Things to Know When You Begin the Renovation of Steel Framed Buildings

Steel framed buildings are a great choice for new construction, but they are also desirable when considering a purchase for renovation. Steel is a sustainable option, with one well-built steel framed building enjoying multiple lives as different types of organizations adapt the frame to their needs.

Still, there are some things you need to know before beginning a renovation on a steel framed building:

The year of the original construction: In the early 20th century, the principal steel companies, like Carnegie Steel Company and Inland Steel Company, were all making proprietary structural shapes. This means that there were no standard shapes, so you’ll need a clear picture of the types of material you’ll need for renovating the space to your specifications. The lack of standardization in that period also means that the weight limits of various materials will differ, too.

Whether there are original drawings: Original drawings are a great resource for understanding the construction of steel framed buildings and helping you identify the changes that have happened over the life of the building. If original plans are not available, you’ll need to produce as-built plans, which may involve a time-consuming process of field measurement, including bay size measurement and the locations of beams and columns.

The present site conditions: It’s important to do an on-site investigation to determine the conditions of the building. Are steel components visible and were connections welded or bolted? You’ll also want to know whether the building has been renovated from its original construction and which points are accessible for renovation.

Whether lead paint or asbestos is present: If the building was built between 1930 and 1950, there’s a good chance that there’s asbestos in the construction. Asbestos was banned in 1973, but any structures built in the middle of the century should be examined for the presence of asbestos. Likewise, lead paint was used prior to 1978, so if there is paint visible on the steel frame, it is likely to contain lead. With proper respirators and treatment of the renovation project, the problems attached to these substances can be significantly reduced.

The strength of existing conditions: Before you begin plans for renovations, you’ll want to know whether your building is strong enough for your vision. Not only do steel framed buildings from certain time periods have different weight limits, but the building may also have been used in the past for purposes that have a naturally corrosive effect.

Before beginning a renovation project on a steel framed building, talk with our specialists at Midland Steel Company, a steel fabrication and erection company with decades of experience in renovations. Give us a call today!