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 Best Practice in Steel Construction - INDUSTRIAL

Industrial Buildings

The Steel Construction Institute (SCI) develops and promotes
the effective use of steel in construction. It is an independent, 01 Introduction
membership based organisation. SCI’s research and development
activities cover multi-storey structures, industrial buildings, bridges, civil engineering
and offshore engineering. Activities encompass design guidance on structural steel,
light steel and stainless steels, dynamic performance, fire engineering, sustainable
construction, architectural design, building physics (acoustic and thermal performance),
value engineering, and information technology.
02 Key Design Factors

This publication presents best practice for the design of steel construction
technologies used in industrial buildings, and is aimed at architects and other
members of the design team in the early stages of planning an industrial
building project. It was prepared as one of a series of three under an RFCS
03 Support Structures
dissemination project Euro-Build in Steel (Project n° RFS2-CT-2007-00029).
The project’s objective is to present design information on best practice in steel,
and to take a forward look at the next generation of steel buildings. The other
publications cover best design practice in commercial and residential buildings.

The Euro-Build project partners are: 04 Roof & Wall Systems

Bouwen met Staal
Centre Technique Industriel de la Construction Métallique (CTICM) 25
Forschungsvereinigung Stahlanwendung (FOSTA)
Labein Tecnalia
The Steel Construction Institute (SCI) 05 National Practice
Technische Universität Dortmund

Although care has been taken to ensure, to the best of our knowledge, that all data 33
and information contained herein are accurate to the extent that they relate to either
matters of fact or accepted practice or matters of opinion at the time of publication,
the partners in the Euro-Build project and the reviewers assume no responsibility for
any errors in or misinterpretations of such data and/or information or any loss or
06 Case Studies
damage arising from or related to their use.

ISBN 978-1-85942-063-8
© 2008. The Steel Construction Institute.

This project was carried out with financial support from the European Commission’s
Research Fund for Coal and Steel.

Front cover: Mors company building, Opmeer / Netherlands

Photograph by J. and F. Versnel, Amsterdam

 EURO-BUILD in Steel
Introduction 01

01 Introduction
Large enclosures or industrial type buildings are very common in business
parks, leisure and sports buildings. Their functionality and architectural
quality are influenced by many factors, e.g. the development plan, the
variety of usages and the desired quality of the building. Steel offers
numerous possibilities to achieve both pleasant and flexible functional use.

For buildings of large enclosure, the In most cases, an industrial building is

economy of the structure plays an not a single structure, but is extended by
important role. For longer spans, the office and administration units or elements
design is optimised in order to minimise such as canopies. These additional
the use of materials, costs and elements can be designed in a way that
installation effort. Increasingly, buildings they fit into the whole building design.
are designed to reduce energy costs and
to achieve a high degree of sustainability. This publication describes the common
forms of industrial buildings and large
Industrial buildings use steel framed enclosures, and their range of application
structures and metallic cladding of all in Europe. Regional differences that may
types. Large open spaces can be created exist depending on practice, regulations
that are efficient, easy to maintain, and and capabilities of the supply chain,
are adaptable as demand changes. are presented in Section 5.
Steel is chosen on economic grounds,
as well as for other aspects such as fire, The same technologies may be extended
architectural quality and sustainability. to a range of building types, including
sports and leisure facilities, halls,
supermarkets and other enclosures.

Figure 1.1 Leisure building using a steel

framed structure

EURO-BUILD in Steel 
02 Best Practice in Steel Construction - INDUSTriAL Buildings

02 Key Design Factors

The design of industrial buildings is affected by many factors.
The following general guidance is presented to identify the key
design factors and the benefits offered by steel construction.

Industrial buildings are generally Forms of Industrial Buildings Forms of Industrial

designed as enclosures that provide The most elementary system used for
functional space for internal activities, an industrial building consists of two Buildings
which may involve use of overhead columns and a beam. This configuration
cranes or suspended equipment as can be modified in numerous ways using
well as provision of office space or various types of connections between the Fire Safety
mezzanine floors. beams and columns and for the column
base. The types of structures most
Various structural forms have been commonly used in industrial buildings are
developed over the last 30 years that portal frames with hinged column bases.
optimise the cost of the steel structure Portal frames provide sufficient in-plane
Building Physics
in relation to the space provided. stability, and thus only require bracings
However, in recent years, forms of for out-of-plane stability.
expressive structure have been used
in architectural applications of industrial Figure 2.1 shows a variety of rigid frames Loading
buildings, notably suspended and with fixed (a) or hinged (b) column bases.
tubular structures. Fixed column bases may be considered
when heavy cranes are used, as they Concept Design
A single large hall is the main feature deflect less under horizontal forces.
of most industrial buildings. Hinged column bases have smaller Considerations
The construction and appearance foundations and simple base
of an industrial building provides the connections. In examples (c) and (d),
design engineer with a wide range of the structure is located partly outside the Floors
possible configurations in order to building, and so details concerning the
realise the architectural ideas and the piercing of the building envelope have to
functional requirements. Generally, be designed carefully. The complex detail
an industrial building has a rectangular in these types of structure also serve
floor space, which is extendable in its architectural purposes.
Service Integration
long direction. The design of the building
has to be coordinated with functional In Figure 2.2, different structures consisting
requirements and the energy-saving of beam and columns are presented.
concept, including lighting. Figure 2.2 (a) shows an example of a Lighting
structure without purlins, that is stiffened
The following forms of industrial buildings by diaphragm action in the roof and
represent an overview of the possible bracings in the walls. In Figure 2.2 (b),
architectural and constructional solutions. purlins are used, leading to a simple
Exhibition halls, railway stations, airports design of the roof cladding, which has
and sports arenas tend to be special reduced spans and only serves to
structures. However, the following support vertical loads. The roof is
general issues are restricted to stiffened by plan bracing. The structure
‘standard’ floor plans. without purlins may offer a more pleasant

 EURO-BUILD in Steel
Key Design Factors 02

(a ) Frame with fixed column bases (b) Frame with hinged

column bases

Figure 2.1 Examples of rigid

(c) Frame with lattice girders (d) Suspended portal frame
framed sructures

(a ) Structure without purlins, roof (b) Structure with purlins

stiffened by trapezoidal sheeting

(c) Lattice girder with purlins (d) Cable suspended

beams with purlins Figure 2.2 Examples of column
and beam structures

appearance when viewed from the inside. individual directional load paths. In addition to the primary steel structure,
Figures 2.2 (c) and (d) show lattice trusses Spatial structures and space trusses are a wide range of secondary components
and cable suspended beams, which may non-directional structures; they can be has also been developed, such as
be beneficial to achieve larger spans, as expanded, but would become heavy for cold formed steel purlins, which also
well as desirable for visual reasons. long spans. Figure 2.4 shows some provide for the stability of the framework
examples of spatial structures. (see Figures 2.6 and 2.7).
Arch structures offer advantageous load-
carrying behaviour as well as having a Portal frames These simple types of structural systems
pleasant visual appearance. In Figure 2.3 Steel portal frames are widely used can also be designed to be architecturally
(a), a building with a three-hinged arch is in most of the European countries more appealing by using curved
shown. Alternatively, the structure can be because they combine structural members, cellular or perforated beams
elevated on columns or integrated in a efficiency with functional application. etc., as illustrated in Figure 2.8.
truss structure, as in Figure 2.3 (d). Various configurations of portal frames
can be designed using the same Innovative structural systems have also
The forms of buildings with primary and structural concept as shown in Figure 2.5. been developed in which portal frames
secondary structural elements described Multi-bay frames can also be designed, are created by moment resisting
above are all directional structures, for as in Figure 2.5 (e) and (f), either using connections using articulations and ties,
which the loads are carried primarily on single or pairs of internal columns. as given in Figure 2.9.

EURO-BUILD in Steel 
02 Best Practice in Steel Construction - INDUSTriAL Buildings

(a ) Three-hinge lattice (b) Elevated curved beams

arch with purlins

(c) Arch-structure using space frame (d) Elevated curved trusses

Figure 2.3 Examples of curved
or arch structures

(a ) Girder grid on columns (b) Suspended girder grid

with fixed bases

(c) Space frame on columns (d) Curved space frame on

with fixed bases columns with fixed bases
Figure 2.4 Examples of spatial structures

6m 6m

25 - 40 m 25 - 30 m
(a) Portal frame - medium span (b) Curved portal frame

8m 8m
3.5 m
8m 9m 8m 25 m
(c) Portal frame with mezzanine floor (d) Portal frame with overhead crane


25 m
(e) Two bay portal frame
6˚ 6˚

3.5 m
10 m
(f ) Portal frame with integral office



40 m

(g) Mansard portal frame

Figure 2.5 Various forms of portal frames

 EURO-BUILD in Steel
Key Design Factors 02

Figure 2.6 Linked single bay portal frame

Figure 2.7 Two bay portal frame with

purlins and roof bracing
Kingspan Ltd

Figure 2.8 Curved beams used in a portal

frame structure

EURO-BUILD in Steel 
02 Best Practice in Steel Construction - INDUSTriAL Buildings

Figure 2.9 Innovative moment-

resisting connections in
an industrial building

Figure 2.10 Installation process for a

modern portal frame
Barrett Steel Buildings Ltd

The installation process of the primary However, columns can also be internal forces are accounted for in the
structure and secondary members, such constructed in a similar way, as illustrated design of the lattice members, when the
as purlins, is generally carried out using in Figure 2.13, in order to provide lattice truss acts to stabilise the building
mobile cranes, as illustrated in Figure 2.10. in‑plane stability. against lateral loads.

Lattice trusses Using lattice structures, a comparatively Suspended structures

Long span industrial buildings can be high stiffness and load bearing resistance By using suspended structures, long-
designed with lattice trusses, using C, H can be achieved while minimising material span buildings with high visual and
or O sections. Lattice trusses tend to be use. Besides the ability to create long architectural quality can be realised.
beam and column structures and are spans, lattice structures are attractive
rarely used in portal frames. Various and enable simple service integration. The division into members that are
configurations of lattice trusses are predominantly subject to either tension
illustrated in Figure 2.11. The two generic A pinned structure is an idealisation used or compression permits the design of
forms are W or N bracing arrangements. in design. Moment-resisting connections lightweight structures. However, structures
In this case, stability is generally provided can be designed using bolted or welded that save on materials use do not
by bracing rather than rigid frame action. connections. The resulting additional necessarily lead to economic solutions.

 EURO-BUILD in Steel
Key Design Factors 02

1.5 m 1.5 m 1.5 m 6˚

8m 8m 8m

25 m 25 m 25 m

(a) Lattice girder - W form (b) Lattice girder - N form (c) Duo-pitch lattice girder
2.5 m 2.5 m
1.5 m 1.0 m 1.0 m

8m 8m 8m

25 m 25 m 20 m

(d) Articulated lattice girder (e) Curved lattice girder (f ) Curved lattice truss and canopy

1.0 m 6˚
2.5 m
6m 6m

20 m 20 m

(g) Articulated bow-string (h) Mono-pitch lattice girder with canopy

Figure 2.11 (Above) Various forms of lattice

truss used in industrial buildings

Figure 2.12 (Left) Lattice truss using

tubular members

EURO-BUILD in Steel 
02 Best Practice in Steel Construction - INDUSTriAL Buildings

Figure 2.13 Lattice frame using

lattice columns

Particularly in space structures, the joints the following fire safety issues should performing fire tests, three levels of fire
may be very complex and more time be addressed: design calculations:
consuming to construct and install. • Means of escape (number of Level 1: Classification of structural
Therefore, possible applications of this emergency exits, characteristics of components by using tables.
type of structure are industrial buildings exit signs, number of staircases, Level 2: Simplified calculation methods.
that also serve architectural purposes width of doors). Level 3: Advanced calculation methods.
rather than merely functional buildings. • Fire spread (including fire resistance
and reaction to fire). Building physics
Suspended structures can be designed • Smoke and heat exhaust Thermal insulation
by extending columns outside the building ventilation system. The main purpose of thermal insulation
envelope, as illustrated in Figure 2.14. • Active fire fighting measures (hand in industrial buildings is to ensure an
Suspended structures accomplish longer extinguishers, smoke detectors, adequate indoor climate depending
spans, although the suspension cables or sprinklers, plant fire brigade). on the use of the building. During the
rods also penetrate the building envelope, • Access for the fire brigade. heating season, one of the main
and can be obstructive to the use of the functions of the building envelope is
external space. Fire resistance requirements should be to reduce the heat loss by means of
based on the parameters influencing fire effective insulation. This is particularly
Lattice and suspended structures are growth and development, which include: true for buildings with normal indoor
complex and are not covered in detail in • Risk of fire (probability of fire temperatures, such as retail stores,
this Best Practice Guide. occurrence, fire spread, fire duration, exhibition halls and leisure centres,
fire load, severity of fire, etc.). it is true to a lesser extent for
Fire Safety • Ventilation conditions buildings with low indoor temperatures,
Even though the general context of fire (air input, smoke exhaust). such as workshops and warehouses.
safety regulations is the same throughout • Fire compartment
Europe, national differences do exist. (type, size, geometry). For large panels, thermal bridges
For example a single-storey industrial • Type of structural system. and airtightness of joints have a major
building in the Netherlands with a • Evacuation conditions. influence on the energy-balance of
compartment size of 50 x 100 m has no • Safety of rescue team. the building. The thermal insulation
requirements concerning fire resistance, • Risk for neighbouring buildings. has to be placed without gaps and
whereas in France, a fire resistance of • Active fire fighting measures. the building envelope must be sealed
30 minutes is required in many cases, and made airtight at longitudinal and
and in Italy the requirement is possibly as The new generation of European transverse joints.
high as 90 minutes. At the design stage, regulations allow, in addition to

 EURO-BUILD in Steel
Key Design Factors 02

Figure 2.14 Suspended structure used at

the Renault Factory, Swindon,
UK built in the 1980’s
Architect:Richard Rogers Partnership

In the summer, the role of the building for industrial buildings, it may be are given in Eurocodes EN 1991‑1‑1,
envelope is to reduce the effects of solar necessary to limit values of acoustic 1991‑1‑3 and 1991‑1‑4. Table 2.1 shows
gain on the interior space. The summer emissions from particular machinery. the relevant actions and structural
heat reduction depends on the total area components and Figure 2.15 shows a
and orientation of openings, as well as the In steel framed buildings, acoustic insula- typical load scheme.
effectiveness of solar protection measures. tion is mainly achieved by the construction
of the building envelope. All measures of Vertical loads
Condensation risk acoustic insulation are based on the Self weight
Thermal and moisture protection are following physical principles: Where possible, unit weights of materials
linked closely, because damage arising • Interruption of transmission, e.g. should be checked with manufacturers’
from high local humidity is often the result by using multi-skin constructions. data. The figures given in Table 2.2 may
of missing or improperly installed thermal • Sound absorption, e.g. by using be taken as typical of roofing materials
insulation. On the other hand, lack of perforated sheeting or cassettes. used in the pre-design of a portal frame
moisture protection can lead to • Reducing response by increasing the construction. The self weight of the steel
condensation in the construction, mass of a component. frame is typically 0.2 to 0.4 kN/m2,
which in turn affects the effectiveness expressed over the plan area.
of the thermal insulation. For single sound sources, a local
enclosure or isolation is recommended. Service loads
In multi-skin roof or wall constructions, In order to reach a high level of acoustic Loading due to services will vary greatly,
condensation risk has to be controlled insulation, special sound-absorbing roof depending on the use of the building. In a
by installing a vapour barrier on the inner and wall cladding are effective. For multi- portal frame structure, heavy point loads
skin of the structure. Wall constructions skin panels the level of sound insulation may occur from such items as suspended
that are vapour proof on both sides, can be controlled by varying the acoustic walkways, runway and lifting beams or air
like sandwich panels, prevent diffusion. operating mass. Due to the complexity of handling units. The following loads may
However, the humidity in the internal this issue, it is recommended to consult be used for pre-design:
space also has to be regulated by air the specialist manufacturers. • A nominal load over the whole of
conditioning. Section 4 covers roof and the roof area of between 0.1 and
floor systems. Loading 0.25 kN/m² on plan depending on the
The actions and combinations of actions use of the building, and whether or
Acoustic insulation described in this section should be not a sprinkler system is provided.
In all European countries, minimum considered in the design of a single-
requirements exist on the sound storey industrial building using a steel Imposed load on roofs
insulation of buildings. In addition, structure. Imposed, snow and wind loads EN 1991-1-1 and -3 define characteristic

EURO-BUILD in Steel 
02 Best Practice in Steel Construction - INDUSTriAL Buildings

wind uplift

snow load

dead load sway


wind wind
pressure suction

Frame span

Figure 2.15 Loading scheme on

a portal frame Action Applied to
Self-weight Cladding, purlins, frames, foundation
Snow Cladding, purlins, frames, foundation
Concentrated snow Cladding, purlins, (frames), foundation
Wind Cladding, purlins, frames, foundation
Wind (increase on single element) Cladding, purlins, fixings
Wind (peak undertow) Cladding, purlins, (fixings)
Thermal actions Envelope, global structure
Service loads Depends on specification: roofing, purlins, frames
Crane loads Crane rails, frame
Dynamic loads Global structure (Depends on building use and locality)
Second order effects
Wall bracings, columns
Table 2.1 Actions and relevant (Sway imperfections)
structural components

Material Weight (kN/m²)

Steel roof sheeting (single skin) 0.07 - 0.20
Aluminium roof sheeting (single skin) 0.04
Insulation (boards, per 25 mm thickness) 0.07
Insulation (glass fibre, per 100 mm thickness) 0.01
Liner trays (0.4 mm – 0.7 mm thickness) 0.04 - 0.07
Composite panels (40 mm – 100 mm thickness) 0.10 - 0.15
Purlins (distributed over the roof area) 0.03
Steel decking 0.20
Three layers of felt with chippings 0.29
Slates 0.40 / 0.50
Tiling (clay or plain concrete) 0.60 - 0.80
Tiling (concrete interlocking) 0.50 - 0.80
Table 2.2 Typical weights of Timber battens (including timber rafters) 0.10
roofing materials

10 EURO-BUILD in Steel
Key Design Factors 02

values of various types of imposed Wind uplift forces on cladding can In the first instance, it is necessary to
loads on roofs: be relatively high at the corner of the identify the size of the enclosure and to
• A minimum load of 0.6 kN/m² (on plan) building and at the eaves and ridge. develop a structural scheme, which will
for roof slopes less than 30° is applied, In these areas, it may be necessary provide this functional space taking into
where no access other than for cleaning to reduce the spacing of the purlins account all the above considerations.
and maintenance is intended. and side rails. The importance of each of these conside-
• A concentrated load of 0.9 kN - this rations depends on the type of building.
will only affect the sheeting design. Imperfections For example, the requirements concerning
• A uniformly distributed load due to Equivalent horizontal forces have to a distribution centre will be different from
snow over the complete roof area. be considered due to geometrical and those of a manufacturing unit.
The value of the load depends on the structural imperfections. According to
building’s location and height above EN 1993‑1‑1 for frames sensitive to To develop an effective concept design,
sea level. If multi-bay portal frames buckling in a sway mode, the effect of it is necessary to review these conside-
with roof slopes are used, the effect of imperfections should be allowed for in rations based on their importance,
concentrated snow loads in the frame analysis by means of an equivalent depending on the type of building.
valleys has to be coonsidered. imperfection in the form of: Table 2.3 presents a matrix which
• A non-uniform load caused by snow • initial sway deflections; and / or relates the importance of each
drifting across the roof due to wind • individual bow imperfections consideration to particular types of
blowing across the ridge of the of members. industrial buildings. Note that this
building and depositing more snow matrix is only indicative, as each
on the leeward side. This is only Other horizontal loads project will be different. However, the
considered for slopes greater than Depending on the project, additional matrix can serve as a general aid.
15° and will not therefore apply to horizontal loading may have to be
most industrial buildings. considered, such as earth pressure, Compartmentation & mixed use
force due to operation of cranes, Increasingly, larger industrial buildings
Horizontal loads accidental actions and seismic action. are designed for mixed use, i.e. in most
Wind loading cases integrated office space and / or
Wind actions are given by EN 1991‑1‑4. Concept design staff rooms for the employees are
Wind loading rarely determines the size considerations provided. There are different possible
of members in low-rise single span portal General issues locations for these additional spaces
frames where the height : span ratio is Prior to the detailed design of an industrial and uses, as shown in Figure 2.16:
less than 1:4. Therefore, wind loading building, it is essential to consider many • For single-storey industrial buidings,
can usually be ignored for preliminary aspects such as: creation of separate space inside
design of portal frames, unless the • Space optimization. the building and possibly two
height-span ratio is large, or if the • Speed of construction. storeys high, separated by
dynamic pressure is high. Combined • Access and security. internal walls.
wind and snow loading is often • Flexibility of use. • In an external building, directly
critical in this case. • Environmental performance. connected to the hall itself.
• Standardization of components. • For two-storey industrial buildings,
However, in two span and other multi- • Infrastructure of supply. partly occupying the upper floor.
span portal frames, combined wind • Service integration.
and vertical load may often determine • Landscaping. This leads to special concept design
the sizes of the members, when alternate • Aesthetics and visual impact. requirements concerning the support
internal columns are omitted. The • Thermal performance and structure and the building physics
magnitude of the wind loading can air-tightness. performance. If the office area is
determine which type of verification • Acoustic insulation. situated on the upper storey of the
has to be provided. If large horizontal • Weather-tightness. industrial building, it may be designed
deflections at the eaves occur in • Fire safety. as a separate structure enclosed by
combination with high axial forces, • Design life. the structure of the building. In this case,
then second order effects have to be • Sustainability considerations. floor systems from commercial buildings
considered in the verification procedure. • End of life and re-use. can be used, often based on composite

EURO-BUILD in Steel 11
02 Best Practice in Steel Construction - INDUSTriAL Buildings

Considerations for concept design

Thermal performance and air tightness

Standardization of components

Aesthetics and visual impact

Environmental performance
Flexibility of use and space

Specialist infra structure

Speed of construction

End of life and reuse

Access and Security

Services integration
Space optimization

Weather tightness
Acoustic isolation


Design life
Type of single-storey
industrial buildings

High bay warehouses               

Industrial manufacturing
facilities             

Distribution centres               

Retail superstores              

Storage / cold storage             

Small scale fabrication

facilities            

Office and light

manufacturing               

Processing plants             

Leisure centres               

Sports hall complexes              

Exhibition halls               

Aircraft or maintenance
hangars                

Legend No tick = Not important  = important  = very important

Table 2.3 Important design factors for industrial buildings

structures, e.g. integrated floor beams. the design, even if there is no internal located on the top floor of the building,
Another possible solution is to attach the office space. In order to prevent fire spread, additional escape routes are required and
office to the main structure. This requires the compartment size is limited to a active fire fighting measures have to be
particular attention to be paid to the stabili- certain value. Therefore fire walls have to considered. Fire-spread has to be
sation of the combined parts of the building. be provided for separation and should prevented from one compartment to
ensure at least 60 and often 90 minutes another, which can be achieved, for
Apart from structural issues, special fire resistance. This is even more vital if example by a composite slab between
attention has to be paid to: hazardous goods are stored in the building. the office and industrial space.

Fire protection Because the office is designed for use by Thermal insulation
For large industrial buildings, fire compart- a larger number of people, fire safety As for fire safety, offices also have
mentation may play an important role in demands are stricter. If the offices are higher requirements on thermal insulation.

12 EURO-BUILD in Steel
Key Design Factors 02

office office

office hall
hall hall

(a) inside (b) outside (c) on top floor Figure 2.16 Possible location of an office
attached to an industrial building

In industrial buildings used for storage is required, typically using two layers of ventilation depends on the size and
purposes of non-sensitive goods, thermal synthetic material. orientation of the building. Roof vents
insulation may not be required. In offices, are a common option for natural
however, a high level of comfort is Service integration ventilation in buildings without suitably
needed, which makes thermal insulation For industrial buildings, special large openings, however these need to
necessary. Therefore the interfaces requirements for building services are be carefully positioned so as to maximize
between the cold and the warm often defined, which may be necessary their performance. Hybrid ventilation
compartments have to be designed to for the operation of machines and systems are now popular in industrial
provide adequate insulation. manufacturing lines. buildings. They use predominantly
natural ventilation, but with mechanically
Acoustic performance The service integration should be taken driven fans to improve predictability of
Especially in industrial buildings with into account in the early planning stages. performance over a wider range of
noise-intensive production processes, In particular, the position and size of weather conditions.
a strict separation between the production ducts should be coordinated with the
unit and the office areas has to be realised. structure and provisions for natural lighting. Mechanical Heat and Ventilation
This may require special measures for Recovery (MHVR) systems use the heat
acoustic insulation, depending on the The use of structural systems, such as from the exiting warm stale air to heat up
production processes. cellular beams and trusses, can facilitate the fresh cool air as it enters the building.
integration of services and help to The warm air is vented out of the building
Floors achieve a coherent appearance alongside the incoming fresh air, allowing
In most cases, the floors for industrial of the building. heat transfer from the exiting to the
buildings are used for vehicles or incoming air. Although this heat transfer
heavy machinery. They are designed The design of the servicing machinery will never be 100% efficient, the use of
to support heavy loads and have to and rooms can be of major importance MHVR systems can significantly reduce
be ’flat’. Concentrated loads due to in industrial buildings. Centralisation of the amount of energy required to warm
vehicles, machines, racking and the building services can offer the the fresh air to a comfortable level.
containers have to be considered, advantage of easy maintenance.
depending on the application. Figure 2.17 shows different possible Further issues which may need
solutions of the positioning of the consideration in services design include:
Most industrial buildings have a concrete service rooms. • The possible affect of elements for
floor with a minimum thickness of solar protection on air exchange.
150 mm on top of a layer of sand or Natural ventilation reduces the reliance • Odour extraction.
gravel, which is also at least 150 mm on air conditioning systems, which in turn • Control of humidity.
thick. For large floor areas, a sliding layer means a reduction in the building’s CO2 • Control of airtightness.
between the base layer and the concrete emissions. The effectiveness of natural • Acoustic insulation.

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02 Best Practice in Steel Construction - INDUSTriAL Buildings

Requirements for the lighting of industrial
buildings depend on the type of use.

The concept and arrangement of

openings to provide natural lighting
permit diversity in architectural design.
Rooflights and gable glazed roofs are
common, along with lightbands in the
façade (Figure 2.18). Openings for
natural lighting can serve as smoke and (a) separate servicing rooms (b) servicing rooms on the roof
heat outlets in case of fire.

Well-designed natural daylighting can

have a significant impact on a building’s
carbon emissions. However, too much
natural daylighting can result in excessive
solar gain in the summer, leading to
overheating, and increased heat loss
through the envelope in the winter.

The decision to utilise natural daylight (c) internal servicing rooms (d) servicing rooms in the basement
within a building and the type of day-
lighting selected have important implica-
tions for the overall building design.

(a) Uniformly distributed rooflights (b) Light-bands in façade

Figure 2.17 (Top right) Possible

arrangements of the servicing
rooms and service routes
(c) Linear rooflights (d) Shed bands in roof
Figure 2.18 (Right) Examples of ways of
providing natural lighting
in industrial buildings

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Support Structures 03

03 Support Structures
This section describes common systems used for main support
structures in industrial buildings. The characteristics of portal frames
as well as column and beam structures are described, together with
information on secondary components and connections.

Portal frame structures A number of types of structure can be Portal frame structures
Portal frame buildings are generally low- classified broadly as portal frames.
rise structures, comprising columns and The information given with regard to
horizontal or sloping rafters, connected spans, roof pitch, etc. is typical of the
by moment-resisting connections. forms of construction that are illustrated.
Column and beam
Portal frames with hinged column bases Steel sections used in portal frame
are generally preferred as they lead to structures with spans of 12 m to 30 m
smaller foundation sizes in comparison to are usually hot rolled sections and are Secondary components
fixed bases. Furthermore, fixed columns specified in grades S235, S275 or even and bracing
require more expensive connection S355 steel. Use of high-strength steel is
details and therefore are predominately rarely economic in structures where
used only if high horizontal forces have to serviceability (i.e. deflection) or stability
be resisted. However, pinned columns criteria may control the design. Connections
have the disadvantage of leading to
slightly heavier steel weights due to the Frames designed using plastic
lower stiffness of the frame to both global analysis offer greater economy,
vertical and horizontal forces. although elastic global analysis is
preferred in some countries.
This form of rigid frame structure is stable Where plastic analysis is used,
in its own plane and provides a clear the member proportions must be
span that is unobstructed by bracing. appropriate for the development
Stability is achieved by rigid frame action of plastic bending resistance.
provided by continuity at the connections
and this is usually achieved by use of Types of steel portal frames
haunches at the eaves. Pitched roof portal frame
One of the most common structures for
Out-of-plane stability in most cases has industrial buildings is the single-span
to be provided by additional elements, symmetrical portal frame, as shown in
such as tubular braces and purlins Figure 3.2. The following characteristics
(Figure 3.1). By using profiled sheeting, emerged as the most economical and
the stiffening of the roof can be obtained can therefore be seen as a basis at an
by stressed skin diaphragm action early design stage:
without additional bracing. Shear walls, • Span between 15 m and 50 m
cores and the use of fixed ended (25 to 35 m is the most efficient).
columns can also provide out‑of‑plane • Eaves height between 5 and 10 m
restraint to the portal frames. (5 to 6 m is the most efficient).

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Stiffening in two directions by using Stiffening in longitudinal direction by using

bracings in roof and walls as well as in gable bracings in roof and walls with frame in gable
wall (roof cladding also provides in-place stiffness) wall for possible further expansion

Stiffening in longitudinal direction by using Stiffening in longitudinal direction by using

bracings in roof and special bracings for bracings in roof and portal frame in wall for
integration of a door in the wall integration of a door
Figure 3.1 Examples of out-of plane
bracing of a portal frame

• Roof pitch between 5° and 10° It can be designed to stabilise the frame. Where the crane is of relatively low
(6° is commonly adopted). Often the internal floor requires additional capacity (up to about 20 tonnes),
• Frame spacing between 5 m and fire protection. brackets can be fixed to the columns
8 m (the greater spacings being to support the crane (see Figure 3.5).
associated with the longer span Portal frame with Use of a tie member between haunches
portal frames). external mezzanine across the building or fixed column bases
• Haunches in the rafters at the eaves Offices may be located externally to the may be necessary to reduce the relative
and if necessary at the apex. portal frame, creating an asymmetric eaves deflection. The outward movement
portal structure, as shown in Figure 3.4. of the frame at crane rail level may be of
Table 3.1 can be used as an aid for The main advantage of this framework is critical importance to the functioning of
pre-design of single span portal frames. that large columns and haunches do not the crane.
The use of haunches at the eaves and obstruct the office space. Generally, this
apex both reduces the required depth of additional structure depends on the portal For heavy cranes, it is appropriate to
rafter and achieves an efficient moment frame for its stability. support the crane rails on additional
connection at these points. Often the columns, which may be tied to the portal
haunch is cut from the same size of Crane portal frame with frame columns by bracing in order to
section as the rafter. column brackets provide stability.
Cranes, if needed, have an important
Portal frame with a influence on the design and the Propped portal frame
mezzanine floor dimensions of portal frames. Where the span of a portal frame is
Office accommodation is often provided They create additional vertical loads greater than 30 m, and there is no need
within a portal frame structure using as well as considerable horizontal forces, to provide a clear span, a propped portal
a mezzanine floor (see Figure 3.3), which influence the size of the column frame (see Figure 3.6) can reduce the
which may be partial or full width. section, in particular. rafter size and also the horizontal forces

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Support Structures 03

Eaves Frame Required

Snow load Span Roof pitch
height spacing cross‑section
[kN/m²] [m] [m] [°] [m] Column Rafter
30.0 6.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 600 IPE 550
25.0 6.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 500 IPE 500
0.75 20.0 6.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 450 IPE 450
15.0 5.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 360 IPE 360
12.0 4.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 300 IPE 300
30.0 6.0 6.0 5.0 HEA 500 HEA 500
25.0 6.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 600 IPE 550
1.20 20.0 6.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 500 IPE 500
15.0 5.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 450 IPE 450
12.0 4.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 360 IPE 360
30.0 6.0 6.0 5.0 HEA 650 HEA 650
25.0 6.0 6.0 5.0 HEA 550 HEA 550
2.00 20.0 6.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 600 HEA 600
15.0 5.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 500 IPE 500
12.0 4.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 400 IPE 400 Table 3.1 Pre-design table
for portal frames

Roof pitch Apex


Apex haunch
Eaves haunch


Figure 3.2 Single span symmetrical portal



Figure 3.3 Portal frame with internal

mezzanine floor


Figure 3.4 Portal frame with external

mezzanine floor

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Figure 3.5 Portal frame with column

Possible location
* of out of plane restraint
Clear internal

Figure 3.6 Propped portal frame

at the bases of the columns, thus leading applications. The rafter can be curved wall is not provided by a portal frame,
to savings in both steelwork and to a radius by cold bending. For spans bracings or rigid panels are needed,
foundation costs. greater than 16 m, splices may be required as shown in Figure 3.11.
in the rafter because of limitations of
This type of frame is sometimes referred transport. For architectural reasons, Column & beam structures
to as a ‘single span propped portal’, but it these splices may be designed to be Column and beam structures require an
acts as a two-span portal frame in terms visually unobtrusive. independent bracing system in both
of the behaviour of the beam. directions. The beams may be I‑sections
Alternatively, where the roof must be or lattice trusses.
Tied portal frame curved but the frame need not be curved,
In a tied portal frame (see Figure 3.7), the rafter can be fabricated as a series of Column & beam structures with
the horizontal movements of the eaves straight elements. hinged column bases
and the moments in the columns are For simple beam and column structures,
reduced, at the cost of a reduction in the Cellular portal frame the columns are loaded mainly in com-
clear height. For roof slopes of less than Cellular beams are commonly used pression which leads to smaller columns.
15°, large forces will develop in the in portal frames which have curved Compared to a portal frame, the internal
rafters and the tie. rafters (see Figure 3.10 and Figure 2.9). moments in the beam are greater,
Where splices are required in the rafter leading to larger steel sections. Since
Mansard portal frame for transport, these should be detailed to pinned connections are less complex
A mansard portal frame consists of a preserve the architectural features for this than moment resisting connections,
series of rafters and haunches (as in form of construction. fabrication costs can be reduced. Table
Figure 3.8). It may be used where a large 3.2 gives some indicative column and
clear span is required but the eaves Gable wall frames beam sizes for a hinged column base.
height of the building has to be minimised. Gable wall frames are located at the ends
A tied mansard may be an economic of the building and may comprise posts For this type of support structure,
solution where there is a need to restrict and simply-supported rafters rather than bracings in both directions are required
eaves spread. a full-span portal frame (see Figure 3.11). in the roof as well as in the walls in order
If the building is to be extended later, to provide stability for horizontal loads.
Curved rafter portal frame a portal frame of the same size as the For that reason, it is often used for
Curved rafter portals (see Figure 3.9 and internal frames should be provided. predominantly enclosed halls (i.e. no
Figure 2.8) are often used for architectural In cases in which the stability of the gable substantial openings). This fact also has

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Support Structures 03

Hangers may be
required on long spans


Figure 3.7 Tied portal frame

Figure 3.8 Mansard portal frame

Figure 3.9 Curved rafter portal frame

Figure 3.10 Cellular beam used in

portal frame

Industrial door


floor level

Personnel door
Figure 3.11 End gables in a frame structure

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Eaves Frame Required

Snow load Span Roof pitch
height spacing cross‑section
[kN/m²] [m] [m] [°] [m] Column Beam
30.0 6.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 270 HEA 550
25.0 6.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 270 IPE 600
0.75 20.0 6.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 240 IPE 500
15.0 5.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 200 IPE 360
12.0 4.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 160 IPE 300
30.0 6.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 300 HEA 700
25.0 6.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 300 HEA 550
1.20 20.0 6.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 270 IPE 550
15.0 5.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 220 IPE 450
12.0 4.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 180 IPE 360
30.0 6.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 330 HEA 900
25.0 6.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 300 HEA 700
2.00 20.0 6.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 300 HEA 500
15.0 5.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 240 IPE 500
Table 3.2 Pre-design table for column and 12.0 4.0 6.0 5.0 IPE 200 IPE 450
beam structures
Sheet thickness 1.5 - 3 mm


Height H 175 mm 195 mm 210 mm 240 mm 260 mm


Sheet thickness 1.5 - 4 mm

max. 350 mm
Height H

min. 80 mm

min. 30 mm depending on H max. 10 0 mm


Sheet thickness 1.5 - 4 mm

max. 350 mm
Height H

min. 80 mm

min. 30 mm depending on H max. 10 0 mm

Figure 3.12 Cold-formed sections typically U-shape

used for purlins

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Support Structures 03

to be taken into account during stiffness acts in both directions, and the Purlins
the installation stage by providing structure is stable after installation Purlins transfer the forces from the
temporary bracings. without additional bracing. roof cladding to the primary structural
elements, i.e. rafters. Furthermore, they
Column & beam structures with Secondary components can act as compression members as part
fixed column bases & bracing of the bracing system and provide limited
When using fixed-ended columns, A typical steel portal frame structure with restraint against lateral torsional buckling
larger foundations are required as a its secondary components is shown in of the rafter. For frame spacings up to
result of the additional bending moment. Figure 3.14. Similar systems are provided 7 m, it can be economic to span the
As the columns have low axial forces, for beam and column splices. profiled sheeting between the rafters
the required size of the foundation without the use of purlins. Larger frame
will be large and possibly uneconomic. The bracing systems shown in Figure 3.1 spacings reduce the number of primary
Large columns for industrial buildings are generally achieved by bracing structural elements and foundations,
with a crane may be designed as (usually circular members) in the plane but require the use of heavier purlins.
lattice structures. of the roof or wall. Purlins and side In industrial buildings, hot-rolled
rails support the roof and wall cladding, I‑sections as well as cold-formed profiles
Compared to portal frames, internal and stabilise the steel framework against with Z-, C‑, U- or custom-made shapes
moments in the beams and lateral lateral buckling. Alternatively, panels are used, as shown in Figure 3.12.
deformations are greater. The providing shear stiffness or steel profiled
advantages of this system are its sheeting used in diaphragm action When cold-formed purlins are used,
insensitivity to settlement and, in the can be used to provide sufficient out-of- they are usually located at spacings
case of the fixed supports, the base plane stability. of approximately 1.5 m to 2.5 m.

(a) Support for continuous (b) Support for single-span

hot-rolled purlin hot-rolled purlin

(c) Support for continuous (d) Support for continuous cold-formed

cold-formed Z-shaped purlin custom-shaped purlin Figure 3.13 Possible solutions for
purlin-rafter connections

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Cold rolled Rafter
eaves beam
Apex haunch
Side 4
rails 3
1 Eaves haunch
Positions of restraint
2 to inner flange of Column
column and rafter
Dado wall Base plate

Tie rod (optional

but not common)

(a) Cross-section showing the portal frame and its restraints

Cold rolled

Sag bars if

eaves beam

Eaves beam

(b) Roof steelwork plan

Sag rod

Side rails Diagonal


Side wall

Figure 3.14 Overview of secondary

structural components in (c) Side elevation
a portal frame structure

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Support Structures 03

Tension flange welds

Rib (tension) stiffener
(if needed)

hot-rolled I-section

Eaves haunch

Bolts Grade 8.8 or 10.9


Compression stiffener (if needed)

hot-rolled I-section

Figure 3.15 Typical eaves connections

in a portal frame

The spacing between the purlins is In order to reduce manufacturing costs,

reduced in zones of higher wind and it is preferable to design the eaves
snow load, and where stability of the connection without the use of stiffeners.
rafter is required, e.g. close to the eaves In some cases, the effects of the reduced
and valley. Often manufacturers provide joint stiffness on the global structural
approved solutions for the connections to behaviour may have to be considered,
the rafter section using pre-fabricated i.e. effects on the internal forces and
steel plates, as shown in Figure 3.13. deflections. EN 1993‑1‑8 provides a
design procedure, which takes these
Connections ‘semi-rigid’ effects into account.
The three major connections in a single
bay portal frame are those at the eaves, The apex connection is often designed
the apex and the column base. similarly, see Figure 3.16. If the span of
the frame does not exceed transportation
For the eaves, bolted connections are limits (about 16 m), the on-site apex con-
mostly used of the form shown in nection can be avoided, thus saving costs.
Figure 3.15. A haunch can be created
by welding a ‘cutting’ to the rafter to The base of the column is often kept simple
increase its depth locally and to make with larger tolerances in order to facilitate
the connection design more efficient. the interface between the concrete and
The ‘cutting’ is often made from the steelwork. Typical details are presented
same steel section as the rafter. in Figure 3.17. Pinned connections are
often preferred in order to minimize
In some cases, the column and the foundation sizes although stability during
haunched part of the beam are construction must be considered.
constructed as one unit, and the High horizontal forces may require the
constant depth part of the beam is use of fixed based connections.
bolted using an end plate connection.

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Bolts Grade 8.8 or 10.9 End-plates

hot-rolled rafter section

Figure 3.16 (Right) Typical apex
connections in a portal frame

Apex haunch
Figure 3.17 (Below) Typical examples (if needed)
of nominally pinned column
bases in a portal frame

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Roof & Wall Systems 04

04 Roof & Wall Systems

This section describes common systems for roofing and cladding that
serve as the building envelope and may at the same time provide stability
for the main support structure. Also, mainly architectural aspects for
industrial building such as service integration and lighting are discussed.

Roof systems Generally steel sheeting is made of Roof systems

There are a number of proprietary types galvanised steel grades S280G, S320G
of cladding that may be used in industrial or S275G to EN 10326. Due to the wide
buildings. These tend to fall into some range of product forms, no standard
broad categories, which are described in dimensions for sheeting exist, although Wall systems
the following sections. there are strong similarities between
products and shapes. The steel sheets
Single-skin trapezoidal sheeting are usually between 0.50 and 1.50 mm
Single-skin sheeting is widely used in thick (including galvanisation).
agricultural and industrial structures
where no insulation is required. It can Double skin system
generally be used on roof slopes down Double skin or built-up roof systems
to as low as 4° provided that the laps usually use a steel liner tray that is
and sealants are as recommended by fastened to the purlins, followed by a
the manufacturers for shallow slopes. spacing system (plastic ferrule and
The sheeting is fixed directly to the spacer or rail and bracket spacer),
purlins and side rails, and provides insulation and an outer sheet. Because
positive restraint (see Figure 4.1). the connection between the outer and
In some cases, insulation is suspended inner sheets may not be sufficiently stiff,
directly beneath the sheeting. the liner tray and fixings must be chosen

Figure 4.1 Single-skin trapezoidal sheeting

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so that they provide the level of restraint boundary. Alternatively, an impermeable that significantly less restraint is provided
to the purlins. Alternative forms of membrane on top of the liner tray may to the purlins than with a conventionally
construction using plastic ferrule and Z- be provided. fixed system. Nevertheless, a correctly
or rail and bracket spacers are shown in fixed liner tray will provide adequate
Figure 4.2 and Figure 4.3. Standing seam sheeting restraint to the purlins.
Standing seam sheeting has concealed
As insulation depths have increased to fixings and can be fixed in lengths of up Composite or sandwich panels
provide greater insulation performance, to 30 m. The advantages are that there Composite or sandwich panels are
there has been a move towards ‘rail are no penetrations directly through the formed by creating a foam insulation
and bracket’ solutions, as they provide sheeting that could lead to water leakage, layer between the outer and inner layer of
greater stability. and fixing is rapid. The fastenings are in sheeting. Composite panels have good
the form of clips that hold the sheeting spanning capabilities due to composite
With adequate sealing of joints, the liner down but allow it to move longitudinally action in bending. Both standing seam
trays may be used to form an airtight (see Figure 4.4). The disadvantage is (see Figure 4.5) and direct fixing systems

Outer sheeting

Z spacer
Liner tray

Hot-rolled rafter or purlin Plastic ferrule

Figure 4.2 Double-skin construction using

plastic ferrule and Z spacers


Rail Insulation
Liner tray

Figure 4.3 (Bottom right) Double-skin
construction using ‘rail and
bracket’ spacers

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Roof & Wall Systems 04

are available. These will clearly without or with few joints. The basic Requirements for corrosion protection of
provide widely different levels of material for the outer layers is usually sandwich or composite panels are the
restraint to the purlins. galvanised coated steel sheeting with same as for trapezoidal steel sheets.
thicknesses of 0.4 to 1.0 mm. For foam insulation, the following
Sandwich elements for roofs generally solutions have been developed:
have a width of 1000 mm with thicknesses The inner layers of sandwich panels are • Polyurethane PUR rigid foam;
between 70 and 110 mm, depending on often lined or slotted; special designs • Mineral fibre insulating material;
the required insulation level and structural are available with plane surfaces. • Polystyrene (only used in exceptions
demands. Despite being relatively Close‑pitch flutings have also been due to its lower insulation behaviour).
thick elements, the self-weights are established, which are fully profiled,
comparatively low. Thus the elements yet appearing as a plane surface from The steel skin and the insulating foam
are easy to handle and assemble. a certain distance. Some patterns for are physiologically harmless during
Component lengths of up to 20 m for external surfaces of sandwich panels production and assembly as well as in
roofs and walls permit constructions are shown in Figure 4.6. the permanent use in the building.


Standing seam clip

Hot-rolled rafter or purlin

Figure 4.4 Standing seam panels

with liner trays


seam clip

Figure 4.5 Composite or sandwich panels

with clip fixings

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Wide profiled

Narrow profiled



Figure 4.6 Types of external surfaces for
sandwich panels

Composite or sandwich The core insulation is odourless, free buckling of the panel. The darker
panels offer numerous from rot and mould-resistant. Further- the colour of the panel, the higher are
advantages: more it offers good recycling possibilities. the compression forces. Therefore,
for continuous panels, checks for
• Panel manufacturing A key factor to be taken into account for ‘temperature in summer’ and
provides short the design of sandwich panels is the ‘temperature in winter’ design
temperature difference across the element. situations have to be performed,
construction time and
The separation of the inner and outer skins taking into account the colour of the
cost-efficiency leads to heating and therefore extension panel. At a European level, EN 14509
of the outer sheet due to solar radiation. (in preparation) defines the structural
• Good building physics design method as well as the production
performance For single span panels, this results in and quality principles of sandwich and
a flexure of the panel. Even though composite panels.
• Can be installed in this does not lead to additional internal
nearly all weather forces, it might influence the appearance Manufacturers should be consulted for
conditions of the envelope. more information.

• Long-span capabilities For continuous panels, restaint of flexure Special roofing systems
which minimise the leads to bending and to compressive A flat roof of an industrial building spans
support structure forces in the skins, which can lead to a large area and is exposed to solar effects.

Figure 4.7 Solar cells and water cooling

Source: Corus

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Roof & Wall Systems 04

Sandwich Sandwich Profile sheet long. joint transv. joint Type of fastening
Steel Sub- Timber Sub- Steel Sub- sheets/sheet sheets/sheet element
structure structure structure


Stahl-Informations-Zentrum: Dach und Fassadenelemente aus Stahl - Erfolgreich Planen und Konstruieren, Figure 4.8 Range of application for
Dokumentation 588, Düsseldorf, 2005 fastening elements in
various claddings

Advantage can be taken from this exposure For the fastening of steel sheeting, Wall Systems
by integrating a membrane with photo- (self-tapping) screws or rivets are used. Numerous systems exist for the
conductive cells into the roof to capture For profiled sheeting, at least every design of external walls for industrial
solar energy. There are economic and second rib has to be fixed to the supporting buildings. Cladding types made of
easy to process products on the market. structure. If sheets are used as a stressed steel sheeting are most frequently
skin diaphragm, the number of fixings used, because they offer high-quality
Another steel roof cladding system has have to be designed so that they resist standards, short construction time and
been developed with an integrated system the applied shear flow. cost-efficiency. Generally, steel sheet
of water channels in order to collect and wall cladding follows the same generic
use the heat (a solar thermal collector). For sandwich elements, the designer has types as roof cladding, and the main
to consider the influence of the fastening types are:
Fastening elements method on the strength of the panel. • Sheeting, orientated vertically and
Fastening techniques include the supported on side rails;
connections of the sheets to the Figure 4.8 shows the different types of • Sheeting or structural liner trays
supporting structure and the fastening elements depending on the spanning horizontally between
connections between sheets. support structure. primary frame;

Figure 4.9 Horizontal spanning sheeting

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Figure 4.10 Horizontally orientated

composite panels and long
‘ribbon’ corridors.

Figure 4.11 Large window and composite

panels with ‘dado’ brick wall

• Composite or sandwich panels with a thickness of 40 to 120 mm, and in For the completion of the facades,
spanning horizontally between the some cases up to 200 mm for elements special formed components for the
columns, eliminating side rails; used in cold stores. transitions between wall and roof have
• Metallic cassette supported been developed. For high quality facades,
by side rails. To achieve a good appearance of the manufacturers offer angled or rounded
building, the following aspects are important: components for the roof or corner
Different forms of cladding may be used • Texture of the surface. sections. These special components
together for visual effect in the same • Colour. have to be of the same quality and colour
facade. Some examples are illustrated • Detailing of joints. as the adjacent elements.
in Figure 4.9 to Figure 4.11. • Type of fixing.
Fire design of walls
Brickwork is often used as a ‘dado’ In addition, for a modern construction Where buildings are close to a site
wall for impact resistance, as shown system, the client expects practically boundary, national building regulations
in Figure 4.11. invisible fixings and clean transitions at usually require that the wall is designed
the building’s corners. Nevertheless, to prevent spread of fire to adjacent
Sandwich or composite panels through fixings are still commonly used. property. Fire tests have shown that a
Sandwich or composite panels are The details comprise either hidden fixings number of types of panels can perform
double skin continuously produced or elements with additional clip fasteners; adequately, provided that they remain
elements with various types of core as shown in Figure 4.5 and Figure 4.12. fixed to the structure. Further guidance
insulation. They are the most common By the use of additional clip fasteners, should be sought from the manufacturers.
choice of wall cladding for industrial slight dents that may occur at the fixings
buildings in Europe. For walls, sandwich due to improper assembly or temperature It is often considered necessary to
elements have widths of 600 to 1200 mm influence can be avoided. provide slotted holes in the side rail

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Roof & Wall Systems 04

connections to allow for thermal The use of this architectural high-quality colours for the façade. A variety of
expansion. In order to ensure that this façade does not automatically lead to colours, including pastel shading and
does not compromise the stability of the higher costs. In the example shown in metallic finishes, are available from many
column by removing the restraint under Figure 4.14, hot-rolled sections are used sheeting suppliers. Figure 4.15 shows
normal conditions, the slotted holes are for the structure as well as a standardised an example of a building well integrated
fitted with washers made from a material façade-system. By integrating solar gains with its surroundings by the use of
that will melt at high temperatures and into the thermal balance, running costs coloured facades.
allow the side rail to move relative to are also reduced significantly. The structure
the column under fire conditions only. supporting the façade and the detailing As an additional feature, photovoltaic
An example of this type of detail is can be adapted from solutions for multi- panels may be integrated in the façade.
shown in Figure 4.13. storey buildings, where these kinds of Despite the fact that the angle to the sun
building envelopes are common practice. is not optimal, the use of multi-layer
Other types of façades coatings makes the solar cells less
Many other types of façade materials Another modern way of designing dependent on the angle of incidence of
may be used for industrial buildings, for industrial buildings in an architecturally the sun’s rays. An example of this
example glass, as shown in Figure 4.14. appealing way is of the use of different technology is shown in Figure 4.16.

with hidden bolts

with additional element fastener

(a) Through fixings (b) Invisible fixings

Figure 4.12 (Above) Examples of fixing

methods for walls made
of sandwich panels.
Stahl-Informations-Zentrum: Dach und
Cladding rail Fassadenelemente
aus Stahl - Erfolgreich Planen und
Konstruieren, Dokumentation 588,
Düsseldorf, 2005

hole for

Cleat Splice

Figure 4.13 Typical fire wall details showing

slotted holes for expansion in fire

EURO-BUILD in Steel 31
04 Best Practice in Steel Construction - INDUSTriAL Buildings

Figure 4.14 Industrial building with a

glazed façade
Bauen mit Stahl e.V.

Figure 4.15 Industrial building with a

coloured façade

Figure 4.16 Façade with integrated

solar panels

32 EURO-BUILD in Steel
National Practice 05

05 National Practice
In this section, some national practices are given for several countries.
The construction systems have been identified as good practice in the
countries concerned, although they may not be widely used in Europe.

Current Practice in It is equally common for the sheeting

Germany to span between rafters and between Germany
Structure purlins. About 40% of purlins are hot
In Germany, industrial buildings are rolled and 60% are cold formed, with the
typically constructed as portal frames cold formed proportion rising.
with pinned column bases. The span of
the frames varies from 12 m to 30 m
The Netherlands
The design is almost exclusively carried
when hot-rolled or welded I-sections are out by using elastic calculation of the
used, and spans are most commonly internal forces and moments, and
between 15 m and 20 m. Lattice trusses comparing these with either elastic or
are a typical solution for spans greater plastic resistances of the cross section.
than 30 m. If there are no restrictions in The current design standard is
the building usage, multi-bay portal DIN 18800, Parts 1-5, which is similar
frames using I-sections are often used to European standard EN 1993‑1‑1.
with spans of up to 20 m. Sweden
Other load-bearing structures, such as Roofs of industrial buildings in Germany
simply-supported beams on columns, are usually trapezoidal steel sheeting
arches, grids, shells, etc. are less often spanning directly between the portal UK
used, except for some architecturally frames or supported by the purlins.
expressive buildings.
Currently the single-layer, insulated steel
The column spacing usually ranges sheeting roof, as shown in Figure 5.1 (left)
between 5 m and 8 m, while up to 10 m is is the most widely used type of roof
possible. The eaves height of the frame cladding in industrial buildings in
is about 4.5 m in standard cases, Germany. For this type of cladding,
increasing to 8 m and more, if overhead the slope should be not less than 2°
cranes are provided. in order to ensure sufficient drainage.
This type of roof is comparatively low in
The columns of portal frames made of cost, but is susceptible to mechanical
IPE- or HE-sections are often designed damage of the weather-proofing layer.
with rafters which are haunched in the
highly stressed regions. Bolted connections Sandwich panel construction, as shown
are mostly used with continuous columns in Figure 5.1(right), has gained more
combined with beams having end-plates, importance, because it is easy to
as shown in Figure 3.15. In some cases, maintain and achieves longer useful life.
the haunched part of the beam is Further advantages are a higher
attached to the column in the fabrication resistance to damage and good acoustic
shop and the part of the beam with insulation and fire resistance. Often the
constant height is then connected on site waterproofing layer is fixed to the load-
using a bolted connection. bearing layer by a clamped joint with

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05 Best Practice in Steel Construction - INDUSTriAL Buildings

water-proofing layer

sliding system

sealing trapezoidal sheeting

insulation synthetic coating insulation beam or purlin
Figure 5.1 Common roofing system for
vapour barrier purlin or beam of frame vapour barrier load-bearing layer
(if needed) industrial buildings in Germany
using trapezoidal steel sheeting

special sliding system, so that the transmission losses through the The easier the calculation method,
waterproofing layer does not need building envelope have to be satisfied. the more conservative is the result.
to be penetrated. The heating installation does not have
to be considered. There are also fewer Using the simplified calculation method 1,
External walls restrictions concerning the thermal single-storey industrial buildings can be
For industrial buildings in Germany, many insulation, which leads to smaller designed in unprotected steel up to a
types of walls are used depending on the thicknesses of insulation. plan area of 1,800 m² without providing
building use, building physics require- any active fire-fighting measures. By use
ments and the fire boundary conditions. Fire safety of automatic sprinkler units, the maximum
In March 2000, a new guideline compartment size can reach 10,000 m².
Systems of profiled, lightweight and concerning the fire protection of If fire-walls are provided, the size of the
large-sized sandwich panels are gaining industrial buildings came into effect, building can be increased by adding all
importance as fire protection requirements taking into account results of recent the compartments together.
are reduced with the introduction of research projects dealing with natural
the ‘Muster-Industriebau-Richtlinie’. fires. In combination with DIN 18230, Single-storey buildings used as retail
These panels can be installed rapidly it regulates the use of fire-protection premises also have similar low
and easily and are not affected by in industrial buildings in terms of the requirements in the fire resistance of the
weather conditions. They also offer fire resistance period of structural structural components, if sprinklers are
high levels of thermal insulation. components, the size and arrangement provided. The maximum size of the
of fire compartments, location and length compartments is 10,000 m² also.
Thermal behaviour of escape routes.
In Germany, the ‘Energy Saving Act’ The more precise calculation method 2 is
(ENEV 2002) differentiates between The guideline provides three calculation based on DIN 18230‑1, which determines
buildings with ‘normal internal temperature’ methods, of increasing level of complexity: an equivalent fire-duration. This value
and buildings with ‘low internal temperature’ 1. Simplified calculation method. relates the parametric heating curve
(below 19°C) which can very often be 2. More precise calculation method with considering the specific parameters for
found in the industrial sector. For buildings determination of the fire-load density, the project to the ISO-curve. It takes into
with low internal temperature, only the based on DIN 18230-1. account project-specific parameters like
requirements concerning the heat 3. Fire-engineering methods. ventilation conditions, etc. By this method,

Fire-fighting measures No requirements F30

No active fire fighting measures (K1) 1,800 m² * 3,000 m²

Automatic fire detection system (K2) 2,700 m² * 4,500 m²

Automatic fire detection system and

3,200-4,500 m² * 6,000 m²
plant fire brigade (K3)

Automatic fire-extinguishing system (K4) 10,000 m² 10,000 m²

*Area of heat extraction surfaces ≥ 5% and width of building ≤ 40 m Table 5.1 Allowable size of fire compart-
ments for industrial buildings

34 EURO-BUILD in Steel
National Practice 05

compartment areas up to 30,000 m² can • Lightweight; For single-storey buildings higher

be designed using unprotected steel. • Pre-fabricated systems; than 6 m, a steel frame with hinged
• Industrially produced components; connections and wind bracing is more
In addition to the two simplified calculation • Flexibility in use; economic. In this case, the connections
methods, fire-engineering analysis can • Easily demountable; are more complex but material use is
also be used. The guideline formulates • Reusability at three levels: material, more efficient.
basic principles for appropriate checks to element and building.
satisfy the aims of the regulations. A common industrial building in the
Construction Netherlands consists of portal frames
Current Practice in the The vast majority of industrial buildings of hot-rolled sections. The columns are
Netherlands are single-storey, single-bay ‘sheds’. HEA180 and the roof beams are IPE500
For many years in the Netherlands, These sheds are sometimes combined at 5.4 m spacing. Cold-formed profiled
steel has been the most commonly with offices. Multi-bay structures are roof elements of typically 106 mm depth
used material for structural, roof and a minority. are popular. Wall elements are commonly
façade systems for industrial and 90 mm deep liner trays with cladding
agricultural buildings. The attributes For single-storey buildings with a span profiles fixed to the outside.
of steel construction are beneficial to up to approximately 25 m and a height
single-storey buildings with long spans: up to approximately 6 m, portal frames For single-storey buildings with spans
• Speed of construction; with fixed connections are the preferred longer than 25 m, trussed beams are
• Economic building cost; solution (Figure 5.2). preferred (Figure 5.3). Castellated and

Figure 5.2 For free spans up to 25 m, hot-

rolled sections are preferred

Figure 5.3 For longer spans trussed

beams are a popular alternative

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05 Best Practice in Steel Construction - INDUSTriAL Buildings

non-steel cellular beams are becoming a popular the Netherlands, except for barns and
sandwich alternative to solid web sections. stables in the agricultural sector.

Suspended and cable-stayed Approximately 80% of the roofs on

cladding constructions can be economic for industrial buildings consist of roll-formed
extremely long spans and for profiled sheet fixed directly to the roof
Figure 5.4 Market shares of steel façade suspending heavy installations. beams or to intermediary beams. About
systems in industrial buildings in 15% are sandwich elements and 5%
the Netherlands (2006)
Façades are non-steel.
In the year 2007, Bouwen met Staal
carried out a market survey of the use of Ponding on flat roofs
façade and roof elements in industrial A point of interest is the ponding of large
buildings in the Netherlands. It showed amounts of water on flat roofs. On one
that steel cladding has a market share of day in 2002, six roofs collapsed due to
approximately 90%. The remaining 10% heavy rainfall. In response to these
comprise largely of masonry walls below problems, the Ministry of Housing,
the window sill. Spatial Planning and the Environment
set up a research team. One of the
Approximately half of the steel façades results is the practical guideline NPR
in industrial buildings consist of trapezoi- 6773, which is published as an amend-
dal profiled sheet fixed to liner trays. ment to NEN 6702: Technical principles
Figure 5.5 Trapezoidal roll-formed profiled The other half comprise steel sandwich for building structures. Loadings and
sheet fixed to liner trays panels. With respective outputs of 2 and deformations. This simpler and more
1.5 million m2 per year, these two façade robust calculation method, in combination
systems are, together with brickwork, with more accurate supervision and
the most commonly used products for control, has led to a significant decrease
exterior walls. in problems caused by flat roofs.

Unlike other European countries, the
vast majority of industrial buildings in the
Netherlands have flat roofs. Pitched roofs
are very rare in single-storey buildings in

Figure 5.6 Sandwich panels

Figure 5.7 (Right) The majority of industrial

buildings are single-storey,
single-bay sheds combined
with offices. Most industrial
buildings have flat roofs.
Pitched roofs are common in
agricultural buildings (Inset)

36 EURO-BUILD in Steel
National Practice 05

Figure 5.8 (a) Parking next to the building,

(b) Under the building, (a) (b) (c) (d)
(c) On top of the building,
(d) Below ground level

Fire protection will be renovated, and it is encouraged to industrial buildings can be identified as:
The main reason for the high market find a parking solution inside the building • Built-up ‘I’ shaped sections for the
share of steel products in industrial envelope to decrease the pressure on primary structure of portal frames
buildings is the requirement for fire public space (Figure 5.8). (tapered columns and rafters from
resistance. In the Netherlands, these 750 mm deep to 1280 mm deep,
requirements are relatively low in Energy usually from steel grade S275JR).
comparison to other European countries. In 2012, all new industrial buildings will • Cold-formed ‘Z’ and ‘C’ shaped
have to be ‘energy neutral’. This means sections for the secondary structural
For single-storey buildings and most that the energy consumption has to be members (roof purlins, side walls, etc.).
industrial buildings with a small office, equal to or less than the energy produced. • Roof and wall cladding systems in
there are no requirements for fire In the town of Zaandam, an experimental compliance with new fire regulations.
resistance from the construction. In some ‘zero-energy shed’ has been built with
cases, 30 or 60 minutes is required for promising results, and this technology Generally, tapered rafters have spans of
escape routes, for fire compartments or is potentially useable more widely. 25-50 m but it is possible to design spans
for prevention of fire spread between of 60-70 m without intermediate supports.
spaces and to adjacent buildings. These Current Practice in Spain On the other hand, the typical spacings
requirements are usually easy to meet Structure between portal frames are 9-10 m, and
with simple fire protection measures. Most industrial buildings in Spain are columns are of 7-12 m height.
constructed from built‑up sections,
Parking although hot rolled sections are often The complementary sub‑systems consist
At the moment about 70,000 hectares of used for bespoke shed designs. of mezzanine floors, crane runway beams,
land is in use as an industrial development Construction components include crane beams, roof platforms, canopies,
area. This is approximately 2% of the structural systems, roof and wall cladding parapets, and all accessories needed for
total area of the Netherlands. The Dutch systems. The pre-engineered systems a complete and functional building.
government is trying to stop the rapidly are delivered on site ready to be
increasing area zoned for economic assembled. This complete process is The foundation requirements of these
activities. Increasingly, industrial and quick, efficient and economic. steel buildings are reduced significantly
commercial buildings in these districts The structural elements in many Spanish because of the open spaces provided by

Figure 5.9 Single portal frames with

tapered columns and rafters
under construction in Spain

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05 Best Practice in Steel Construction - INDUSTriAL Buildings

Figure 5.10 Interior structure of an industrial

building with tapered columns

Table 5.2 Regulations affecting the design

of industrial buildings in Spain

Code Description

Spanish Structural Steel Design Code (Instrucción de Acero Estructural). This regulation will be
compulsory in 2009.

Spanish Technical Building Code (Código Técnico de la Edificación): Basic Documents: Basis of design
(DB-SE), actions (DB­‑SE­‑AE) and design of steel structures (DB‑­SE‑­A).

EN 1993-1-1 Eurocode 3: Design of steel structures. Part 1-1: General rules and regulations for buildings.

Eurocode 3: Design of steel structures. Part 1-3: Supplementary rules for cold formed thin gauge members
EN 1993-1-3
and sheeting.

Spanish Regulation of Fire Security in Industrial Building (RSCIEI - Reglamento de Seguridad Contra
RSCIEI Incendios en los Establecimientos Industriales) The RSCIEI is a compulsory document for the fire safety
design of industrial buildings.

the clear span system, the longer bay • The use of tapered built-up primary Public and private companies,
lengths and the lower weight of the structure. structural members (columns and contractors and designers benefit as a
rafters) results in up to a 40% weight result of the cost savings and from the
Steel industrial buildings use a variety of advantage for the main rigid frames faster construction process.
materials that satisfy a wide range of when compared to the use of
structural requirements. This flexibility conventional hot rolled sections. Regulations
provides an unlimited range of building • The use of ‘Z’ shaped secondary The main regulations affecting the design
configurations and applications. structural members (roof purlins and of industrial buildings in Spain are given
side rails), particularly the overlapping in Table 5.2.
Structural advantages of the ‘Z’ shaped purlins at the frames,
This structural system offers many results in up to a 25% weight saving Fire safety engineering
advantages compared to traditional for the secondary members. The Spanish Fire Safety Regulation for
construction. Advanced design and • Generally, all the components are industrial buildings (RSCIEI) requires an
fabrication methods help to reduce costs factory-produced on automated assessment of the fire resistance of the
through faster construction and production lines, saving many building according to the expected fire
minimised labour on site. problems in installation. loads, compartment size and
• The steel scrap from the manufacture neighbouring buildings.
Structural systems, walls, roofs and of built-up plate members and cold
compatible accessories have the formed ‘Z’ sections is reduced. Although it is possible to design industrial
following advantages: • All steel is structurally efficient. buildings without additional structural fire

38 EURO-BUILD in Steel
National Practice 05

Figure 5.11 (Above) Exterior appearance of

industrial building in Spain

Figure 5.12 Full scale model in fire

conditions showing collapse

resistance, i.e. detached sheds with low Current practice in Sweden 150 mm of mineral wool. The buildings
fire load, fire safety engineering offers a A typical Swedish industrial building often comprise an office space in parts of
more competitive approach in the case of Open plan buildings, such as industrial the building using an intermediate floor.
high fire loads or layouts requiring larger buildings, are a very important market for
compartment sizes. An example of a steel in Sweden (SBI, 2004). Common The most common and often most
model used to determine structural dimensions for light industrial buildings economic way of stabilising an open
performance and time to collapse of a are spans between 15 and 25 m with a plan building is to insert wind bracing
steel framed industrial building in fire is height of 5 to 8 m. Building plan areas at the ends and in the long sides and
given in Figure 5.12. of 1500-2000 m² are common. Often to utilise the profiled sheeting in the
companies specialising in these systems roof as a stiff stressed skin diaphragm,
Acknowledgements deliver the building as a turnkey product. as shown in Figure 5.13. The columns
The images shown have been provided are designed as pinned. The wall
by Prado Transformados Metálicos S.A. Modern buildings of this type are usually sheeting may also be used as a
(www.pradotm.com). insulated with approximately 120 to stressed skin diaphragm.

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05 Best Practice in Steel Construction - INDUSTriAL Buildings

qah/2 qah/2+N

qah/2 b

Figure 5.13 (Above) Industrial building

stabilised by wind bracing in
the walls and diaphragm of
trapezoidal sheetin in the roof.
SBI Publication 174, 2002

Figure 5.14 A light insulated industrial

SBI Publication 130

A typical open plan building is shown in considered as pin-ended at the base, Roof cladding
Figure 5.14. Often a gabled roof with an four bolts are recommended in order to There are a number of products for
angle of 3.6° or 5.7° is used. The spacing provide column stability during erection. roofs, mainly profiled sheeting and tiles.
between rafters is typically 6 to 10 m. The profiled sheeting is typically of the
The walls are made from composite panels For non-insulated industrial buildings, form shown in Figure 5.15. Roof tiles
or profiled sheeting placed on light steel the profiled sheeting is supported by may be used for roof slopes of 14° and
side rails. The insulation is placed on top purlins, and Z‑profiles are often used more. Roofing tiles use traditional colours
of the profiled sheeting and covered with as purlins up to 12 m span. and are significantly lighter than ceramic
a suitable roof material. A plastic membrane or concrete tiles.
is used for air and moisture-tightness. Using pinned columns, it is essential to
stabilise the building during erection. Deep profiled sheeting may be used for
Lattice trusses are generally used for It is often necessary to brace columns insulated roofs with spans up to around
the rafters. Spans up to 45 m can be and sometimes the rafters too. As bracing 11 m and the longer spans are achieved
achieved with standard sections. of the columns is necessary during erection, with sheeting stiffened in both directions.
The columns are typically HEA-sections, it is common to design the bracing as Shorter spans, up to 8 m, are achieved
fastened with four anchor bolts on a permanent, thus not considering with more traditional profiles.
base plate. Although the columns are diaphragm action of the walls.

40 EURO-BUILD in Steel
National Practice 05

Figure 5.15 Example of different products

on the Swedish market for
roofs and walls

Figure 5.16 Plannja 40 roof cladding (for

use on low sloping roofs from

Figure 5.17 Fasetti façade lamella


Figure 5.18 Composite panel

Left: Plannja panel
Right: Liberta Grande
façade cassette

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05 Best Practice in Steel Construction - INDUSTriAL Buildings

The roof is usually designed to also act as There are products on the Swedish the high value activities for which these
a stressed skin diaphragm which enables market that can satisfy and exceed the buildings are employed. The introduction
it to be constructed without bracing. Swedish building regulations as to the of a revised Part L, with its more onerous
heat insulation of industrial buildings. requirements, and the European ‘Energy
Profiled sheeting is used as load bearing Typical U-values for a 150 mm composite Performance of Buildings’ Directive in
elements for insulated roofs. The height panel are 0.24-0.28 W/m²K and there are April 2006 have led to the following
of the profile is chosen depending on the standard solutions for U-values down to requirements:
span. Insulation in the form of mineral 0.17 W/m²K. • The need to achieve a saving of
wool is used in two layers with plastic foil around 23 to 28% in CO2 emissions
as a damp proof layer and an air barrier. Current Practice in the UK when measured against the equivalent
General Issues building to 2002 Regulations;
Trapezoidal sheeting is used as the The construction of large single-storey • The introduction of energy passports
external roof material. A minimum roof industrial buildings, widely known as for many types of buildings.
angle of 3.6° is required. ‘sheds’, is a significant part of the UK
steel construction sector. They are used Selection of Steel for Single-storey
U‑values of below 0.3 W/m²K can be as retail stores, distribution warehouses, Industrial Buildings
achieved, dependant on the thickness of manufacturing facilities and leisure centres. The following criteria can affect the
the insulation. This meets the Swedish value that the building brings to the
building regulations. Examples of innovations are the use of clients and users:
plastic design of portal frames, IT systems
Cladding for design and manufacture, cold formed Architectural Design
Profiled sheeting used as cladding is components, such as purlins, and highly Architects have a strong influence on
often the same as the sheeting used efficient cladding systems. the choice of building form and its
for roofing. appearance, as well as issues such as
The single-storey industrial sector in the thermal performance. Although the
Composite or sandwich panels provide UK has an annual value of approximately structural form is still the province of the
thermal insulation, fire protection and £1 billion for frames (1.4 billion Euros) structural engineer and steel fabricator,
appearance. Panels have steel sheeting and £1.5 billion (2.1 billion Euros) for the use of modern forms of structural
on both sides with an insulation of mineral associated envelope systems. systems is adopted by architects, who
wool or EPS in between. Depending on are increasingly involved in the industrial
the thickness of the insulation, U-values The architectural design of industrial building sector. Examples of the
can be typically from 0.18 to 0.3 W/m²K. buildings and other enclosures has architectural use of steel are illustrated in
The systems include air and water resisting developed considerably over the last Figures 2.9 and 5.20.
systems between panels. If mineral wool 10-15 years, since major architectural
is used, the system provides good fire practices have been involved in iconic Speed of Construction
integrity and acoustic performance. buildings such as the Renault Distribution For logistics or similar businesses,
The panels can be delivered as large Centre, Swindon and the Schlumberger speed of construction is vital. This can
units up to 10 m long. factory, Cambridge. affect the design in many ways, i.e. layout
and components can be designed so
The steel panels may be combined Steel portal frames, nevertheless, still that parallel rather than sequential
with other material as stone, timber, account for the majority of the industrial construction can take place.
glass, stucco and concrete. The panel building market. However, many variants
can be delivered with different surface of this simple manufacturing technique Flexibility in Use
finish, with deep and shallow profiling. are employed, such as use of cellular The long spans and minimal use of
beams or curved sections, as illustrated columns typical of steel construction offer
There are systems for refurbishment of in Figure 5.19. the maximum opportunity for the building
facades. The refurbishment is usually to be able to accommodate different
combined with an insulation of the façade. Today there are many more demands on processes and change of use.
There are slotted separators for fastening envelope systems, in particular related to
of the profiled sheeting, allowing for the energy conservation demands of The client may at some point wish to sell
mineral wool as insulation. Part L of the UK Building Regulations and the building to an investment

42 EURO-BUILD in Steel
National Practice 05

Figure 5.19 Curved steel sections used

in a modern industrial
building in the UK

organisation. To facilitate this option, quality materials with a longer life Value for money
criteria such as minimum height and expectancy and reduced maintenance Steel has achieved a large market share
higher imposed loads are often specified costs are encouraged. in this sector because of responsiveness
to maintain the asset value and provide to client demand. With the increasing
flexibility for future uses. Sustainability complexity in design, there is also an
Energy costs and the reduction of CO2 increased inter-dependency between the
Maintenance emissions are becoming increasingly various elements and a high degree of
Many buildings are constructed for important and sustainability is now a cooperation and coordination.
owner occupation. Where a building is key issue within the planning process.
let, ‘full repairing 25 year leases’ In the future, it is likely that planning Design Issues
(where the tenant is responsible for permission will be easier to obtain with Steel construction is one of the most
maintenance), are being replaced by sustainable, environmentally friendly efficient sectors in the construction
shorter leases, where the owner carries solutions. Many clients, potential clients industry. Leading suppliers manufacture
maintenance responsibility. Where the and occupiers have sustainability the components offsite, using computer
original owner has responsibility for policies against which their performance controlled equipment driven directly by
maintenance, the choice of better is monitored. information contained in 3D computer

Figure 5.20 Curved cellular beams for a

leisure centre

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05 Best Practice in Steel Construction - INDUSTriAL Buildings

models used for detailing. In addition to Energy performance the interfaces between the various
informing the manufacturing process, Reductions in U‑values over recent years specialist systems. This task is traditionally
the information in the model is also used for have lead to a considerable increase in undertaken by the architect, but better
ordering, scheduling, delivery and erection. insulation thickness, with implications for coordination is achieved if the main
stability (particularly of built-up systems), contractor is responsible for the design.
Choice of primary frame cladding weight and consequential
The most popular choice of structural handling requirements. However, the Design process
form for single-storey buildings with point has now been reached where Attributes that should be considered,
spans of 25 to 60 m is the portal frame further increases in insulation thickness in addition to those required by the
because of its structural efficiency and are unlikely to lead to significant Regulations, include:
ease of fabrication and erection. Portal improvements in energy performance. • Overall geometrical considerations.
frames may be designed using elastic or • Minimum height (clearance for crane
plastic analysis techniques. Elastically For many applications, roof lights are beams, depth of haunch, etc.).
designed portal frames are likely to be important because they reduce the amount • Achieving maximum lettable area
heavier, but are simpler to design and of artificial lighting that is needed and, according to the conventions for
detail using non‑specialist design software. consequently, the energy demands of the measurement.
building. However, they also increase • Column layouts to give appropriate
For longer spans, lattice trusses may be solar gain, which can lead to overheating future flexibility of use.
used as an alternative to portal frames. in summer and increase cooling demand. • Loading and future loading
Trusses are likely to be more efficient for requirements.
spans over 60 m and in buildings of Heat loss through thermal bridging • Selection of purlins and side rails
shorter spans where there is a significant also becomes more significant as • Control of deflections.
amount of mechanical plant. the insulation thickness increases, • Cladding system and available
requiring the use of enhanced details guarantees.
Inter‑dependence of frames & envelopes and specialised components. • Adequate access for possible future
The structural efficiency of portal frames vehicle needs.
is achieved partly due to the provision of Air-tightness • Tolerances of the floor slab.
restraint to the rafters and columns by the The introduction of air-tightness testing • Potential for reuse/recycling of
purlins and side rails respectively. Similarly, has highlighted the importance of materials.
the efficiency of the purlins is dependent designing and delivering a building that • End of useful life requirements.
on restraint provided by the cladding. is not subject to excessive heat loss. • Energy consumption and reduction of
‘Stressed skin’ action may also be utilised Recent studies have demonstrated that CO2 emissions.
in the design, if only to reduce deflections. controlling airtightness is a very effective
way of improving energy conservation. The effects of the site conditions on
The design methods for the steel the structural solution, together with
structure are now well understood and As an example, while the current minimum the engineering design of external works,
the focus of attention has turned to the standard for airtightness testing of buildings will normally require the appointment of
building envelope. There are three major is 10 m3/m2/hr at 50 Pascals, levels of a consulting engineer to work alongside
reasons for this: airtightness as low as 2 m3/m2/hr are the architect prior to letting the Design
• The use of steel structures is possible with standard construction, and Build contract. The duties will include
common in industrial and but achieving this level depends on a the selection and design of a suitable
commercial applications. high quality of construction and detailing. foundation system. In the majority of
• The need to promote client image and For buildings with floor areas less than buildings, the structural frame has
public access has meant more 5,000 m2, achieving good levels of air- pinned bases.
attention has been given to planning tightness becomes difficult to achieve,
and aesthetics. due to the higher proportion of openings Sustainable Construction
• The focus on the energy saving of the relative to the clad area. The requirement for sustainable
envelope and the increased significance construction is being encouraged in many
of the ‘Energy Performance of Design Coordination ways, ranging from EU Directives on
Buildings’ Directive (EPBD) with its A significant part of the design process of thermal efficiency to the increasing
requirement for energy labelling. the actual building is the coordination of adoption of Corporate Social

44 EURO-BUILD in Steel
National Practice 05

Responsibility policies by companies. Summary of Industrial Building

The ability to demonstrate a sustainable Trends in the UK
approach is becoming an essential part Table 5.3 below shows a summary of
of obtaining planning permission. The trends in modern industrial warehouse
concept of sustainability is under-pinned design, which is adapted from a report by
by the need to balance the ‘triple bottom the Steel Construction Institute.
line’ of economic, social and
environmental viability. Modern steel Table 5.3 Summary of trends in modern
industrial warehouse design
construction should meet all three criteria. in the UK

Aspect of Design Current Designs Future Designs (in addition to current practice)

Multi‑span rectangular plan buildings

of up to 90 m × 150 m plan area
15 m height to haunch 8‑12 m height to haunch

Portal frames of 30‑35 m span with 6° roof slope Steel portal frames with 2° slope
Building form and
structure 6‑8 m bay width with internal columns
at 12‑16 m spacing
Fibre reinforced 200 mm concrete ground slab Post‑tensioned concrete ground slab
Adjoining steel framed office of 13.5 m
depth in 6 and 7.5 m spans

Composite panels (sandwich panels)

Composite panels for roof
for roof and upper walls
‘Green’ roof in selective areas over
marshalling area (approx 20 m)
Precast concrete panels for lower part of walls ‘Tilt up’ precast concrete panels for walls

Cladding Composite slab over distribution area

U‑values of 0.35 W/m K for walls
U‑values of 0.25 W/m2K for walls
and 0.25 W/m2K for roof and 0.20 W/m2K for roofs
15% roof light area for natural lighting 15% roof lights (triple layer)
Fibre reinforced plastic‑timber beam and purlin
Good air‑tightness sought (10 m3/hr/m2 at 50 Pa)
system considered for 16 m span

Jet nozzle heating Greater use of Photovoltaics (PVs) on roof

Wind turbines to generate primary

Selective use of Photovoltaics (PV) on roof
energy may be considered
Fire‑wet suppression system Greater use of solar thermal hot water
Services and Sprinklers to control fire spread, their installation
maintenance Fit‑out of services by end user
depends on client requirement
Design life of 40 years –
25 years to first maintenance
Pervious paviours in car park to assist drainage
Rainwater collection from roof

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46 EURO-BUILD in Steel
Case Studies 06

06 Case Studies
A series of Case Studies are presented in this Section to illustrate the
design and construction principles discussed earlier. The Case Studies
cover a range of building forms and locations throughout Europe.

The Case Studies and their structural • Netto Supermarket, Sweden. Cargo Hub,
systems are summarised as follows: Lightweight column and beam
• Cargo Hub, East Midlands Airport, UK. structure using stressed skin action. East Midlands Airport
Two bay portal frame and cellular • Distribution Centre,
beams for mezzanine floor and Waghäusel, Germany.
adjacent office area. Rack-supported storage system
Airbus Industrial Hall,
• Airbus Industrial Hall, Toulouse, France. with cassette walls and a ‘green’ roof Toulouse
Long-span lattice trusses using steel sheeting for economical
for flexibility of space and fast- warehouse construction.
track construction. Cactus Shopping Centre,
• Cactus Shopping centre,
Esch/Alzette, Luxembourg.
Portal frames using curved cellular
beams for column free internal space Netto Supermarket,
and maximum transparency.

Distribution Centre,

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Air Cargo hub at East Midlands Airport, UK

A new distribution warehouse and office has been
built for DHL at Nottingham’s East Midlands Airport.
The warehouse is constructed from 40 m span portal
frames and the offices use 18 m span cellular beams.
The total building cost was 45 million Euros.

Application Benefits:
• Simple portal frame
solution provides
efficient use of space
• Mezzanine floor using
cellular beams supports
handling equipment
• 3 storey office uses 18 m
span cellular beams
DHL has operated at Nottingham East 95 m by effective smoke control and by
• 18 aircraft stands Midlands Airport in the UK for 25 years. use of smoke vents and smoke curtains.
provided With business volume increasing, the
existing ‘hub’ was unable to cope and a The office area provides 9,000 m2 of
• 30 truck bays below a new major facility was designed, capable additional space for 650 staff and is
22.5 m span canopy of handling shipping volumes of over 3 storeys high. The structure also uses
1,000 tonnes per year. The 40,000 m2 cellular beams spanning 18 m. All internal
facility comprises two distinct parts: walls are lightweight and demountable,
a warehouse distribution area and permitting flexibility in current and future
an office area. use. The first floor office space also had
to span over the service road and the
The distribution area uses a structural second floor was suspended from the
grid that was dictated by the modular roof transfer trusses.
mechanical handling system and allowed
for future expansion. A double bay steel A 22.5 m span canopy was also
portal frame was adopted with spans of included to give maximum flexibility
40 m. The mechanical handling system in arrangement of the loading area.
was placed on a mezzanine level which
was constructed after the building A curved roof was chosen for visual
envelope had been completed. The reasons and used a standing seam
mezzanine level was constructed using cladding system based on an on-site
cellular beams which allow for incorpo- rolling process to speed up installation.
ration of services within the structure.
The whole project was completed in
Due to the building size, a fire only 18 months and provided DHL with
engineering strategy had to be adopted in efficient space that meets its current and
order to extend the escape distance to future demands.

48 EURO-BUILD in Steel
Case Studies 06

Project Team Construction Details The fire engineering strategy was also
Client: Roof and roof trusses key to the whole building concept and the
DHL The two bay portal frame structures floor of the mezzanine was designed with
Architect: were designed plastically to achieve the an open steel grillage in order to allow for
Burkes Green most efficient solution for the 40,000 m2 smoke extraction at high level.
Consultant: warehouse building. Mechanical handling
Burkes Green equipment was supported by an The 2 bay portal frame was designed
Contractor: independent mezzanine structure with a ‘stiff’ line of columns and was
Howard Associates which used cellular steel beams. constructed before the design of the
Steelwork mechanical handling system had been
Westcol The same technology was used for the completed. The flexible design of the
Services: 9,000 m2 office building, which had to be steel structure made installation of this
Couch Perry Wilkes flexible in its use, as the predicted system easier in dry internal conditions.
lifespan in its current format was only
15 years. Cellular beams were chosen to The open sided canopy was also proble-
provide services integration through the matical, being 22.5 m span and 45 m
600 mm diameter openings. The design wide between supports. The canopy
of the office area was further complicated projected at 45O and was connected to
by the need to span over a service road, the portal frame structure for its stability.
which necessitated supporting the floors The roof of the office comprised curved
from a long span truss of roof level. steel beams of 150 m radius.

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Airbus Industrial Hall in Toulouse, France

Steel construction provides efficient long span and
low weight structural frame for large industrial halls
that will produce the next generation A380 Airbus
aeroplane for intercontinental flights.

Application Benefits:
• Fast track construction
• Efficient use of
steel components
• Flexibility of
space organisation
• Sustainable design
• High crane facilities
This industrial building covers • Two parallel industrial rolling cranes,
200,000 m² of floor space, is 45 m high 35 m span, 30 tonnes capacity for
and provides spans of more than 115 m. fuselage transportation.
Criteria to be met were efficient space • Two dual loads 2 x 4 suspended
occupancy and flexibility in arrangement cranes for normal service.
of the internal space.
The wing‑lifting cranes roll on rails
Due to the expected change in the suspended on the truss of the frame of
industrial process after several years of the roof. Sliding doors provide a
production, a reconfiguration/refurbishing 117 x 32 m² opening. They are supported
approach design was considered, taking by their own structural frame. This huge
count of rapid financial return. structure was designed and installed
Architectural and structural appearance economically using fabricated sections
were intended to be an attractive and a trussed upper beam.
reflection of the company performance.

The largest hall, which is 115 m long by

250 m wide, is equipped with the
following heavy cranes:
• Two parallel industrial rolling cranes,
50 m span, 22 tonnes capacity for
lifting of the wings.

Internal view of the building

during construction

50 EURO-BUILD in Steel
Case Studies 06

Project Team Construction Details a simple operation and fast construction

Client: Roof and roof trusses process. The joints between the truss
EADS The roof trusses span 117 m. The height elements and the top of the columns
Architect: of the trusses varies from 8 m at the are pinned.
ADPI supports up to 13.5 m at mid span.
Design office: The main roof elements are composed This simple method provides the
Cooperation: ADPI & Jaillet-Rouby of two parallel truss frames of 33 m span following advantages:
Contractor: along the building and made of rectan- • Rapid connection operations in a
URSSA (Spain), CIMOLAI (Italy), gular hollow steel sections. Each roof critical erection phase.
CASTEL et FROMAGET, JOSEPH element comprises a pair of front and • No welding operation during assembly.
PARIS, RICHARD DUCROS (France), rear trusses, roof structure, roof service • The truss upper flange element is
BUYCK (Belgium) equipments, fire safety network, etc., and connected and simply sits on a short
Control Office: when completed at ground level is lifted span beam on top of the column.
SOCOTEC and VERITAS and positioned at the top of the columns
in one piece. The vertical deflection of the trusses was
limited to span/2000 due to crane
Columns are rigidly fixed to the ground operation requirements.
and have equal slenderness ratio in each
direction to avoid any horizontal buckling The elements of the main truss spanning
phenomenon during lifting operations. across the building were I shape
fabricated sections and bolted on joints.
Assembly of the trusses at ground level Each column was made of two separate
has the advantage of achieving safe fabricated sections jointed by a
construction, limited use of scaffolding, continuous truss web.

Source of all images in this case study:

Cabinet Jaillet‑Rouby, France

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Cactus shopping centre in Esch/Alzette

This urban project in Esch/Alzette, Luxembourg,
provides a modern steel structure using curved
cellular beams and a glazed façade. The building
highlights the lightness of the exposed steel structure
achieved by a modern fire engineering approach.

Application Benefits:
• Column-free internal
space provides
maximum flexibility
• Attractive appearance
due to use of curved
cellular beams
• Unprotected steel
justified by a fire
engineering approach

This medium size supermarket is situated Due to the location of the supermarket in
in the city centre of Esch/Alzette and it a city centre, the local authorities required
replaces an older structure. The owner a fire resistance of 90 minutes for the
wanted to have a modern bright shopping steel structure supporting the roof.
centre and opted for an open space with The Natural Fire Safety Concept was
huge glazed surface for two of the applied to calculate the development of
façades. It was a requirement that the the fire in the supermarket. Using this
steel structure, with its long span curved concept, the opportunity for a building
cellular beams, should be visible. with a fully glazed façade and visible
steel structure has been retained.

52 EURO-BUILD in Steel
Case Studies 06

Project Team Construction Details EN 1991‑1‑2 (Characteristic fire load for

Client: Structure office building 730 MJ/m²) and took into
Cactus S.A. The structure comprises a series of account active fire fighting measures
Architect: portal frames using steel columns and (automatic alarm & transmission to the
Paczowski Fritsch Associés curved cellular beams. The frames are fire brigade, smoke exhaust systems, etc.).
Strucural Engineer: interconnected by means of steel roof
Schroeder & Associés S.A. purlins and a bracing system. The frame No sprinklers were required due to
Contractor: has a single 20 m span. The column the small size of the building. The fire
MABILUX S.A. height is 7.5 m and the maximum height temperature was calculated using the
Fire Engineering: in the middle of the curved beam is 2-zone software Ozone and localised
ArcelorMittal 9.1 m. The distance between adjacent temperatures were calculated using the
main frames is 7.5 m. Hasemi methodology. A set of simulations
was performed to analyse the breaking of
Building Facts Frames are connected by continuous the glazed walls (front and back façades
Construction period: 2003 purlins (IPE200). The roofing is made are completely glazed).
Total height: 9.13 m with a steel decking (HOESCH TR44A),
Ground-plan: 28.5 x 48.0 m insulation and waterproofing. The beams As the maximum resulting steel
are ArcelorMittal Cellular Beams® made temperatures in the columns were
from HEB450 in S235 steel. The height of 880°C, a 3-D finite element analysis
the beam is 590 mm, the diameter of the was performed, taking into account the
openings is 400 mm and the distance whole structure of the building at this
between the openings is 600 mm. temperature. One complete model of the
building in 3 dimensions was analysed.
Natural Fire Safety Concept All the simulations were made using the
ArcelorMittal was asked to perform the FE software SAFIR. The result of this fire
fire engineering of the structure and the engineering approach was the decision
authorities accepted the application of the that the steel structure did not require
Natural Fire Safety Concept. The fire any passive fire protection.
design was based on the prescriptions of

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Netto Supermarket, Sweden

This is an example of a typical Swedish lightweight
industrial building consisting of columns,
roof‑trusses and roof sheeting, designed for
stressed skin action.

Application Benefits:
• Rapid building method
• High level of
• Minimum size of load-
bearing structure
• Few internal supports
providing large open
spaces with easy use for
other activities

Lightweight single-storey buildings with a The small differences between the

steel structure have a dominant position structures depend on the geographical
in Sweden among buildings used as location, which gives varying snow loads
industrial or warehouse facilities. and wind actions. The snow load varies
between 1 and 3 kN/m² and the wind
In Sweden, all Netto shops are designed speed between 21 and 26 m/s.
in a similar way, which makes the
building process exceptionally fast The structure consists of pinned columns,
and very economical. rafters and trapezoidal sheeting on the
roof together with wind bracings in the
Netto’s new store in Smålandsstenar walls for stability. The roof sheeting is
demonstrates this simple and cost- designed as a stressed skin diaphragm,
efficient construction solution. which transfers horizontal loads to the
wind bracing.

54 EURO-BUILD in Steel
Case Studies 06

Project Team Construction Details possible to use vertical wind bracings in

Client: The trapezoidal sheeting is between the walls, portal frames can be
Netto Marknad AB 0.65 mm and 1.2 mm thick. The sheeting considered due to the use of smaller
Architect: transfers both vertical and horizontal steel sections, and hence savings
GL Consult actions, such as dead load, snow and wind in steel cost.
Structural Engineer: loads, as well as inclined loads to the
EAB AB foundation through the columns and The time needed to assemble columns,
Steel Constructor: bracings, mainly HEA-profiles. HEA- trusses and roof sheeting was about
EAB AB profiles are also used as gable beams. one week, which was done after the
For single span ceiling joists with a casting of the foundation. The next step
maximum span of 10 m, IPE-profiles was to assemble walls and to install the
Building Facts are used. roofing. Finally, the services and the
Shopping area: 750 m² interior work were completed in a
Steel use: 20 tonnes When it is important to keep the building weather-proof building.
Roof sheeting: 1000 m2 height to a minimum, or when it is not
Total erection time: 5 weeks
Total project time: 17 weeks

(Above) 3D-model used for

structural calculations

(Right) The construction site showing roofing

and intermediate floors in place

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Distribution Centre in Waghäusel, Germany

The third distribution centre of dm-drogerie markt
was completed in 2004 with a storage area of
20,000 m2. By using the rack-supported building
system, time and money was saved compared to
traditional solutions.

Application Benefits:
• Maximum storage density
• Building use is unaffected
by the structure
• Cheapest construction
method for high-
bay warehouse
• Short construction period
• Fast return of
capital investment
Dm-drogerie markt – one of the leading The commissioning store was a rack-
drugstore chains in Europe – operates supported storage system, named because
over 1,500 retail outlets and employs the construction of the steel racks also acts
some 20,000 people. With a turnover of as the main support structure for roof and
almost 3 billion Euros, dm-drogerie markt wall. Roof and wall cladding were rapidly
offers a range of some 12,000 product attached to the racking construction parallel
lines. In 2003, dm-drogerie markt decided to the assembly. Compared to traditional
to build a further logistics facility in solutions comprising a main support
Waghäusel, located in southern Germany structure and racks that only support
between Karlsruhe and Mannheim. themselves, the construction period was
significantly shorter, thus achieving an
The distribution centre is divided into earlier return of the investment.
four main parts. While the building for
incoming and outgoing goods, servicing Apart from the short construction period
rooms, as well as offices, social rooms and the comparatively low cost, the
and canteen were built in reinforced significantly shorter amortization period is
concrete, the heart of the complex, an additional advantage. However, the
the commission store, is built in steel. racking system had to be designed taking
The commission store is 90 m long, into account the additional load cases due
125 m wide and 20 m high and it to the self-weight of the building envelope
provides space for 24,024 commissioning and imposed wind and snow loads.
and storage bins.

56 EURO-BUILD in Steel
Case Studies 06

Project Team Construction details of steel serve as connecting bridges

Client: The steel construction of the rack- to the stairway towers.
dm- drogerie markt GmbH & Co. KG supported structure of the commissioning
Architects: store was erected on a floor slab of Fire protection
BFK + Partner Freie reinforced concrete. The commissioning store, hall for
Architekten BDA, Stuttgart incoming/outgoing goods and servicing
General Contractor: The wall cladding was designed using rooms are separated by fire walls.
Swisslog AG, Buchs, Switzerland isolated cassette elements. The interior The fire walls reach up to 0.5 m above
Steel Construction: cassettes were attached to the gable the roof of the ingoing/outgoing goods
Nedcon Magazijninrichting B.V, columns and the columns of the long- store. Furthermore, an impact resistant
Doetinchem, Netherlands itudinal walls. The roof beams were roof strip made of reinforced concrete
Fire Engineering: arranged in accordance with the division was erected to prevent the fire spread
Brandschutz Hoffmann, Worms of the racks in the longitudinal direction at between commissioning store and hall
Building Services: a spacing of 3.14 m. An extensive ‘green’ for incoming/outgoing goods.
AXIMA GmbH, Karlsruhe roof was achieved using steel sheeting,
100 mm of thermal insulation, a sealant Both the commissioning store and the
layer and soil covering. incoming/outgoing goods store are
Building Facts equipped with full sprinkler systems,
Construction period: There are a total of 5 stair towers with additional in-rack sprinklers in the
2003-2004 in reinforced concrete with a fire commissioning store. In addition, an
Site area: resistance of 90 minutes. At the rear automatic fire alarm system was installed.
70,000 m² wall, external escape catwalks made
Commissioning store:
200,000 m³
Hall for incoming/ outgoing goods:
4,500 m²

Inside view of commissioning store Sectional elevation Plan

EURO-BUILD in Steel 57
Long Carbon, Research and Development,
66, rue de Luxembourg, L - 4009 Esch/Alzette, Luxembourg

Bouwen met Staal

Boerhaavelaan 40, NL - 2713 HX Zoetermeer,
Postbus 190, NL - 2700 AD Zoetermeer, The Netherlands

Centre Technique Industriel de la Construction Métallique (CTICM)

Espace Technologique, L’orme Des Merisiers - Immeuble Apollo
F - 91193 Saint-Aubin, France

Forschungsvereinigung Stahlanwendung (FOSTA)

Sohnstraße 65, D - 40237 Düsseldorf,

Labein - Tecnalia
C/Geldo – Parque Tecnológico de Bizkaia – Edificio 700,
48160 Derio, Bizkaia, Spain

Vasagatan 52, SE - 111 20 Stockholm,

The Steel Construction Institute (SCI)

Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire,
SL5 7QN, United Kingdom

Technische Universität Dortmund

Fakultät Bauwesen - Lehrstuhl für Stahlbau
August-Schmidt-Strasse 6, D - 44227 Dortmund, Germany