The traditional steel shed - the end of an era? - McGregor Polytunnels

News   >   The traditional steel shed – the end of an era?

The history of farm buildings has spanned for centuries. In that time, we have seen its uses change and develop. Evolving from timber to steel, the use of barns is ever changing. 

In a post-war Britain, mass farming and the use of heavy farm machinery was growing rapidly. This meant an increasing need for large, multi-purpose steel sheds, which could store larger machinery and allow environmental control, particularly for dairy & livestock farmers.

For decades, the standard housing and storage solution on a farm was a steel shed. With such rich tradition, longevity and durability, portal frame sheds continue to pop up on farms all over the UK. Why? 

There is no denying that steel sheds allow for a large surface area to store machinery, hay/straw, adult livestock etc. However, the past year has demonstrated how volatile the price of raw materials such as steel & concrete can be, especially with disrupted supply chains. As a permanent structure with concrete foundations, you would need to apply and wait for planning permission which could take a long time. When housing livestock, you may need to modify your building or use mechanical ventilation to ensure your livestock are getting ample fresh, clean air. With these concerns, are portal frame sheds still the right option? Or are there more innovative solutions for the future of farming? 

Many farms are looking to diversify and modernize their processes. Modular designs can mean that farmers use that building for multiple purposes, and the building can adapt as their requirements grow. Mobile structures are flexible, so farmers can move the structure as plans change. Farmers seeking a less traditional solution to their needs can find alternatives in the market, just as durable, long-lasting, and versatile. It will be interesting to see what the next phase is, as farm housing and agricultural buildings move away from the traditional steel shed, and into an era of innovation.

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