Important Building Features of a Machine Shop

Published Oct 25, 2022 

Building a machine shop has the potential to be a particularly lucrative investment, with continuous evolutions in the fields of automotives, aerospace, technology, robotics, and related fields making the need for quality machine parts in constant demand. However, in order to meet demand and ensure client satisfaction, it is crucial to have an elite facility in place. Keep reading to discover 7 of the most important building features of a machine shop.

Air Quality Controls

It is critical that modern machine shops provide workers with a safe, non-toxic environment. Not only will this prevent the spread of respiratory diseases such as COVID-19, but it decreases the likelihood that workers will develop serious conditions later in life. Lubricants used during machining can get misted into the air, and when chronically inhaled, can cause asthma, chronic bronchitis, cancer, or lung fibrosis. Therefore, be sure to build the machine shop to include adequate ventilation, tunnel dampers, and commercial air scrubbers.

Integrated Manufacturing and Metal Fabrication

While it may seem obvious, a critical component of a machine shop is, well, the machines. As such, it is necessary to design the building in a way that will accommodate all pertinent machines under one roof. By having the necessary machines to handle all types of manufacturing applications--such as metal fabrication, machine finishing, laser cutting, robotic forming, and automated powder cutting--machine shops can lower overhead costs and satisfy a larger list of clients due to shorter lead times.

Fire Protection

Any time metal is being created and cut, sparks are sure to fly. Combined with the significant amount of electricity used to power the shop, the potential for fire danger will be higher than for other types of buildings. To help reduce the risk of an accident, be sure that the machine shop is equipped with overhead sprinklers, fire curtains, and smoke baffles. Also be sure that fire exits are clearly marked, with no obstructions in the escape path.

The Latest Technology

As with all industries, technology is changing the game in the machining world. Shops simply cannot compete without the latest and greatest technological innovations. The standard in recent years has been automated CNC machining, which allows shops to handle large projects with greater efficiency. However, the most cutting-edge facilities are now employing high-tech, computer-driven machines that can perform a full spectrum of vertical and horizontal machining to create the most intricate parts possible.

Durable Flooring

Machine shops will be met with a consistent flurry of foot traffic, machine repositioning, and inventory loading. Therefore, it is critical that the flooring be able to withstand this barrage of activity. Some quality flooring options are epoxy sealed concrete and epoxy terrazzo. Scratch, stain, and moisture resistant, these durable flooring options make an ideal choice for industrial settings.

It is also worthwhile to consider adding a non-slip coating to these hard flooring solutions to promote worker safety. This should be applied every 5 to 10 years, and a thorough floor cleaning is required before application. To facilitate floor cleaning, installing a trench drain is a great way to expedite the process and ensure that no water is left standing in the building.


Although it is essential to equip the shop with all of the latest machine innovations, it is also important to remember that the industry is constantly evolving, and the machines used today may be obsolete tomorrow as new manufacturing processes arrive. Therefore, when these machines go out of style, it is crucial to ensure that the building does not go with them. The best way to promote versatility and make it easy to go out with the old, in with the new is to design a facility with a large, spacious interior that does not need to be supported by obstructive interior columns. This type of “clear span” is most readily attained using structural steel. As many steel buildings have clear span in excess of 100 feet in any direction, structural steel is one of the best choices for constructing a machine shop.

Insulative Building Envelope

As in any type of building design, creating a sustainable, energy efficient facility is a top consideration for machine shops. In addition to the steel framing and hard flooring options previously listed, some ways to guarantee an airtight building envelope of the highest insulative quality include damp proofing the foundation, adding polyiso insulation to the walls and roof, applying sealant to all window-wall transitions, and choosing synthetic stucco as an impermeable cladding solution.

7 Important Building Features of a Machine Shop

Machine shops are a potentially lucrative investment, as modern innovations keep quality machine parts in constant demand. However, the shop will not pay dividends unless the facility itself is built for success. With this in mind, air quality controls, integrated manufacturing machines, fire protection, up-to-date technology, durable flooring, versatility, and an insulative building envelope are 7 important building features of a machine shop. 

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