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RE: Bracing in a Freezer Building

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Most freezer structures are constructed as a “box-in-a-box”. A stand alone conventional structural steel frame surrounded on all sides (underfloor, walls and roof) by an insulation and vapor barrier envelope.  Multiple room structures (i.e. rooms requiring different operating temperatures) must be designed and constructed as individual stand alone frames separated by the insulation/vapor barrier envelopes, even if the rooms are entirely interior spaces.  As a result each stand alone “box” must be capable of providing its own lateral stability, although there are some ways used to get around this problem, particularly at refrigerated dock structures, where small through-wall ties are used at opposing column locations.


Other box-in-box options include a conventional PEMB exterior structure and cladding surrounding an insulation/vapor barrier box.


D. Matthew Stuart, P.E., S.E., F.ASCE, SECB

Senior Project Manager

Structural Department


Schoor DePalma Engineers and Consultants

200 State Highway Nine

Manalapan, NJ 07726

732-577-9000 (Ext. 1283)

908-309-8657 (Cell)

732-298-9441 (Fax)



-----Original Message-----
From: Conrad Harrison [mailto:sch.tectonic(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Monday, March 19, 2007 2:45 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Bracing in a Freezer Building


A simple question. Shouldn’t the freezer space be insulated and isolated from the primary building structure so that it doesn’t have any significant influence on the structure, other than maybe an integrated floor slab?




Steven CONRAD Harrison

B.Tech (mfg & mech), MIIE, gradTIEAust


Roy Harrison & Associates

Consulting Engineers (Structural)

PO Box 104

Para Hills

SA 5096

South Australia

tel: 8395 2177

fax: 8395 8477


From: Rich Lewis [mailto:seaint04(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Monday, 19 March 2007 12:39
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Bracing in a
Freezer Building


I’m working on a freezer facility.  The primary framing is steel.  It is approximately 275’ x 325’.  I’m looking at ‘X’ bracing for wind loads.  Seismic is small in comparison.  It is being built in Texas.  The operating temperature is zero F to minus 15 F.  The steel has a potential swing of 75-100 degrees.  Right now I’m looking at 3-4 bays of ‘X’ bracing.  The ‘X’ bracing would be in consecutive bays.  The problem I’m finding is the outer columns have extreme uplift loads from the temperature swing.  The steel at the roof level contracts horizontally and doesn’t at the foundation.  The ‘X’ wants to resist this movement.  This in turn causes large uplift forces on the outer columns of the bracing.  I’ve looked at several different bracing layouts and still end up with the large uplift forces. 


I’m hoping there are others who can give me insight into freezer building bracing systems that can accommodate the large temperature swings.  I’m also looking for resource on the design of freezer facilities from a structural standpoint.  I’ve looked through SEAInt archives and found information on the foundation, slab, etc., but not the steel framing.  I did a search of AISC site and didn’t find anything.  Are there any good articles or books on freezer building design, particularly the structure?


Thanks for your help.