Ease of expansion is a huge selling point for prefabricated metal or steel buildings. Expansion is necessary to accommodate growth or to enhance profitability. If you’re at this point and looking to expand, congratulations on your growth! Now let’s talk the different factors that come into play for building expansion. There are several ways to expand an existing structure with a pre-engineered metal/steel addition. In this post, we’ll summarize three of the most common:
If expandable end walls are installed in the original structure, bays can be added at the ends of the building. However, the structure itself must be built with the right moment-resistant frame. If this frame wasn’t part of the original design, several steps must then be taken before the addition of bays or new end walls. These steps include temporarily shoring up the purlins and girts, removing the girts, and erecting new clear spanning moment resisting connections.
You will sometimes see a new building constructed side-by-side with an existing structure. In this kind of expansion, two gabled roofs share a common wall. However, caution must be taken in regions known for bad winters since the two gables are susceptible to snow overloading, which could cause a collapse.
Even if the add-on structure is designed with snow load in mind, the older part may not be built to withstand the weight of snow and ice. Snow load is also a concern if the addition’s roof is higher than the original structure. In this case, the lower roof can get weighed down and collapse under pressure.
Second-Story Prefabricated Additions
Certain structures may be locked-in from all sides. When you’re unable to expand a building outwards, the only way to go is up. If a pre-engineered second story addition is in your plans, several factors must be considered.
First, is the original structure well-built and sturdy enough to support the weight of a second story? If it’s an older building, the answer is probably no.
One way around this is to frame the second story so it’s outer vertical members rest on the foundation outside the original structure. This way it’s not the original frame supporting the new flooring, walls, and roof. Of course, this will require enough foundation space to foot the second story. A concrete crew may even be needed.
There may also be canopy-like prefabricated metal or steel second-floor additions available where the original structure doesn’t bear the brunt of supporting any additional weight.
Lastly, Make Sure The Building Is Up-To-Code & Then Get To Work!
If the original building is several-years-old, you’ll want to make sure the building is still up to code. Certain upgrades like structural reinforcements or a sprinkler system may be needed to bring the building up to current code requirements.
This is just another reason why it’s important to work with an informed, single contractor willing to carry out all aspects of the project. From design to delivery to build and erection. Expanding an existing building with a pre-engineered metal or steel addition isn’t the same as piecing together IKEA furniture. Expansions must be structurally sound, properly erected, and built to accommodate another expansion down the road. This isn’t a DIY endeavor. You’ll need professionals.