Steel vs. Natural Disasters
Posted on November 15, 2014 | Posted by Joseph Fazzio Blogger
Constructing a building in areas known for natural disasters can be unnerving. Hurricanes and wild storms can be major threats, so it’s important to keep all new construction with storm protection in mind. Steel particularly can be an asset to strengthen buildings against unpredictable weather patterns. Whether battling natural forces like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires, or lightning, steel can strengthen your construction project and help it endure.
A steel shell around your building directs all lightning strikes into the ground instead of receiving damage from strikes. Wood resists lightning instead of directing the energy, so the damage to a wooden structure is much more severe. While lightning strikes may seem like an unlikely event, the United States averages around two hundred thousand insurance claims due to lightning strikes each year. When lightning strikes a house it affects not just the house itself, but computers, phones, and appliances. Lightning can also start fires in wooden buildings, burning down a structure within hours.
In recent years, damage due to hurricanes has been especially harsh. Billions of dollars have gone towards repairs. With strong materials and some planning, some of this costly damage can be prevented. Hurricane shutters are a common way to use steel to protect buildings from storms. Doors and windows are especially susceptible to strong winds. Fortify the weakest parts of your house by covering them. Shutters protect these weak points from flying objects and sudden impacts. Broken windows lead to greater air pressure imbalances inside the house. This weakens the roof and makes it more likely to cave in or fly off.
Steel can also strengthen your roof directly during strong winds. Use a system of cables and brackets to anchor your roof to the foundation. The cables run through the joists of the roof, come down through the walls, and finally hold fast to the foundation This steel web counteracts the uplift from the wind and holds the structure together. The roof must be kept on or the building’s integrity will be breached, making it much more likely to be torn completely apart.
If your building is near actual water, you will need to reinforce the foundation. Steel pillars are one excellent option. This will keep the building above water during floods. A strong foundation will carry your building through many storms. If steel runs through everything from your foundation to the roof, your building will last much longer than comparable structures. Steel can be trusted to remain tough through many disasters.