Rhino Steel Buildings Blog

#1 Mistake When Buying a Metal Building

Know Exactly What You Want from Your New Steel Building

What is the first time buyer’s biggest mistake when buying a metal building? It is not completely thinking through what they want from their new structure.

Don’t decide you want a new building and immediately start looking for steel building quotes online. Your pre-engineered steel building company serves you best when you have a clear idea of what you need.

End Use

First, what is the purpose of the building?

• Will it be a garage for your cars and RV? • Will you want additional space to repair the vehicles or to use as workshop? • Will you need water and plumbing for a bathroom? • Do you wish to insulate the building?

1st Time Buyer DreamingThinking through the end use for your structure allows you to estimate how much space is required. Many people find they actually need 20% more space than originally guesstimated.


Pre-engineered steel buildings are measured from the outside of the steel framing. The building height is measured by the outside wall, called the eave height.

Look where you plan to erect the building. What dimensions would best fit the site and your space requirements? Would a 40’ wide x 60’ long steel building, or a 30’ x 80’ structure, or a square 50’ x 50’ best fit your site and your needs?

Is there a chance you might want to expand the building later? If so, does the site allow room for longer structure?

How tall is your dream building? For example, if you plan to house your RV, you will want plenty of clearance above your RV— and anything mounted on the RV roof like an air conditioner or antenna. Once you have chosen a door height, allow a minimum … Read more »

17 Reasons to Choose Steel Warehouses

Why Steel Dominates Distribution Center and Warehouse Building

Industrial builders overwhelming choose to build steel warehouses and distribution centers. Steel frames 95% of all new low-rise industrial construction. Steel’s market share of the mega warehouse and distribution center market soars even higher.

Warehouse MarketCovering 500,000 square feet or more, these sprawling building behemoths are impractical with any other structural material.

What makes steel the building material of choice for industry?  Here are 17 reasons steel leads the industrial building market:


1. ULTRA-WIDE: Pre-engineered steel buildings up to 480’ wide are possible with minimal support columns. Imagine a structure as wide as the length of one-and-a-half football fields!

2. UNLIMITED LENGTH: There is absolutely no limit to a steel building’s length. Design your structure as long as your budget— and property— permits.

3. TOWERING HEIGHTS: Pre-engineered steel building designs often reach 40’ or more at the eave height. (Buildings over 40’ tall require a custom quote.) Many warehousing operations maximize their usable space by building high ceilings and adding mezzanine floors.

4. EXTRA-WIDE OPENINGS: If your structure requires large openings, steel is definitely the only choice for framing. Steel’s amazing strength-to-weight ratio allows extremely wide openings, with or without doors. Overhead doors in a wide range of sizes and types are available. Hangar-style doors work best for doorways 45’ and wider.

Grey Warehouse5. CLEAR SPAN: Some warehouse and distribution center operations require clear span structures. A clear span building has no interior structural supporting columns. No other building material can match steel’s ability to span large areas. Pre-engineered steel buildings offer … Read more »

The Rise of the Mega Warehouses

What’s Driving the Growth of Gigantic Distribution Centers

Washington state not only boasts the world’s largest steel building, it is also home to the king of the mega warehouses— the Target Import Distribution Center.

The 2,000,000 square foot Target Import Distribution Center opened in April 2003 in Lacey, Washington. With a total volume of 262.4 million cubic feet, the Target structure is the second largest building in the world. Only the monstrous Boeing Aircraft Plant in Everett, Washington, tops it. The Boeing Plant remains the largest building on earth at a whopping 472 million cubic feet.

Mega WarehousingThe Target structure in Lacey is just one example of the rising need for gigantic warehouses across the U.S.

What’s behind the trend to giant warehouses

Significant changes in recent years are changing the way we move and sell goods:

  • America shifted from a primarily manufacturing economy to importing most manufactured goods from other countries. Hence, large warehouses near busy ports became an economic necessity.
  • Increasingly, Americans purchase e-commerce products rather than buying merchandise at local retail stores. The convenience of online shopping and home delivery appeals to busy consumers. Online giants like Amazon.com and Overstock.com require massive distribution centers scattered across the country for rapid order fulfillment. Consumer online purchasing now generates over $1.2 trillion annually across the globe.
  • Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Costco, Sam’s, Toys “R” Us, Best Buy, and Office Depot, and other big-box stores must keep countless products readily available— without becoming overstocked.
  • To be competitive, all the largest retailers now maintain both store locations and e-commerce sites. Most offer the option of store delivery or home delivery.
  • Climbing fuel prices drove companies to look for ways to centralize product distribution.
An overview of … Read more »

The World’s Largest Steel Building- Part 2

Fascinating Facts about the Most Fantastic Factory on Earth

The world’s largest steel building— the Boeing Aircraft Plant in Everett, WA— defies imagination. The “Guinness Book of World Records” proclaims it the largest building— by volume— on the planet.

Everett WA Plant 02While the construction history of the massive steel structure is fascinating, the day-to-day operations are equally impressive.

Fast Facts about the World’s Largest Steel Building

The size and scope of the sprawling Boeing Aircraft Plant boggle the mind:

  • The 2,800 workers who cleared the land and prepared the site for construction moved more earth than was excavated in building the Panama Canal— and Grand Coulee Dam— combined.
  • Each of the hangar doors is roughly the size of an American football field, measuring 87’ x 300’.
  • According to the “Guinness Book of World Records,” the paintings on the six hangars doors create the largest digital mural in the world.
  • Today the 5.5 million square foot Boeing Everett Plant contains more than 472 million cubic feet of space.
  • The structure is 120’ tall.
  • The building covers 98.3 acres of space under one roof.
  • The monstrous structure could house all of Disneyland in California— and still have room for parking!
  • The colossal structure could hold 75 NFL football fields.
  • The structure is so massive, workers often take months to learn how to navigate in the building.
  • The perimeter walls of the structure measure 2.2 miles.
  • Pedestrian tunnels beneath the plant cover 2.3 miles.
  • Boeing supplies a fleet of 1,300 bicycles and adult-sized tricycles— plus numerous golf carts— for transportation within the building.
  • Over 2,100 average sized American homes could fit within the Boeing Everett Plant.
  • Washington’s moisture-laden air initially caused plant problems. When it was first completed, clouds formed under the roof. The humidity played havoc with aircraft production, so Boeing installed an air … Read more »

The World’s Largest Steel Building- Part 1

The Story Behind the Boeing Factory in Everett, Washington

You would expect the world’s largest steel building to be a towering skyscraper in a bustling metropolis.

You would be wrong.

The title of the biggest building on Earth— by volume— belongs to the Boeing Aircraft Assembly Plant in Everett, WA. At an astonishing 472 million cubic feet, no other structure comes close to the size of the massive Everett Boeing Plant.

What Drove the Need for Such an Enormous Structure?

Everett WA FactroyLocated about 25 miles north of Seattle, WA, the Boeing factory saga began in the mid-1960s.

Pan-American ruled the international flight market. They needed larger planes with greater passenger capacity to make international flights more economical. Pan-Am promised Boeing a contract for 25 aircraft— if they could develop a jumbo jet.

Boeing accepted the challenge.

Over 50,000 aircraft administrators, designers, engineers, mechanics, and aerodynamics scientists participated in developing the first jumbo jet. The attempt generated over 75,000 engineering drawings.

While development for 747 was underway, Boeing began searching for the perfect location to build the wide-body jets.

The first problem was location. None of Boeing’s existing plants could accommodate construction of a jumbo aircraft. Boeing needed a new, larger factory.

After scouring the country for the perfect location, Boeing settled on Washington. In June 1966, the company purchased over 750 acres of forest on the northeast side of Paine Field in Everett.

Constructing the World’s Largest Steel Building

Boeing engaged an army of 250 contractors to prepare a 630-acre area for construction. The heavily wooded land pitched and rolled. The forest needed clearing. The topography needed flattening.

Over 2,800 workers hewed trees, blasted hills, and filled valleys preparing the site.

Workers built a five-mile-long railway spur to haul debris away and building materials in to the site. … Read more »

Pre-engineered Steel Buildings in WASHINGTON

Building Green in the Evergreen State with RHINO Metal Buildings

Constructing pre-engineered steel buildings in Washington is green building. There is no greener way to build than with steel.

The state of Washington has always been a leader in the green building movement. In fact, Washington was the first state to pass legislation requiring all state-funded new construction or renovation to meet green building standards.

metal-buildings-WASHINGTONThe Clear Span Advantages of Steel Buildings in Washington

The strength and durability of steel buildings makes them last far longer than ordinary construction methods like wood and concrete. The longer a structure lasts, the less its environmental impact.

As the most recycled material on the planet, steel meets the criteria for environmentally responsible Washington builders. There is zero degradation of strength in recycled steel— no matter how many times it is recycled. RHINO steel buildings contain up to 90.7% recycled steel.

Pre-engineering eliminates waste, another green building plus. What little steel remains after construction is easily sold to metal scrap dealers for recycling.

The inherent strength of steel allows prefabricated metal buildings to span wide areas without interior supports. RHINO straight column metal buildings in Washington clear span up to 80’ in width. Tapered column designs clear span up to 150’ wide on standard orders. Widths up to 300’ are possible with a custom order.

Here are just a few of the buildings benefiting from steel’s clear span capabilities:

• Aircraft hangars • Auditoriums • Barns • Big box stores • Churches • Dance studios • Equipment storage buildings • Fish or meat processing plants • Gymnasiums • Hay or hops storage • Horse riding arenas • Lumber or paper mills • Manufacturing plants • Produce storage • Recreational facilities • Theaters • Warehouses

Metal Buildings for Every Application

Versatile pre-engineered steel buildings adapt to any low-rise commercial or industrial application:

  • Consider RHINO metal buildings for mega-warehouses in Seattle or Tacoma.
  • Agricultural buildings for … Read more »

Urban Heat Island Effects in the U.S. – Part 7

Beating City Summer Heat with Reflective Surfaces

Our last blog stressed the importance of greenspaces in mitigating urban heat island (UHI) impacts. Another strategy for diminishing the sweltering heat of UHIs involves lighter, more reflective surfaces on buildings, pavements, and roadways.

Starting at the Top with Roofing Choices

Reflective SurfacesRoofs account for 20% to 25% of the land cover in cities.

The simplest way to cool down hot roofs is to choose light-colored roofing materials. Light colors reflect radiated heat; dark colors absorb heat. The darker the material, the hotter its surface will be on a sultry summer day. Regardless of the roofing material used, a lighter color produces a cooler roof.

On a moderate sunny day with an air temperature of 90°F, a white roof reaches a surface temperature of about 110°F. Surface temperatures on a black roof can soar to 190°F or more.

Light-colored roofing lasts longer than dark roofing, too, reaping another environmental and economical plus.

Beating UHI Heat with Cool-Coated Roofing

Traditional roofing materials absorb 85% to 95% of the sun’s energy. New technologies have yielded highly reflective paints that absorb as little as 35% of the solar energy hitting their surface.

Highly reflective cool-coated roofing materials deflect the sun’s heat away from a building. In fact, cool roofing reflects more of the sun’s energy than any other building product. A roof with high solar reflectance reduces the roof’s surface temperature by as much as 50°F to 60°F on a blistering summer day.

Cool roofing allows less heat to transfer to the building, decreasing the energy needed for air conditioning. Diminished air conditioning usage prolongs the life of the AC unit.

Shrinking energy usage relieves the pressure on the power grid— … Read more »

Urban Heat Island Effects in the U.S. – Part 6

Beating Summer Heat with Greenspaces in the Cities

In previous blogs we covered some of the many problems an urban heat island (UHI) inflicts on city-dwelling people, our planet, and our pocketbooks. Now let’s look at the ways we can mitigate the effects of UHIs on our cities.

We Must Combat Urban Heat Islands Matters NOW

GreenspacesToday 80% of all Americans live in cities. Millions more commute to cities daily for employment. UHIs affect the comfort, health, and finances of all these Americans every summer.

Urban heat islands change the environment. When our environment suffers, we suffer. The climate changes wrought by the actions of mankind affect everything and everyone on the planet. Deteriorating air quality and rising temperatures cannot continue unabated.

So what can we do to reduce the effects of urban heat islands?

When a Tree Grows in Brooklyn— and Other Urban Heat Islands

By scraping the landscape completely clean to make room for urban development, we have sacrificed the best way of mitigating urban heat island effects: vegetation.

We need more greenspaces in the cities— a LOT more.

Trees, plants, and grass should be planted everywhere possible in urban areas, including parks, yards, around businesses and buildings, along city streets and highways, parking lots— even on rooftops. Here’s why:

  • Trees not only provide shade to cool hot pavement, but they are also the best defense against air pollution.
  • Plants and trees retain moisture and create an evaporate affect that cools surrounding air. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), evapotranspiration provided by vegetation may reduce peak summer temperatures by as much as 9°F.
  • Trees can … Read more »

Urban Heat Island Effects in the U.S. – Part 5

The Financial Ramifications of Blistering Summer Heat in the Cities

Urban heat island costsAn urban heat island (UHI) impacts people, the planet— and pocketbooks. The financial consequences of UHIs affect governments, insurance companies, and individuals.

Financial Fallout of Urban Heat Islands

Putting an exact price tag on the cost of urban heat islands is impossible. However, it is obvious the costs to our health, our environment, and our financial resources are far too great.

The economic costs of the urban heat island are astounding:

  • Air conditioning in urban heat islands accounts for 15% of all energy expend annually in the U.S.
  • The Heat Island Group estimates that UHIs in Los Angeles cost $100 million each year in increased energy use.
  • According to the EPA, electricity demands increase up to 2% for every 1°F increase in temperature.
  • The hotter summer temperatures in the city hit the poor especially hard. Many of those killed in the Chicago heat wave of 1995 were found in closed, stifling apartments without any air conditioning.
  • Soaring utility bills for sweltering city dwellers strain pocketbooks. People go out in the heat less. Every dollar spent on a higher utility bill is a dollar not spent in the local economy.
  • Businesses in the city suffer financially from UHIs. Astronomical commercial utility bills increase operational expenses, reducing profits. Consumers also hold off on purchases, as they struggle with higher utilities.
  • Medical bills also cut into family budgets, as respiratory and heat-related illnesses escalate in an urban heat island. In 2002, an unusual heat wave across the U.S. increased smog to unsafe levels for over 280 million people. Medical care costs for the increased pollution … Read more »

Urban Heat Island Effects in the U.S. – Part 4

The Environmental Problems Caused by Scorching Summers in the City

In addition to the health problems caused by an urban heat island (UHI), there are also serious environmental consequences.UHI and Environment

Urban heat islands create far-reaching environmental complications that affect not only the city itself, but also surrounding weather patterns, air quality, water quality, ecosystems, and even seasons.

Environmental Impacts of Urban Heat Islands

An urban heat island significantly affects the environment around it:

  • Urban building alters the landscape, displacing natural vegetation and wildlife and disrupting ecosystems.
  • Escalating pollution changes the atmosphere around the heat island. Harmful toxins in the air create ground-level ozone (smog) and acid rain.
  • Rising heat in the atmosphere may increase rainfall and fuel violent thunderstorms.
  • Rural areas downwind of an UHI often experience greater rainfall rates than those areas upwind of the city. Areas downwind from a UHI may also experience a decrease in air quality.
  • Rain falling on overheated pavement becomes superheated. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pavement at a temperature of 100°F can raise runoff water temperatures by 25°F. As the storm water enters creeks, streams, ponds, and lakes, the water temperature rises, shocking local ecosystems and sometimes killing fish.
  • Urban heat islands lengthen growing seasons, alter wind patterns, and change the surrounding climate dramatically.
  • Higher temperatures in UHIs strain the energy grid, as air conditioning systems struggle to relieve the heat. Power outages and rolling blackouts are common as energy demands peak.
  • Amplified energy production at power plants means increased pollution, adding to the air quality problem.
How Steel Buildings Combat Urban Heat Islands
  • RHINO Steel Building Systems are environmentally friendly, green building systems.
  • Pre-engineered buildings assure the strongest structure with the lease amount of materials.
  • All RHINO structures contain recycled steel … Read more »

Urban Heat Island Effects in the U.S. – Part 3

The Health Problems Caused by Sizzling Summer Heat in the Cities

UHI- health problemsThe urban heat island (UHI) phenomena causes scorching temperatures every summer in many major U.S. cities. This sweltering summer heat makes cities uncomfortable, energy draining, unhealthy— and deadly.

Health Consequences of Urban Heat Islands

Summer heat is absorbed and magnified by the city infrastructure. Relentless temperatures promote asthma attacks, respiratory problems, heart attacks, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke in overheated city dwellers. The heat also kills.

Consider these UHI facts:

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates excessive heat exposure contributed to 8,000 deaths in the U.S. from 1979-2003.
  • Heat is America’s number one weather-related killer. Excessive heat kills more people in the U.S. each year than earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, lightning, and tornadoes combined, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • On average, almost 700 Americans die each year from heat-induced illnesses, according to the CDC.
  • In one excruciating week during the summer of 1995, an oppressive heat wave rocked Chicago. The heat index rose to 120°F. City roads buckled. Train rails warped. Energy use skyrocketed. Power grids failed. Thousands developed heat-related disorders. Over 700 died.
  • A crushing heat wave in Paris, France in 2003 killed 4,800 people.
  • The elderly and the poor are particularly vulnerable to heat-related premature deaths.

Pollution increases in an urban heat island. Tall buildings block cooling breezes, leaving the over-heated air still and stagnant.

Exhausted, over-heated people seek relief by pushing air conditioning to the limit in business and homes. Power plants struggle to keep up with demand, resulting in the release of more greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide flourishes, adding its noxious fumes to the toxic mix. Ground-level ozone forms as … Read more »

Urban Heat Island Effects in the U.S. – Part 2

What Causes City Temperatures to Soar in Summer?

In part 1 of this series, we covered the basic definition of an urban heat island (UHI). We also revealed twenty U.S. cities which have been 22°F to 28°F warmer than nearby rural areas.

But why are summers in the city so much hotter than surrounding rural locations?

The Main Causes of Urban Heat Island

Urban Heat Island 02DENSITY: Cities are crowded with buildings, streets, highways, and people.

Over 255 million Americans now live in cities. In some urban areas, like Manhattan Island, the daytime population almost doubles as people commute to work in the city.

Downtown areas run out of space and start building up, creating skyscrapers. Multi-level buildings require multi-level parking garages. With so many surfaces to heat up and hold temperatures, it is no wonder summer temperatures climb.

PAVEMENT: As the number of people traveling within a city increases, so does the need for more roads, highways, and parking.

Asphalt and concrete hold tremendous heat. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates pavement covers 30% to 45% of urban areas. According to the EPA, roadway materials can reach temperatures of 120°F to 150°F during the summer. The daytime heat tends to stay trapped in these materials, cooling very, very slowly at night.

EMISSIONS: All the cars, trucks, motorcycles, trains, and buses traveling to and through the cities add to UHI problems. The Database of Road Transportation Emissions estimates urban areas are responsible for 63% of the total annual emissions.

Air conditioners cool inside air and eject hot air outside. The higher the temperature, the more air conditioners are pumping heated air into the surrounding area. Outside temperatures increase even more, forcing air conditioners to … Read more »

Urban Heat Island Effects in the U.S. – Part 1

Why Summer in the City Is Becoming Unbearable

In 1966, the band Lovin’ Spoonful complained about the urban heat island phenomena in their blockbuster hit “Summer in the City.”

Today, summer in an urban heat island is even worse.

Urban Heat IslandIn the years since “Summer in the City” rose to the top of the charts, Los Angeles, California’s’ average summer temperature has risen about 5°F (-15°C). Louisville, Kentucky’s average summer temperatures rose approximately 8.4°F (-13.1°C) during the same time period.

Urban heat islands are nothing new.

Since the early 1800s, those living in large, heavy populated cities have known summer in the city is much hotter than in the countryside. In the 1800s, wealthy Europeans often fled their capitals every summer, preferring to reside in cooler coastal regions over the summer months. (Remember, those poor blokes had no air conditioning or even electric fans, and the clothing styles of the day had to have been beyond uncomfortable.) The poor had to stay in the overcrowded cities and simple endure the summer.

So What Is an “Urban Heat Island”?

An urban heat island (UHI) is any metropolitan area which is substantially warmer than the surrounding rural areas. Densely populated and densely built, these cities create heat greater than normal surface temperatures.

Extra heat accumulated in an UHI during a summer day does not dissipate well at night, as it does in rural areas. In fact, the difference between city temperatures and cooler rural temperatures is even greater at night than in the day!

Dark rooftops, tall buildings, dark asphalt, lack of trees and plants, and heavy traffic all contribute to the UHI problem.

Dark surfaces absorb heat— and hold it. Tall buildings block any surface winds that would ordinarily help cool the … Read more »

Pre-engineered Metal Buildings in MONTANA

The Advantages of Steel Buildings in Big Sky Country

Metal buildings in Montana meet all the varied needs of Big Sky residents. The durability and versatility of pre-engineered steel buildings make them the perfect answer for residential outbuildings or commercial and industrial structures.

Incredible Strength of Steel

metal-buildings-MONTANAAs a former resident of Billings, I know the incredible variations in climate and topography across Big Sky create unique challenges for steel buildings in Montana.

High winds across the plains and heavy snows in the mountains demand extra strong structures.

Steel is the perfect building material for Montana. Steel boasts the strongest weight-to-strength ratio of any building material. RHINO steel buildings offer built-in protection from high winds and heavy snows. Steel buildings are also highly resistant to damage from the earthquakes, lightning, fire, mold, and termites that sometimes plague the state.

Pre-engineered Metal Buildings in Montana

Pre-engineered steel buildings are so versatile, they can be adapted to any application.

Need a new strip mall, big-box store, or office building in Billings? Is your congregation planning a new church building in Missoula? Perhaps your next investment is a new restaurant in Great Falls. Or maybe your ranch near Butte could use a bigger barn, stable, or a new indoor riding arena.

Whether you are planning a self-storage facility in Bozeman, a manufacturing plant in Helena, a bowling alley in Havre, or an auto parts store in Kalispell, steel is your best building choice.

Prefabricated steel buildings in Montana also serve well for personal use structures. Wouldn’t you love extra storage space, a larger garage, a workshop, a man cave, a mountain cabin, or a private home office? If so, build it with steel.

Hooked on RHINO Steel Buildings

RHINO steel buildings are green structures, too.

Steel is the most … Read more »

Recycling Construction and Demolition Debris- Part 3

The Benefits of Recycling and Reusing C&D Waste

Researching construction and demolition debris makes me think of the animated movie “WALL·E.”

Recycling Benefits of C and DIn the movie, the world was overrun with garbage. The people abandoned the Earth in luxury spaceships, leaving automated robots to clean up the planet. Seven hundred years later, only the little robot WALL·E remained functioning, diligently crushing trash into cubic foot squares stacked as high as skyscrapers.

Every movie has a hero. The intrepid little rusty robot is the hero in “WALL·E.” Recycling is the hero in the environmental movement.

Why Recycling C&D Waste Matters

Every item salvaged from construction and demolition (C&D) debris for recycling helps in five basic ways:

  • Reducing the sheer volume of debris dumped in landfills or burned.
  • Conserving raw materials needed to recreate the building material.
  • Decreasing the environmental impacts, greenhouse emissions, water waste, and energy required to extract and manufacture virgin building materials.
  • Creating 19,000 jobs. C&D recycling boosts the economy with $7.4 billion in annual revenues.
  • Saving money on building projects by buying recycled products and controlling disposal costs— and reaping the benefits of green building certifications, rebates, and tax credits where applicable.
Steel: The Hero of C&D Recycling

According to “C&D World,” 70% of construction and demolition debris is now recycled. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says only 40% of C&D material was recycled just 12 years ago.

Materials recycled at building sites typically include asphalt, cardboard and packaging materials, concrete, lumber, metals like steel, pavement (from parking lots), roofing materials, and wallboard.

Most building materials are down-cycled into less significant products. For example, wood is chipped up for mulch and concrete is ground for use as a road base.

Steel scrap pull quoteSteel, however, recycles easily into more high-quality steel.

New … Read more »