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What are the Types of Steel Buildings Available?
Gone are the days when steel buildings were all gray and boxy. Thanks to improvements in manufacturing, today's steel buildings are available in different types and can be used for a wide variety of applications.
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Steel Buildings: What are the Available Options?

Back in the day, the use of steel buildings were only limited to barns, barracks and warehouses. This is due in part to their corrugated quonset style or boxy design that cannot be altered. With improvements in manufacturing techniques, however, manufacturers of steel buildings have made significant changes in the way these structures appear.

Today, they come in many varieties and can be constructed for specific needs and uses. So if you are looking to own one, you need to be familiar with the types of buildings available in order to pick the one appropriate for your needs. To get you started, here are three of the most commonly used types of steel buildings.

Clearspan or Rigid Frame

Clearspan steel structures permit optimal use of land and interior space. This building design is the most ideal choice for making structures that demand uninterrupted use of floor space, such as warehouses, manufacturing plants, retail stores, offices and recreational facilities.

The great thing about clearspan steel buildings is that they accommodate different symmetrical, unsymmetrical and single slope building size and shape. Customers also have control over the height and roof slope of the structure, warranting enough room for configurations, though the widest they can go is 150 feet to ensure structural integrity. Despite such limit, though, they can be expanded with the addition of a lean-to, especially if the structures were originally designed to support additional loads.

Modular or Multispan

As opposed to clearspan buildings that provide unobstructed floor space, a modular or multispan building makes use of interior columns that help evenly distribute the load of throughout the structure. Accordingly, this building type is more economical in terms of square foot coverage since it already combines the foundation and building frame. Thus, the wider the structure becomes, the more savings a modular frame provides.

Just like clearspan buildings, modular structures provide total flexibility when it comes to height and roof slope. They can also accommodate future expansions through the installation of a lean-to and can can be designed with single slope, tapered or straight frames. However, what makes them a good choice is that they have no maximum width restrictions as opposed to clearspan steel buildings. Thus, they offer more function and can suit a number of applications.


Lean-to buildings are the most economical choice for providing additional space to an existing steel building. They are attached to the exterior of a structure for partial support. They are either connected at or below the existing structure's eave and can be open or completely enclosed. Unlike clearspan and modular buildings that are expansive, lean-to structures are limited to 60' wide and only have straight columns on the low side and rafters.

Irrespective of the type of structural steel you pick, be sure that it is designed to meet the required maximum loads in your area. That way, you can be assured that it will be safe to use and you will be able to enjoy its service for the years to come.

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