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Steel will continue to be the most efficient way to create industrial, commercial and agricultural structures for the foreseeable future.  However, there are two different types of steel which are used to manufacture the mainframes of these structures – hot rolled and cold rolled.

As the name suggests; the criteria that determine whether steel is hot rolled or cold rolled is the temperature it is rolled at: –

Hot rolling is carried out at a temperature of approx. 1,000 degrees Centigrade using a process which prevents the steel from hardening whilst it is being formed.  The exact finished tolerance of hot rolled steel will alter as it cools down to room temperature.

Cold rolling is carried out at room temperature, which means no cooling is necessary, so the tolerance of the steel does not alter and will not break as easily as hot rolled steel.  Although initially developed during the First World War, cold-rolled steel has only been used extensively for construction over the last 20 years, as its true versatility has been identified.

When is hot rolled steel used & when is cold rolled steel used?

The simple answer is that hot rolled steel tends to be used for larger clear span buildings, particularly when a building is used to store bulk material or where gantry cranes or other heavy equipment need to be attached to the building’s frame.  Hot rolled steel sections tend to be thicker and heavier than cold rolled steel thus the above can be achieved.  Until recently hot rolled steel was used for all portal frame steel buildings, however…

Cold rolled steel offers a high ‘strength to weight’ ratio whilst remaining lightweight and easy to handle, making it ideal for use in modern construction.

Cold rolled steel provides a more cost-effective solution for prefabricated steel buildings with spans of up to 22 metres with a maximum eaves height of approx. 7 metres.  Foundations for cold-rolled steel buildings are typically lighter than that of hot-rolled buildings due to the difference in frame weight. This can present benefits of building on bad ground.

Cold-Formed Steel (CFS) has seen great uptake within the construction industry. With its high strength to weight ratio, economic and sustainability benefits, it has been used widely in all aspects of construction from residential applications to schools, hotels and shops. This construction material has been the subject of significant research and development since the American Iron and steel institute developed the first specifications regarding it in the 1940s

In recent years there has been peaked interest in the use of cold-formed steel (CFS) as an alternative material to conventional hot-rolled steel (HRS) to form structures for the construction industry.  Within the construction industry there is a constant drive and demand to be more efficient and economical in regards to building designs, with this in mind there has been a concerted effort to investigate, explore and improve more traditional methods of building construction, particularly in steel buildings. Historically, when considering structural frame design for buildings, hot-rolled steel construction was the material of choice for engineers and builders alike. However, because of demand, particularly for small and medium-sized buildings, CFS members are being considered adequate if not preferred substitute to HRS.

With cold-formed steel framing being lightweight, extremely strong, non-combustible, and relatively easy to install, it has dominated the market for interior, non-loadbearing partition walls in commercial construction. Advancements in technological developments such as panelised systems, walls and roofs have enabled the building community to use CFS structural applications in both mid-rise and multi-housing buildings. Contractors, in particular, understand the advantage of using CFS sections to form their structural frames, walls and roofs, due to their weight, cost, and application benefits. Around the world researchers, design engineers, steel manufacturers and industry institutions are partnering to advance the use and development of CFS into the mainstream building construction industry. In fact, over fifty percent of all constructional steel used in the United Kingdom goes to form portal frames for single-storey buildings.

Murray Steel Buildings supply and erects a wide range of hot and cold rolled steel buildings throughout the UK.  Call us on 0330 094 8590 to discuss your particular requirements.

Murray Steel Buildings customers frequently ask whether they require planning permission for their proposed steel building.  To provide the best answer to this we must consider the following;

Murray Steel Buildings would always recommend that you consult with your authorities before commencing with any building project.  An initial meeting can provide confirmation on whether planning permission is required and, if so, an indication on the likelihood of planning permission being granted.  If you intend on meeting with your local authorities Murray Steel Buildings can provide drawings to assist with conversations, please speak to us about this.  The planning officer can advise on considerations to be taken into account for the location, this may include tree preservation orders, rights of way, flooding, etc.


Most planning departments allow you to submit a Pre-application for planning permission, in many cases, you will hear back within 2-3 weeks, this will provide you with feedback on whether planning permission would be granted.  The pre-application will also highlight any potential problems which provide you with the opportunity to address prior to your formal application.

An environmental statement may be requested with your application, your planning officer will be able to advise on whether this is necessary.

Permitted Development

Most buildings require planning permission however occasionally projects will fall under “Permitted development” where planning permission is not required.  Permitted developments can be granted where the intended use is agricultural, industrial and warehousing.  Again, your local authorities will provide advice on whether your proposed steel building can comply with permitted development.

Temporary Steel Buildings

The term ‘temporary building’ highlights a very ‘grey area’, strictly speaking, any building with the intended use of more than 28 days cannot be classed as a temporary building and should, therefore, require full planning permission.  That being said some buildings can be classed as temporary for up to seven years, this simply highlights the fact that you should always consult with your local authorities when attempting to class your proposed building as temporary.  When a temporary building creates any restrictions to access or where the intended location is within 5m of a boundary full planning permission would be required.

Planning Permission Timescales

Generally planning permission can take between 8-12 weeks to be granted however can take considerably longer where any complications arise.

Whilst we would recommend using either an architect or engineer to liaise with planning you can make a planning application online yourself – visit for more information.

Murray Steel Buildings allows you to place an order ‘subject to planning approval’, this will be subject to price increases. We can provide drawings and structural calculations and any advice if available.  If you would like to discuss further, please call us on 0330 094 8590.

We have, over the last 15 years, supplied more steel buildings within the UK than any other organisation. Recently however we have chosen to develope our products further with the incorporation of Murray Steel Buildings. Many of the high quality UK based suppliers we have worked with over the years, along with some intuitive new products, are now consolidated within our new building design package, which genuinely is second to none.


Our buildings are provided with a manufacturers warranty on all external coatings for up to 25years, warranties are provided by MSB once your building has been fully erected. Roller Doors and PA doors are subject to their specific manufacturer’s warranties, details of which can be provided at any time.

We aim to process all orders within three to four weeks. Therefore, if you place your order today through our website, your steel building should be delivered within one month at most. This is a policy we strive to achieve, and in most cases, we manage to complete orders much quicker than expected.

Each service has its corresponding payment terms. Please see the following: Steel Building Supply Deposit – 30% of the kit price on the time of ordering. The remaining balance is required ten working days before delivery. *Credit on application. Building Work Payment is due on completion of work.

Yes. Regardless of where you are in the country, we are happy to fulfil your needs and will never add any additional charges based on your location.

While we do use specialist design software, our engineers are more than willing to prepare structural calculations at any given time. We also ensure to provide you with a design certificate.