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Metal Building Systems

Standing up to Mother Nature

Metal building systems"Metal building systems are more resistant to fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and other disasters. When we design a metal building, we design it understanding the codes and the particular area it's being placed in. We don't design a building that's going to be used everywhere; we design it for a very specific use, whether it is Florida winds or upstate New York snow or West Coast seismic activity. A main metal building system concern is to make sure that the engineering is right and that the building's design meets or exceeds local building codes. If there is a mistake with that or if a company doesn't have a good engineering system, then if a storm, hurricane or snowstorm hits, and if it hasn't been designed correctly, it could fail.

One of the reasons metal buildings remain standing after natural disasters is the building's design is being done in one location and its being done very efficiently, as opposed to a conventional structure. With conventional structures, fabricators will send beams out, someone else will send decks and someone else will send joists. Everybody is trying to send the right thing, but you don't always know for sure that building will interact and react with all those pieces.

It's not uncommon after a hurricane goes through to see many buildings taken out, but you'll see four or five metal buildings still standing in the distance. This is because the metal building is designed as a 'total system' instead of a bunch of components and you are hoping the other guy has got you covered.

Also, metal buildings are like a suspension bridge because they are flexible. In an earthquake, it can move. With metal buildings you can't physically see them move, but they can move in difficult situations and bounce back. They have some 'give' to them." Wes Booker, marketing and development manager, American Buildings Co., Eufaula, Ala.