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7 Ways Steel Buildings Resist Damage from the Elements

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June 21, 2013

Pre-engineered Steel Buildings vs. Mother Nature

Whether for agricultural, commercial, industrial, or personal use, a building represents an investment.  Pre-engineered steel buildings protect your investment— as well as its contents.  When winds howl, lightning flashes, fire rages, or the earth trembles, prefabricated steel buildings stand up to the challenge better than traditionally constructed structures.

Damaged wood buildings and storm debris after a natural disasterEngineer-certified to meet or exceed all local building codes, commercial-grade steel framing provides maximum damage protection for your investment.  Here are just seven of the many ways RHINO prefabricated steel buildings protect against the elements.

1. High Winds

Whether straight-line winds, a tornado, a hurricane, or a derecho blows through, a pre-engineered metal building outperforms wood-framed buildings and other structures.  Every RHINO building is designed to meet all local wind load requirements.  (Even higher wind loads are possible if upon request.)

Most wind damage in a structure happens when strong winds breach the building envelope through broken windows or large overhead doors.  High winds can literally lift a wood-framed structure from the foundation as nails pull out under the pressure of the winds.

Attached to the foundation with sturdy metal j-bolts buried in the cement, metal buildings resist the lifting force far better.

2. Fire

Steel does not burn like wood.  Steel is never the point of ignition of a structural fire— but wood framing often is.  If a fire does start in a structure, non-combustible steel framing will not contribute fuel to spread and intensify the damage.

Because of the built-in fire resistance, many insurance carriers offer discounted rates to metal building owners.

According to the information from the U.S. Fire Administration, lightning starts 17,400 fires every year.  Forty-one percent of those fires are structural.  In a properly grounded metal building, lightning passes harmlessly into the ground, without starting a fire.

3. Earthquakes

The structures which generally perform best in earthquakes are those which can give to the swaying earth without breaking.

Brick buildings may crack or collapse during a quake.  Often nails pull out and studs crack or split in wood-framed structures, collapsing under the stress of a quake.  Steel framing with welded connections cannot shift with the swaying.

The framing in pre-engineered steel buildings uses high-strength bolts, known as moment connectors.  The framing gives at the connections as the framing pieces rotate slightly around the connectors.  The whole building moves as a unit, absorbing the energy of an earthquake.

4. Heavy Snows

Snow can weigh as much as 15 pounds per cubic foot.  So a foot of snow covering a 40’ x 60’ building could weigh as much as 18 tons!

As stated earlier, pre-engineered metal buildings are certified by an engineer to meet or exceed all local building codes, including snow loads.

5. Heavy Rains

RHINO steel buildings provide many waterproofing advantages, including:

  • Strong, durable self-drilling screws with EPDM sealing washers
  • Premium steel ridge caps
  • An entire eave-sealing system
  • Formed-based trim to waterproof the base connections of the structure
  • Optional higher roof pitches, for faster drainage
  • Gutter and downspout systems
  • Stronger, 26-gauge PBR steel roofing panels, with extra overlap for stronger connections

6. Mold

Mold needs only two things to thrive: an organic host to feed on and moisture.  Inorganic steel will not support mold.  The waterproofing benefits mentioned above also reduce the likelihood of moisture being present to promote mold.

7. Termites

Organic substances like wood attract termites, carpenter ants, mice, and other vermin.  But none of the little beasties can munch on inorganic steel.  They must look elsewhere for their next picnic.

There are many more benefits to building with prefabricated metal buildings.  Why not contact RHINO Steel Building Systems to learn more?  For a free quote call 940.383.9566.  Don’t forget to check out current Steel Building Specials!


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- by Bruce Brown,
Steel Building Systems, Inc