Fowler and Gilbert (www.flgb.co.uk) is a trusted and respected brand when it comes to agricultural and industrial buildings. The company prefabricates structural components in their facility in Middlewich, Cheshire. These buildings can be delivered and constructed anywhere in the United Kingdom.

Common applications include industrial warehouses, shopping centers, office cubicle space, grain storage buildings, stables, riding arenas and farm sheds. Construction of such low-rise buildings with wide spans is largely based on the use of high quality steel portal frames. Put simply, a portal frame consists of rafters and columns connected with braces and brackets.

The wide spans are made possible because the bending moment in the rafters passes on to the columns at the ends. This relieves the need for supporting columns in the middle, and the entire building becomes one huge indoor space. Aside from this main feature, the use of steel frame portals offers many additional benefits.

Since everything is prefabricated at the plant and merely assembled on-site, it saves a lot of construction costs, time and manpower. One more advantage is that clear sheets used on the roof can provide natural lighting. This reduces power consumption and the associated utility bills, thus making the building more environmentally-friendly than traditional buildings.

The building can be made to order as per specifications and the intended usage. Before anything is built, expert designers will create a virtual 3D model using advanced software. This allows the model to be put through a series of stress tests.

This computer-aided procedure checks the design for building code non-compliance and other flaws. This ensures there are no costly corrective measures needed once the construction gets underway. The actual portal frames are then made using precision machinery that manufactures components exactly as per the specifications.

It is also possible to buy portal frame kits off the shelf. They come in several standard sizes. These kits are considered DIY, but the installation can be done by the manufacturer if required.

Demolitions are just as easy, since portal frames can be dismantled instead of having to be totaled with a wrecking ball. A large part of the material can be reused after recycling. Leftover waste such as asbestos will be taken away by the contractor in charge of the demolition.

Refurbishment can add years to the life of an old portal frame structure. Re-roofing in this case does not mean demolition and rebuilding. The simple process of re-cladding and over-cladding of existing roofs can be accomplished in a cost-effective manner.

The decision to add a new building or expand an existing one is not something that is done lightly. It has to be part of a growth plan that takes into consideration the construction and environmental cost, and the impact on day to day operations. This is a job for professional and experienced teams such as Fowler and Gilbert (www.flgb.co.uk).