View Full Version : steel construction inside or outside insulated panels

12-10-2016, 03:39 AM
Which is better? To have your steel construction within the insulated panels or outside the insulated panels? What are the pros and cons of each design?

12-10-2016, 07:52 AM
Outside, Outside, Outside!
By adding steel inside your cold box you are increasing thermal mass and this has to be compensated for in your refrigeration design.
Steel internal will always require extra penetrations of your vapour seal (cold box) minimise sealing requirements at all times as this is a failure point.
Mounting panels on the outside of steel require fixing points to be on the inside of the box again you are breaking vapour barrier and have to seal every penetration to prevent vapour barrier failure.
Steels inside of box will require extra protection from rusting and at every penetration extension of the insulated envelope to minimise heat transfer through the steels.
Steels will be exposed to every change in temperature and movement, elongation and contraction will occur.
Steels will create condensation points in the box.
etc. etc. Don't ever do it!

12-10-2016, 08:22 AM
This question is haunting us for last 20 years.
If it is Freezer room surely steel outside makes more sense.
Plus the ambient conditions also play crucial role in this decision. Like rusting of the steel due to atmosphere conditions etc.

But if it is a warehouse with no temperature issues, the Structure inside helps a lot.

But in our span of 20 years of projects, only Once we encountered steel structure inside condition & that site is with full of issues which were never thought off.

The Water proofing on Ceiling panels - They need to spend huge money every year.
It is a veg/ fruit storage room. The garbage attracts lots of birds & their poops on top has plus their movement on ceiling keeps damaging ceiling panels.
Inside there is less flexibility as eventually many changes in layout do happen due to change in product lines , new products etc.
The Steel column footings needs special insulation provision if the columns are going through Freezer area.
These are few of the many such points

13-10-2016, 08:19 AM
Thanks guys. Very helpful information. :)

14-10-2016, 05:57 AM
definitely outside panel construction in my opinion, the steel structure foundations are outside the critical floor foundations of refrigerated enclosure.

14-10-2016, 08:35 AM
Please forgive me my ignorance. I am wondering why there are so many cold storages with steel structures within the building envelope? I have seen several in the US and Europe with only panels visible on the outside. Even the roof is constructed of insulated panels. Meaning the steel structure is inside. Is it purely aesthetics?

definitely outside panel construction in my opinion, the steel structure foundations are outside the critical floor foundations of refrigerated enclosure.

14-10-2016, 08:53 AM
or is what i see on the outside just metal cladding?

14-10-2016, 05:53 PM
What you see is a clad or a composite panel (strength to weight ratio), These buildings are designated ambient stores and then a further insulated envelope is installed inside for cold storage.

But blow my timbers and smack me with a wet fish!! I went to a dairy distribution the other day with only external composite clad and they have installed a refrigeration plant holding the building at +2 DegC, it struggles in the summer (:confused:) and they are increasing the internal mechanical cooling capacity of plant installed.

20-10-2016, 10:28 AM
thanks for the clarification!

21-10-2016, 01:11 AM
exposed paneling on the roofs especially will be effected with sun beating on it and create warping and compromise external vapor barrier seal.
Add wind-age factor, in your part of the world typhoons happen annually unfortunately.

21-10-2016, 11:37 AM
Construction should be on the outside and it should be covered to protect the main insulated room from sun, wind and rain.