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Designing Your Metal Building for Wind Resistance
Apr 2023

Designing Your Metal Building for Wind Resistance

Stephan Michaels
Construction, Customizations

Wind and Metal Buildings

In many parts of the US, the weather is a major component of building design. Structures must be prepared to handle heavy rain, snowfall, and high winds. Of these threats, wind is often one of the most common for home and business owners. Wind can cause immense damage to structures, and if your infrastructure isn’t up to the challenge, you can face expensive repairs and significant safety issues.
Structural integrity in the face of the elements is a huge factor in why metal buildings are such a popular choice for garages, backyard outbuildings, businesses, and warehouses. These structures are built using steel framing, a versatile material capable of withstanding incredible forces.
And if you’re in the market for a structure that can hold up against the weather in your region, a metal building is a sound investment. In this blog, we’ll dive deeper into these structures and how to design yours to handle high-wind environments.

What Is Wind Uplift?

Wind uplift refers to the upward force generated by the wind that can cause damage or displacement to the roof or structure of a building. This force occurs when wind passes over the roof or walls of a building, creating a low-pressure area on top of the roof and a high-pressure area below. The pressure difference can result in a lifting force that can be particularly dangerous during high-wind events like hurricanes, tornadoes, or severe thunderstorms.

To protect against this force, selecting a building design engineered to withstand strong winds is essential. Metal buildings are a popular choice for high-wind environments due to their steel framing and flexible construction. Steel naturally flexes when met with external forces such as wind or snow, and where more rigid materials may crack and break under such strain, steel can hold firm.
Understanding Wind Uplift Ratings

Now that we’ve identified wind uplift, let’s look at wind uplift ratings. Engineers use these ratings to determine whether a structure is capable of withstanding wind uplift:

1. UL-580

The UL-580 test evaluates the uplift resistance of roofing materials, including metal roofing. During this test, the roofing material is subjected to wind loads that simulate the forces of a severe storm. If the material passes the test, it is given a UL-580 rating indicating its ability to resist wind uplift.

2. FM Global Standard 4471

FM Global Standard 4471 is a set of guidelines that evaluates the uplift resistance of metal roofing systems. During this test, the roofing system is subjected to wind loads that simulate the forces of a severe storm. If the roofing system passes this test, it is given an FM Global Standard 4471 rating.

3. ASCE 7-16

ASCE 7-16 is a standard that provides guidelines for designing metal buildings to withstand wind loads. This standard takes into account a range of factors, including the location of the building and the expected wind speeds in the area. By following the guidelines outlined in ASCE 7-16, builders can ensure that their structures are able to resist wind uplift and other weather-related hazards.

4. ASTM E 1592

ASTM E 1592 is a test method that evaluates the uplift resistance of roofing systems. This test involves subjecting the roof to simulated wind loads to determine its ability to resist wind uplift. If the roof passes the test, it is given an ASTM E 1592 rating.

5. UL 1897

UL 1897 is a standard that evaluates the uplift resistance of metal roofs and metal roof panels. During this test, the roofing material is subjected to wind loads that simulate the forces of a severe storm. If the material passes the test, it is given a UL 1897 rating indicating its ability to resist wind uplift.

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How You Can Ensure Your Building Is Wind Resistant

While metal structures are designed to handle harsh environments, not all steel buildings are created equal. And you’ll want to take the proper steps to ensure your new structure is up to snuff in terms of wind resistance. Let’s look at a few crucial ways to do just that:

1. Invest in Certified Metal Buildings

Investing in certified structures is one of the most important steps to ensure that your building is wind-resistant. Look for a metal building for sale certified by organizations like the International Code Council (ICC), which sets standards for building safety and performance. This certification ensures that your building is specifically engineered to handle the average wind, snow, and seismic forces in your region.

2. Prepare a Strong Building Foundation

A strong building foundation is essential for reinforcing your building to withstand wind uplift. For the best results, make sure that your foundation is level, thick enough to handle the building’s weight, and that you have the right anchoring systems in place.

3. Choose the Right Frame

The frame of your building is another important consideration when it comes to wind resistance. Most residential metal buildings are built using 14-gauge framing, but if you live in a region with high winds, you will likely want to reinforce your structure with thicker 12-gauge framing.

4. The Orientation of Your Building

The orientation of your building can also play a role in its wind resistance. In general, it’s best to orient the building so that it is perpendicular to the prevailing wind direction, as this will help to minimize wind loads on the structure.

5. Choose a Shorter Building Height

The height of your building can also impact its wind resistance. Generally, taller buildings are more susceptible to wind damage, so consider choosing a shorter building height if possible.

6. Site Surroundings

The surroundings of your site can impact wind speed and direction. Ensure your site is clear of trees or other structures that could become airborne in high winds. You can also use trees to your advantage, as tree cover can significantly reduce high wind gusts.

Can Metal Buildings Withstand Hurricanes and Tornados?

In some parts of the US, hurricane and tornado seasons are a genuine threat to safety and property. These forces of nature bring intense winds that can wreak havoc on structures and cause immense damage.
And while metal buildings are designed to withstand high-wind environments, there are obvious limitations. For example, a category one hurricane with the lowest strength can produce wind speeds over 75 miles per hour. For more significant hurricanes, wind speeds can reach 150 miles per hour.
The same goes for tornados. The Fujita scale, which measures tornado intensity, classifies an F-1 tornado as a funnel that produces wind speeds between 73 and 112 miles per hour. And when faced with wind speeds as high as this, the structural integrity of any building may be called into question.
Ultimately, there are no such things as hurricane or tornado-proof buildings. However, when handling such forces, you’ll rarely find a building as capable as one built from steel.

Garage Buildings Can Help You Stand Up to High Winds

If you live in a region where storms, snowfall, and high winds are a regular danger to your vehicles and valuables, you’ll want to invest in a structure built to handle it. For years, Garage Buildings has produced a wide selection of metal buildings for sale that are engineered to stand up to almost any environment. And whether you’re looking for a small steel building, metal building kits, or an oversized metal garage, we have the skills and resources to deliver.

These steel buildings are built with modern engineering techniques and certifications, ensuring they’re your prime defense against volatile weather.

So if you’re in the market for a new metal building and want to know that it can handle the weather in your region, call Garage Buildings! Our building experts are waiting to help you design and customize a structure that’s ready to take on anything Mother Nature can conjure! Call Garage Buildings today at +1 (866) 355-4442 and let us show you the difference.

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