Planning a Light Aircraft Hangar Building

Metal prefab aviation building for aircraft and helicopter storage

Steel aircraft hangars are highly specialized custom structures. The individual requirements of aircraft and owners are particular and diverse. When you order from a pre-engineered metal building manufacturer, they will be prepared to tailor your structure to accommodate your individual needs, so it is a good idea to carefully work out and list your requirements before contacting them.

Hangar design entails the achievement of a careful balance: you must meet local zoning requirements and satisfy the requirements for all aircraft that will potentially hold occupancy. This page can help you through this planning stage. You may wish to keep notes as you work through this page, so that you will have all the necessary info down on paper when you contact suppliers.


Careful research will go into finding a suitable location. Not only do you require a plot of land of adequate size, but you also need to make sure that zoning, pollution, and noise regulations will not prohibit you from housing aircraft at your chosen site. Your local building codes authority can help you with these questions (see our local building codes page for links to planning authorities in your state or province)

Will you be leasing airport land? If so, you will need a clear understanding of the airport lease agreements. Be sure to let your hangar manufacturer of any bearing these will have on the hangar design (eg: restrictions and regulations).

Availability of utilities and other services, such as fuel sources are worth consideration. Local weather patterns may also be a determining factor. Once you have located your select plot of land, your manufacturer will benefit from a description of your site dimensions.

Size & Function

Meeting Individual Aircraft Needs

Aircraft manufacturers and third-party organizations provide Facility and Planning Criteria, which dictate individual aircraft housing needs.

List the number and type of aircraft you will be housing, and research their Facility and Planning Criteria. This information can be found on the web – typically on your aircraft manufacturer’s website! The Whole Buildings Design Guide also provides a fantastic page on hangar design, which offers links to various F & P Criteria sources.

Form follows Function: The Five Domains of a hangar Facility

Both the size and design of your facilities also depend upon the range of activities that will take place there. Do you intend to perform maintenance and avionics work on-site? Are you conducting business administration, which requires on-site office space?

According to the Whole Buildings Design Guide, there are five domains in an aircraft hangar. We have listed these and their determining factors, to help you envision the makeup of your hangar, and to size the constituent parts.

    • Determined by number and type (mix) of aircraft, using Aircraft Facility and Planning Criteria
    • By taking the time to come up with an efficient organizational scheme for your aircraft, you can save valuable space
    • Determined by the spatial requirements to perform desired maintenance & avionics activities. These are different for airframe work, for power-plant maintenance, landing gear, etc.
    • Some activities, like painting, require special facilities. You may also require overhead hoists, machine tools, and other special equipment for various tasks.
    • Determined by storage needs (mode and size), for the support of maintenance, business, and special activities.
    • Will you be storing machinery? Parts? Records?
    • Determined by the amount of office floor-space required and…
    • By special requirements like: washrooms, mess and lounge space, meeting and presentation spatial needs, overnight facilities, etc (one hangar designer’s website even asks if their clients want to add a hot-tub!).
    • Determined by requirements for electrical, mechanical, air-conditioning equipment, fire-protection (sprinkler & foam systems), fuel storage, internet, network, and communications equipment, etc.
    • Make 100% sure that your electrical systems are water proof, and make sure your hangar meets your local fire-safety regulations for housing aircraft.

You must decide whether your hangar is going to contain some or all of the above, and you must then put the total floor-space for each together to get a general idea of the length and width of your structure. Of course this can be done with the aid of your manufacturer, though you will benefit from producing a preliminary, general estimate.

Height will likely depend on that of the tail of the tallest plane you foresee housing, and whether or not you decide to add a second floor. If you do, you must be certain to invest in the appropriate air-conditioning apparatus. You don’t want employees on the second floor roasting all day.

Fortunately, metal buildings can be expanded very easily and inexpensively, so you need not despair if your fleet grows dramatically in the future. If you foresee expansion it is a good idea to let your manufacturer know, as there may be certain steps that can be taken to make this easier later on.

The size and number of aircraft you are wanting to store will also play a role in deciding on the type of hangar door to choose and will also impact the overal cost of building an aircraft hangar- for more details see our hangar doors page.

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Sample Hangar Buildings

Hangars are highly customizable, meaning there are many options for specialty designs. We have included some sample photos of pre-engineered steel aircraft hangars here, to use for inspiration in your own design. See our commercial steel building gallery page for larger photos

  • Prefabricated airplane hangar building
  • Commercial aviation building
  • Light aircraft storage building in pre-engineered steel
  • Prefab Hangar Buildings manufactured from metal components and parts

Getting in Contact with Manufacturers

Armed with a general idea of your requirements and the issues that will effect the design of a steel aircraft hangar, you are ready to seek out a manufacturer.

Buildings Guide’s FREE ONLINE QUOTE SERVICE is a highly efficient, easy way to get in contact with multiple top manufacturers and suppliers, for fast professional proposals at factory-direct prices. These suppliers will be competing for your business, so it is in their best interest to offer you high-end service at an excellent price.

For More Information

For more information, we suggest you consult our Buyers Guide. This is especially true if you plan on preparing your own site and foundation, and if you plan on erecting your hangar yourself. If you will be hiring a general contractor or a construction team to handle things, make sure that someone from your team will be present on delivery day, to check and receive your order. We hope your building experience is a spectacular success!

Author: Conrad Mackie