Monthly Archives: August 2014

An Overview of Multiple Span buildings

multi span warehouse

There is a common misconception that columns in the middle of a building are a disadvantage, That is not necessarily the case. Many businesses actually find columns useful as a place to lean things against  and/or attach things to. They also generally allow for a much larger building.

The following is an overview of the three different types of multiple span buildings to consider for your building project.

Single Slope

Multiple span single slope buildings have posts to hold the roof up. Because side wall capacity is less dramatic than that of clear span buildings, steel does not have to be as thick. This translates to cost savings.

Many companies use these layouts for warehousing. Integrating shelving is possible, taking advantage of the posts to keep shelving stable.

Ideal structure type for:

  • Distribution centers
  • Manufacturing facilities

Tapered Column

The multiple span tapered column can also be cost effective because it has a post in the center which cuts down on steel in the roof line. Many companies like having a post in the center of their workshop as it is a great place to put air lines or trouble lights. Posts also allow you to have a much wider building. For those who don’t want columns in the middle of the interior, a clear span building is a better option.

Ideal structure type for:

  • Warehouses
  • Truck shops

Straight Column

Multiple span straight columns generally have a lot of posts. The side walls you find in these work well for shelving because the tapered column gets thicker at the top and smaller at the bottom. So in a warehouse with straight columns, for example, where there are racks or storage units, it can be easier to work with a straight column structure. Heavier cranes. supported by the building rather than by columns are also sometimes easier to install.

Thanks to the large number of columns, you can also double the width you would normally get with clear span buildings—up to 600 feet. Another determining factor as to whether or not you can actually go this wide depends on location. Wide structures are more feasible in places without a lot of snow.

Ideal structure type for:

  • Warehouses
  • Distribution centers
  • Manufacturing facilities

While some companies opt for clear span buildings which allow for drive through bays and easy movement of tools, others prefer having  columns in multiple span buildings as they allow for a place to put power outlets, automatic grease guns, trouble lights, and air lifts.

In a clear span,  a post can be added to accommodate some of these items, therefore your decision is not etched in stone. That post can always be removed should the application of the building change, allowing for flexibility.

An Overview of Clear Span Buildings

Reinhart clear spanTo create excess room to maneuver inside a building, a clear span option works best.   Three different types are available to choose from. Each fits specific business operations and special movement needs.

Tapered Column

A clear span tapered column building allows extra headroom. Thanks to a high ceiling and side walls, a wide range of heavy machinery can be stored inside. If  pulleys, cranes or other items are to be installed, this structure is ideal. Tapered column structures  will also accommodate larger overhead doors.

Potential companies for these types of buildings:

Industrial companies with heavy machinery, gymnasiums, agricultural equipment operators, and other indoor facilities requiring overhead crane equipment.

Straight Column

Straight column buildings are characterized by a flat roof. While more cost effective in some regards, clear span straight column structures can be used in different parts of Canada depending on snowfall. Flat roof gives you less of a pitch, therefore snow loads don’t have a slope to slide down. Without a slope, too much weight accumulates on the roof. Straight column structures have the advantage of allowing for a straight wall which allows for different finishing options.

Potential companies for these types of buildings:

Retail, commercial, and office space not requiring a high roof and/or locations without excessive snowfall.

Straight Column Single Slope

At Reinhart Group we continue to experience a growing demand for clear span straight column single slope buildings. This type of steel frame is higher on one side and gradually declines downward to the opposite side. It is a popular architectural feature perfect for handling drainage issues. We use these buildings, for instance, in areas where we want water to run from the front to the back of the building where a ditch is on the low side to get rid of water quickly. A high front on the building will also allow for larger overhead doors.

Many retail environments use these slopes. When you drive by you may not notice this thanks to front  facades used by many retailers to disguise the look. Industrial companies often use them simply because they look like neat buildings.

Potential companies for these types of buildings:

Retail and industrial businesses.

Clear span frame buildings really depend on the type of business they will accomodate. Tapered columns are great for large machinery, overhead cranes and convenient  traffic movement within.  Though somewhat smaller, straight columns can be a better bargain while single slopes offer better drainage options and can add a little extra to the architectural finish.

The Reinhart Group Clay Preparation Process


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We often have clients ask about the clay preparation process. As one of the first phases of building a steel structure, it is crucial site prep be done right to ensure the building does not sink. If a building sinks too low, it will remain too low for life.

So what is The Reinhart Group’s secret ingredient to clay preparation? Very thin layers. That is the key, however it is similar to making bread. The right ingredients and precise moisture content must be present to make dough that sticks and successfully produces a loaf of bread.

Here’s how we make it happen:

  • Soil clean-up. Most development sites have covering soils, anything from black dirt to sediment left over from rain. These materials must be removed, because they do not create a stable base to accommodate a building. Step one.
  • Moisture check.  Step two, check moisture content of the clay. If moisture is high,  you can grade it so all of the water runs off the sides toward the ditches. The key is to make sure it doesn’t run too fast as erosion can result. Running off too slow can result in water puddles which will work an excess of moisture into the ground.
  • Treatment. Wet or unstable soil can be bridged with clay and then covered with geogrid or geofabric. This can then be covered in gravel and/or other types of materials.

One of the biggest mistakes builders make is constructing a building on a base that is not high enough. There could be a cost savings by building a foot or two lower than recommended, however this makes it susceptible to water running towards the building and softening its edge or heaving the concrete pads. Drainage away from a building is vital.

Remember, compaction is about moisture. Different moisture levels give clay different compaction. If your clay is too dry, it will turn to powder which won’t stick together. If it is too wet, it will become a mud product. Clay soils must be tested and kept at optimum moisture percentages.

One of the benefits of leasing is elimination of all these worries. Soil clean-ups, treatments, and moisture checks are the property owner’s responsibility leaving the onus on them to deal with any necessary work and the cost of it.

If you don’t plan to lease, be sure not to skimp. You can cut a few corners when dealing with things you can upgrade later, such as lighting, but you can’t put two feet of clay under a finished  building. Add doors and specialty items later if you want to save, but don’t cut corners when it comes to building height and elevation.