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Before NFL teams and NCAA football programs put an emphasis on durable materials such as high grade steel for their indoor practice facilities, structures commonly known as “bubbles” were the standard. These “bubbles” were mostly classified as membrane-covered frame structures due to their exterior fabric and fabric liners. In May of 2009, the Dallas Cowboys felt the unfortunate consequences of the questionable tent-like structures. During a rookie minicamp, high winds in the area ripped through the roof, and the collapse of the structure combined with crashing debris contributed to 12 injuries, including the partial paralysis of a team scout.

Many people take for granted the structural integrity of the buildings they walk in and out of every day. Tragedies such as the Dallas Cowboys training facility collapse reinforce the importance of choosing a reliable building material when it comes to sports arena construction as well as other large structures. We’re confident a steel structure combined with an intense care and attention to detail is the greatest deterrent to structural failure and potential disaster.

Here are 6 Reasons Steel Buildings are the Safest Option:

Steel Sports Arenas1. Steel is a Proven High Grade Material

Steel has been the preferred material for commercial buildings since the late 1800s, when its durability and safety were recognized as an upgrade to cast iron. According to the Steel Recycling Institute, steel is the leading framing material for buildings and infrastructure in North America, with nearly a 50% market share for non-residential and multi-story residential construction.

2. Fire Resistance

No building material is truly fireproof, meaning any building is vulnerable to a destructive blaze. But steel is fire resistant, which means a fire would spread at a slower rate through a steel building than a wood building such as a pole barn, for example. That extra time could be the difference between life and death. The relationship between steel and fire has been rigorously tested for decades, and those tests ensure steel structures are designed and constructed to the strictest standards.

Expert Insight: You can save on insurance costs by choosing steel as a primary building material because of its fire resistance qualities.

3. Wind Resistance

Iowa experienced a similar event to the Dallas Cowboys training facility collapse

High winds were responsible for the Dallas Cowboys training facility collapse. Had the Cowboys opted for a design better utilizing high grade steel as opposed to the exterior fabric and fabric liner, their bubble likely wouldn’t have popped. Steel performs well under high winds due to its ductility, which is the ability to bend without breaking. Steel is able to absorb more energy than its less sturdy counterparts, meaning your facility is safe under the most extreme conditions.

Expert Advice: You may like the look or functionality of a canopy building but canopies cost much more than enclosed buildings because the canopy structure must be engineered to withstand upward wind loads.

High Grade Steel4. Strength-to-Weight Ratio

Steel has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any material used in construction, according to the American Iron & Steel Institute. That means that steel components are stronger without adding much weight. The versatility of steel makes construction easier, and gives engineers and architects more flexibility to design a building to maximize its safety features.

Is All Steel Equal in Strength?

At first glance all steel buildings may appear to be the same but the reality is not all metal buildings are created equal and making the wrong decision on what you believe is made of durable materials can cost you in the long run.

5. Less Maintenance

This advantage of steel is usually seen as a way to save time and reduce the stress of maintaining a facility. But it also makes your facility safer. Every building has natural wear and tear, but a less durable building material such as wood, will deteriorate at a much faster rate than steel. As a facility deteriorates, maintenance is less likely to keep pace, contributing to less structural integrity and increasing the chances of permanent and dangerous damage.

Did You Know? If you have been wondering what type of ongoing maintenance metal buildings require, you may be pleased to hear little (like clearing snow) or no maintenance is required to keep your building in good condition.

6. Sustainability

Steel is the world’s most recycled material with more than 80 million tons of steel recycled annually, and the steel industry is a leader in executing eco-friendly initiatives across the world. That’s great for the environment, but it also contributes to the safety of the material. Steel is a unique material that can be recycled for a number of purposes without ever sacrificing its integrity, which contributes to the long lifespan of a steel building.

Advice for Your Search for a Reliable Metal Building

Steel is the most reliable long-term solution for building a safe facility, but there are other factors. Adhering to federal safety standards, designing a building to suit your geographical situation and choosing a reliable steel provider can significantly increase the chances of building a sound facility that you can feel secure in. As the Dallas Cowboys tragically didn’t understand is there are no shortcuts to safety. An investment in a high grade steel building is an investment in the future of your franchise, company or even your family.

Bubble Collapse Photo Courtesy Of:

qctimes.com