Installing Lighting and Electrical in a Custom Steel Building

Agricultural Steel Buildings

With every plan for a steel building, there must be a plan for the lighting and electrical work. Since the building is metal, special precautions must be taken to ensure the safety of technicians and the eventual occupants. It is important to follow local building codes for these installations. Here are some key issues to focus on to set up wiring and install lighting in your steel building.

The Circuits

As with any other type of building lighting requires its own designated circuits. These should not be connected to outlets or any other area that a device is connected to, especially if they are large devices. Commercial entities like factories or warehouses may have equipment that requires its own circuit breaker. Lighting circuits can typically manage around 24 bulbs with a 20 ampere circuit breaker. If space is limited, this can influence the number of receptacles you can install. In these cases they can be connected to a single circuit breaker, but the devices connected to them cannot be used at the same time.


Since metal conducts electricity, lightning strikes can be a concern. It is necessary to take steps that would not be needed for traditional structures. Each corner of the building should have its own ground rod that is connected to the earth. This guarantees that any lightning strikes will be directed away from the building and the sensitive equipment inside.

Wiring Color Codes

Qualified electrical technicians know that electrical wires should have different colors based on their purpose. Wires that carry the highest voltage are usually orange, yellow or brown. Grounding wires are green, and neutral wires are white. Following these codes will ensure safety and protect vital equipment.

Installing Lighting

You have to plan the lighting for your steel building just as you would for any other type. Lighting decisions should be guided by three main factors; comfort, control and efficiency. When lighting a building, tackle each room individually, even the ones that are the same size. The purpose of the space can dictate different lighting choices. The basic types are:

  • Ambient: general lighting that should cover an entire room
  • Task: this is usually installed in specific areas to make tasks easier
  • Accent: this is usually only necessary in residential buildings, and is meant to highlight an area or feature

Choose appropriate fixtures for the look and function of a particular room. For commercial steel buildings, fixtures should be sturdy and basic in design. As much as possible, layer the lighting, not just for the look, but also for functionality, and always choose energy efficient bulbs.


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