One of the most widespread uses of steel buildings is in the retail industry. When you think of steel, you might think of industrial facilities, factories, and warehouses but in reality, shopping malls, gas stations, grocery stores, clothing stores, and more are all using steel framed buildings. And at Panhandle Steel in Amarillo, Texas we have been fortunate to be a part of many new commercial retail steel buildings, such as Frontier Fuels’ convenience store in Dalhart, TX.
As a business, retail spaces need to be implemented and finished quickly so the store can start selling items and making a profit. An early return on the investment is critical. Steel framed buildings can be erected faster than concrete, wood, or brick buildings because many of the steel parts are pre-engineered in a factory. Once they arrive on the job site, they can be put together by a small number of skilled workers more quickly than it takes to cut pieces of wood, pour concrete, or lay thousands of bricks.
Steel buildings can be as big or as small as you need. Spaces like grocery stores, of course, need large expanses with few columns. This can easily be done with steel because steel has the ability to support its own weight to an extent without the use of extra supports. If a smaller steel building is needed in the beginning and the business grows, it’s not a problem at all to make additions, even many years down the road. These additions are fast and have little effect on the employees and customers, so the business can keep functioning as usual.
Steel is lightweight and puts 50% less of a load on foundations than concrete does. This is important because many retail buildings are built on top of existing foundations. This lighter foundation load can cut costs.
Steel buildings don’t have to look like steel. Every business, whether it is a franchise or a local business, has its own style and its own brand. That brand can be put on display easily with a steel building. Steel framed buildings can be created with virtually any facade: wood, brick, stucco, stone, glass, metal, anything! Any exterior finish is possible with a steel frame.
In addition to the exterior, steel buildings can be built with any architectural details like drop ceilings, fur downs, dormers, atria, and more. Any sort of flair or design can be implemented with steel, making it not only a strong, lasting building material, but also a stylish one. It is also becoming more and more popular to create a steel building with shopping areas, restaurants, and public space on the ground floor and with apartments and residential areas on the top floors. This contributes to a vibrant, lively community.
There is a lot to think about when creating retail spaces: sustainability, fire safety, acoustics, parking, indoor air quality, and more. These are high-traffic, popular areas that need to support many people coming and going. If a building isn’t created right in the beginning, with strength and longevity in mind, it can quickly degrade and it will require constant maintenance and repairs.
Steel framed buildings, however, have the ability to last for many, many years and they will remain profitable during that time.