Making Sure Steel Building Stands up to Natural Disasters

One of the lessons we learn every time a natural disaster hits is that most structures were never built to withstand extreme events.

Recovery from earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires and flooding are still in progress in different parts of the world with more to come.

Obviously, disasters come with a high cost paid in human lives & properties. Not much can withstand a direct hit from a tornado, but a steel building can survive the high winds and flying debris from a relatively near miss, if it is built for the weather. Much of this disaster can be lessened by designing for safety and building with steel. Of all the damaged structures, those made of steel survived the best.

Materials and Design

Commercial grade steel has the highest strength compared to any traditional construction material. As building codes become more rigid, steel is one of the few materials able to meet these requirements.

Steel is non-combustible; sparks that reach the structure doesn't create a blaze and is flame retardant. Steel comes with a defensive coating to prevent corrosion from moisture. Interior walls built with steel studs will only require damaged drywall to be replaced instead of having to replace an entire wood wall frame.

Being a material of choice for building to withstand natural disasters, steel also reduces the dependency on less sustainable products that lead to slower construction rate. Steel construction meets most building codes, providing a higher margin of safety and the potential for less damage.

Special Considerations

A strong foundation is critical, soil samples and a consultation with a geotechnical engineer will provide foundation designer with necessary information needed to engineer a foundation that can support a rocking structure.

Extremely high winds produce strong uplift. Hence rugged roof and building design are imperative. A steel roof system with a suitable fastener design and framing that reinforces the corners and overhang will keep the top of the structure from flying off.