Steel Shop Building: Why Summer is the Time to Build

toro-agricultural-4Steel is now one of the most coveted building materials mainly because of its ease of use and the fact that it is a very hard metal.

Steel frames are very strong making them much easier to transport. This strength also means that you’ll need fewer load bearing walls which means that you can have light filled rooms with more windows and higher ceilings.

Why construct in the summer?

From a long time ago, steel metals have always been worked in high temperatures. Even before there were rolling mills and hydraulic presses, blacksmiths could be found standing by glowing fire and hitting red-hot metals into shape with skillful blows. That hasn’t changed. All metals are still worked in very high temperatures because it’s the best time to form and deform them.

When steam engines were first built, they were primarily built from iron and steel. It was observed that after these engines were used for an extended period of time, the tubes of their boilers expanded, stretched, and in most cases ended up sagging. This problem had also been witnessed much earlier on when lead strips between windowpanes mysteriously loosened. The tendency of metals, steel included, to elongate under tensile stress in high temperatures is also known as creep. It was also observed that rivets and tight bolts in the engines loosened gradually. This became known as relaxation.

Steel behaves differently when exposed to different temperatures.

In extreme cold weather, such as in the winter, exposed building materials slowly shrink as temperatures fall. In the spring and through to the summer as the environment warms up and air gains moisture, these materials will expand to their normal sizes. This quick and repeated shift from unseasonably warm temperatures to of 10° + from one day to deep-freeze temperatures of as low as -40° can cause rapid shrinking to exposed building materials.

This is further complicated by how buildings are constructed. If you’re building wholly from steel, then most of the parts of the construction will be exposed to this extreme weather. Roofs and walls are prime examples of this; on one face they are wholly exposed to the inside and on the other face they are wholly exposed to the outside. Yet these parts – the walls and roofs – are usually built and connected in such a way that they stay in position and connect to each other in a rigid manner. They are designed to resist excessive movement.

Irrespective of the connectors used in the construction, when steel shrinks quickly an extreme amount of stress will be produced in the joints and connections. In extreme cases, this stress could result in slipping of joints which could significantly weaken structures. Many times you’ll hear loud creaking sounds as the joints move against or away from one another.

Since most other component of the building such as hot water pipes and plumbing pipes are directly connected to the main structure (walls, floor, and roof), which will all be expanding and contracting, they will also be affected and may produce these popping sounds.


If you take into account the two highlighted points, you’ll realize that it’s very risky to build in the winter because steel will have shrunk. When you’re building from steel that isn’t at its normal size, what follows is that you are unable to provide correct allowances for future expansion and contraction.

In the summer, steel is at its normal size therefore it becomes easier to calculate and provide allowances for future expansions and contractions.