Self-Storage Construction: Structural Piers and Headers

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For the contractor or builder, lead times and construction productivity are of great importance. However, the owner is ultimately concerned about maintenance and durability. Metal buildings provide short lead times, componentized erection, strength and rigidity, and an end product with minimal required maintenance.

Many of today’s city officials suffer from “development tunnel-vision,” the ability to only see the negative impact or appearance of a potential new project. Metal buildings of days-gone-by have left a lasting visual impression. Dull aesthetic appearance, faded paint, 90-degree corners and long straight layouts, are all not pleasing to the city planners of today.

A metal-building standard since inception has been the use of three structural 16-gauge, red-oxide studs to form a pier or column between consecutive roll-up doors. Stood vertically and wrapped with a light-gauge decorative panel, these three cees form the structural support for the roof components above. Another red-oxide cee channel is spanned between the vertical columns, providing a weight-bearing surface for the attachment of roof components above the door opening.

Flush with the exterior surface of the pier, these horizontal cees provide attachment points for the application of corrugated pre-painted panels to finish the building side. Provided in matching or complementary colors each with its own corrugation pattern, these metal-building components offer a fast, pleasing, acceptable product. These old designs, although still available today, are no longer considered an industry-standard.

A New Design Emerges

In recent years, another product has been introduced into the metal-building component market, receiving widespread acceptance by city officials and owners alike. Single-piece structural piers, recessed weight-bearing headers and embossed steel in stucco patterns now offer an alternative steel component to the standards of yesterday.

Produced totally from galvanized steel and available pre-painted with an embossed stucco texture or prepared for field-painting to match architectural décor, these piers and headers provide an alternative look, faster erection times and stronger materials to withstand renter neglect.

The vertical structural pier, bolted to the concrete pad between roll-up doors or building entry points, provides a heavy-gauge exterior component that supports the roof structure while providing a damage-resistant component on both sides of the door opening. The structural pier assembly consists of a single-piece smooth or stucco-embossed 16-gauge component, a 12-gauge galvanized base plate anchored to the concrete pad and through-bolted with flush-style bolts to the pier, and a 14-gauge recessed top plate simultaneously through-bolted to the pier and the adjoining structural header.

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