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June 5, 2017, 8:16 p.m.

Designing your Metal Building to be wind resistant

20x26 Vertical Roof Double Car Garage
20x26 Vertical Roof Double Car Garage

There are various natural factors to consider while starting a construction in any part of our country. Some parts, like California, are prone to earthquakes while some parts face extreme weather conditions. One of the most prevalent natural threats is wind, from short gusts to large-scale hurricanes, which plague most of the eastern parts of United States regularly. Winds can cause severe damage to people and property. While no material will probably make a metal building, some materials will provide more resistance than other.

What Makes Steel Buildings Wind Resistant?

Steel buildings are one of the strongest materials for construction available in the market. They have a high strength-to-weight ratio. This means that metal buildings can sustain high loads and pressure applied to them without fail. Steel buildings are also built to last for a long time and are resistant to other types of damage. They maintain their structural integrity so that during high winds steel buildings perform better than any other construction material. Additionally, metal buildings are incredibly ductile which means that they can resist immense forces by bending without breaking. That is why steel buildings are widely used in seismic as well as windy zones.

Factors Affecting the Design of Metal Buildings

A steel building, made of high-quality materials, that is designed and constructed properly will withstand high wind pressures without giving way. However, there are various factors to consider when it comes to building a wind- resistant metal building. Before going into the nitty-gritty of wind-resistant metal building design there are various factors that you will have to take into account. Let us first discuss some of those very factors.

Wind Exposure and Exposure Ratings

When considering the wind loads that a building has to withstand during its service, the natural terrain of the site as well as the surrounding landscape where the building stand makes a huge difference. For example, a building built in a city surrounded by other large building will not have the same impact as a building that stands alone on a plain, open area, even when the forces of wind acting in both the cases are similar. According to 2015 International Code [A compilation of wind resistance provisions, prepared by FEMA], there are three exposure ratings according to the roughness of topography, vegetation as well as other construction features surrounding the building. Designers and engineers have to consider these exposure ratings during the design process of a building.

  1. Exposure B: This category consists of urban, suburban or wooded areas where the buildings or other obstructions are closely spaced.
  2. Exposure C: This category includes open terrain with scattered obstructions or ground surfaces that are less than 30’ in height, like small hills.
  3. Exposure D: Applies to buildings and structures that are exposed to the wind coming from an unobstructed area or flat expanses of land that are exposed to wind flowing over open water like mud flats, salt flats, etc.

Wind force or wind loads should also be taken into account when designing a building. A structural engineer has to consider various aspects of wind, including its speed, direction, strength and so on that the particular place faces while designing a structure.

Design Considerations for Wind Resistant Metal Buildings

While you probably will not be able to design a building that is windproof, you can design it so that wind forces have less of an impact on the metal building. As a result, your steel building will suffer less damage and you can enjoy it for many years to come without much maintenance.

  1. Invest in Certified Metal Buildings

This is probably the most important factor to consider while designing metal buildings which face windy conditions. Most of the states or local laws, where the wind is of major concern, will require certification with the metal building. Certification means that the metal building has been designed to withstand certain wind or snow loads that are specified by the law to ensure the safety of buildings that are built in that locality. Even if you live in places which do not require certification, you can upgrade your metal buildings to be certified so that your metal building has extra strength to stand up to any extreme weather condition.

  1. Building Orientation for your Metal Building

If you live in areas that face extreme wind conditions, then building orientation can also help to protect your metal building significantly. Orienting your building so that the larger face is not exposed to the prevailing wind will greatly help to lessen the impact of wind forces on your metal building.

  1. Anchoring your Metal Building

While steel buildings are very sturdy and durable, they are comparatively light-weight than other construction materials. Hence it is important to secure them firmly to the ground surface so that they do not blow over or move during high winds. There are various types of anchors we provide at carport1; mobile home anchors, concrete anchors, rebar anchors as well as asphalt anchors, etc. depending on the nature of the ground surface which help to the metal building be fixed to the ground.

  1. Lower the Height of Your Metal Building

Building vertical and having tall metal buildings are beneficial in terms of space. These buildings give more space over a smaller area. But when you live in places which face significant wind conditions, you might have to keep the building height in check. High buildings are more unstable than low-rise buildings when it comes to facing wind forces. So, you might have to adjust your space requirements to ensure the safety of the structure.

  1. Site Surroundings

Even if your building is very stable and secure against the wind, it may be crushed or damaged by secondary threats like falling trees, electrical poles, and so on. When you are selecting a site, try to place your metal building away from these secondary sources of hazards. If there are any structures or object surrounding or near the building, then have them firmly secured to the ground.

Metal buildings pass the test when it comes to standing up to extreme wind conditions given that they are designed properly. Most of the buildings that are left standing after hurricanes and storms are prefabricated metal structures. carport1 offers numerous certified options for metal buildings which can effectively resist extreme weather conditions.

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