The building industry is undergoing an unrivalled explosion of energy and creativity. Oddly enough, this renaissance is driven in large part by a trend towards industrial steel frame buildings, a surprisingly versatile shell once relegated to a few well-worn niches.
Not anymore. Steel frame buildings now enjoy a slew of acceptable uses, including these out-of-the-box ideas that might just anchor your next business idea.
1. Indoor Car Lots
Steel frame buildings are cheap, quick, and easy to erect. With sufficient space and permissive land use regulations, their footprints are just as cheap, quick, and easy to stretch.
This means they’re perfect for indoor car lots — weather-protected alternatives to outdoor dealerships. In wet or harsh climates, sun and rain protection is essential to keep buyers on the lot longer — and increase the chances that they’ll conclude a deal on the spot.
2. Weather-Protected Storage Facilities
Car lots double as car storage facilities, of course. But why stop there? Steel frame buildings are ideal for housing secure, climate-controlled storage units. They’re more resistant to fire, earthquakes, and heavy winds than traditional wood frame structures — a crucial consideration for storage clients who deserve to know that their valuables are safe from harm.
3. Multi-Purpose Sporting Facilities
Can’t decide whether to open an ice rink, a roller rink, or an indoor football pitch? You can do all three — and more — and still have room left over for climate-controlled offices, concession stands, seating areas, locker rooms, and anything else you need to make it a party.
4. Temporary or Permanent Classrooms
Steel frame buildings are far superior to — and far more comfortable than — Portacabins, the go-to choice for portable outdoor classrooms. They’re great for creating “indoor” educational space in the field — say, at nature preserves, work sites, or outdoor sporting complexes. And they’re inherently flexible, so they’ll work as turn-up, tear-down stand-ins during school renovation projects
5. Pet Boarding and Recreation Facilities
With adequate climate control and sanitary facilities, steel frame buildings are great as boarding and grooming facilities for pets of all shapes and sizes. Size up to ensure plenty of indoor play space on bad weather days. Your new furry friends will have no idea they’re romping through a sturdy, easy-to-construct steel building — and you’ll forget soon enough, too.
6. Co-working Spaces
Shared offices, also known as co-working spaces, are hotter than ever right now. Globally, the total number of active co-working facilities is expected to double by 2020.
Want to get in on the action? If you have a place to put it, a dedicated steel frame building is a cost-effective alternative to traditional co-working spaces, which typically occupy floor plates in existing office buildings or spread out in disused industrial structures. With a new steel structure, you don’t have to worry about conforming to the onerous terms of a long-term lease — you’re your own boss.
What’s Your Favourite Use for Steel Frame Buildings?
These are just six unusual, creative uses for industrial steel frame buildings. There are plenty more where they came from. If you’ve seen a particularly strange, unorthodox, or just plain impressive use for a steel structure in your travels, share your story here!