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  1. #1
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    Default I'm looking for suggestions and comments for metal building features

    I am considering building a metal building. I have never built/had built a metal building. My construction has been post frame and stick built, and most of the buildings I have worked in were concrete block.

    What are some of the things you have seen or experienced in metal shop buildings that you liked or didn't like? How much insulation do you have, and how many lights? I'd like to make as many mistakes as possible during the design phase rather than discover them after occupancy.

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    I built a brick building then added on with a metal building. Metal building was faster to complete start to finish, but way less energy efficient. HVAC costs are much higher in the metal building(6" insulation I think), but it was also cheaper to build. Metal building is easy to damage (lawn mower, forklift). I have the same amount of lighting in both, non issue. You are limited on hanging things on the wall (conduit, air lines etc. very little structure on the inside) unless you finish it. No maintenance to brick, metal fades, dents, rusts. If your budget and time schedule allows I would avoid a metal building.

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    I built a BIG garage 35 x 60 x 12 ceiling H, has to be 20 years ago and I shopped around andIi choose Meyer Buildings | A Relationship You Can Build On I would highly recommend them as I felt I got good bang for the buck.
    These guys had me hire out having the foundation bulldozed so it was about 2' higher then the ground around it and so the water off the roof would run away rum it. They came with 3 semi's and a pick-up, one carried a rough terrain fork lift, the others had all the materials accept the overhead doors that I put in cheaper by a neighbor who did that. They also used 8 x 8 square beams and not round poles. (in my town they require beams and not poles)

    These guys came in on a Monday and were finished by Wednesday. I also had a 15' x 60' shop made inside and the insulated the walls with fiberglass insulation and used the same sheet metal on the inside walls and ceiling. then I hired a company to put a 6" concrete floor in there, blew in fiberglass in above the ceiling, added a furnace and electric. Now it's crammed with merchandise* and my tools. Since then i have built in a hay loft and horse stalls in the cold side. Meyer was so easy to deal with and their guys were experienced, fast and they got there in the morning and didn't smell of booze. I really screwed up by not putting the wire in a plastic pipe for the electric and buried alum cable. The gophers love eating the insulation on the wire, so I now only have 120 in the shop and not 220. Have to bury a new one in the spring. I now wish I had made the ceiling higher too, as it would have been easier to unload high trucks. * Merchandise ..auction deals over the years and junk....lol Rich

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    All really depends on your use for the building. If it is your business make sure you make the sides tall. I would go 16 foot sidewalls at the minimum. Garage doors wide and tall 14x14 minimum. If you are a machine shop have the engineer add extensions along the building for a crane. 1500 more now will save you a bundle if you ever want a overhead crane. If this is a machine shop put in a bigger service panel than you think you will need. My shop has 22 foot side walls and we put a row of windows around the ceiling to let the daylight in. That helps a ton with the lighting.

    Also make sure the roof is piched right so if you ever need to put a addition on it will be a straightforward addon.

    I'll second the notion of lifting the building up a few feet above surroundings. It is cheaper to have the water run away naturally than to fix a water intrusion problem after the building is up.

    Let us know what you plan on doing with the shop and you'll get better insight.

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    Insulation, insulation, insulation, ya can't have too much IMO&E heating and cooling are the biggest costs of running a shop, - if a spindle isn't turning it's not using power, and machinery, especially CNC doesn't like extremes of temp (and humidity).

    Natural light is a big plus, as are windows (security permitting) stops me feeling like I'm in a prison cell.

    Put all underground supply services in ducting, it makes replacement easier faster and cheaper.

    Internal fitting out, light, heat, ventilation floor finish, airlines etc etc are best decided by what the use of the building will be, but my advice would be to make it as flexible as possible.

    Assuming it's an industrial type shop, make all services surface mounted, eg ripping out dry wall or digging up floors to replace or alter a line is a pain.

    Light colours reflect light better - though beware of welding, as do washable wall surfaces.

    Underfloor heating while nice in some respects can be a royal PITA when siting heavy machines etc etc.

    Spending up front is (oddly enough ), cheaper in the long run.

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    I would not air condition the whole shop, just a little unit for the office area. Natural gas heat rules, the big hotdawgs are the ticket.

    If you want to be cool have an air conditioned welding room with white carpet, that and a kegerator.

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    I built my bolt-together shop building, 30'x50'. The first thing to consider is bolt-together or welded. Welded is cheaper, but may not be allowed by local code. As mentioned, put in as much insulation as possible! Also, as mentioned, make sure the base of the building is above ground level and you have good drainage all around. Otherwise, water can get in under the outside edge and wick up in the insulation and rot out the steel. Seal the joint where the metal sheet sits on the concrete footing.

    Will you be building this yourself or hire a contractor?

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    Around here there are at least 6 companies that make metal buildings. All but one will make your building package, bolt up or weld together ( Bolt up cost 30% more but is required in some areas), and furnish you with a set of plans for the building. Those 5 then offer to set you up with other companies that will install the building.

    I have found that it is always a PITA to build a building this way. IF there are problem with the fabrication of the building there always are delays, finger pointing as to blame and dealing with two different companies to resolve the problems. As a result of this I always use metal building companies that have their own erection crews..

    I'm currently building a 175' x 50' and a 125' x 75' building side by side. The factory had at least 8 fabrication mistakes that need correcting in the field, same company so no problem and no delays getting the corrections made and the buildings finished.

    Also make sure you have enough money to finish the interior... Most clients get all starry eyed when I quote the metal building and erection ( the cheapest parts of the whole job) and then have a heart attack when told the final price

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    Like Steve. I built a 30x50 steel building and have been very happy with it over the years ('87). Lots of insulation on walls and ceiling and then drywall to finish.
    Sprayed white for maximum visibility. Three metal halide 400w light fixtures provide all of the light needed and also give natural sunlight rating. Mounted these at 16" as they are potentially dangerous to the skin if too close.

    We are high (1750') enough in the Hills above Santa Cruz, so we don't have that much ambient humidity, but friends in town at sea level have problems with rusting on bright metal surfaces. In town, the metal bldgs will sweat if uninsulated.

    Lee (the saw guy)

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    I work in an unconditioned insulated steel building. -about twice a year the floors and ceilings sweat like a cold beverage for a week straight.

    Having lived in Kansas I know there are days that humidity can get pretty funky. I would consider some sort of dehumidifier or ac unit.

    I have been doing a lot of looking into closed cell foam. It is water proof, adds structural ridgity and is almost twice the insulation factor that fiberglass has in the same thickness. IIRC R-5 to R-6 per inch of foam.

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    i like the insulated metal panels, provides for a nice interior finish if you don't mind the exposed framing members. and a lot less framing is needed because the panels are quite rigid.

    here it's also common to have a short concrete kneewall around the perimeter, around a meter tall. steel that goes all the way to the ground gets beat up pretty quickly

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    Part of it depends on your budget. There will be a "standard" insulation package. You can buy it from the building guys, or if you act as your own general and have a good erector you can save money dealing directly with the insulation folks. Around here there are 2-3 places that deal in steel frame/ pole building insulation, you send them plans, they send you a quote, they cut all the lengths, toss em in a trailer and deliver when you schedule it. You have XX days to empty the trailer or additional fee. You can hire your own foundation,, popular guys will know what " everybody else " puts in,, but the catch to steel frame is the anchors bolts HAVE to match the diagram.... no adlibbing after the fact.

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    I was considering putting up a 60X100 metal building a couple years ago, plan changed but, here is what I had in mind.

    Insulated floor with radiant heat coils in the slab, 24 foot eave height, haunches on the column for a 5 ton bridge crane(reason for the tall eaves) side lights nearly all the way down the two long sides from the eaves down 8 feet. The column spacing was 20 feet, one bay on one long side had a 16X16 door, the gable end on the south had 24X16 high door, this was a clear span building. The building was going to be nested to my existing buildings on two sides the north gable and the east long side. The east would have been skinned above the existing building, same with the north end. I had a couple of floor drains speced in the slab as well. In retrospect having a few 2 inch conduit placed under the slab to span the shop would have been on the list. We were going to use EIFS panels on the outside walls instead of metal siding. As far as insulation, we have a friend who is a spray foam contractor, it was more costly material wise but far less labor and a tighter build. Light and heat are two things not to skimp on if you plan on spending a lot of time in there. I like the stem wall idea mentioned above but for a crane it may require a good bit of engineering?

    Steve

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    height increases cost considerably. "standard" is 16' under the eave and 1:12 slope around here. We put on a 3 walled addition that had to clear a big honking mechanical press, had to start it at 24'6 on the low side to about 28' on the high side, single slope 50'... it about doubled the "standard" cost. All told we got the 50 x 75 x "28' peak" 3 sided addition with concrete, 2 overhead doors, , a small outside slab, and a 40 yard foundation for the press with additional improved footings for the crane serving the coil reel for about $ 120k assembled and in use. We did all out own electrical, pnuematic, HVAC ( moved another furnace that was still there but not used), and basically had all the lifts/ tools to do so. If you are hiring it all done and renting scissor lifts etc. adjust accordingly.

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    I have a 42 X 80 with 12' walls Morton building, couldn't be happier. Wood structure, easy to run conduit, air lines etc. They haul it in, their truck turns in to a forklift to unload and as they were unloading 3 or 4 other guys were already digging holes for uprights. Built in 2000 but they've changed a few building techniques since. Check them out, my opinion is you can't go wrong with a Morton Building.

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    I've been thinking about same for a couple years, here are my must haves

    -Floor level a foot or so above driveway level.
    -Pour stem walls another 10-12" above floor and set building on top of that. Keeps rainwater splash back off tin at base and should help with rodent control. But mostly to get tin farther away from soil.

    -Crane supports and footings to handle a bridge crane. I looked at a 5 ton crane and I thin it added about 6k to the cost of a 50x100. Most of this cost was changing the endwalls from basically steel stick built to the same large I-beam type arch construction, this also makes it easier to add length to building later down the road, simply remove endwall inside the arch support and move it down another 25 feet or whatever.
    -If you do plan on crane, get an estimate from someplace before you build, then you can see where to put runway supports and just how much ht it takes up. I think what I was looking at for a 5 ton crane in a 50x100, in order for the bridge to have 16' clearance (farm equipment) I needed about 24' sidewalls, this was with a building design that the arch steel beams got quite large at the eave corners, there are others that keep this shorter, thus can have shorter eave ht with same bridge clearance.
    - Also have to look at overhead doors and how they will open over or under or straight up the side wall with the bride crane. My plan is for smaller overheads on sidewalls and a huge hydraulic door on one end (would be a farm shop as well as machine shop)
    -Insulation, dont just do the roll of batt that gets compressed at every purlin and girt, very inefficient. I was looking at a Simple Saver system that has batts made to fit in between and under the purlins with a big fabric that holds it all up in ceiling and walls.
    -I looked at spray foam as well, pricey but really good. But then also have to figure in covering it all up with firestop or spraying an expensive firestop paint over it (assuming commercial code building)

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    gbent: I don't know what the humidity is like there in the summer, but here in the Ohio river valley, the humidity is heavy. AC is the best thing you can do for your machines, unless you like rust. Makes working a lot more pleasant, too.

    JH

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    insulation yes but put your building in the shade and out of direct sunlight

    my house & shop someday


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    We built a 50x100x16 2:12 bolt together with 4" fiberglass insulation as our "house". If you're going to finish one out, get straight columns if possible. This way your walls are 8 or 10" all the way up instead of 20" because of the width of the top. We have 24 4T5 fixtures but I haven't installed yet. I had my electrical supplier have their vendor do a lighting profile and we are going to end up with equivalent lighting to an office inside with all fixtures burning. We have no climate control in the shop but it never gets below 40 or above 85.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JP Machining View Post
    I've been thinking about same for a couple years, here are my must haves

    -Floor level a foot or so above driveway level.
    -Pour stem walls another 10-12" above floor and set building on top of that. Keeps rainwater splash back off tin at base and should help with rodent control. But mostly to get tin farther away from soil.

    -Crane supports and footings to handle a bridge crane. I looked at a 5 ton crane and I thin it added about 6k to the cost of a 50x100. Most of this cost was changing the endwalls from basically steel stick built to the same large I-beam type arch construction, this also makes it easier to add length to building later down the road, simply remove endwall inside the arch support and move it down another 25 feet or whatever.
    -If you do plan on crane, get an estimate from someplace before you build, then you can see where to put runway supports and just how much ht it takes up. I think what I was looking at for a 5 ton crane in a 50x100, in order for the bridge to have 16' clearance (farm equipment) I needed about 24' sidewalls, this was with a building design that the arch steel beams got quite large at the eave corners, there are others that keep this shorter, thus can have shorter eave ht with same bridge clearance.
    - Also have to look at overhead doors and how they will open over or under or straight up the side wall with the bride crane. My plan is for smaller overheads on sidewalls and a huge hydraulic door on one end (would be a farm shop as well as machine shop)
    -Insulation, dont just do the roll of batt that gets compressed at every purlin and girt, very inefficient. I was looking at a Simple Saver system that has batts made to fit in between and under the purlins with a big fabric that holds it all up in ceiling and walls.
    -I looked at spray foam as well, pricey but really good. But then also have to figure in covering it all up with firestop or spraying an expensive firestop paint over it (assuming commercial code building)
    I have had a steel building for over ten years and I am pretty happy with it. It is not insulated, and therefore, not very airtight (which is not a huge problem where I live and what I use it for). I have thought about applying spray foam for insulation (especially as it adds dramatically to the structural stability of the building), but my concern is, what do you do down the road if you want or need to replace the steel siding? You would have to rip off at least some (if not all) of the foam?

    If anyone else has encountered and/or solved this issue, I would love to hear the answer!

    Kevin


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