10:59AM | 06/13/05
Member Since: 06/12/05
4 lifetime posts
In advance I apologize for the length of this post:

The Problem:

I want to economically construct a (my guess) 50 feet wide X 80 feet deep open-concept building for a booksore on a secondary highway outside of a tourist town. I am asking all here for their opinions. I would be greatly appreciative of your generosity if you do respond.

These are the requirements in general as I see them (they are very early-stage ideas):

1. It will be a big-box type store except for a bathroom and a counter on one side at the front to serve coffee and deserts (where customers can sit down and spend some time with books). This is NOT a coffee shop or a library but the store should be welcoming, have coffee and have couches to sit on.

2. Opposite the coffee counter there will be a glass-partitioned rare book room on the opposite side. The check-out counter will be between them. The rest of the main part of the store will contain bookshelves, all 8 feet high. Most of the outside walls will be covered with these shelf units. The walls will likely be 10-12 feet high. I would like skylights for daylight but windows above the bookshelves are possible.

3. The store proper will extend back 60 feet. There will then be a doored partition separating the final 20 feet from the front. Since there is no cellar or second floor, the back part will be the storage area (maybe containing the furnace if gas heat is chosen). The partition could be moved at any time.

4. The store MUST look attractive, not tacky. This MIGHT be accomplished using a storefront facade. Inside there will be bookshelves everywhere.

5. I am hoping to be able to buy an existing home with enough land (plus municipal approval) to build the store beside it. It will be as close to the road as local requirements permit.

6. Security is important since some books will be quite uncommon. They will be in the glass-partitioned rare book room.

7. I WANT TO SPEND MONEY ON JUST WHAT IS NECESSARY SINCE MONEY IS A VERY SIGNIFICANT ISSUE. Yet the store has to look attractive and be functional. Customers will not enter a tacky looking building to buy books, especially if they are coming from the local tourist attraction. The country road location is necessary because bookstores need space.

8. I don't know much about this type of stuff so if I have made a silly error or two, please forgive. And let me know where I am going wrong.

9. So, to MINIMIZE COSTS and to construct ONLY WHAT IS NECESSARY, should I build a 100% metal building, a concrete building with a metal roof, a prefabricated wood building, or another type still? All will be insulated, panelled and floored similarly, I would imagine.

10. Please help with your ideas. I live in the north with cold winters, warm summers and a lot of rain at times. The area is noted for farming.

Thanks for reading this request. My guess is that if costs are kept down, this can be made to work. Bookstores are not Walmarts and don't generate that type of revenue.


09:22AM | 06/21/05
Member Since: 06/12/05
4 lifetime posts
This is what I THINK I know:

Pros: A metal building will not burn and if combined with non-combustible insullation, non combustible flooring and drywall and metal bookshelves, the whole structure will be fireproof.

The basic structure of a metal building is less expensive and faster to build.


Metal buildings are noisy. Perhaps the more insullation needed to offset this will eliminate the initial price advantage.

Metal buildings "sweat" a lot.

Metal buildings are hard to insure, maybe impossible.

Metal buildings look tacky and the

building of facades to cover this up may be expensive.

Metal buildings may be harder to heat

and cool.

Metal buildings probably do not appreciate in value like prefab, block or stick buildings do.

For those who have read this message, please tell me what way YOU would go [metal, stone block, prefab etc.] and why? All types would be one story without a basement.

Has anyone been in a metal building being used as a store? Can you tell the difference inside or out?

I recently met a person who seemed to know what he was talking about. He suggested I go with a metal building.


09:36AM | 06/21/05
Member Since: 06/12/05
4 lifetime posts
Warm, snug, quiet, a retreat from the elements?

Is this possible inside a steel structure? Does the cheaper construction costs show up in it being "not the same" as a wood building?
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