We are really going back to the basics and of all things; technology is in the forefront of this trend. Whereas before, the aim of green building construction is to build energy efficient structures, now the goal is zero energy buildings. A zero energy building or a net-zero building is not only extremely energy efficient, it also produces as much energy as it uses over the period of one year.
Pike Research recently published the results of a worldwide study on the current and future states of the market for zero energy buildings. The highlight of this study included the identification of forces that are driving the construction industry to produce these types of structures.
And these forces will eventually cause the construction industry’s transformation in the coming years:
- Emergence of new technologies. Over the next few decades, advances in building technology continue to produce new breakthrough solutions that promote energy efficiency.
- Decline in the cost of existing technologies. Cost of solar panels, triple glazed windows and energy-efficient HVAC systems continue to decline as new technologies emerge.
- Stricter government regulations. Several countries have already identified and established long-term targets and goals that would require new construction to adhere to zero energy building construction.
- Concern about image and branding. For ordinary homeowners, the pressure to be “in” cannot be discounted. But awareness over the concern for the environment is enough motivation to choose “green” construction. For the commercial sector, many companies are adopting the concept of zero energy buildings as a way of staying on the cutting edge of technology. It is also a means to build a company image and brand name that is more relevant and socially responsible.
How is this related to prefabricated metal buildings? In reality, metal buildings promote “green construction”. They are energy efficient solutions considering that they consume less energy through fast construction, less workers to transport to and from the site, zero materials waste and use of recyclable construction materials. Metal buildings also promote technologies that deliver zero energy buildings. Therefore, the road towards net zero buildings is easier with metal buildings.
Metal buildings are popular for being extremely versatile structures that can be designed to fit any configuration. For metal buildings used as places of business, the use of mezzanine floors is a suitable solution to the problem of lack of floor space.
Space is a very expensive commodity, nowadays. Mezzanine floors for metal buildings are highly cost effective solutions for adding floor space for office, retail, factory or general storage.
A prefabricated mezzanine is an elevated flooring system that consists of a steel deck, which is supported by joists that connect to the main beams. Mezzanine floors are commonly constructed with the main beams running across the width of metal buildings while joists run parallel the length of the structures.
Actually, mezzanine floors can already be incorporated in the original design of metal buildings. The steel structural frame can be designed to support a second floor loading. On the other hand, an existing metal building, especially one with clear span rigid frame, can easily accommodate a mezzanine floor. This option is significantly cheaper than renting space or constructing another building.
Take note that there are other factors affecting the design of mezzanine floors for metal buildings other than size and load capacity. The intended use of a mezzanine floor greatly defines its design, which should ensure that efficiency and safety are both satisfied.
For example, if the mezzanine is to be used as an office, the design should incorporate tight lateral stability standards. Although there is less loading requirements in case the mezzanine is to be used as storage, the possible weight of the products to be stored should also be considered.
The best part of having mezzanine floors for your metal buildings is they add value to your property. And since they are prefabricated just like metal buildings, they are fast and easy to construct, without too much disruption to normal business activities.
U.S. wine is respected worldwide due to its fine quality. According to a report prepared by the Wine Division of the Silicon Valley entitled, “2011-2012 State of the Wine Industry”, the country’s wine industry is expected to grow steadily in the coming years due to increased domestic consumption and international market share.
If you want to venture into wine production, you must plan wisely for a greater return on investment. Knowing the latest trends in the business is a good start.
Today’s wineries, specifically those located in California, are becoming famous for combining the benefits of renewable and sustainable construction. There is no better way to achieve this than to choose metal buildings and solar systems.
Metal buildings are highly flexible solutions for most construction needs. Wineries are structures with unique needs and metal buildings can provide for these, 100% and so much more. Wineries made from metal buildings are durable and resistant to extreme weather conditions. They are built up to code and designed to meet loading specifications.
Therefore, your expensive equipment, supplies and finished products will be better protected, while enjoying much lower insurance rates. Metal buildings are also impervious to pests such as termites, which may cause expensive damage to the structure, as well as the supplies.
For example, wineries are known to consume large amounts of energy needed in the production, cooling, storage and tasting facilities. Metal buildings are known for their energy efficiency. With the installation of insulated metal roofs and wall panels, significant savings in electricity is achieved. Make sure you use R-33 insulation products to ensure maximum energy efficiency.
Another energy saving solution is the installation of solar systems. Wineries are mostly located in areas that enjoy comparatively greater amounts of sunshine all year through. Solar systems will provide meaningful amounts of renewable energy to support winery activities, resulting in savings in electricity, which would in turn trim down operating costs.
With metal buildings, return on investments is certain in a shorter amount of time.
Homeowners who invested on steel framed buildings have realized that all the promises of steel construction are indeed true. They would really get plenty of bang for their buck with steel framed buildings. Previously associated with commercial building construction, steel framing has now invaded the residential-home building sector and it is proving to be a more attractive construction solution than wood framed houses.
The popularity of steel as a construction material for homes started when its price fell to within the reach of ordinary homeowners. But the major selling point is steel’s amazing strength, which is impossible to match by wood.
Imagine your house’s skeletal frame made of high quality steel, which has the highest strength to weight ratio among all construction materials. The steel skeletal structure has been computer engineered to adhere to existing building codes as well as specifications for heavy snow, high wind and seismic loadings.
After the design is complete, all structural components are precision cut to their exact specifications, resulting in a structural framing that is dimensionally stable and will remain straight and true for many years to come.
Steel framed buildings allow for clear-span construction with no interior support columns. That’s why there’s more freedom in the house’s floor layout. In contrast, “stick framing” is the most common method used in building wood-framed houses, which is not only limiting, as far as floor layout is concerned, but also labor-intensive.
Steel framed buildings may cost a little bit more than a wood-frames structures but the savings that are to sure to follow, during construction and throughout their lifetime, will more than compensate for this additional investment.
The whole steel structural frame is delivered at the site. There’s no more need to hire skilled labor to do the cutting and assembling individual frame members, which is true with the “stick framing” method. Steel framed buildings allow for reduced labor time and associated costs since they are generally simpler to erect and require fewer workers to install.
Another avenue for savings with steel framed buildings is their low maintenance. Steel does not deteriorate unlike wood. Also, it does not rot, warp, break, twist, buckle, split, crack, settle or burn. Steel is resistant to termites, insects, rodents, mold and fungi. The steel used in steel-framed building is coated with anti-rust products, making them corrosion resistant.
Siding allows steel framed buildings to blend in with almost any environment. There is this misconception that steel framed buildings still look like warehouses with corrugated exterior walls. By installing siding, steel framed buildings are disguised as structures made from traditional materials, allowing them to be transformed into various configurations such as commercial center, churches, schools, offices and residences.
So far vinyl, metal and wood siding have been discussed, touching on their pros and cons.
One other type of siding option is masonry siding for steel framed buildings. Brick, stone, stucco, fiber cement are all masonry siding options for steel framed buildings. Topping the list of its advantages is durability. Masonry siding is weather resistant, does not need to be painted, will not rot, deteriorate or rust. In fact, it requires very minimal maintenance during the course of its long lifespan. It is also fireproof and does not need painting or staining.
Brick and Stone Siding
Common types of stone used in steel framed buildings are limestone, granite and slate. Brick and stone veneer is lighter and does not require structural support but it offers the same benefits as the full brick and stone. The full brick and stone and their veneer cousins all come in a number of styles, colors and textures.
However, the greatest drawback of brick and stone siding is the cost. You need to hire a professional to install full brick and stone siding so this adds to its already high price.
If you still prefer the look of brick or stone, there are faux products available that are less expensive and can be installed by non-professionals.
Homeowners choose to use traditional stucco for their steel framed buildings because it offers design flexibility. If your house has unique and complex shapes and forms in its exteriors, then traditional stucco is the perfect choice. Basically, stucco is a product made from cement that is applied to a wire mesh, which is fastened to sheathing. This type of application is the reason why it is capable of being used as a siding for irregularly shaped walls.
Stucco siding for steel framed buildings is durable and long lasting. It can be painted and stained. It is considered a fire and insect resistant construction material. However, it requires professional and experienced installation.
Fiber cement siding is highly durable and impact resistant. It is made from a blend of materials such as sand, cement, word fiber and other additives. It mimics the appearance of traditional wood siding but it is less expensive and allows paint to adhere longer.
Fiber cement siding for steel framed buildings requires little maintenance because it won’t rot and is highly resistant to moisture and termites. It is also fireproof and usually carries with it long warranty for up to 50 years. However, fiber cement is heavy and cost a lot more than vinyl siding.
It is up to you to weigh and pros and cons of each siding product. Remember that the price is just one factor in your decision. You should consider other factors such as maintenance requirements, durability, being fireproof and looks.
Steel framed buildings are popular because they offer a lot more benefits than structures made from traditional materials. As far as durability and stability is concerned, steel framed buildings are at the forefront. If you are considering on using steel as a primary building material for whatever purpose the structure will be, it is good to know that you have plenty of choices as far as siding is concerned. Having a good understanding of the pros and cons of available siding options for steel framed buildings will help you decide which type of siding to use.
Vinyl siding is made from PVC and is generally inexpensive. It comes in different grades and the higher the grade, the higher the price. It is available in different colors and forms (shakes, shingles, stone veneers). Vinyl siding is considered low maintenance because it will not chip, crack or rot and is resistant to insect damage.
However, it fades easily as the years go by. It can melt and crack when struck. Keep in mind that vinyl siding cannot be repainted so you have no choice but to stick with the original color of your steel framed house.
With metal siding for steel framed buildings, you have a choice between steel siding and aluminum siding. Between the two, steel is harder and therefore more durable than aluminum. The best advantage of metal siding is that it is fireproof. It is also low maintenance and can be considered a “green” construction material if it is made from recycled steel stock. Metal siding is available in various styles and colors, with some designed to mimic wood siding.
Aluminum siding is ideal for steel framed buildings located near coastal areas because the metal reacts with moisture and salt to form aluminum oxide, a very hard coating, which would eventually seal the aluminum surface, preventing further damage. On the other hand, steel siding’s high resistance to dent makes it ideal for regions that are constantly visited by severe storms.
Metal siding for steel framed buildings is easy to clean. A simple rinse using a garden hose will do the trick. Best of all, metal siding is fireproof, non-combustible and termite resistant.
Wood siding can be an attractive exterior siding for steel framed buildings. It is naturally attractive and comes is a variety of styles including clapboard, shingles, shakes, etc. Wood siding can be painted or stained repeatedly. In fact, it requires paint or stain more frequently than any other siding that can be painted. The downside with wood siding is that it requires a lot of up keep. Since it is a natural product, it is susceptible to rot, decay and insect infestation. Generally, wood siding can be more expensive than other types of siding.
When you look at the current configurations of metal buildings that are used in almost every sector of the economy today, you will be amazed at how these structures have evolved from the unsightly steel beam and corrugated walls built during the early part of the 20th century. In reality, these buildings have endured due to the pre-engineering process that goes with every manufactured building and the use of the same basic elements such as the rigid frames, girts, purlins, cladding and bracing.
Modern metal buildings are highly customizable. They are designed based on user specifications and existing local and national building codes. For those who are venturing into their first construction project, building codes may be unfamiliar. What exactly are building codes anyway and why are they important?
According to the website of the U.S. Environmental Protection Program, “A building code is a set of laws, regulations, ordinances, or other statutory requirements adopted by a government legislative authority, involved in assuring the adequacy of the physical structures and healthy conditions of buildings.”Majority of manufacturers of metal buildings use computer-aided design and drafting (CAD) software to design customized steel structures. Your metal building will be designed based on your unique specifications and engineered to the required dimensions to meet loading conditions in your area.
CAD systems are used to create technical drawings. Using the same software, a 3-dimensional model of the building can be produced to enable the designers to have a clear-view of the final product on all angles. If need be, appropriate modifications can then be incorporated before the architectural design is finalized. Then the structural engineers will do their calculations to come up with the appropriate structural framework for the metal building to make it conform to existing loadings.
Visit your local code authority to get the proper building codes and loads for your particular location. Remember, you are responsible for getting hold of this information and submitting it to the supplier of your steel framed building so that your structure will be designed and engineered to conform to these specifications.
The only thing left to do is to find the best supplier who can pre-engineer your metal building. From the large number of suppliers who are vying for your attention, narrow down your choices and include only those who have been in the business for decades. This only means that they have already established a reputation of providing only the best products and services.
The importance of defining the exact purpose of steel buildings before they are ordered can never be overemphasized. To enjoy the benefits and experience the maximum performance of steel buildings, they must be designed based on their future use. Determining the correct dimensions of the structure is another crucial and indispensable process.
Steel buildings have three basic dimensions: length, width or span and eave height. Basically, steel buildings have four walls; two endwalls and two sidewalls.
Exactly how big is the steel structure? No matter what size you envision it to be, it is important that you first check with your building regulation or zoning offices regarding the allowable optimum height of pre-engineered steel buildings in your area. This will prevent a lot of headaches later.
Once you have done that, you can now start the process by considering the height of your steel building on the outside. The height is actually, the eave height, which is determined by the distance from the bottom of the base plate to the point where the roof intersects the sidewall.
Your steel building’s height depends a lot on its use. For example, if you are going to use it as a garage, the height of your vehicle(s) will influence the building’s corresponding height. Of course, you need to add extra space to determine the building height.
Next, determine the building’s interior clearance. This is a more critical factor than the eave height. For example, steel buildings to be used as aircraft hangars require lots of interior clearance, which is based on the tail height clearance of the tallest aircraft to be stored at any given time.
The interior space is greatly influenced by the type of roof. Gabled roofs offer the most traditional style where the two rising halves of the roof meet at the highest point or peak. A single slope roof descends from the higher wall to the lower wall.
The slope of the roof also has a direct influence on the interior clearance. The optimum horizontal style for a roof is the 1:12 slope – a one-inch rise for every twelve inches of roof run. You can opt to have a 6:12 roof slope for more interior clearance as well as better drainage of rain and snow.
Another thing to consider when determining the size of steel buildings is the addition of insulation, especially for structures that will be occupied. Thicker insulation translates to greater energy efficiency. Insulation with R-7 rating is two inches thick while one with R-19 rating is six inches thick. In addition, to prevent condensation, a vapor barrier may be installed in the roof and walls of steel buildings.
These are the things to consider when determining the dimensions of steel buildings. When done with the process, you are now ready to design your steel building.
Water can penetrate the exterior walls of steel framed buildings during driving rains.According to the Internet, there are certain parts of the country that experience more rains than the average. The top 5 large US cities where it rains on over 130 days per year are Rochester, New York (167 days); Buffalo, New York (167 days); Portland, Oregon (164 days); Cleveland, Ohio (155 days) and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (151 days). The best way to prevent water from penetrating the walls of steel framed buildings is to install rainscreen cladding systems.
The main purpose of a rainscreen cladding systems is to keep steel framed buildings dry by eliminating the tendency of rainwater penetrating the wall system. As a result, there is no need for caulking, gout or sealants.
Rainscreen systems accommodate most types of construction including steel framed buildings. They are designed as a rear ventilated, open jointed rainscreen cladding, which provide for an insulation layer located on the outer face of the building shell. Based on tests, they are durable, strong, can manage water penetration well, fire and impact resistant and with low maintenance needs.
Rainscreen cladding forms the “outer skin” of steel framed buildings. Serving as a building façade system, a rainscreen cladding system usually consists of a sub-frame and various finishes such as brick, ceramic tiles, brick tiles, terra cotta, ceramic granite, metal panels, composite aluminum panels, natural stone, wood cladding products, etc.
The sub-frame’s rails and fixing brackets are bolted onto the internal wall of steel framed buildings before the cladding panels are installed. The system is designed so that cladding panels are kept at a distance from the internal insulated walls, creating a wide ventilated cavity between the two. This space allows air to circulate, creating a “chimney effect” so that when water enters the cavity, it quickly evaporates. As a result, the cavity is free of moisture and mold.
Rainscreen cladding systems are best used in commercial, industrial and residential steel framed buildings.
Is your retirement age fast approaching? Many people who are about to retire dream of getting away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Moving to places with mild climates and less noise, access to parks and other recreational venues like lakes or libraries is a common goal. Of course, you also want your house to have the style and design fit for your less stressful lifestyle.
Steel framed buildings are perfect as residences for people who want to enjoy their retirement years. A common requirement of retirees is a house that is not too big, with enough room for the kids and grandchildren to stay when they visit. You will have plenty of customization options when you choose steel framed buildings.
Do you want a Victorian cottage or a log cabin? Is your lot on a hill or near a forest?You will have no problem achieving any look you want because there is complete flexibility in architectural design with steel framed buildings.
There are plenty of options with doors, windows and architectural finishes for an attractive façade. Steel framed buildings are also more adaptable to difficult terrains like hillsides and forested areas unlike traditionally made structures.
Durability and reliability are the trademarks of steel framed buildings. With straight walls and square corners, these metal structures are dimensionally stable. Designed and built up to code, steel framed buildings can withstand wind and seismic loads.
Unlike wood that shrink, rot and warp, the awesome strength of steel allows steel framed buildings to have wider spans for greater freedom in floor layouts. You can have large open spaces to entertain friends and new acquaintances inside.
Steel framed buildings are attractive to retirees because they offer a lot of opportunities to save. First, they are easy to erect, saving you a lot on construction costs. Second, they require less maintenance unlike conventional structures that require regular maintenance and repairs. Steel is resistant to mold and termite infestation. It is also easy to clean. You also pay less in insurance premiums since steel is fire resistant and non-combustible. You may also install insulation to make the structure more energy-efficient.
Whether your new home is located in a small town or near the lakeshore, you can retire in style in steel framed buildings.