• Cyburbia is a friendly big tent, where we share our experiences and thoughts about urban planning practice, the built environment, planning adjacent topics, and anything else that comes to mind. No ads, no spam, and it's free. It's easy to join!

Design Standards for Commercial Factory Built Bldgs


We have an issue with pre-fab buildings being used for commercial purposes. We have a code that addresses residential manufactured homes but nothing for commercial. Does anyone have specific standards for factory built structures in commercial zones?

mike gurnee

Don't have any standards for you to model, but we have been thinking about the same issue. What we are toying with is a corridor overlay along our major approaches with special design guidelines. The pre-manufactured metal buildings would be veneered with a material more suitable than corrigated sheet metal,among other things. In this community we could not get away with a total ban on the ugliness, but there is now citizen support for making the approach corridors a bit better.


Oh yeah-

The City of Plano is notorious for it's overlay districts, retail corner design guidelines, and also the fact our building code doesn't allow metal buildings and pre-fab acessory building may not be used for commercial purposes and may not be rented.
if you want to check out our zoning ordinances:


Dear Leader
Staff member
In the existing zoning code, pre-fab buildings aren't probibired, but the architectural design regulations make it so that they're nearly impossible to build. In the rewrite, pre-fab buildings are prohibited in commercial districts.

A smattering of code ...

.06 Materials and color

.01 Building materials
• Predominant building exterior materials must be high quality, and used in their natural context and color. Masonry, brick, wood, and stone are examples of appropriate building materials.
• Concrete masonry units, smooth-faced concrete block, painted brick and masonry, tilt-up concrete panels, and prefabricated metal panels and buildings are prohibited.
• Stucco and textured concrete are permitted only on buildings evoking Spanish or Mediterranean design themes, or above a base of masonry, brick or stone that visually anchors the building to the ground.

Here's the text regulating architecture in industrial areas.

320.13 Industrial architecture

.01 Intent. Industrial sites are not frequently visited by the public, but they are often quite visible to the Town’s residents and visitors. Quality architectural design helps offset the perceived impact of industrial uses, and creates a professional environment that reflects positively on Oakland and its businesses.

.02 Character and image. Building design must contribute to the uniqueness of a zone district, and/or Town with predominant materials, elements, features, color range and activity areas tailored specifically to the site and its context. In industrial parks, each building must include predominant characteristics shared by all buildings in the development, so the development forms a cohesive place.

.03 Form and mass. A single, large, dominant building mass must be avoided in new buildings and, to a reasonable feasible extent, in projects involving changes to the mass of existing buildings. Changes in mass must be related to entrances, the integral structure and/or the organization of interior spaces and activities and not merely for cosmetic effect. False fronts or parapets create an insubstantial appearance and are prohibited.

.04 Exterior walls and facades

.01 Pattern. Facades and walls must include a repeating pattern with:
• an expression of architectural or structural bays through a change in plane ≥12” wide, such as an offset, reveal, pilaster, projecting ribs, fenestration patterns, or piers (a);

and one or more of these elements:
• color change (b);
• texture change (c);
• material module change (d).

All elements must repeat at intervals of ≤30’ (9 m).

.02 Four sided design. All facades and walls must include materials and design characteristics consistent with those on the front facade. Inferior or lesser quality materials for side or rear walls are prohibited.

.03 Garage doors. Bay doors must be screened using wing walls, carefully placed berms on the site, or other effective screening and site planning techniques, or otherwise sited so visibility from the public right-of-way is minimized. Bay doors must not face the street. Bay doors must be integrated into the overall design theme of the site with color, texture, and windows. Segmented garage bay doors with windows are preferred to roll-up garage doors.

.04 Primary building entrances. Primary building entrances must be clearly defined and recessed or framed by a sheltering element such as an awning, arcade or portico to provide shelter from the sun and inclement weather.

.05 Building roofs

.01 Required features. Roofs must have one of these features:
• Parapet walls that serve to screen rooftop mechanical equipment.
• Overhanging eaves, extending ≥3’ (1 m) past the supporting walls.
• Sloping roofs that do not exceed the average height of the supporting walls, with an average slope ≥1’ (.3 m) of vertical rise for every 3’ (1 m) of horizontal run and ≤1’ of vertical rise for every 1’ of horizontal run.

.02 Mechanical equipment screening. Rooftop and ground mounted mechanical equipment must be completely screened (visually and acoustically) from the public right-of-way and adjacent properties.

.06 Materials and color

.01 Building materials. Durable, high quality building materials must be used. Masonry, brick, stone, integrally colored concrete masonry units, stucco and highly detailed tilt-up concrete panels are examples of appropriate building materials.

.02 Building colors. Building colors must be low-reflecting, subtle and neutral or earth-toned. High-intensity colors, bright primary colors, metallic colors, black or fluorescent colors are prohibited. Shiny, glossy or reflective materials, or brighter colors may be used on building trim and accents with a cumulative surface area of ≤0.25% (1/400th) of a wall.

.03 Material or color changes. Material or color changes must occur only at a change of plane or reveal line. Material or color changes at the outside corners of structures that give the impression of “thinness” and artificiality are prohibited. Piecemeal embellishment and frequent material changes are prohibited.

.04 Pre-fabricated and pre-engineered buildings. Including the design requirements above, pre-fabricated and pre-engineered buildings must conform to these standards.
• All exterior building materials must be equal or better in quality to what would be found on a site-built building. Exposed metal, duratemp, and hardy panel type siding and corrugated surfaces (except standing seam and split seam roofs) are prohibited.
• The roof surface must have a pitch of ≥6:12. The roofline must have eight planes or more, and have overhanging eaves of ≥18” (.5 m).
• Exterior doors must incorporate plate hinges (not surface hinges), panels and windows.
• Carefully sized and placed windows must create a strong visual presence. Windows must be casement type; surface-applied windows are prohibited.