Introduction & History of Steel Buildings

Introduction: Metal Building Systems Definition

Metal Building Systems is the industry’s term for buildings whose main components (walls, roof,framing, and bracing) are all composed of metal,and are specially designed and engineered to worktogether in a structural, “unified whole.” It is important to note that this definition excludes their exterior finish (the outsides of metal building systems’ walls and roofs), which may be composed of any combination of desired materials, including stucco, wood paneling, masonry, shingles, etc

Metal Building Systems: Over 200 Years of Evolution

Metal BuildingThe construction of buildings with metal framing dates all the way back to the late 1700’s, with British efforts to construct fireproof mill structures for the agricultural and textile industries.  By the late nineteenth century, hundreds of “portable iron houses” had been sold to gold rush pioneers, and the first steel-framed skyscraper had been built.  Throughout the twentieth century, steel buildings were constructed for all sorts of applications.  In decades prior to World War II, large steel buildings, shaped like oil drums cut in two and laid on their side, were used for storage in the oil industry.  During the war, an adaptation of this structure, known as the “Quonset Hut” (named for Quonset Point in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, where it was mass produced), was used in high numbers as inexpensive, mobile shelter. 

Today, metal building systems are being designed for nearly every imaginable building application.  There are two main design-type categories for these pre-engineered steel buildings.  They are:

Arched

Structures whose eaves curve into a rounded, half-cylinder shaped roof.  In recent years, a number of adaptations have been made to Arch Buildings.  Nowadays, arched designs featuring semi-straight walls and peaked roofs are also available, like those pictured below.

Arch Steel Building
Arch Steel Building
Arch Steel Building

Straight Wall

Structures whose walls and roof come together at an angle. This design, pictured below, looks more like those of traditional buildings.

Straight Wall Steel Building
Straight Wall Steel Building
Straight Wall Steel Building

Next time you’re driving, spend a few minutes with an eye out for them, and you’ll notice just how prevalent these structures actually are, in city, town, farmland, and countryside settings. 

Why are so many people choosing these buildings above those constructed using other materials? 

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