8th Aug 2023 -

In the dynamic landscape of commercial architecture and design, Unistrut has emerged as a game-changer, revolutionising the way modern commercial spaces are conceptualised and constructed. As a versatile support system, Unistrut offers unparalleled flexibility and adaptability, which makes it an indispensable tool for architects, engineers, and interior designers striving to create cutting-edge and efficient commercial environments. For this feature, we detail the varied role of Unistrut in modernising commercial spaces, the challenges and solutions for integrating with building systems, and explore the significant impact it continues to have on shaping commercial building design.

What are the challenges of integrating Unistrut with building systems?

While immensely beneficial, integrating Unistrut with building systems can present certain challenges that require careful consideration and planning. Below are some of the key challenges that architects, engineers, and builders may encounter during the integration process. 

Structural compatibility

One primary challenge is ensuring that Unistrut's support system aligns seamlessly with the building's structural requirements. The loads, forces, and vibrations within the building must be carefully analysed to determine the appropriate Unistrut components and configurations needed to provide adequate support. Failure to address structural compatibility may compromise the integrity of the building, leading to potential safety hazards.

When used as intended and within its load-bearing capacities, a Unistrut system should not adversely affect the structural integrity of a building. Builders, structural engineers and architects can perform various checks to ensure a Unistrut system’s structural integrity. This includes checking Unistrut components are securely anchored and fastened, performing load tests during the installation process, and maintaining detailed records of any modifications and load calculations.  

Integrating electrical and mechanical services

Commercial spaces often host a complex network of electrical and mechanical systems, including lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), data cabling, and plumbing. Integrating Unistrut with these systems requires meticulous planning and coordination to create efficient pathways, without interfering with the aesthetics or functionality.

You must employ proper cable management solutions to prevent the risk of clutter, and fire and safety regulations must be strictly adhered to. But compared to traditional framing systems, Unistrut is more simple to integrate with electrical and mechanical services because of its modular design and standardised components, wide range of fixings and accessories, as well as ease of adjustment. 

Design and aesthetics coherence

While Unistrut's versatility allows for creative design solutions, ensuring its integration complements the design coherence of your commercial space can be challenging. Designers must strike a balance between the functional aspects of Unistrut and the desired aesthetic. Unistrut systems can be fitted within various environments such as under raised floors, fake ceilings and partitions. The frequency of maintenance would depend on where the system has been installed.

If the system is visible and has been installed to coincide with an industrial-themed décor, it is easier to carry out maintenance checks. But if the system is concealed, it is worth keeping a maintenance diary to carry out periodic inspections every quarter. Once you have found a balance, you can incorporate it seamlessly into the architectural vision without compromising the visual appeal.

Fire and building codes compliance

Building codes and fire safety regulations are critical considerations in any commercial project. Integrating Unistrut must comply with these regulations to ensure the building's safety and legal compliance. Because not all Unistrut components are fire-resistant, builders can buy fire-resistant coatings to use before installation. This is particularly helpful if Unistrut components are used in areas with high fire risk because fire-resistant coatings can provide protection for up to 2 hours

Future adaptability

Commercial spaces often change over time, such as through renovations, expansions, or the addition of new equipment. Ensuring that your Unistrut system allows for future adaptability and modifications is essential to minimise disruptions and costly alterations in the long run.

5 top tips for integrating Unistrut with building systems

Despite the challenges, integrating Unistrut with building systems can be a practical and versatile solution for providing support to various mechanical, electrical, and plumbing components. To ensure a safe and seamless installation, be sure to consider these 5 top tips. 

1. Strategic planning

Before you start the installation, create a detailed plan that outlines the Unistrut dimensions, location, and Unistrut channel strut type required. Consider the weight and load-bearing capacity needed for each application. Also, you should identify the attachment points on walls, ceilings, or floors to ensure a secure and stable support system.

2. Select the right Unistrut components

Make sure to choose the appropriate size and type of Unistrut fixings, channels, angle brackets, and particular Unistrut cutter tools that match the specific requirements of your building systems. For example, a stainless steel Unistrut system is often preferred in corrosive or outdoor environments.

3. Proper anchoring and attachment

To achieve a robust and stable installation, you should use appropriate anchors and fasteners suitable for the substrate material (concrete, steel, wood, etc.). Ensure the anchors are compatible with the weight and load requirements. 

4. Load distribution

Consider how you distribute loads across the Unistrut channels. Spreading the weight evenly helps prevent deformation or sagging of the system over time. Distribute heavy loads to multiple channels and use accessories like channel nuts or U-bolts to secure the equipment or systems in place.

5. Electrical grounding

If your Unistrut system is used to support electrical systems, ensure proper electrical grounding. Make sure you install grounding jumpers and bonding straps as needed to maintain electrical safety and compliance with building codes.

How to utilise Unistrut systems in future-proofing commercial spaces

Incorporating Unistrut systems in the initial design or renovation of your commercial space provides the framework for future changes. Its flexibility, durability, and ease of modification make it a valuable asset in ensuring that the space can adapt and remain relevant for years to come. Here are some ways to utilise Unistrut systems in future-proofing commercial spaces. 

1. Modular partitioning

You can install Unistrut channel struts to create modular partitions and walls that can be easily reconfigured or moved as the needs of the space change. This allows for a more flexible layout and the ability to adapt to future expansions or reorganisations.

2. Wire management and cable tray

Unistrut systems are excellent for managing wires and cables. You can fit Unistrut cable trays to keep electrical and data cables organised and easily accessible for maintenance and upgrades. New cabling can be added or replaced as technology evolves without major disruptions.

3. HVAC and mechanical support

HVAC components and mechanical equipment can be greatly supported by Unistrut systems. When newer, more efficient systems become available, the Unistrut framework makes it easy to swap out and upgrade the equipment without extensive building modifications. 

4. Lighting infrastructure

Implement Unistrut components as the backbone for lighting fixtures and Unistrut fittings. LED technology and lighting designs are continually evolving. With Unistrut, upgrading to new lighting systems or repositioning fixtures can be done with minimal effort.

5. Equipment mounting

Unistrut provides a sturdy and adaptable framework for mounting various equipment, such as audio-visual systems, security cameras, and other technological devices. As more advanced equipment becomes available, you can easily replace or upgrade the existing installations.

6. Flexible furniture and displays

Customisable furniture and display structures can be utilised with Unistrut-based systems. Retail shops, for example, can easily adapt their layout and displays to match changing merchandise and customer preferences.

7. Future-proofing for sustainability

As sustainable practices become more critical, Unistrut frame systems can support the integration of solar panels, green walls, and other eco-friendly elements. These features make your space more sustainable and can potentially reduce operating costs over time.

8. Safety and compliance

Unistrut systems can be used to mount safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers, safety rails, and emergency lighting. Staying compliant with safety regulations is vital for any commercial space, and Unistrut allows for easy updates as regulations evolve.

9. Aesthetic adaptability

You can design and conceal Unistrut systems to be aesthetically pleasing, ensuring they blend well with your overall interior design. This means future upgrades will not compromise the visual appeal of the space.

10. Flexibility for new technologies

With the rapid pace of technological advancement, future-proofing a space involves preparing for the integration of new technologies that may not even exist yet. Unistrut's adaptability allows for the easy incorporation of future innovations.

What is the current safety standard for Unistrut systems?

The safety and design considerations for Unistrut systems and other metal framing systems in the UK are generally covered by various British Standards (BS) and Eurocodes. Below are the relevant standards which cover all Unistrut systems. 

  • BS 5950-1:2000: This standard provides the design code for structural steel in buildings. It covers the design of steel structures and outlines the factors to be considered in the design process, such as material properties, loadings, and design calculations.
  • Eurocode 3 (BS EN 1993): Eurocode 3 is the European standard for the design of steel structures and is the basis for the design of steel framing systems in the UK. It covers aspects such as structural analysis, design criteria, and material selection.
  • BS 8200:1985: Provides recommendations for the design of non-load-bearing steel partitions. It covers aspects related to the design and construction of interior metal framing systems used for partitioning purposes.
  • BS 5234-2:1992: Gives recommendations for the design and installation of metal stud partitions and partitions with a proprietary frame, commonly used for non-load-bearing interior walls.
  • BS 6515:1984: Specifies general requirements for metal lathing and beadings used in internal plastering and external rendering.
  • BS 7412:2007: Outlines the requirements for metal windows and door sets, including their design, performance, and installation.

Can you use Unistrut to support equipment upgrades and renovations?

Unistrut’s flexible and robust design enables custom support structures, secure equipment mounting, and adaptable frameworks. This makes it an ideal choice for accommodating changing requirements during upgrades. From concealing services to managing cables and providing anti-vibration solutions, below are the reasons which prove it is indispensable in efficiently and effectively supporting equipment enhancements and retrofitting existing spaces. 

Custom support structures

Unistrut systems can be used to create custom support structures tailored to the specific requirements of the equipment being installed or upgraded. Its modular design allows for easy adjustments and modifications as needed.

Equipment mounting

Unistrut brackets and channels are ideal to mount equipment such as HVAC units, electrical panels, lighting fixtures, cable trays, and more. They provide a stable platform for the equipment, ensuring it is properly positioned and safely secured.

Adaptable framework

During renovations, equipment layouts may change, and additional components such as Unistrut beam clamps or a Unistrut window bracket may need to be added. Its adaptability allows you to fix, adjust and reconfigure structures to accommodate updated requirements.

Concealed services

When you upgrade or renovate a space, there may be a need to conceal electrical wiring, plumbing, or other services. Components and accessories such as pipe clips can be used to create hidden pathways and supports. 


Unistrut is suitable for retrofitting existing structures to support new equipment. It can be easily attached to a wall, ceiling, or floor without the need for extensive modifications.

Hanging systems

You can utilise Unistrut to create hanging systems for equipment such as suspended conveyors, overhead cranes, and other heavy loads. This allows for efficient use of vertical space and easy access to equipment during maintenance.

Anti-vibration solutions

When upgrading equipment that generates vibrations, it can be used in conjunction with vibration-damping materials to reduce noise and prevent excessive movement.

Cable management

During renovations and upgrades, cable management becomes crucial. A Unistrut bracket can be used to support cable trays, conduits, and raceways, ensuring organised and safe routing of electrical and data cables.

Quick installation

Unistrut components can be quickly assembled and installed, which can be particularly advantageous if you are working on a time-sensitive renovation project where minimising downtime is essential.

Weight distribution

For heavier equipment upgrades, it can distribute the weight of the equipment across multiple attachment points. This will help to reduce stress on individual structural elements.

Upgrade your commercial space with flexible Unistrut systems

Modernising commercial spaces with Unistrut components is made easy with Building Materials Nationwide. As a UK leading supplier of construction and building materials, we offer a comprehensive range of components. This includes products such as Unistrut end caps to Unistrut feet to help you transform your commercial environments. Whether you are upgrading shelving systems with brackets for Unistrut, creating versatile workstations, or implementing efficient cable management solutions, Building Materials Nationwide has got you covered. 

For trade customers, opening a trade account with Building Materials Nationwide offers a host of benefits that make it a smart business decision. We offer competitive trade pricing which allows you to access Unistrut accessories and other building materials at reasonable rates. Plus, trade accounts come with dedicated customer support from your own trade account manager, providing expert advice and personalised assistance for large-scale commercial projects. Sign up online or call us to learn more.