Why Pre-engineered Metal Buildings are the Smart Choice
Steel has long been the preferred choice for commercial, industrial, agricultural, and institutional construction.
Because steel is inorganic, prefab steel buildings offer many advantages over an organic building material like wood.
1. Steel is consistent.
Nature, while endlessly beautiful, creates organic materials which are endlessly variable and unique. But such inconsistency does not make the best building material.
No two species of wood are exactly alike in strength. No two trees of the same species are even precisely alike. Its species, age, growing conditions, region, climate, rainfall, soil, insects, diseases, and many other variables affect the tree’s strength.
Manufactured to precise tolerances governed by strict national industry standards, steel is predictable and reliable. Every steel component of a given gauge compares exactly to all the other members just like it. Its strength characteristics are known and precise.
Pre-engineered steel buildings take full advantage of this predictability and stability. New engineering software quickly and efficiently designs structures to meet or exceed all local building codes— with the least amount of steel possible. That makes not only a strong structure, but also an affordable one.
2. Steel is faster.
Because inorganic steel is so much stronger than wood, it requires far fewer structural pieces to construct a stronger frame. While wood framing must typically be built 16-24 inches on center, prefabricated steel buildings normally place primary framing members 20-25 feet on center.
In addition, since all the steel components are cut, welded, drilled, and marked at the factory, the framing arrives ready to assemble. When lumber arrives at a wood construction site, it is examined piece by piece. The worst pieces are culled out. Then all the lumber must be measured and sawed to length— a time-consuming process.
Typically, a pre-engineered steel building slashes 33% off construction time.
3. Steel is stable.
Organic wood changes shape as humidity levels vary. It warps, bows, twists, shrinks, splits, rots, and moves as moisture content changes. Nails start to pop out. Framing loosens. Corners are no longer straight. Doors and windows start to stick. Floors begin to creak. Overhead doorframes and rooflines sag. The building becomes drafty.
Steel is inorganic and unaffected by changing moisture. Pre-engineered steel structures remain straight, strong, attractive, and tight for decades longer than wood structures.
4. Steel is termite-resistant.
Termites, wood ants, mice, and rats love to gnaw on tasty organic wood. But what creepy critter can make a meal of steel?
5. Steel is mold-resistant.
Since termites are not an issue for steel buildings, the framing need not be treated with strong chemical termicides as with wood framing. This eliminates an indoor pollutant. Chemically-sensitive people often prefer steel framing.
Not only are insects and vermin attracted to wood, so are mold, mildew, and other fungi. Mold actually feeds on organic material— especially moist organic material. The air-borne spores produced by mold play havoc with anyone with sensitive allergies, asthma, or other lung conditions.
Steel is inorganic, so it does not support mold or any other growths.
6. Steel is fire-resistant.
The third most likely place for a structural fire to start is within the framing.
Wood ignites easily and readily adds fuel to a fire. Incombustible steel will not ignite in a structural fire, nor does it add fuel to a burning building.
7. Steel is resistant to lightning damage.
Organic wood is a poor conductor of electricity. Lumber’s resistance to current is so strong, lightning striking wood often flashes out to harm nearby objects or people. That is why it is so dangerous to stand beneath a tree in a thunderstorm.
Steel is a fantastic conductor of electricity. In a properly grounded steel building, lightning follows the framing, passing safely into the ground.
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