Single storey buildings are by far the largest sector of the UK structural steelwork market, representing nearly two thirds of total activity.

These buildings are typically used for workshops, factories, industrial warehouses, distribution warehouses and retail warehouses. Referred to colloquially as ‘Sheds’ sizes vary from small workshops of just a few thousand square feet up to distribution warehouses covering over one million square feet.

Similar construction techniques are used in all of these buildings with Industrial type buildings usually having relatively simple elevations with metal cladding panels, either full height or down to a brickwork dado rail. Retail developments and other statement projects tend to have much more complex elevational treatments, incorporating various materials and features and using combinations of cladding panels with different orientations, profiles and colours.

There are many rules and regulations covering the design and build of single storey buildings or extensions. (Council policies and guidelines are freely available). Before permission is sought and hopefully granted, have you ever considered what goes in to the actual design and construction of a single storey building.

Although software will normally be used to achieve an efficient design, for an engineer who is new to designing single storey buildings it is important that they understand how the structure behaves, and how it’s different components interact.

Eight steps are used to define a logical sequence for the main frames. This is then followed by design of the bracing, gables, secondary steelwork and cladding. Rules of thumb are included to help the designer quickly and efficiently arrive at a solution that is sensible for a given set of constraints.

Project stages of single storey buildings 

  • Project formulation – What it’s for, why is it being proposed, where is it etc.
  • Assembling the data and developing the brief – Understanding the site and context.
  • Scheme design – Looking at and developing options.
  • Detailed design – Of the various components and elements.
  • Information for construction – Drawings, specifications.
  • Construction

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