Steel Truss Roofs for Shop Buildings

Business owners advise on choices involved in building a large clear-span steel truss-roofed shop. November 8, 2008

We are in the planning stages of constructing the building in which our small lumber milling business will be housed. We are looking into the possibility of erecting steel trusses for this purpose. Does anyone have experience with MiraceTruss, or alternative steel truss designs or kits?

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor K:
Steel trusses are great for opening up a building. The absence of horizontal beams gives a lot of scope when handling long lengths. In Ireland we use a 50mm cladding and we use plenty of roof lights to maximise the natural light. This also cuts out condensation drips during cold weather. The trusses are normally put in on 5 meter centres and steel purloins are usually used to cover the span.

From contributor T:
Since you are going the distance with trusses, you should consider the longest span possible and eliminate all interior columns. This will help a lot with layout and material flow.

From contributor P:
I've been looking at the same company for adding onto our existing 2100 sf metal building (which is of different construction) and everybody I've talked to gave good reviews of MiracleTruss. They seem to be a bit higher than a couple of the local companies though. A friend has done several foundations for their buildings and he found them easier to work with than your typical builder and this is a big plus to me.

From contributor D:
I have personally built 3 buildings like that, and am in the final design stages of a fourth. Great choice for any type of construction. You didn't say where your business is located, but I'm assuming you still have to heat it. My experience has taught me that radiant in floor heat is the cheapest and easiest to maintain, with sm styro underneath to maximize heat retention. I'm from Canada where it is always cold (not funny) and usually clad the inside of the roofs with tin (underside of purloins), stuff batt insulation in, and then put the rooled insulation on top. This gives you your vapor barrier and almost an R-50 which is nice on the wallet. Consider having the plant beef up your uprights, for maybe a future gantry crane? And pay a lot of attention to where you want your overhead door openings. Can lead to trouble later if you have to move your material through the shop, instead of in and out. I would also try pricing a few other suppliers, as it is slow in the states right now. I have built Heritage steel buildings, and Olympic. Both super, and delivered exactly what we bought.

From contributor K:
When we had our building done I had overhead doors put on both sides to get flow-through ventilation in the summer. If you are in cold winter country I'd be sure and put my main overhead doors on the south to avoid the long lasting ice. We had double layer plastic skylights put in our last two additions as well as high mounted double windows. Natural light is really pleasant. Plan for future expansion now. Our structure was made heavy enough to add a bridge crane later, so now we are doing that. Given the price of energy I'd go for the most insulation I could. Summers are hot here. I wish I'd have provided for big convective roof vents that could be opened and closed as needed (no A/C). When locating your dust collector outside, consider where new equipment will be located inside to keep the runs short. Provide an isolation chamber for compressors and vacuum pumps that is well ventilated and can keep the noise out of the shop. Use an air-to-air cooler that can also move the air out of the compressor room to the great outdoors in the summer or back into the shop in the winter to utilize the waste heat. Locate the refrigerated air drier in the coolest location you can. Run a compressed air piping system in a loop so the air has two ways of reaching any point. Making the sidewalls taller is fairly cheap and will provide taller stacking space and the ability to locate storage or office on a second level. We have 18' sidewalls. Sure wish they were 20 or 22'.