud cavities. Loose-fill insulation has a R-3 to R-4 value per inch. Cellulose fiber increases the insulating value by 30 percent over rock wool or other materials.

Batt and Blanket Insulation

Batt or Blanket Insulation

Mineral fiber consisting of rock wool or processed fiberglass is typically used for this type of insulation. Batt insulation is usually the most inexpensive of the insulation available for use in walls. However, it has to be installed carefully to be effective. Batt insulation is generally used in floors, ceilings and walls. Batt insulation works best for stud spacing of 16-24 inches or a standard joist. Some forms of batt insulation include a radiant barrier backing. This is especially effective in steel or metal buildings due to the lack of natural insulation. Blanket insulation comes in rolls cut to specification and batt insulation typically comes in lengths in 4-8 ft. lengths. Both forms of insulation have an R-value of R-3 per inch.

Rigid Board Insulation

Rigide Board Building Insulation

This type of insulation is usually made from polyurethane, fiberglass or polystyrene. It can be cut to the desired thickness, increasing the insulating value from R-4 to R-8 per inch. Rigid board insulation is best for reproofing on flat roofs. It is also good for use on basement walls or as perimeter insulation in cathedral ceilings. It can also be used on concrete slab edges. This insulation needs to be covered with 1/2-inch gypsum board or other flame-retardant materials when applied to interior spaces. Weather-proof facing is required for exterior applications. Local municipalities may require additional covering.

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray Foam Insulation

This type of insulation is liquid and contains a foaming agent and a polymer such as polyurethane. The liquid mixture is sprayed into walls, floors and ceilings. Spray foam insulation expands as it is applied and turns into a solid cellular plastic consisting of air-filled cells. This type of insulation is good for steel and metal buildings because it fills every space, no matter how small. This type of insulation is ideal for usually shaped designs or getting around obstructions. Spray foam insulation is more expensive than batt insulation, but provides a better air barrier. This is a major plus for metal and steel buildings. Additionally, spray foam insulation does not require caulking and other additional barriers since it is already airtight.

Protection from Condensation

Condensation is a major concern in metal and steel buildings. Insulation serves to protect a metal building from condensation, which can cause damage over time. Insulation creates a vapor barrier to reduce how much condensation takes place directly on the steel panels. Another issues with a steel or metal building is humidity. A concrete foundation that is not fully cured can be a contributing factor to increased humidity and condensation. Steel or metal buildings located in colder climates can experience condensation from exposure to ice and frost. A regular pattern of freezing and thawing can cause frost to melt, drip water and produce condensation. Insulation placed around the red iron before metal sheeting is installed creates a “thermal break” between outside sheeting and internal framing to prevent condensation.

Protection from Mold

Insulation that is not properly installed may trap mold within the walls of a steel building. Improper maintenance is another common cause of mold in steel buildings. Animals and birds may damage insulation in metal buildings as they try to create a home. It is not always possible to prevent every possible cause of mold. The best defense is to be aware of what is going on inside the walls of a building. This is accomplished with regular inspections using special equipment to detect possible insulation issues. Once an issue is inspected, the area in question needs to be opened to correct the issue. This may include replacing insulation that is damaged.

Fiberglass and Insulation Materials

Fiberglass is usually the material of choice for insulation used in steel and metal buildings. Black or white vinyl fencing laminated on one side is usually a feature of the insulation to prevent moisture. White facing is sometimes used to counter the impact of ambient light by reflecting it away from the surface of the building. Any of the four basic types of insulation may be used in metal and steel buildings. The choice of materials used depends on several factors, such as where the building is located and how the overall structure is designed. Most metal buildings use different types of insulation for different parts of a building. If properly installed and maintained, a steel or metal building can be highly durable, energy-efficient and well-insulated for many years.

Searching For Industrial Buildings

Finding the right industrial building for your business can be a complex task. You have to factor in different structural elements and make several cost considerations. You also have to prepare for any contractor and service limitations and build-out or renovation policies.

To help you plan your investment, here’s an overview on the sector plus some important points to take note of.

Industrial buildings have a variety of uses, from warehouses and distribution centres to workshops and factories. Many are also suitable for retail purposes such as supermarkets.

Function aside, structures can be identified by their long spans, high bays and clear and flexible internal space. Most come in a cost-effective steel portal frame construction that features columns and rafters. According to a 2012 Construction Markets survey, more than 95 percent of industrial shed buildings in the UK use steel frames. Concrete and timber together account for less than 2 percent.

Price-wise, you’re looking at £45 to £65 per square metre for steel portal frame units with an eaves height of 4m to 8m. Buildings with 10m to 13m high eaves are a bit more expensive at £55 to £75 per square metre, as they require heavier frames.

Although final quotes may be your concern, the following are also key in your search for an industrial building.

  • Of the cost drivers for industrial units, building height is one of the most critical considerations. Determined largely by the structure’s function, this also impacts ancillary accommodation requirements. Just remember, the higher the building, the more costly the steel frame will be.
  • A fire-protection strategy is necessary for industrial units with mezzanines, internal offices or upper floors. So the design scheme should reflect the level of fire protection required.
  • Location matters. Site configuration and constraints will affect both your design and budget plans. Most companies opt for an out-of-town complex or park, as its size and layout are more conducive for industrial structures. Urban locations like the city centre are not as flexible and tend to be costly in terms of logistics.
  • If you intend to lease an industrial building, there are often charges such as special taxes and property fees that are not included in your monthly rent. These additional expenses should be set out in writing, indicating how much each charge is and how often payments need to be made. Find out as well if your lease covers certain utilities and services, so you can set aside funds if necessary.
  • In industrial parks, renovations and build-outs may be subject to a number of limitations. For instance, you may be required to work with specific contractors or vendors. Also inquire if there is any necessary approval you need to secure and timeframe you need to comply with.
  • A local planning authority can help you ascertain if your proposed development is permitted. So before you finalize any details, consult the local planning authority to ensure you won’t be breaking any laws. If an application for planning permission is required or should there be any restrictions, he or she will let you know.

Whether they are used as depots, factories or stores, industrial buildings are structured to provide you with maximum flexibility and commonly use steel portal frames. But the sector also has its own set of requirements and limitations, so make sure you take these into account at the planning stage.

With careful consideration and review, you can find a reliable unit that will give you the best value for your money.

What is the Cost Estimate of an Industrial Building?

An average commercial steel building costs between $16 and $20 per square foot, including building package (I-Beams, purlins, girts etc.) , delivery, foundation and the cost of construction. Since many retail & commercial buildings require additional finishing like insulation or façade customization, the cost may rise to $30 or $40 per square foot (SF). Insulating a commercial steel building is a necessary expense but is also a very good investment. In addition to moderating the temperature in a steel building, insulation can improve the acoustics by damping sound. It can also equate to significant energy cost savings.

Please note, because there are so many variables involved (interior & exterior finish being the main contributors) with commercial steel buildings, price figures for the average code per square foot can vary dramatically. Local building regulations can influence the cost of a steel commercial building. For example, buildings in colder climates may need to handle a large volume of snow, while buildings in areas that are prone to hurricanes need to be resistant to high winds. Before signing a contract for a prefabricated steel commercial building, it pays to check into local building requirements and make sure the building will satisfy building codes. In addition, most local jurisdictions require a building permit for the construction of a commercial steel building.

Commercial Building Construction Cost Comparison:

Construction Method Costs Per Sq Ft
Materials Labor Total Cost
Stud Frame $13-20 $10-20 $23-40
Post Frame $10-18 $10-20 $20-38
Steel Frame $7-10 $5-8 $12-18

Get 4 Building Quotes From Local Suppliers : Compare & Save

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Self Storage Metal Buildings for Mini Warehouse Business

Ironbuilt’s full line of self-storage, mini-warehouse and mini-storage buildings are the ideal option for your secure and cost effective storage business project. Construction costs are dramatically reduced as all the components are pre-fabricated and go together in a fraction of the time of conventional construction. With a variety of configurations, Ironbuilt’s steel mini-warehouse buildings can be customized to fit your property’s layout to allow for the maximum number of self storage units.

Ironbuilt’s unique hot-dipped galvanized framing option provides superior protection against rust. The galvanized components allow for you to easily wash down your floor area between tenants without damaging the building. Our metal storage buildings are precision manufactured for a secure tight seal. The Galvalume® PBR roof panels, extra-wide mastic and foam and metal closures in your Ironbuilt mini-warehouse buildings will keep your customers’ belongings dry, prevent insects, rodents and birds from entering the self-storage units.

Mini-storage systems are versatile and provide flexibility in the selection of the storage unit bay sizes. Ironbuilt offers two different insulation packages to choose from allowing you to climate-control some or all of your spaces. The storage bays can be custom designed to allow partitions to be added or removed at a future date. Gutters and downspouts keep the rain from running down the doors of the building.

Versatile Self-Storage Steel Building Systems

The Ironbuilt mini-warehouse buildings system can meet every type of mini-storage need. We offer many different storage building systems with various layouts to target your specific market.  Climate controlled self storage buildings often use a gable style building with an interior hallway. For smaller storage building models you can use a single slope building with a row of units with entry from one sidewall. The typical mini-storage system will use a gable style building with entry along both sidewalls. Whatever your preferences are for the building style and bay sizes, an Ironbuilt project designer will work with you to achieve an effective design that stays within your budget.

Mini Storage Floor Plan Layouts

The mini storage building layouts below demonstrate some of the different storage unit sizes that are available and can be custom configured for your buliding.

Mini Storage Advantages

  • Every Ironbuilt mini-storage warehouse is 100% USA made with the highest grade commercial Steel
  • Superior weathering properties are guaranteed with a 40 Year Warranty on polyester baked on enamel wall panels
  • Ironbuilt’s mini-warehouse buildings utilize a Galvalume® coating that carries a 25 Year Limited Warranty
  • Our self storage buildings are safe, secure and strong, manufactured to last a lifetime
  • Your building comes with a Lifetime warranty on wall and roof sheeting fasteners
  • Over the last 20 years we have assisted hundreds of business owners build reliable mini-storage operations
  • Our experienced project designers will help you design buildings with the most efficient mix of storage sizes

Call Ironbuilt today at 1-800-805-0084 to speak with an Ironbuilt storage system specialist to discuss the market you wish to target and we will help design the most effective building at the best self storage building prices.

Two International Finance Centre

Location: Hong Kong, China

Height: 1,352 feet

Completion Date: 2003

Across the harbor from the International Commerce Center (number 6 on this list) this building has the fortune of being sited over relatively shallow bedrock, about 100 feet down. (Closer bedrock means a foundation does not have to run as deep.) Still, for stability, Two International Finance Center sits on a “raft” foundation—a thick slab of concrete reinforced with steel, typically used in soft soil or marshy conditions.

Guangzhou International Finance Center

Location: Guangzhou, China

Height: 1,439 feet

Completion Date: 2010

This skyscraper’s exoskeleton prominently displays a diagrid structural system, in which steel support beams crisscross diagonally, forming diamond shapes made up of two triangular sections. These sections cut down on the amount of steel needed compared to conventional frames while remaining structurally sound.

Petronas Towers 1 and 2

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Height: 1,483 feet, each

Completion Date: 1998

A two-story skybridge connects these twin towers at the 41st and 42nd floors. It not only gives the structure its iconic look, but it also “speaks to the future of tall buildings” and urban development, Safarik says. That future will involve connecting tall buildings at height, he argues, so that people in large buildings can cross from one to another without going all the way down to the ground and up again. Few but the Petronas towers have that feature today.

One World Trade Center

 Location: New York City, United States

Height: 1,776 feet

Completion Date: 2014

The spire of One WTC attains a height of exactly 1,776 feet—a shout-out to the birth year of the United States. The building proper is only around 1,300 feet tall, but the CTBUH chose to count spire toward the building’s official height. That decision saw the new building controversially eclipse the Willis Tower in Chicago (later in this list) as the tallest building in North America. Safarik said spires have accordingly provoked controversy within CTBUH itself. “We continue to have this debate,” he says.

12 Most Superb Steel Structures in the World

During the mid-19th century Industrial Revolution a man named Henry Bessemer discovered an inexpensive method for mass producing steel, known as the Bessemer Process. Since then steel has become a cornerstone of American industry.


However, first impressions die hard and despite the numerous advances in steel making and the beautification process of steel buildings many people still think of steel as the clunky heavy metal used in old monstrous commercial buildings. This simply is not true anymore and steel is being used as the primary building material in thousands of beautiful homes, trendy office buildings and meaningful memorials, making it one of the most commonly produced materials in the world.

Take a look at these twelve steel structures which display the of versatility of modern day steel.

1. The Steel House in Texas

The brainchild of renowned artist and steel sculptor Robert Bruno, the Steel House was created after Bruno began to imagine what it might be like to live inside one of his steel sculptures. Bruno was studying quonset huts at the time and this rounded shape inspired the dome and foundation of the building then constructed the rest of the building from 110 tons of steel. The house still stands in Lubbock, Texas today.

2. The U.S. Steel Tower in Pennsylvania

The U.S. Steel Tower is the 37th tallest structure in the United States. The building is named after U.S. Steel who used to own the entire tower, and to this day is still the largest tenant. The building is not only a widely recognized staple in the Pennsylvania skyline but is also famously known for its large nativity scene displayed in the courtyard every year during the holidays.

3. The Eyebrow House

Dubbed “The Eyebrow House” after all the eyebrows this modern home raised, this steel home is actually a remodel of a traditional family dwelling in Southeast Portland, Oregon. The concept was created by architect Edgar Papazian who wanted to streamline the house, while retaining all the space and functionality of the second floor. The remodel only took a matter of days, and according to Papazian the most challenging aspect was getting the pieces off the truck they arrived on.

4. The Shun Hing Square Tower

This 69 floor building is constructed entirely from steel and currently holds the title of China’s largest all-steel building. It’s height is not the only notable aspect of the structure, the skyscraper broke records by averaging a building speed of four floors every nine days. The building currently houses office spaces, homes and retail stores and the skydeck on the top story is a popular tourist attraction in China.

5. & 6. The Petronas Towers in Malaysia

Constructed as twin towers, conjoined by a suspended walkway connecting the 41st and 42nd floors, these two buildings once used to be the tallest buildings in the world. Although they were ousted from this position in 2004 they still remain the tallest twin buildings in the world. The use of steel in this building was mainly functional, designed to shade inner offices from the intensity of the Malaysian sun.

7. The Taipei 101 Tower in Taiwan

Built in 2004, the 101 floor building became the first structure to stand over a half-kilometer high, even though its first five floors are actually underground. The building has 61 elevators and has been named one of both the Seven New Wonders of the World by Newsweek and the Seven Wonders of Engineering by The Discovery Channel.

8. The Seagram Building in Manhattan

Despite its highly expensive composition from steel and pure bronze, the Seagram Building has been called the most imitated office building in the world. The sleek, yet resistant design of its interior steel frame is replicated in a vast majority of modern office buildings.

9. The Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is more than just a famous landmark, it’s actually the world’s first steel-wire suspension bridge. Built by engineer John Roebling, the bridge took 14 years to complete, beginning in 1869 and finally being finished in 1883. The bridge itself crosses the standing at 1,596 feet long.

10. The Gateway Arch in Missouri

If you know anything about St. Louis you are most likely familiar with the “The Arch”, a 630 foot archway that visitors can ride up and down to see the sights of the city. What you may not know is that it’s built primarily of steel. The arch was constructed between 1963 and 1966 and was designed by famous American architect Eero Saarinen.

11. The Fang Yuan Building in China

The unique looking building was actually designed to imitate the look of old Chinese coins with rectangular holes in the center. The large circular top is structured steel rims which help provide both flexibility and circular support.

12. Beetham Tower in the United Kingdom

This tower is the highest structure in England that does not reside within London city limits. In addition to being one of England’s tallest towers it also one of thinnest buildings in the world. This sleek design actually causes the building to hum on windy days. The note of B flat produced by the building can actually be heard as far as 300 metes away, and has caused popular local TV show Coronation Street to have to create additional background noise on set to disguise the constant buzz.

UC Berkeley California Memorial Stadium Press Box, Berkeley, Calif.


Building Team
Owner: The University of California, Berkeley, Calif.
Architect: HNTB Architecture, Inc., Los Angeles
Architect: STUDIOS Architecture, San Francisco
Structural Engineer: Forell/Elsesser Engineers, Inc., San Francisco
General Contractor: Webcor Builders, San Francisco
Steel Fabricator: The Herrick Corporation, Stockton, Calif.
Steel Detailer: SNC, Compton, Calif.
Steel Erector: The Herrick Corporation,Stockton, Calif.
Consultant: Hassett Engineering, Inc., Castro Valley, Calif.
Photo: Tim Griffith

Built as a memorial to fallen alumni of World War I, California Memorial Stadium has been endured as one of the most picturesque venues in college football from its opening in 1923 to the present day. After it was discovered that the stadium was at particular risk in an earthquake, which is further exacerbated by the fact that the stadium sits directly over the Hayward Fault, the university undertook a large project to seismically retrofit as well as modernize the stadium. As a part of this project, the western stadium bowl was seismically retrofitted and modernized while keeping the existing historic perimeter concrete wall in place.

The “crown-jewel” of the project, however, is the new long-span two-story structural steel press box that floats atop the new west portion of the stadium. One of the main architectural design goals was to achieve a floating effect to the press box by reducing the number of press box supports to a bare minimum. The resulting press box structure is 375 ft long with two main spans of 100 ft long and end-span cantilevers of 33 ft.

The press box arches to follow the curvature of the existing exterior wall and is supported by four concrete cores (two at each end) and four center structural steel columns. The press box is two-stories with the first floor housing the print, radio, and TV media functions and the second floor housing a club space with views and seating facing the field as well as a dramatic 25-ft cantilevered balcony with a glass deck that faces campus with panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge.

The main structure of the press box consists of a story deep space truss that is comprised of radial trusses that are supported by primary trusses which span between the concrete cores and center columns. The occupant load for the entire press box is over 1,700 people, and over 1,350 tons of structural steel were used in its construction. The overall construction cost for the project was $215 million, with the press box portion being $40 million.

Due to the close proximity of the active Hayward Fault, the seismic design of the press box and supporting concrete cores utilized several design innovations to allow for good seismic performance. The cores and press box structure were seismically separated from the surrounding bowl and allowed to move completely independent of the main bowl structure.

To alleviate large bending and shear forces and economize the design, the press box was supported on steel pins at the center of each core. These pins allow the press box to pivot on the cores and minimize damage to the steel structure. Each 7-in. diameter high-strength steel pin is sandwiched by five 100 ksi steel gusset plates. The entire press box structure is supported on 12 of these high-strength pin assemblies.

The top level club space of the press box has a 25-ft cantilever balcony framing off the main press box space truss supporting a walkable glass deck. This balcony structure is also a space truss comprised of numerous small diameter pipe sections. This balcony truss system, which includes seismic and out of plane bracing, has several multi-member joint connections with some joints connecting up to eight pipe members. Due to the complexity of these joints, coordination had to take place in a 3D platform between the fabricators and design team.

Due to the complex nature of the site and surrounding neighborhood, there was limited space on site to allow for erection and construction of the press box. To address this issue, one of the largest crawler cranes in the country (750-ton Liebherr crawler crane with 276-ft boom and 65-ft counterweight extension) was used to erect the main press box truss in five large segments. The main space truss of the press box was assembled and welded on the playing field, adjacent to the seating bowl. Carefully selected splice locations were determined to ensure each of the five truss segments would be within the cranes capacity for weight and reach. Each of the five segments exceeded 75% of the cranes capacity and therefore were considered critical picks. The largest pick of the five truss segments was 165 tons at 160-ft reach, which took the crane to over 95% of its capacity.

The modernization and seismic upgrade of California Memorial Stadium required careful coordination and collaboration between the construction team and design team to bring this state-of-the-art press box to rest elegantly on top of the renovated stadium bowl. The stadium was able to re-open on time for the 2012 football season.

Is steel still the best material for building?

steel buidlingEver since the first skyscrapers went up in Chicago during the late 1800s, steel has been a major component in commercial building construction [source: Time Rime]. Before that, builders used cast iron. But they found that structural steel beams set in concrete allowed them to frame tall buildings that were more fire resistant and more structurally sound than cast iron. Since that time, steel (an alloy made by combining iron and carbon) has not only become the best building material for commercial construction but closely tied to economic health. In fact, many experts look to the steel industry as an indicator of how well the economy is doing. Steel has a long history in the construction industry, but is it still the best material for building?

Prices for steel company stocks are dropping, so it’s not surprising that there’s a question as to whether steel is still an ideal material for construction projects. The steel industry was not immune to the effects of the recent economic downturn. American steel producers like Butler Manufacturing have been facing layoffs, due to a slowdown in construction projects. Steel companies are trying to weather the economic storm just like other businesses, and less construction means fewer production jobs.

Steel is also getting more expensive because of the price of raw materials for making steel, iron and coal, are on the rise. And while steel is still popular, other construction materials are giving it a run for its money.

New Building Materials

While no one alternative has become a standard to replace steel, materials like engineered timber and metal composites are becoming more common in new construction projects.

Timber companies tout wood as a durable, renewable resource, and engineered timber is gaining some traction as an alternative to steel. For example, the new arts and media building at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology in New Zealand used engineered wood in place of typical steel and concrete construction, and the company that worked on that building says that it’s taking on more and more contracts that would have gone to steel construction companies [source: Nelson Mail].

Composite materials like Fiber Reinforced Plastics (FRP) and alternative metal alloys are gaining popularity in commercial construction, as well. Composites can be more durable than steel, and repairing damaged composite components is often less costly and requires less heavy machinery [source: Biswas]. The big drawback with these alternative materials right now is the cost. Because FRP and other composites are relatively new, they’re still costlier to produce than steel components.

Residential Steel

In residential construction, steel is actually gaining popularity. In the past, builders preferred wood over steel for framing residential buildings, but its durability has some builders looking to steel as an alternative.

The major drawbacks to using steel in residential construction are price and energy use. Steel is becoming more common in residential buildings, but in many areas it is still hard to find contractors to build residential homes with steel framing. A 2002 U.S. Department of Housing study built a steel home alongside a wood home to compare the costs of the two materials. The steel home cost about 14 percent more to build and required more time to complete.

However, steel has a higher strength to weight ratio than wood, meaning that steel components are stronger without adding much weight. That helps make steel structures stronger than wood, which is very attractive in areas prone to tornadoes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. Steel is also fire- and termite-resistant, making it more durable than wood.

Steel’s Pros and Cons

There are a couple of problems with using steel in construction. In very humid areas, coastal regions, or even in rooms like the bathroom that get very moist, steel will corrode unless builders use extra coatings of anti-corrosives to protect it . Also, since steel conducts heat and cold well, it’s not ideal from an insulation standpoint. To make a steel building energy efficient requires additional insulation.

How Do I Get a FM Signal in a Steel Building?

Trump International Hotel & Tower

 Location: Chicago, United States

Height: 1,389 feet

Completion Date: 2009

This recent addition to the Windy City’s skyline appears to reflect the signature angular styling of the Willis Tower, but the story setbacks—those ledges where the building steps back from its lower heights—were more explicitly designed to align with the heights of nearby structures such as the Wrigley Building and the Marina City Towers. The Trump International Tower and Hotel also stands as the tallest building in the world to use reinforced concrete as its primary structural material.

Zifeng Tower

Location: Nanjing, China

Height: 1,476 feet

Completion Date: 2010

Zifeng was designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the firm behind the Burj Khalifa, and the resemblances are easy to spot. Here, the cutaway look is meant to mimic a dragon wrapping around the structure. Another neat detail Safarik noticed during his visit is that many windows pop out several degrees, a little like those tiny smoking windows found in the back seat of older cars. “It’s pretty rare you can open windows in a building that tall,” Safarik says.

Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel

 Location: Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Height: 1,972 feet

Completion Date: 2012

Big Ben done bigger, the Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel was built to afford comfortable accommodations to wealthy Muslim pilgrims making the Hajj. A factor that contributes to the building reaching so high: its gigantic footprint—a broader base supports greater height, as we’ve all learned first-hand playing with blocks as kids. “I think this building is getting by on sheer mass,” said Safarik. “You can see the way that the other buildings around it have a stabilizing effect.”

Lee Hall III – Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.


Building Team
Owner: Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.
Architect: Thomas Phifer and Partners, New York
Structural Engineer: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, Chicago
General Contractor: Holder Construction Company, Atlanta
Steel Fabricator: Steel LLC, Atlanta
Steel Erector: Williams Erection Company, Smyrna, Ga.
Photograph: Scott Frances Photography

Lee Hall III is a 55,000-sf addition to Clemson University’s College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities in South Carolina. The building houses academic programs in architecture, art and planning, faculty offices and student workspace. Conceived as “a building that teaches,” Lee Hall III encourages informal learning through observation of its energy efficient design and exposed functional and structural systems. Lee Hall III has been awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Nearly all of structural steel components in Lee Hall III are the direct manifestation of the architectural expression. This building is an open double-height space, 35 feet tall, housing a secondary internal structure of mezzanines and bridges. The structures roof is comprised of a light-weight composite concrete deck structure supported by exposed W14 steel beams. The roof rises four feet in a gentle arc to drain a planted green roof, which is punctuated by 25, 7-ft diameter skylights directly above “column trees.”

The “column trees” consciously draw attention to the structural steel; they are comprised of 10.75-in. diameter seamless steel pipes with 1-in. thick walls and 4 curving “arms” built out of flat 1.25-in. and 1-in. thick steel plate. The unusually thick-walled pipe columns (ASTM A106 pipe typically used in oil and gas-line construction) allow remarkably slender columns and enhance their dramatic elegance. The four curving “arms” at the top of each column tree support lines of continuous W14 steel beams and allow the roof directly above each column to open into a skylight.

The north and south facades of Lee Hall III are comprised of a custom insulated low-iron glazing which spans floor to roof. By directly supporting the glazing on structural steel members (in lieu of conventional aluminum extrusions), the designers developed window walls of exceptional slenderness with minimal and elegant detailing that is consistent with the aesthetic look of the primary structural steel frame.

The lateral systems for Lee Hall III, consist of exposed “X” braced pre-tension cables on the north and south facades and back-to-back WT ordinary brace frames in the east and west walls. Beyond the window walls on the north and south faces of the building, a row of super-slender “Y” column supports a steel trellis of exterior exposed W6 steel beams and perforated metal panels. Each “Y” column is fabricated from 4.5-in. diameter hollow structural section (HSS) steel tubes and is up to 35 feet tall.

Nearly all of the structural steel in Lee Hall III, functions as both a load-carrying functional system and a sculpturally expressive medium. But perhaps what is arguably most remarkable about its use of structural steel is that the highly and expressive character was achieved without any expensive or unconventional fabrication techniques, special finishes, exotic connections, nor the higher tolerance “AESS” designation typical of this type of construction.

Instead, the team worked closely to refine conventional simple connections and fabrication techniques that could be built by any steel fabricator without undo expense. All connections were fully detailed in the structural drawings so the alignment, appearance and architectural character could be evaluated and refined prior to the shop-drawing phase, thereby eliminating the fabricators connection engineering time and costs. Although the structure features a curving, warped roof, no curved steel was used in the building’s frame — the geometry is a series of simple faceted arcs which nearly matches a true curve. Variation in arc radii requires the metal deck to warp slightly as it spans. The structural drawings clearly and simply convey the geometry in two-dimensional plans, elevations and details without the need for three dimensional modeling or the use of digital files.

Further cost-reduction was achieved by responding to the fabricators concerns regarding the blanket designation of “Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel” (AESS). Rather than simply applying this requirement to all of the exposed steel, the architects and the engineer identified only those aspects of AESS that were critical to the project’s success, and defined exposed painted structural steel requirements specific to the job. Remarkably, all the architectural steel in Lee Hall III was fabricated and detailed no differently than conventional structural steel.

5 Myths About Cross-Laminated Timber

Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) was initially developed in Europe as an alternative to stone, masonry and concrete construction. It is essentially mass timber plates made from smaller framing lumber laminated crosswise on their wide faces. North American CLT is typically laid up as three-, five-, seven-, and nine-layer panels of 2×6 lumber finger jointed lamstock.

Here in North America, one might first see these mass timber plates and wonder, “Why on earth would I need that big piece of wood to build with?” Well, there are several common misconceptions and myths surrounding the use of wood as a building material, especially these new mass timber CLT panels.

The first myth I always hear is, “It won’t meet the code,” then next, “It’s wood, it will just burn down.” My favorite is, “You are cutting down all our big trees.”

One of the best resources for clarifying the topic is the 2013 US CLT Handbook. FPInnovations—in collaboration with the American Wood Council (AWC), the United States (U.S.) Forest Products Laboratory, APA, and U.S. WoodWorks—published the comprehensive guide to provide technical information for building professionals, illustrating CLT applications adapted to current codes and standards. The handbook addresses a number of these common misconceptions about wood and CLT.

Myth #1 — “CLT is not in the Building Code.”

CLT panels have great potential for providing cost-effective building solutions for residential, commercial, and institutional buildings, as well as large industrial facilities in accordance with the International Building Code.

In 2015, CLT will be incorporated in the International Building Code (IBC). The IBC recently adopted ANSI CLT Standard PRG 320 into the 2015 IBC, (see US CLT Handbook Chapter 1, p. 2) so you can request a design review based on it now and submit it as an alternate material, design and methods (AMM).

 Myth #2 — “CLT is a wood product and, therefore, easily catches on fire.”

Like using a few 12-inch-diameter logs to start a camp fire, mass timber does not catch fire easily. In fact, CLT acts more like concrete. Mass timber is not conventional so it is very hard to light, and once it is lit, it wants to put itself out (see US CLT Handbook Chapter 8, p. 2).

A research project recently completed at FPInnovations showed that CLT panels have the potential to provide excellent fire resistance, often comparable to typical heavy construction assemblies of non-combustible construction. CLT panels can maintain significant structural capacity for an extended duration of time when exposed to fire.

Myth #3 — “You have to bring in a specialized crew to install CLT.”

Keep in mind, CLT is just another form of glue laminated timber (glulam). It is just wood, so it designs and builds on the earlier technology. CLT panels, like other industry panels (precast concrete or SIP panels), provide easy handling during construction and a high level of prefabrication facilitation and rapid project completion.

A conventional wood installation crew with other panel experience can lift, set, and screw down CLT panels, and with a manufacturer provided installation plan, it goes even faster (see US CLT Handbook Chapter 12, p. 1).

Myth #4 — “Mass timber is not good for the environment since many trees need to be cut down to create the building material.”

CLT is manufactured 2×6 lumber from trees harvested from sustainably managed forests, and mostly Mountain Pine Beetle kill trees. If we don’t use them, they decay and emit carbon back into the atmosphere.

Wood is also the only primary structural material that grows naturally and is renewable. In fact, according to “Sustainable Forestry in North America,” during the last 50 years less than 2% of the standing tree inventory in the U.S. was harvested each year, while net tree growth was three percent.

Myth #5 — “CLT is expensive.”

When considering the total in-place value of a CLT system, it is cost competitive to other plate building materials. But you also need to consider all the value added benefits:

• More savings can be found in the reduced installation cost, usually 50% cheaper than installing other plate materials.

• With an earlier project completion date, you are open for business sometimes months ahead of schedule.

• The building structure will weigh less than half the weight of other construction types, so the foundation costs less money.

• Job site safety is dramatically increased due to the prefabricated CLT panels and usually the only power tools are pneumatic drills.

The intent of CLT is not to replace light-frame construction, but rather to offer a versatile, low-carbon, and cost-competitive wood-based solution that complements the existing light frame and heavy timber options while offering a suitable candidate for some applications that currently use concrete, masonry, and steel.

Willis Tower

Location: Chicago, United States

Height: 1,451 feet

Completion Date: 1974

Formerly and still better known as the Sears Tower, this hefty, blocky office building’s design is unusual, and it will probably stay that way. “I don’t think you’re going to see something like this built again,” said Safarik. “It’s just so gigantic in its lower floors.” When the tower was constructed, huge typing pools filled whole floors, with armies of employees cut off from windows and natural lighting—a big no-no nowadays.

Projects Less Than $15 Million

El Dorado Conference Center, El Dorado, Ark.

Building Team
Owner/Developer: El Dorado Economic Development Board, El Dorado, Ark.
Architect: Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects, Little Rock, Ark.
Structural Engineer: TME, Inc., Little Rock, Ark.
General Contractor: CDI Contractors, Little Rock, Ark.
Photo: Timothy Hursley

Successful architecture tells the unique story of a specific place, combining history with future aspirations to create a timeless quality. El Dorado, Ark., is not a sleepy southern town, but home to the world’s eighth largest oil company, which was created with the discovery of oil in southern Arkansas at the turn of the last century. As oil in Arkansas was exhausted and related industries branched out globally, a city that reached 40,000 people had shrunk to 19,000 in recent years.

To reverse this trend, Murphy Oil implemented a stunning proposal, the “El Dorado Promise,” guaranteeing every high school graduate with good grades earned a free college scholarship. The new influx of families interested in the promise created the need to attract industry and a climate for renewed civic pride, a new Boom Town. The community implemented a series of public projects to increase exposure, including The El Dorado Conference Center, which is half public meeting space and half college student services center.

Drawing from its greatest industries of past and present to the educational advancements of tomorrow, the EDCC creates a memorable architecture intended to help propel El Dorado into a regional meeting destination.

Without the flexibility of steel, however, the unique story of this place would have been impossible to tell. The conference center weaves time, place, and story together, closing a gaping hole in the urban fabric between town and college, while serving as a beacon for the renewal of Arkansas’ original Boom Town.

Located between a historic, thriving downtown square and South Arkansas Community College, the site links “town to gown.” The square and college also influenced a building party of two naturally lit public halls, one on the path to downtown, the other to the college academic quad. These interior streets work like the town square, lined with a cafe?, bookstore, and public/college meeting rooms, while serving as galleries for the college and art center. The great halls intersection serves as the living room of the community as well as “college central” for student services.

The key component of a design philosophy of celebrating the industry is the honest expression of the steel structure, and the craft of its detailing instead of the typical applied ornamentation. Every steel column, beam, bolt, and connection is exposed in the same functional fashion as would be seen on oil derricks and the steel bracing and platforms that adorned them. Student lounges float on upper level platforms with catwalk-like bridges connecting departments. Students can see, and be seen, sitting above the public paths.

The main public hall is a repeating cross section of a derrick’s shape and bracing, creating a soaring cathedral like space, capped with a wood shed that recalls the long timber mills of this forested region. The repeating structural rhythm and vertical thrust of the naturally lit space is a subtle nod to El Dorado native son architect, Fay Jones – the spirit is there without attempting to replicate the master’s work. Steel plates and channels are carefully layered to create memorable elements in a collegiate gothic manner. Wood is inlayed in bracing channels as stiffeners creating an elegant, yet simple, expression of function.

A great brick arch that spans the entire cafe/book store sits adjacent to the actual steel structure, like a masonry ruin held in place by the preeminent construction method of today – a steel structure.

A large steel bridge arch that runs the length of the public hall supports the suspended auto court canopy, reflecting the steel arched roof of the campus gymnasium (an old armory) across the street. What appear to be lime stone columns, like the town squares courthouse, are actually sun control fins, stopped short of the roof, to honestly express the lighter steel structure beyond, which allows the roof to float above. Where wood beams are used, they are still clearly supported by the steel structure.


Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Building Team
Owner/Developer: Forest City Ratner Companies, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Architect: AECOM, Kansas City, Mo.
Architect: SHoP Architects, New York, N.Y.
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti, New York
General Contractor: Hunt-Bovis joint venture, Indianapolis
Steel Fabricator: Banker Steel Company, Lynchburg, Va.
Steel Detailer: WSP Mountain Enterprises, Inc., Sharpsburg, Md.
Photographer: Bess Adler

The Barclays Center arena is the 675,000-sf home to the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. The design-build project features 18,103 seats, an 85-foot open canopy that spans the entrance, and an ice floor for hockey and other events. The arena will host more than 200 sporting and cultural events annually with seating capacity increases to 19,000 for concerts and family shows. It features 95 luxury suites, four party suites, two conference suites, four bars/lounges, four clubs, a restaurant and several street-level retail stores. The project was designed to achieve LEED Silver certification.

The iconic feature of the of the arena is the weathered Cor-ten steel lattice that wraps around the structure. Rows of steel panels envelop the exterior including an entrance canopy that cantilevers 85 feet over the plaza. The facade design with 12,000 pre-weathered steel panels and the canopy were added a month after the GMP package was released and two months before the first steel mill order was due. This required the team to incorporate the developing facade design while keeping pace with the original schedule. Nearly 1,000 tons of steel was added to support the facade, which also became a prominent design feature.

The distinctive arched roof spans more than 380 ft and is supported by a pair of 350-ft tied arch trusses spanning the long direction of the arena. The roof system geometry is complex, further complicated by the additional loads imposed by the outer facade system. The building lateral system and diaphragms were designed to resist thrust forces from the roof arches, which were minimized by use of the tension tie.

The arena’s location in a tight urban setting near a subway station and train terminal presented a multitude of challenges for the foundation system. To facilitate truck turnaround, a pair of truck elevators were designed to feed a below-grade loading dock with a large truck turntable. Building columns in this area were transferred using large plate girders spanning over the dock.

The project’s structural engineer provide structural models, connection samples, and full connection design, which allowed the team to produce models quickly, store large quantities of information and coordinate with the entire team. From its initial design, the project constantly pushed the limits of building information modeling (BIM). The complex geometry of the fac?ade and the shortened schedule meant that the team needed to coordinate in a 3D environment and provide the information to the contractor in this format as well.

The schedule was adjusted frequently and changed even from hour to hour at the peak of construction. The design team consisted of staff members across multiple offices and practice areas. Managing the team’s efforts on such a large, fast moving project made coordination critical to the project’s success. Teams in Kansas City and New York designed the roof and bowl after which the two components were integrated. Construction support services teams worked on the structural models, model delivery and connection design. Erection engineering was performed in Chicago. Achieving integration of these services in a way that is seamless to the client required extensive communication, intense collaboration and careful management.

Design staff was maintained on site full-time to accommodate changes and oversee work. Weekly coordination meetings helped identify issues early on and develop solutions proactively.

Myths About Steel Buildings

Steel is one of the most popular material for constructing commercial buildings, but some myths concerning its properties and functionality just won’t disappear! To help you make a more informed decision, we have put together some of the most common myths about steel buildings and quick explanations of the facts behind the misunderstandings.

Get in the know!

1) Myth: Steel buildings create a noisy environment.

This myth probably originates from the knowledge that old-fashioned tin roofs were really loud during a rainstorm. With steel buildings, noise cancellation is achieved by insulation. Not only does this prevent outside noises from entering the building, it also helps to cut down on internal noises as well, acting as a damper to reduce echoes and generally lower the volume.

2) Myth: Steel buildings are difficult to heat or cool.

An uninsulated steel building may be difficult to provide climate control for, but a professionally designed steel structure includes complete insulation for the walls and roof. Once construction is complete, a steel building is as easy to heat and cool as your home, and has the added benefit of being resistant to sudden temperature changes outside, including the heat of a noonday sun.Steel buildings can have beautiful, intricate designs

3) Myth: Steel buildings are unattractive.

Steel is more flexible and versatile than any other building material, making it a great choice for a construction material. And because each building can be designed separately, there is no reason that your steel building has to look like anyone else’s. For even more variation and aesthetic appeal, steel buildings are often built in conjunction with other materials such as split-faced block or stone, giving you more design options and visual appeal than you can achieve with other materials.

4) Myth: Steel buildings cannot endure high heat stress.

For some unknown reason, many people are under the impression that steel buildings will melt if exposed to intense heat, such as a wildfire. The truth is that steel has a melting temperature of 2,500 degrees, and will not be damaged at temperatures that render most other popular construction materials useless. Window glass will flow like water and concrete will begin to disintegrate long before a steel building melts.

5) Myth: Steel buildings are too expensive.

Steel buildings are affordable

It is true that the initial cost of a steel building may be higher than using other materials, but the long-term cost will be significantly lower. Steel has a negligible maintenance cost, for example. Additionally, a properly designed building is less expensive to provide climate control, make repairs or even expand to account for future company growth.

6) Myth: Steel buildings cannot be altered or expanded.

The idea that what you see is all you get with a steel building is a gross misunderstanding of the flexibility and versatility of steel. Modifying a steel building is much easier and faster than making changes to materials such as concrete, stone or wood. This makes a steel building an excellent option for growing businesses, as it allows for easily integrating new construction with the existing structure.

Get all the facts

Do not allow common misconceptions dissuade you from considering a steel building. Metal is cost-effective, energy efficient and capable of growing with your business in ways that very few other materials can contend with.

7 Tips for Building a Shed

  • 1. Clear and Level the Area

Before you begin the construction of your shed you will need to clear and level the area. If you are building a wood floor you will need to keep it away from ground to prevent rot. You can either set the foundation on cinder blocks or set it on top of gravel (3-4 inches thick) this will prevent moisture from the ground.

  • 2. Construct the Foundation

The construction of a wood foundation is usually built using pressure-treated 2×6 lumbers. These parts are called the band on the ends and the joist in the middle of the band, spaced out 16-24 inches apart. The foundation frame will sit on top of pressure-treated 4×4 posts called skids. The skids will set on the cinder blocks or on top of gravel to prevent rot.

Cutting 45 degree angle cuts on the skids will allow the shed to be dragged easier if needed. Once the frame has been squared and leveled you can install the floor deck and nail it to the frame.

  • 3. Assemble the Walls

Now that the floor is completed you can assemble the wall frame on the leveled floor. You can build the wall frames using 2×4 lumbers. The top and bottom 2×4’s are called plates. Place the 2×4 wall studs 16-24 inches apart and nail through the plates and into the wall studs. While the wall frame is still on the ground you can install the siding to make it easier. When the wall is completed rise up and nail it into the floor.

  • 4. Assemble the Roof Truss

The roof truss can be built using 2×4 or 2×6 lumbers. There are different ways to build the truss, the most common is cutting out the rafters and assembling them using gussets. The easiest way to build the roof truss will be using plans. The other option will be to lay the 2×4’s or 2×6’s on the level floor set them how you want your roof and make a template. Once you are happy with the look of your template you can build the rest.

  • 5. Install Siding and Windows

If you will be adding a window you will need to cut out the wall and frame it for the size of the window. The siding will need to be installed following the manufactures instructions.

  • 6. Build the Shed Door

The shed door can be built using exterior plywood. Install 1×4 trim around the door and to the door opening. Add hinges to the trim on the door opening and secure to the door.

  • 7. Install Trim and Paint

When the shed is complete you can make it look nicer by installing trim and painting it. Install 1×4 trim to the four corner walls and wherever the siding meets.


If you feel you can build a shed yourself than more than likely you can regardless if you have never built one before. Begin by getting familiar with the vocabulary used on the plans. Most will provide drawings along with the name of all the parts.

Before Choosing Plans

Do not make the mistake of not building your own shed because you have never done it before. With the right shed plans you will get the same results the experts get. Begin by choosing plans you feel comfortable with and know you can follow along. Simply follow the steps provided, measure correctly, and in no time you will construct your own shed. Study the building guide to get familiar with all the steps and to get to know the names of all the parts.

Plans will not only make this building task easier, by giving you all the measurements to all the parts, you can as well get a good idea of the cost to complete this project.

When you are searching for plans be aware of the building requirements for your area. Most places will allow sheds as big as 12×10 without obtaining a building permit. Smaller wood sheds such as 4×4, 4×6, and 4×8, used to store garden tools usually will not require a permit.

Shed Design Description

Shed Style Description
Gable Shed Two even roof pitches.
Gambrel Shed Resembles a barn. For pitches.
Lean To Shed One pitch on roof. Space saver.
Salt Box Shed Two uneven pitches on roof.

The design of the shed you choose will depend on what you will be using it for and were it will be located. If you just need a small shed to place garden equipment, a lean to shed can be ideal. This design of shed will not take much room and it can be placed next to a fence or wall. The lean to shed has a single sloped roof design. It is one of the most common for garden tools as well as pool equipment and chemicals.

If you need lots of space for storage, garden room, or office space, the most common design will be the gable shed. The gable roof design has two sloped roof that resembles a little house. This design is the most popular because it blends will with your home. The gambrel shed resembles a barn. It is great for storage as no space will go to waste. A larger size gambrel shed will have enough room to build a loft. Having a loft will keep everything organized and allow you to store more stuff. By installing a ramp to the shed you can also store ATV, snowmobiles, jet skis, trailers, and such things.

Online Shed Plans

By searching online you can find some free shed plans that are decent. Most often though these plans will be geared towards more experienced builders and they will not be very detailed. If you are a first time builder look for plans you can understand, even if it means paying a little. Use plans that contain a material list and plenty of details if this is your first time. Most free plans available are not as detailed with the building steps, so free is not always a good idea. If you go to the top of this page I have provided a list of some of the best plans from reputable websites.

Are Plans Required?

The toughest and most important part of building a shed is finding the right plans. Sure you can just start building without plans, but do you know how it will look when you are done? Or you can search for free plans, but are they designed right? What I recommend is finding plans, even if it means you have to pay a little. Make sure that sample plans are provided so you know what you are getting. Do not make a purchase just because they show lots of nice sheds but no sample of the actual plans you will be buying. Look for the following before you decide to purchase:

  • A material list and a shopping list
  • Step-by-step detailed drawings
  • Instructions that are easy to follow
  • Plenty of details for measurements and assembly

Jin Mao Tower

Location: Shanghai, China

Height: 1,380 feet

Completion Date: 1999

This tower, which shares the pagoda styling of Taipei 101, harbors a secret: a 31-story atrium, part of the Grand Hyatt Shanghai hotel, with corridors winding around it in a vertigo-inducing spiral. “It’s one of the most spectacular spaces you’ll see in a supertall [building],” Safarik says. The Jin Mao Tower is a neighbor to the Shanghai World Financial Center, number 5 on this list, which served as the perch for this photograph.


Location: Shenzhen, China

Height: 1,449 feet

Completion Date: 2011

The Kingkey, or KK100, is the jewel of the Shenzhen, a major manufacturing metropolis just north of Hong Kong. The building’s distinctive, transparent, glassed-over top portion hosts a restaurant and mall.

Taipei 101

 Location: Taipei, Taiwan

Height: 1,667 feet

Completion Date: 2004

Taipei 101 “adopts some of the vernacular architecture of the region where it’s built,” Safarik says. “Here you have a classic, stacked pagoda look, which is a common thing throughout Asia.” Furthermore, the building has eight segments of eight floors each, a nod to the auspicious nature of the numeral 8 in the Chinese-speaking world.

Twilight Epiphany (James Turrell Skyspace at Rice University), Houston


Building Team
Owner/Developer: Rice University, Houston
Architect: Thomas Phifer and Partners, New York
Artist: James Turrell
Structural Engineer: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, Chicago
General Contractor: Linbeck Construction Group, LLC, Houston
Photo: Paul Hester

The Twilight Epiphany, James Turrell Skyspace at Rice University is a permanent outdoor experiential art installation consisting of a 72’x72’ outdoor roof atop a berm-like, two-level, below-ground viewing gallery. The Skyspace was conceived by artist James Turrell to create an atmospheric experience integrating light, sound and space that complements the natural light present at sunrise and sunset. Additionally, the Turrell Skyspace is acoustically engineered for musical performances.

The use of structural steel on Skyspace allowed the artist and design team to push the outer limits of cantilever span and slenderness, all the while concealing the structure to give the impression of a roof almost magically floating in the air. The slenderness of the columns, combined with the huge cantilevers and sight lines which hide the structural depth, create an impression so dramatic that visitors are often puzzled by how the roof stands up. The roof structure as envisioned by the artist could only have been realized with structural steel.

Visitors experience the Skyspace initially from a distance, and later by passing through tunnels into the main lower viewing area, where they can sit on granite (air-conditioned) benches and peer through the bottom surface of the roof. The lower roof surface serves as a palate upon which ever-changing hues of light are projected to alter one’s perception of the surrounding sky as viewed through a 14’x14’ oculus in the center of the roof. The project has received wide-spread critical acclaim and, perhaps more importantly, inspires delight and wonder in its visitors.

The structural system for Skyspace is comprised of a 72’x72’ octa-symmetric, tapered, cantilevering frame supported by eight slender, 6-in. diameter HSS steel cantilevered (flagpole) columns. Two concentric rings of steel girders support a series of tapered double cantilevers which reach out to the inner and outer roof edges. The lateral system consists only of the eight cantilevered columns. The tapered steel roof framing is fabricated from deconstructed, then built-up and tapered, W18 and W24 sections, HSS 5×3 perimeter tubes, and tapered stiffener plates, which reach beyond the primary beams out to the edges of the roof.

Minimizing the depth of the roof framing and aggressively tapering the steel was critical to the project, because the artist carefully calculated site lines to ensure that none of the top roof surfaces are visible when viewed from the ground. The fixed restraints on the framing depth and profile, together with the large cantilevers (nearly 25 ft along the diagonals) made designing and detailing the steel framing challenging. The tapered steel beam geometry was perfectly determined to follow the upper and lower roof slopes, with a consistent and small offset from the final surface. In addition to tapering the steel wide-flange sections longitudinally, the top flange of beams perpendicular to the roof slope is canted at the same angle as the top roof surface. The steel was squeezed within a very tight architectural package, with very small tolerances.

The tapered roof geometry continues beyond primary steel several feet until the upper and lower roof surfaces meet in a “knife edge.”

For the last 2 to 3 inches of the cantilever, there is so little depth that a tapered steel plate with stiffeners is first used; and as the depth decreases, only a flat horizontal plate extends about a foot further, until finally the architectural top surface of the roof transitions to a painted steel plate that forms the final foot of the cantilever. The outer edge of this 5/16-in. painted plate was sharpened to enhance the crisp appearance of the edge. The high-performance plaster lower surface of the roof extends all the way to the tip of the knife edge. The detailing of a seamless transition from primary steel into an exposed architectural surface that is simultaneously a structural cantilever was one of the project team’s greatest challenges.

Designing the structural steel to closely match the architectural roof profiles required close coordination with the technical architects and full detailing of all connections, primary and secondary miscellaneous steel members alike. The geometry of all steel and connections were fully specified in the structural contract drawings, leaving no interpretation to the fabricator.

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Springfield, Va.


Building Team
Owner/Developer: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Springfield, Va.
Owner’s Representative: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Baltimore District, Fort Belvoir, Va.
Architect: RTKL/KlingStubbins joint venture, Baltimore
Structural Engineer: RTKL/ KlingStubbins joint venture, Baltimore
General Contractor: Clark/Balfour Beatty joint venture, Bethesda, Md.
Steel Fabricator: SteelFab Inc., Charlotte, N.C.
Steel Detailer: SteelFab Inc., Charlotte, N.C.
Consultant: Hinman Consulting Engineers, San Francisco
Photo: Paul Warchol

Situated on the outskirts of the Capital Beltway adjacent to the Accotink Creek stands the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) 2.4 million-sf campus known as New Campus East (NCE), which has not only been designed to enhance the agency’s capabilities as one of the leading intelligence organizations in the world but also to achieve a unifying, cultural transformation. This effort to foster a unified culture is expressed in the design of the nine-story Main Office Building.

Composed of two curved 900-foot long overlapping bars around a 500-foot long central atrium and elliptical auditorium, the building’s overall form is in the shape of a lens – a fitting metaphor for NGA which serves as the nation’s eyes as the primary source of geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) for the purposes of U.S. national security, defense and disaster relief.

This defining architectural expression was accomplished primarily due to the benefits of structural steel. Steel facilitated the large bay size needed for program flexibility of the typical office, reinforced the architectural concept and imagery expressed in the transparent atrium roof, west end wall and exterior V columns, and accommodated the constraints of highly complex technical anti-terrorism/force protection (ATFP) criteria and a demanding schedule.

Managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Baltimore District, the project has its origins in the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC). RTKL Associates Inc. and KlingStubbins formed a joint venture to provide design services, including master planning and full architecture, engineering, interiors, site/civil, landscape and technology design.

At 2.2 million sf, the nine-story Main Office Building is the second largest single occupancy building in the world (after the Pentagon) and the largest federal building in the world to achieve LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

To fill the central atrium and interior of the building with light, the west end wall of the atrium was glazed with a curtain-wall system and the roof of the atrium was covered with a transparent fabric membrane. The west end atrium wall consists of a 135 foot tall by 140 foot wide curtain wall backed by a round hollow structural section (HSS) tube steel frame. Architecturally exposed structural steel (AESS) requirements were incorporated into the design, fabrication and erection of the space frame structure which served several functions. In addition to supporting the gravity loads of the curtain-wall, it supports atrium roof gravity and wind loads, and meets all mandated ATFP criteria. It also acts as a pedestrian bridge at several levels providing access and circulation between the towers.

The central atrium also serves as the main area of pedestrian circulation with a central elevator core linked by multiple bridges to each tower. Structural steel minimized the visual obstruction of these elements within the atrium and enabled them to be constructed after the towers.

The atrium roof is over 500 feet long and 45,000 sf, and consists of AESS arched steel tube members supporting an air-filled ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) fabric roof. Although it appears clear, the custom silkscreen pattern and air filled ETFE system provides significant daylight while minimizing solar gain. Being extremely lightweight minimized ATFP-related effects, and aided in reducing the tube structure size and tonnage.

The two 900 foot wings are configured to focus on the central atrium. These dramatic spaces, as well as, the atrium’s light filled amenities create a main street for the office building community. The west end atrium wall and the atrium roof structure enhance this effect.

The unique exterior design of the main office building was achieved using signature “V” columns spaced at 40 foot on center and featured along the first and second floor perimeter, providing a separation between the visually solid base and the triangulated precast facade of the upper six floors, while also continuing the diagonals of the upper facade. In addition to providing a strong aesthetic statement, the “V” columns participate in the lateral load resisting system and accommodate alternate load path/progressive collapse design.

As with every project, the main office building had its complexities with the most obvious being its size. Using innovative Early Contractor Involvement (ECI), the USACE Baltimore District awarded the construction contract early in the design process, at about 35% design, enabling the contractor to provide valuable input to the design process and facilitate fast-tracking and value engineering. In addition, the design team delivered phased procurement packages including steel mill-order and fabrication. A committed long-term partnering process between owner, designer and contractor began early in the design process, built trust and fostered a one-team environment. That collaborative effort fostered flexible and creative, attitudes by all parties, and was a key factor leading to the project being completed on budget and six months ahead of original schedule.

The Top 6 Revealed Myth

Yes. It is true. The internet today is filled with an overwhelming amount of information about steel buildings, and it can be very stressful when trying to make an informed decision. It is quite likely that in doing your research you have stumbled across material which may have included many misconceptions about pre-engineered steel buildings and is possibly the very reason you are hesitant in purchasing a steel building. The good news is, these misconceptions and myths are not true and we are here to help you deflate a few of the most common concerns about steel buildings so that as a consumer you will be armed and ready to get started on your next building project.

  1. “Steel buildings are too expensive”.

It is common knowledge that any large project can cost a considerable amount of money. However, what most consumers do not recognize is that steel offers you, the consumer, the best in durability, flexibility, and substantial savings of your hard earned dollar compared to most building materials available in today’s market. When deciding to purchase a steel building from a reputable company such as Norsteel Buildings, one of the first steps in purchasing is paying a small deposit. This small deposit not only provides you with an expert building consultant who will custom design the exact building you require, but it will also secure your steel price and make available to you the stamped engineered drawings required in order to obtain permits and design your foundation. This payment is applied to the overall cost of your building. It’s similar to a down payment on a home. We at Norsteel understand that this is most likely a “once-in-a-lifetime” purchase, and as exciting as it may be it can still be overwhelming for some. And understandably so, it’s a huge milestone to purchase and own a steel building. Norsteel buildings are pre-engineered, which protects
you from the extra costs of having to hire an architect to design them. Also, pre-engineered steel buildings can often be assembled with great speed, which saves you a tremendous amount of money on construction costs, and over the life-time of the building, they require very little maintenance compared to their construction counterparts. But, the most noticeable and most miss-understood benefit of a Norsteel building is the gigantic savings over traditional wood or brick and mortar construction. As a very reputable, well respected and high volume supplier in the industry, Norsteel Buildings is able to buy thousands of tonnes of steel at a much lower price than our competitors. We are not in this business to sell our clients the “least expensive” building, and the old “one-size-fits-all” tactics do not apply to us. Purchasing a steel building from Norsteel is a solid and guaranteed investment which will hold its value for the lifetime of the building, there really is no superior choice than going with steel. Structures built of wood that do not require a foundation are often not considered as permanent structures by many local permit offices and as a result they may decrease the overall value of your property. Although, traditional brick and mortar structures are somewhat durable they require costly construction crews and other professionals to build – not to mention the time it takes to construct which may take months, even years to complete and in the end are more costly per square foot than steel. It is no secret that steel buildings maintain their lifetime value, and very often, increase the overall value of your property.

  1. “Steel buildings are unattractive.”

When you think of a steel building what do you visualize? Most likely you will envision a boxy warehouse structure or simple storage building. And while those still exist and are popular cost saving and sometimes necessary options, steel buildings today are very customizable and are precisely designed by you for your specific project needs. The truth is you have probably driven past or walked into many steel buildings and not even noticed! With so many new manufacturing techniques and advancements in technology the improved aesthetic possibilities of steel buildings are countless. Materials are available in many different looks, colors, textures and designs. Contrary to what many consumers believe, Norsteel buildings are not pre-packaged and sitting on shelf in a factory, they are completely customizable to your individual project needs. When you decide to buy, you will work with our expert building consultants from conception all the way to completion and regardless of whether we spend 2 hours or 200 hours on your project it is all included in our services when you purchase a steel building from Norsteel.

3.   “Steel buildings will rust.”

Steel buildings are constantly exposed to the elements, which is the cause of oxidation and rust. Rust can be obnoxious and ugly, but more importantly, it can compromise the structural integrity of the building. You can feel secure in your purchase with Norsteel that our building materials such as the fasteners, purlins, girts and door jams are galvanized and carry with them a solid warranty. Galvanization extends the life of your building and is extremely low maintenance. Thus providing you with decades of low maintenance cost savings.

  1. “Steel buildings cannot endure high heat.”It would seem that many people are misguided and under the impression that a steel building will melt if exposed to intense heat, such as a wildfire or chemical fire. Truth be told that steel has a melting temperature of 2,500 degrees, and will tolerate damages at temperatures that render most other popular construction materials completely useless. Wood will quickly become ash, window glass will become liquid and concrete will disintegrate long before a steel building melts down.

5.   “Steel buildings cannot be altered or expanded.”
The idea that “what you see is what you get” with a steel building is a misconception of the great flexibility and versatility of steel. Modifying your steel building to allow for alterations or expansions is much easier and faster than trying to incorporate changes to traditional construction materials such as wood or bricks and mortar. Again, yet another reason why a steel building is a brilliant and cost effective option for growing businesses, because it allows for easily integrating new construction with an already standing structure.

6.   “Steel buildings are complex to build.”
This is one of the most often heard statements which is also one of the most untrue! Truth be told, pre-engineered steel buildings are actually very easy to erect. This is something that we at Norsteel Buildings can’t stress enough to our clients – our buildings bolt together with no welding required and all of the holes are pre-drilled. When clients ask us how hard it is to erect one of our buildings, our building consultants will tell them, “Remember when you were a kid and you built an Erector set or a Mechano set, our buildings are exactly like that but on a much larger scale.” Most people are able to erect each building without a contractor. How is that possible you might ask? Once you finalize the design of your steel building, you’ll get an easy to follow erecting package including detailed easy to read step by step instructions. And as mentioned previously, your building consultant will be available to answer any questions you may have during this process. This is what separates Norsteel from other building suppliers.

Norsteel buildings are cost-effective, energy efficient and capable of growing with your business in ways that other traditional building materials can’t compete with. And if that isn’t
enough to make purchasing a steel building an attractive option, our buildings can be shipped almost anywhere globally and constructed on-site, making our buildings a very viable solution for remote locations that may be difficult for other construction processes.

10 Consideration When Buying Outdoor Storage Sheds

1. Price vs. Quality in Outdoor Storage Sheds

Don’t let the price of outdoor storage sheds be the determining factor for you. Some shoppers, once drawn to the cheapest price, immediately thereafter put blinders on and ignore alternatives. Of the outdoor storage sheds I priced recently, those sided with cedar and vinyl (the highest quality sidings) were only a few hundred dollars more than outbuildings sided with lower-quality materials.

Consider how much those few hundred dollars are buying before rejecting the cedar or vinyl.

2. Design of Outdoor Storage Sheds and House Design

Remember that outdoor storage sheds are not merely utilitarian items. In addition to their utility, the appearance of outdoor storage sheds affects the overall appearance of the property on which they are installed.

As such, the unit you choose should be of a design that complements your home. Select one with a rustic design (for instance, board and batten) for a country-style house. If your house’s style is more formal, select an outdoor storage shed with formal features to match (for instance, if your house has an arched window, carry the theme over to your outbuilding).

3. Outdoor Storage Sheds as Part of the Landscape

Integrate your outbuilding into the surrounding landscape. Plants can help outdoor storage sheds blend into a landscape, rather than sticking out like sore thumbs. Open up and plant annual or perennial beds around your unit. You can also install trellises up against the walls of outdoor storage sheds and adorn the walls with vines.

4. Comparison of Siding Materials for Storage Units

Natural wood is considered by many the most attractive siding for storage units. But wood exposed over time to water usually rots. Some woods, however, contain natural resins that make them relatively rot-resistant. Cedar is such a wood and very popular as a siding choice for storage units. But even cedar siding is not maintenance-free. Coat cedar with a UV-inhibiting sealer/preservative every other year to protect it from ultraviolet solar radiation.

Apply a clear stain, as well, to help preserve its natural beauty.

For maintenance-free storage units, vinyl is the preferred siding. Vinyl lacks the visual appeal of wood, but if you own a house with vinyl siding, a strong argument can be made for selecting a storage unit that is also sided with vinyl.

Due to their susceptibility to rust, steel storage units should probably be avoided. Among metal storage units, rust-free aluminum is usually the most sensible choice in siding. Metal siding is hardly the most visually appealing choice.

Particle board and plywood are composed of pieces of wood products that have been pressed and glued together. Although they are popular siding materials for storage units, they wouldn’t be my first choice for regions where it rains a lot. For if water does work its way into these products (a possibility enhanced by their composite nature), then you’re lost.

5. Before Installing Storage Units: Building Codes and the Like

Become acquainted with zoning ordinances, deed restrictions and building codes.

Depending on your area, you may need a building permit. Building codes et al. may determine how far storage units must set back from property lines and what materials are acceptable for siding.

6. Site Preparation for Storage Units

Before installing storage units, lay down cinder blocks, concrete piers, a concrete slab or at least crushed stone.

7. Do-It-Yourself Outdoor Storage Buildings vs. Professional Installation

If you’d prefer all the work be done for you in installing outdoor storage buildings, then just select a shed from your local home improvement store and ask that it be delivered and assembled by the pros. But those who are handy may wish to save some money and order an outdoor storage building kit that comes with assembly instructions.

8. Will Your Outdoor Storage Building Be Big Enough?

Make sure the entry to the outdoor storage building is wide enough to accommodate your largest piece of equipment with room to spare. Many outdoor storage buildings that are at least 8’ x 10’ come with double doors, which usually eliminates this concern.

9. Accessories for Outdoor Storage Buildings

The small touches make such a difference! Some outdoor storage buildings come with French doors or cupolas. You yourself can add touches such as window boxes, shutters or weathervanes. Remember, you’ll have to look at this outdoor storage building every day of your life for the foreseeable future: your attention to detail could make the difference between eyesore and eye-opener. On a more practical note, purchase or build a pressure-treated ramp for easy access to your outdoor storage building.

10. When One Outdoor Storage Building Isn’t Enough

If the clutter on your property says one outdoor storage building isn’t enough, but your wallet disagrees, supplement your main unit with one of the less expensive, smaller models.

There are three main types of such units, all of which go by descriptive names. “Corner sheds” are made to fit precisely into a corner and run about 3’ tall by 3’ wide by 2’ deep. Meanwhile, either a “vertical shed” (5’ x 3’ x 4’) or a “horizontal shed” (3’ x 5’ x 4’) may be just the handy outdoor storage building to fill your need for additional space.

Buying an outdoor storage building with a loft greatly increasing storage capability, allowing you to store rarely used supplies overhead.

For the exterior, build your own lean-to and attach it to the outdoor storage building to form a sheltered area for firewood.

Outdoor benches are sometimes made to be dual-purpose, offering a compartment to store tools and a cozy spot for taking breathers while mowing the lawn.

Potting sheds and small greenhouses are a boon to the true landscaping enthusiast. Some outdoor storage buildings come with large skylights and


Princess Tower

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Height: 1,356 feet

Completion Date: 2012


The Princess Tower is the tallest residential building in the world. At least, it will be until New York City’s 432 Park Avenue officially opens in the winter of 2014-2015.

Shanghai World Financial Center

Location: Shanghai, China

Height: 1,614 feet

Completion Date: 2008

“What’s special about this one is pretty obvious,” Safarik says. “It has a big hole in the top.” The Shanghai World Financial Center’s passing resemblance to a bottle opener is not lost on its operators, who sell miniature, functional bottle opener replicas of the tower in the observation deck gift shop.

Sierra Bonita Mixed-Use Affordable Housing, West Hollywood, Calif.


Building Team
Owner: West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation, West Hollywood, Calif.
Architect: Tighe Architecture, Santa Monica, Calif.
Structural Engineer: Gilsanz Murray Steficek, New York
General Contractor: Parker/Sarg Industries, Pasadena, Calif.
Consultant: Castle and Gray Intl. Inc., Malibu, Calif.
Photo: Art Gray

Sierra Bonita is a 50,000-sf, five-story, mixed-use affordable housing structure located in West Hollywood, Calif. It was commissioned by the non-profit West Hollywood Community Housing Corp. (WHCHC). The building is the pilot project for the city’s Green Building Ordinance, one of the first programs of its kind in the nation.

In a market sector that is accustomed to cutting corners and settling for boiler-plate design, the project successfully integrates affordability, sustainability, and style. This integration is most apparent in some of the buildings most visually striking elements – including its use of exposed structural steel — and can be found in the courtyard’s eccentric pink fiberglass wall.

The building’s 42 one-bedroom apartments are set aside for low-income residents with special needs, including the elderly, disabled, and those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The ground floor provides office spaces for WHCHC and other non-profit groups, as well as retail space. Parking is provided at the basement and ground floor levels of the project.

The perimeter columns of this 112’x100’ building are spaced at 20 feet. To allow for the various uses, the building was designed with only four interior columns from the ground floor up. At the courtyard, floor beams connect to 60 foot long girders, which carry the forces back to columns at the corners.

Zoning restrictions limited the building height to a maximum of 50 feet. Typical apartment floor slabs are 11?2-in. metal deck with 41?2-in. normal weight concrete slabs which span 20 feet and work compositely with the W24 steel beams. These beams are cambered and span 43 feet, from the courtyard to the perimeter walls. The slab has extra reinforcing to allow the steel beams to align with partitions between units which results in apartments with higher ceilings. The deck was shored to control deflections under the wet weight of the concrete. The roof framing is lighter, as the deck supports no concrete – minimizing seismic loads and material use.

The ground and second floor slabs are more traditional, 3-in. metal deck with 31?2-in. normal weight concrete slabs spanning up to 11 feet to composite beams and girders. The second floor supports an outdoor bamboo garden and apartments.

The distinctive pink fiberglass wall at the entrance of the courtyard resembles a series of intersecting shards and is in fact based off of the eccentrically braced steel frame. This frame forms a component of the lateral resistance system in the north-south direction. It utilizes a variety of wide flange beams and tube steel bracing sizes to adequately express the randomness desired for the architecture.

In addition to the eccentrically braced frame, for north-south stability, a concentrically braced frame runs along the east fac?ade, while two segments of a concentrically braced frame run along the west fac?ade. The concentrically braced frames are comprised of W16 beams, W12 columns and tube steel braces ranging in size from 6×6 to 12×8.

For east-west stability, moment frames along the north and south faces of the building utilize W18 girders spanning 20 feet to the strong axis of W14 columns.

The building was originally designed to meet the 2001 California Building Code and later modified during construction to meet the requirements of the Los Angeles Amendments.

Canopies at the roof cantilever out and down past the north fac?ade to support photovoltaic panels, which framed out in tube steel and provide energy for the building.

Projects $15 Million to $75 Million

City Creek Center Retractable Roof, Salt Lake City

Building Team
Owner: City Creek Reserve, Salt Lake City
Architect: Hobbs + Black Architects, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Structural Engineer: Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Seattle
General Contractor: Jacobsen Construction, Salt Lake City
Steel Fabricator: Ducworks, Inc., Logan, Utah
Steel Detailer: Uni-Systems, Minneapolis
Steel Erector: Uni-Systems, Minneapolis
Mechanization Consultant: Uni-Systems, Minneapolis
Photograph: Magnusson Klemencic Associates

City Creek Center is the result of a plan by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints to transform two Salt Lake City mega-blocks just south of Temple Square into a 5.5 million-sf, mixed-use development featuring retail, residential, office, and parking space. Developers wanted an urban, open-air setting, but also needed the assurance that retail businesses would be protected during inclement weather. After studying many skylight possibilities, the project’s structural engineer produced a retractable roof concept that fully met the developer’s needs.

The resulting retractable, barrel-vaulted roof is configured in two sections, each spanning one city block. Each section is 240 ft. long and 58 ft wide, with an S-shape that echoes the curve of the signature City Creek. The precision-sculpted steel and glass transparently shields patrons when closed, and disappears from sight when open; connecting nature with the areas below.

For each block, the retractable roof is comprised of three pairs of glass?covered, arching panels that cantilever 33 ft from the adjacent structures over the retail concourse. When closed, all six panels seal together and create an air and water?tight barrier. To open, the panels part in the middle and retract onto the building structure as the panels bow down out of sight from below.

Key to the bowing action are innovative whalebone-shaped ribs that support the glass roof. Each roof panel is comprised of three parallel whalebones made of curved and tapered welded steel box girders that run from the tip of each panel’s arch to the end of its back span.

The glazed portion of the three whalebone arches are joined by four purlins made of 8-in. XX-strong A106 Grade B pipe and one purlin of hollow structural section (HSS) 10-3/4 x 1-2 in. ASTM A500 Grade B tube. The purlins are designed with concealed connections that are invisible from below. The three whalebone back spans are connected with rectangular HSS ASTM A500 Grade B tubing in a K-brace configuration to provide shear stiffness between whalebones. In order to meet special finish and detailing requirements, the side and bottom whalebone girder walls were ground and filled to produce perfectly flat plane surfaces.

The whalebones were built in two sections using custom? designed fixtures and joined with a plate?welded connection to accommodate the unique geometry. The preassembled rail girders and whalebones were hoisted onto the roof, and the panels were assembled in place, stick framing whalebones, purlins, and K-braces.

Each 10.5-ton whalebone is supported by a 27-in. double-flanged steel wheel located at the bottom of the arch and two guide rollers located at the end of the back span. The wheel follows one geometric path on top of the rail girder, and the guide rollers ride an inclined track along the bottom of the rail girder. As the guide rollers travel up the incline, the roof’s cantilevered front edge dips down, causing the roof to bow down, with the wheel as the vertical rotation point.

An industrial computer located in a remote control room operates the retractable roof, which travels up to 8 ft per minute and opens or closes in approximately 6 minutes. Each panel has a unique operating sequence to prevent the panels from interfering with one another as the seals engage and disengage. The roof’s curvature, along with its complex seals and intersecting panels, made the control system the most complicated ever developed by the mechanization engineer.

Q and A on Building a Storage Shed Kit

How much time will it take to assemble the storage shed building kit?

  • Erecting the shed kit should take one to three days depending on your level of expertise

What do I need to build a barn or shed kit on my site?

  1. A hammer (power tools work great)
  2. Three inch nails or screws
  3. One and three quarter inch nails or screws
  4. Tape measure
  5. Screw gun
  6. Hand saw or sawzall (for just a few cuts)
  7. Sledge hammer (optional)
  8. Utility knife
  9. Small speed square

How many people are needed to assemble a Storage Shed Kit?

  • We recommend at least 2 and at times 3-4
  • This will depend on the size of the garden shed kit

What if I have problems assembling the prefab kit?

  • Sheds Unlimited personnel will be read to assist should you have any questions on the DIY Storage Shed Assembly.
  • The storage shed kit video and the document give clear step-by-step instructions for each part of the new garden shed kit or prefab garage kit

How will the Barn or One Garage Kit be delivered?

  • Sheds Unlimited trucks if delivered to PA, NJ, NY, MA, CT, DE, MD, VA, WV and possibly beyond
  • Common carrier within the continental USA

What if my storage shed kit is damaged in shipping?

  • Sheds Unlimited is responsible for any damage during shipping and any defective materials in the garden shed kit or the car garage kit
  • If there are problems due to not following the assembly instructions carefully, the customer will be that responsibility

Does Sheds Unlimited offer 2 Story Sheds and Garages as Kits?

  • While we can offer two-story sheds and garages as kits, this is a much more complicated process than a simple building. If you are looking for a two-story prefab garage kit, we recommend speaking to one of our office staff to find out the price for Sheds Unlimited to come to your location to build a two-story shed or two story garage on site.
  • Single story garages can be bought as kits, but depending on the size we may recommend having our Prefab Garage Team assemble it for you.

Why Choose a Prefab Kit from Sheds Unlimited over an 84 Lumber or Home Depot kit?

  • Sheds Unlimited is an small closely held company and builds each prefab shed and garage kit to the highest standards. Each building is carefully constructed with quality building materials and will outlast almost any metal or plastic sheds.

International Commerce Centre

Location: Hong Kong, China

Height: 1,588 feet

Completion Date: 2010

This big building was a big gamble for its developers, given its relative isolation from the rest of Hong Kong’s high-rises, but the International Commerce Center is doing just fine. The mixed-use office and hotel building has a 97 percent occupancy rate and excellent in-building services such as a 24-hour concierge.

According to the 2009 book Exploring Hong Kong: A Visitor’s Guide to Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories, ICC’s designers had wanted to make it the tallest building then on the planet. But a local ordinance, which outlaws structures from rising higher than nearby mountains, stymied the dream.

Al Hamra Tower

Location: Kuwait City, Kuwait

Height: 1,354 feet

Completion Date: 2011

“It looks quasi-impossible,” Safarik says. The Al Hamra Tower’s draped curtain styling is intended to block out the Sun where its rays would fall most intensely, thus aiding in the passive cooling of a building that must endure Kuwait’s sweltering climate.

Presidential Award of Excellence in Engineering

Chelsea Piers Connecticut, Stamford, Conn.

Building Team
Owner: Chelsea Piers, New York
Architect: James G. Rogers Architects, South Norwalk, Conn.
Structural Engineer: WSP Cantor Seinuk, New York
General Contractor: AP Construction, Stamford, Conn.
Photo: Chelsea Piers

Chelsea Piers Connecticut is a 400,000-sq-ft adaptive reuse sports complex in Stamford, Conn., opened to the public in the summer of 2012. Chelsea Piers Connecticut (CPCT) features two NHL regulation ice rinks, enormous turf fields, a 20,000-sf gymnastics center, an aquatics center with an Olympic-size pool, tennis courts, squash courts, a trampoline center, a baseball/softball training area, and ancillary facilities.

The building housing the sports facility is a 45-year-old manufacturing plant previously used by Clairol as the facility for manufacturing Herbal Essence shampoo. The adaptive reuse saved the old building from being demolished.

Although the building square footage met the Chelsea Piers requirements, the lack of large column free spaces created a potential roadblock. Professional quality sports facilities such as swimming pools, hockey rinks, tennis courts require large column-free areas in excess of 100 feet wide. This criterion required the removal of 23 columns from the building in order to achieve the column-free zones.

Achieving this economically was the principal challenge; a method to remove the existing columns while leaving the entire roof structure in place had to be developed. The solutions selected by the project’s structural engineer were extremely creative, economical and highly sustainable, resulting in reuse of the existing roof structure, limited demolition, and limited use of new materials.

The structural system devised was based upon the use of king post trusses constructed out of the in-place existing roof structure. By leaving the existing beams, which formed the top compression chords of the truss, in place and using a portion of the existing columns as the king posts, only a relatively small amount of steel had to be added to form the tension cords of the truss. Upgrading of the in-place top chord members was accomplished via composite action with the new concrete slab poured on the existing in-place metal roof deck. Steel angle members were used for the tension chords of the trusses. Although the simple and basic “off the shelf” structural members remain exposed, their aesthetically pleasing form is quite apparent. The positive effect of the forms on the facility’s architecture further testifies to the economic and sustainable accomplishments achievable from innovative engineering in which “form follows function.”

The design met all the criteria with the exception of being able to achieve a flat floor after the concrete was poured. Because the existing roof, which was supported by the new king post trusses, was slated to become additional space for the new sport facilities, a requirement existed for a very flat floor structure. The solution involved the cambering of the trusses prior to pouring the concrete slab. This was accomplished by jacking of the existing roof structure prior to the installation of the new truss members.

After the installation of the truss steel, the existing columns were cut out and removed. Upon pouring the new roof concrete, the trusses deflected precisely as designed, leaving a flat surface for the tennis courts and soccer area.

Chelsea Piers Connecticut represents an excellent example of innovative sustainable engineering for building reuse and development. An innovative design team coupled with a supportive and motivated owner, allowed this project to move forward. The result is a state-of-the-art facility serving the athletic needs of the community while forming a viable anchor business in a once abandoned industrial facility.


HL23, New York

Building Team
Owner: 23 High Line, LLC, New York
Architect: Neil M. Denari Architects, Los Angeles
Structural Engineer: DeSimone Consulting Engineers, New York
General Contractor: TF Nickel & Associates, Ronkonkoma, N.Y.
Photograph: Rinze van Brug Photography

Located in Manhattan’s West Chelsea District, HL23 creates a new 14-story, 42,395-sf ultra-luxury residential building. In total, the project creates 11 condominium units, 3,585 sf of ground floor gallery space and an elevated terrace/garden area. The floor plate of the building, which is smaller at the base than at the top, owes its uniqueness to the existing elevated exposed Highline Railway – retrofitted into a city park facility – located at the eastern portion of the building lot.

Clad with a mega-panel glass and stainless steel curtain wall system, the project’s distinct form comes from the dramatic sloping of the south and east facades, creating a dynamic and undulating three-dimensional composition.

The building’s dual-lateral support system is the most intriguing element of the structure. A steel plate shear wall (SPSW) system – unique in New York City – provided the project with the benefits of increased stiffness and smaller dimension – both tremendous benefits for this site. The SPSW system is located at the elevator and stairs in combination with a full-building perimeter braced frame system. As a true sign of synergy between form and function, the architect incorporated the perimeter lateral pipe braces into the final interior aesthetic of the residences. This required special care during the design of the exposed connections of the perimeter steel diagonal braces to perimeter steel beams. It was achieved by replacing the traditional use of multiple bolts gusset plates with end plates hidden in the concrete metal deck slab for intermediate diagonal braces and with pin-end connections for end braces.

Architectural requirements played a large part in the final structural layout, and the use of structural steel was driven by three primary factors:

• Minimizing the overall weight of the structure for the capacity of the raft foundation
• Minimizing the amount of interior columns
• Providing the perimeter diagonal architectural expression.

In New York, most residential buildings are designed using a cast-in-place reinforced concrete flat plate system to maximize floor-to-floor height. However, due to the unique geometry of the building, the sprawling architectural layouts, the quality of the soil, and the hybrid gravity and lateral load system on the perimeter of the building, steel was the more economical and efficient material of choice.

Floor beams are composite with the concrete slab-on-deck; however, all of the intermediate steel beams were removed to increase headroom in the living areas. This was achieved by using shored construction in many areas with a slab thickness between 6 in. and 7 in. and varying metal deck properties throughout the floor. At the upper floors, the maximum beam/girder span was nearly 30’-0”.

Due to the building’s modest height, a SPSW system was considered both-structurally effective and visually attractive. The east-west dimension of the building is very tight, and any reduction in dimension of structure was beneficial to the floor layouts. Using 3/8-in. thick plates, instead of wide-flange brace members, freed up an extra foot of usable floor area between the columns for each wall of the system. This two foot savings was an enormous achievement in a building that is 38 feet wide.

To help speed erection, the structural engineer worked with the general contractor and the fabricator to develop a system where the perimeter of the plate was continuously welded, with three of the four sides shop welded. Prefabricated shear wall panels, with integral columns and beams, were shipped to the site and spliced in the field. This process ultimately saved a considerable amount of time in erecting the SPSW system.

The second part of the dual lateral system is comprised of perimeter brace frames on each of the elevations. In addition to lateral loads, the perimeter braced frames in many locations are part of the gravity system as well. The braced exoskeleton members are 8” diameter double-extra strong pipes at the North, South and part of the East facade; HSS 10×5 tubes on the West facade and 6×4 back-to-back angles on the remainder of the East facade. All of the pipe elements are primary architectural features and exposed on the facade and in the residences. Therefore, the detailing of these elements was heavily scrutinized. In addition to standard Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel (AESS) specifications, the nodes of the system have been designed with an exposed single 112-in. diameter pin connection. The final building aesthetic merges the strength and beauty of steel into a composite whole.