Steel Warehouse Projects: 5 Key Benefits of Building with Metal

Published December 4, 2015 by Whirlwind Team

steel warehouse

Steel is the ideal construction medium for warehouses and other industrial buildings for a variety of reasons. In addition to being economical and durable, steel also provides the simplest solution for building designs requiring large expanses of open space as well as significant design flexibility.

For these reasons and others, steel building materials now comprise 71 percent of the new commercial building market and an impressive 95% of the industrial building market.

The following are five advantages choosing a metal warehouse for your project.

Cost-efficiency

There are three notable ways metal buildings are more affordable than their wood-framed counterparts:

  • Faster design/build process. Once your warehouse plans are submitted to a metal building supplier, the building will be preengineered and fabricated by their specialists. This results in a more affordable and streamlined process from start to finish, yielding ready-to-erect building components that are shipped directly to your job site.
  • Lowered labor costs. Because the warehouse is largely prefabricated, construction timelines can be reduced by as much as 30% to 50% or more, depending on the experience level of the construction crew. Time equals money in the world of construction so the faster you can build it, the less money you'll shell out in terms of labor.
  • Reduced maintenance costs. The third savings comes via lifetime costs. Since metal buildings are low-maintenance, building owners save significantly on general maintenance, repairs and replacements over the course of the building's lifetime. This adds up to tens of thousands of dollars or more, especially when you consider that high-quality metal roofs and exterior panels can last upward of 50 years and that threats of fire, pests and building rot are dramatically minimized when compared with wood and other organic building materials.

Additional cost-savings are often gained via insurance savings since insurance companies often offer reduced policy premiums for steel-framed buildings, recognizing the material's durability and disaster-proof qualities.

Durability

Steel is resistant to many of the typical threats experienced by wood, such as rot, mold, mildew, pests and fire. However, a well-designed steel building is also more resistant to wind, heavy snow loads and seismic activity. This is why metal buildings are often the last ones standing after a super storm event, such as the severe hurricanes that have rocked the southern and northeastern seaboards over the past decade. Often, communities turn to their steel-framed sports arenas, schools and other municipal buildings when they need disaster evacuation centers, knowing that these buildings are some of the strongest and most resilient structures in the area.

Clear span-ability

The less structural obstructions required for your building the more square footage you can put to work for your company's bottom line. Metal buildings offer the largest expanses of architectural clear spans on the market.

A "clear span" design is one that can extend for 100 feet or more without any load bearing poles, posts or columns installed in the interior of the building. Depending on your needs, a warehouse can be designed to span as much as 150 to 300 feet. This makes it easy for industrial-sized equipment and machinery to be set up as well as for vehicles and people to move safely within the structure. The ability to design a clear span building is one of the reason steel frames are typically used for airplane and hobby hangars as well as indoor riding arenas and sports facilities.

Flexible design options

Clear span design is one example of steel's ability to accommodate specific design options. Your warehouse can also be designed to incorporate a mix of clear span spaces and traditional office spaces or living spaces. If you are just starting out, or are unsure of your company's long-term goals, a metal building makes it easy for you to expand your business down the road, whether that mean adding onto the building laterally or adding upwards, creating a multi-story building.

Eco-friendly

Eco-friendliness is more than just a trend. Data shows that green buildings are increasingly in demand by both building owners as well as the customers that will purchase their products/services. Steel is an inherently sustainable building product due to the fact that it utilizes recycled materials during the production phase and is 100% recyclable at the end of its lifetime. Additionally, building owners have the ability to take advantage of other green metal building attributes such as:

  • Cool metal roofs. Cool metal roofing products can reduce your businesses cooling costs by as much as 50% with the simple act of reflecting the sun's UV rays back up into the atmosphere. Even if you don't plan to use a warehouse-wide cooling system, a cool metal roof will mitigate solar heat gain such that building occupants are more comfortable and interior temperatures remain more consistent during the warmer months.
  • Vapor barriers. Vapor barriers, installed at the building's roof line, are another way to increase interior comfort while simultaneously protecting the building from moisture damage, regardless of whether you choose to use an HVAC system or not. In warmer climates, the reflective layer faces the ceiling, in cooler climates it should face the interior of the building - helping to reflect radiant heat where it makes the most sense.
  • Insulation. If your building will be occupied and/or contains products or machines that require a constant temperature, the right insulation will work in tangent with a  vapor barrier to maintain interior comfort as well as moisture control.
  • Solar panels. Metal roofs are primed and ready to house a solar array. Whether you choose to lease or buy a solar system, the building's utility bills will be notably reduced and advertising that your building is powered via renewable energy resources is a boon for business - and can be a powerful marketing material - as well.

The key to reaping these five benefits is to work with a qualified steel warehouse supplier as well as experienced metal building contractors. The combination of a solid building design tailored to your needs, high-quality materials and expert construction yields a finalized warehouse design that will meet your businesses needs both now and in the future.

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