Metal Buildings: Braced Against The Quake

As one of the most frightening and unpredictable elements of nature, earthquakes pose a major threat in many countries around the world. It isn’t a danger that you can predict and run from, like a hurricane, and it isn’t something you can retreat from by clambering up to a high place, as with a flood. You cannot run from an earthquake. You can only take precautions to keep yourself in as safe a place as possible, and ride out the storm, so to speak.

One significant factor—for your personal wellbeing, and also for the preservation of your home—is the material that you’ve chosen for the building you are in, be it your home or your business. In many areas of the country, buildings are constructed to withstand the damage by earthquakes. Today’s commercial buildings are typically created either from metal or concrete, which are both relatively strong and durable in comparison to yesterday’s conventional materials such as wood.

But in the case of quakes, metal is actually much safer than concrete. This is because metal buildings are designed to be as flexible as they are powerful, and can move without breaking—a very important advantage over concrete. Concrete, unyielding in nature, will suffer cracks (at best) or a complete collapse of a wall or even the entire building (at worst). With its ability to flex and stretch, metal, on the other hand, will sway with the movement of the quake. This will in turn deeply reduce the stress on the building; this is what helps the building remain solid and intact.

It’s also good to know that there are several types of metal materials to choose from. The most common contemporary choice is steel (steel rebar, to be exact), which is the strongest. Building developers have learned to use many steel supports located on the first floor of the building, which is where a building is most likely to collapse first (and thereby bringing the rest of the levels down and into ruin), and thus lessen the risk of collapse. Although a very powerful earthquake may visibly deform the building, a steel frame will continue to stand, greatly lessening the number of casualties and injuries that would be more likely to occur otherwise as a result of the quake. If you are in a high seismic area and you are contmplating on a construction material, steel should be your first choice.

This guest blog post was created by: Donnie Strompf, MBMI Metal BUildings.


Author: Editor

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