Getting Back on Track After Hurricane Irma – Steel Buildings Are All You Need
At the end of August 2017, Hurricane Irma swept through Florida and wreaked major havoc. As a Category 5 storm, it was the most severe hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Irma’s damage spread through the state as well as impacted parts of the northeastern Caribbean and the Florida Keys.
The storm ripped through the state, killing at least 80 people. In various parts the hurricane caused extreme damage to buildings, construction, trailers, boats, roads, and mobile phone towers. Electricity supplies, Internet access, sanitation, water supplies, and fuel supplies were also all negatively impacted. The problems didn’t end once the storm did, in the aftermath, because of heavy rainfall, rivers flooded into land and residential areas. This posed many health problems as well from infections, insect-borne illnesses, and water contamination.
In addition to risk of infection and disease, many people were forced out of their homes and offices because of the damage or destruction caused. Roads, harbors, and other transportation hubs also suffered damage. People suffered both physical and financial losses. What was left in the wake of Hurricane Irma was a region in need of repair and rebuilding.
As the area impacted begins to recover, there are opportunities to strengthen repairs of buildings and structures. Choosing to rebuild with steel is a great option.
Steel is an incredibly durable building material. It has been a highly preferred material for commercial structures for more than 10 years because of its enduring strength. Because steel offers one of the highest strength to weight ratios it adds protection without bulkiness. It is also a versatile material that allows for flexibility in design and construction that maximize its safety features. It can also withstand decades of use and repeated abuse by the elements and not need major repairs.
Unlike wooden building materials, steel is resistant to mold and rot, and thus are more adept at keeping out illnesses, contamination, and diseases.
Steel structures also stand up better to the elements and extreme weather conditions. They can tolerate high winds, rain, snow, and hail better than wood, brick, or stone buildings. As steel bends instead of breaks it tends to be a safer material to use in the event of storms, assisting in the security of those people who live and work in them. Because steel is more flexible it stands up better to high winds and absorbs more energy without threatening collapse.
In areas like Florida and the southern Gulf States, which are often in the vulnerable zone for hurricanes, steel construction offers refuge from flood waters. Unlike wood, steel can take on water and remain resistant to warping, rotting, shrinkage, and twisting. Galvanized steel that has been treated with a coating is also immune to rust.
While no building is completely fireproof, steel structures are more fire resistant and spread flames at a slower rate than they would in a wooden building.
Steel can withstand decades of use without major repairs, and with metal buildings (like metal carports, enclosed garages or RV covers) you get a trust that you will be into less of a financial burden in both construction and maintenance. Additionally, steel’s ability to be strong without adding weight cuts down on foundation costs. It doesn’t need frequent painting or patching like wood does, and because it keeps out most of the elements it doesn’t pose any danger of flooding or going moldy.
Finally, rebuilding with steel is a more environmentally-friendly option. It can contain a large percentage of recycled material and it can be recycled itself. Building with steel also reduces the number of trees that are cut down that is required by wood construction, improving air quality and reducing the amount of wildfires.
In the aftermath of a natural disaster, when building materials are scarce, steel offers a chance to rebuild that doesn’t rely on timely and limited wood production. Overall, steel offers multiple benefits in growing and improving after a storm like Hurricane Irma.
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