Understanding Steel Building Conditions for All Climates

Today, steel buildings are used for a variety of purposes thanks to their versatility, durability, and longevity. You may opt for a metal building when constructing a garage, storage facility, office complex, church, rec center, or even residential home.

While metal construction can be advantageous to cut down on construction time and cost, there are a number of factors that come into play based on where you plan to erect your steel structure.

How insulation impacts steel building conditions

Metal building construction specifications may differ based on climate and location. Most manufacturers agree on one thing: Insulation is a must in both hot and cold climates.

According to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, “Insulation systems for metal buildings are considered a critical building component for today‚Äôs buildings.” When a metal building is insulated, it can serve two specific purposes – to regulate internal heat flow in cooler weather and slow down internal heat flow in hotter weather.

A properly insulated metal building offers energy efficiency; fiberglass, rock wool, and slag wall insulation help to conserve 12 times more energy per pound in their first year of use compared to the energy used in production.

Steel building construction in cold climates

Just like in traditional construction, cold weather is a chief concern that can influence numerous design elements in a metal building, like:

  • Snow/ice load
  • Wind load
  • Roof design

A metal building built in Northern states with colder climates will have variations in elevation, slope, roof configuration, and wind direction, which can all affect a building’s snow load capacity. This is exactly why a metal building supplier will request the location of construction, as well as metal building specifications, when providing a price quote.

A supplier or manufacturer may choose to bolster a building with heavier gauge metal girts and roof purlins, as well as extra steel frame and bracing reinforcement to hold a heavier snow load. The same design precautions can be taken to help a steel building withstand high winds in heavy winter storms.

Steel building construction in hot climates

On the other side of the coin, several design factors may change when building a steel structure in a hot climate:

  • Roof venting
  • Temperature control
  • Condensation reduction

In a hot, humid climate, condensation in a steel building is a major concern; metal buildings are, in essence, a condensation “trap” that can easily lead to rust corrosion. In a dry, arid climate, condensation reduction may not pose as much of an issue, though climate control with proper insulation is necessary to protect valuable equipment or electronics from temperature fluctuations.

In hot climates, metal buildings are often constructed with self-ventilating roofs to naturally release heat and lessen the burden on an air-conditioning system. A self-ventilating roof design for a metal building is also ideal in a structure without a cooling system.

Building for temperature is a top consideration as you embark on metal building construction. A skilled supplier should adjust a building’s design based on your geographic region; insulation types and applications can also be customized to improve your building’s heating and cooling efficiency.