6 Unusual Uses for Commercial Steel Buildings

Published April 10, 2017 by Whirlwind Team

commercial steel building

Steel buildings are the most unbelievably flexible structures you have ever seen. Not flexible like “bend in the wind” but flexible in the uses they are put to. Most people think of commercial steel buildings as metal warehouses or barns. What most don’t realize is the many and varied uses a commercial steel building has.

What makes steel buildings flexible?

Steel is a highly versatile building material that is also durable, safe, and cost-effective. A structure built of steel will last for decades with little maintenance, and it is easily expanded and reconfigured.

Steel is allows for large open spaces clear of columns. Lighter than wood, stone, or concrete, a steel building can stand on a smaller, lighter foundation. With appropriate bracing, a steel building can create extreme spaces, both high and wide, not possible with other building materials.

Steel buildings contain an easily insulated framework for energy efficiency and they also have plenty of easily accessed spaces for:

  • Wiring
  • Cables
  • Pipes
  • Other utilities
The outside of the buildings can be customized to look like almost any other material and the building, itself, can be designed in a variety of shapes.

It’s no wonder commercial steel buildings are constructed and reused in ways you don’t always consider.

 

Metal Indoor sports facilities

commercial metal buildings

You can create a multipurpose steel sports facility that can be used as a community or event center where any sport can be pursued, with or without an audience.

Within a single commercial steel building, you could have an Olympic-sized swimming pool, space for gymnastics, locker rooms, and audience seating that can be easily moved to provide the best viewing for different sports.

Consider that many municipal multipurpose event buildings house basketball, hockey, and tennis. Recently, arena football has become popular. In all cases, a steel building is the only choice for open space that can be configured into smaller spaces with movable walls or have a combination of open space and smaller areas.

Sound-dampening tiles keep the building from becoming a huge echo chamber while different types of flooring are available to be laid out as needed.

Clear span sports facilities play host to other large events as well:

  • Circuses
  • Rock and roll bands
  • Auto shows
  • Fan conventions

Any activity requiring a large venue can be comfortably held in a steel building.

Speaking of cars…

Car dealerships

commercial steel buildings

A car dealership certainly has a need for open span design. Large doors are another requirement easily accommodated by steel building design.

A car dealer needs to move vehicles in and out of the showroom and provide an unobstructed view. Space for offices, waiting areas, and often an attached repair building is needed as well.

A steel building can be designed to meet high wind loads and protect the contents from damage during seismic events. Although safety is always job one for any structure, when your inventory is made up of Maseratis and Lamborghinis you would prefer the roof did not fall on them.

Moveable walls and hanging ceilings create a cozier atmosphere for the sales offices and waiting areas. Meanwhile, the auto repair, detailing, or oil change facilities require a variety of equipment to be installed. As car designs and weights change, a steel auto repair facility can replace machinery without changing the basic structure of the building.

Specialty agriculture

commercial steel building

Do you raise miniature horses?  Build custom stables inside a steel building. Within the open space, you can set up stalls that are just the right size with the same amenities as those for full-size horses. There is room for an exercise arena out of the weather and storage for feed and grain. A tack room can be enclosed as well as an area for shoeing and grooming.

Install the appropriate ventilation to keep the air circulating and provide heating and cooling as the seasons change. Steel buildings resist mold and the depredations of insects and rodents. They are also tough enough to withstand the occasional tantrum from an unruly resident.

Metal barns and riding arenas can be easily expanded to take in more horses, equipment, and other needed facilities, including vehicle storage.

Doggie daycare and boarding facilities

commercial steel buildings

Doggie daycare is becoming more popular as people treat pets more like children. They don't want to leave them home alone all day. A daycare is a perfect choice to keep dogs socialized, groomed, and pampered.

For longer stays, kennels and other boarding facilities are mushrooming the country. Unlike the old-style kennels, people expect their pets to have all the comforts of home.

Both doggie daycare and boarding kennels built of steel make the perfect home away from home for Fido and Fifi. Steel buildings require little maintenance, so all your attention can be saved for making the interior as posh as possible.

Separate kennels, facilities for grooming, and separate rooms for various activities can be designed into the structure. As needs change, the rooms and other areas can be remodeled without wrecking everything and starting over. Easily installed ventilation controls odors, and you can have your choice of floor materials to make clean-up after little accidents easy.

Not to imply children have the same needs as pets, but steel buildings also make excellent daycares for tiny humans for the same reasons.

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Bounce house fun centers

Why set up a single bounce house outdoors where the wind and rain could make it impossible to use it? Get a large, clear span, commercial steel building and fill it with a bunch of bounce houses!

You don’t have to worry about the height of the roof or whether there will be enough floor space. No columns, no worries. When you design the floors, you can run the right utilities to keep the blowers running while standing up to hundreds of sock-footed children running through it every day.

If bounce houses aren’t enough entertainment, you have room for indoor swing sets, mini-golf courses, and rooms for birthday parties. A large building can even accommodate a kitchen set up. With the right noise-abatement padding, you can provide a quiet waiting area for parents. (Don’t forget the Wi-Fi.)

About that Wi-Fi…

Sharable office space

The gig economy has spawned lots of entrepreneurs and sole proprietor businesses. A steel building outfitted with the right utilities and technology along with appropriate office furniture can be provided as shared office space for anyone tired of working alone at home or just doesn’t have room.

The same arrangement can be made for small manufacturing. With 3-D printing technology, you can lease the space and technology to someone who designs and sells items that can be fabricated this way.


Commercial steel buildings do not have to be just office space full of cubicles and conference rooms. Steel frame structures can be designed to provide space for any endeavor, from manufacturing to agricultural, education to entertainment.  The clear span capabilities and durable material combine to create a flexible space for any use.

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