Just Ask Jack: Eave Height - Don't shortchange yourself

Published June 26, 2019 by Whirlwind Team

It sounds simple-
but there is an important and often overlooked specification of a metal building: It is the roof and wall sheeting intersect which is defined as the eave height. When planning specifications for a building, it’s important to evaluate the eave height correctly for required clearances inside the building.


Here’s an example of what happens when you get it wrong:
Many years ago, we sold a building to a church. They specified the building at a 10-foot eave height, which actually gave 8 feet of total clearance under the rafters. Once the building was complete, they added the interior elements which included a pulpit. When the preacher walked on to the pulpit, they discovered there was not enough clearance to he had to lean over and peer under the rafters to see the congregation to deliver his sermon. This issue was later resolved, but it is a good example of what can happen.

When planning your building, keep these tips in mind:

  • Properly Evaluate Required Eave Height

The dimension of the eave height is not the same as the actual clearance under the frames inside the building. The clearance could be from 2’ to 6’ or more less than the eave height.

For example, if you need a two-story building with 8-foot ceilings, you may think you need a 16-foot building. The actual eave height of the building will likely be between 24’ to 26’ to accommodate other structural elements such as floor beam, rafters, A/C Ducts, etc…

  • Consider Future Uses

When planning your building also keep future use in mind. For example, having options for using your building for a different purpose or selling or leasing your building in the future may require more eave height.

  • Eave Height No Less Than 16 Feet

We recommend a minimum of 16 feet for eave height. Raising the eave height slightly is fairly economical.

For example, on a 5,000 square foot building, if you raise it 2 feet that would only raise the cost from 4 to 6 percent. Since the metal building is approximately 15 percent of the cost of the total project, it would only raise the total cost approximately 1 to 2 percent.  




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