Steel Building Designs

There are two main types of designs for pre-fabricated steel buildings: Quonset huts and straight wall buildings. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Both are ideal choices for a wide range of structures. No matter which type you go with, you can make your building as large as you would like.

Quonset Huts

Quonset huts are also known as “arch designs.” A Quonset hut is essentially that — a single large arch forming an enclosure. The ends of the arch can be walled up or not; that is up to you.

There are three models of Quonset huts:

ModelAdvantagesWidths
q-model quonset hutThe Q-Model is your most basic and popular type of arch building.
It is the least expensive design, and offers excellent strength, economy,
and durability.
20’-100’
s-model quonset hutThe S-model has straight walls on the side and the arch overhead.
It is great for warehouses and other storage areas since it is easier to utilize all the space.
16’-60’
p-model quonset hutThe P-Model is the most expensive. This model has straight walls and
a gabled roof, rather than a standard arch. These are popular for garages and workshops.
16’-30’

Why go with a Quonset hut instead of a straight wall design? They are renowned for their strength. They can stand up to harsh weather conditions and withstand everything from hurricanes to earthquakes. They cost about 30% less than their straight wall counterpart.

Straight Wall Steel Buildings

Straight Wall steel buildings are exactly what they sound like—your traditional buildings with straight walls and a flat ceiling. You can choose a variety of roof spans. There are a number of different designs for straight wall buildings, including Straight Column, Gable, Beam and Column, and Lean-to, also known as a “Wing.”

ModelAdvantagesSpan
Straight ColumnQuite typical and can feature gabled or single sloped roofs. They generally used for small retail stores and the like.20'-70'
Rigid FrameThis type of structure is for if you need a large open space for a structure like a gymnasium or hangar. These are column-free clearspan systems that keep interior space open and unobstructed.20'-150'
Beam-and-ColumnThese structures offer a great deal of space and are easy to expand. Use if you want to build a warehouse if a building for a factory80'-300'
Lean-to or "Wing"Used to expand an existing structure without disrupting anything going on inside. Remember, you can finish steel with whatever you want, so you can easily make a Wing blend into an existing building.20'-50'

Why go with a straight wall building instead of a Quonset hut

The main advantages are aesthetic, since Quonset huts technically offer more in terms of cost-savings and structural stability. Some people simply prefer the traditional style of straight walls and a roof-over-the-arch look. These buildings are still quite sturdy and stable, thanks to their pre-fabricated steel construction. In our next section, read on to learn all about steel building foundations.

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