Why Steel Buildings for the Southeast?

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Metal Buildings Engineered for the Southeast

The Southeast is known for a few things: hearty meals, warm hospitality and a passion for high-stakes college football. But when it comes to constructing new buildings in the region, it’s important to take notice of another well-known, more dangerous feature of the Southeast: severe weather.

Heavy rain, record floods and hurricane-force winds are an unfortunate trend in the Southeastern United States, especially for states along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Residents of this region face the biggest risk of costly property damage, total loss of property or displacement. Let’s take a look at why these risks are likely to increase and the importance of metal buildings for people like Johnny in North Carolina as well as other high-risk areas, such as Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and other surrounding states.

30x50 Survived Two Hurricanes in NC

Johnny’s 30×50 in NC

“I’m very satisfied with the building, it’s been through a couple of hurricanes and it’s still standing. Each storm had 90-100 mph winds that blew a lot of trees down around the county. My building made it through with no problems at all.”

Metal Garages in NC

Rising Temperatures + Water Vapor = More Severe Weather

Areas like Florida, Georgia, Alabama are experiencing significantly more costly storms.

The Earth is getting warmer every year, and while there are debates as to why that’s happening, there is no debate that these higher temperatures are having a serious effect on the climate. As temperatures rise, more ocean water evaporates and is stored in the atmosphere as water vapor. These increased levels of water vapor create conditions more favorable to severe weather, including high-volume rain storms that can last for days, and even weeks.

These types of storms can lead to dangerous flooding, much like we saw recently in southeast Louisiana, where seven people died and 15,000 homes and businesses were destroyed. Unfortunately, the number of these intense storms will likely increase as temperatures continue to rise in this region and around the world.

Billion Dollar Disasters Infographic

The Southeast is subject to more severe weather than any other region.

While droughts in the Midwest, heavy snow throughout the Rock Mountain region and earthquakes along the West Coast can cause billions of dollars in damage, the Southeast has seen significantly more billion dollar weather events since 1980. The damage from hurricanes in this area can be lessened by choosing to build an I-beam building rather than other types of steel structures. This is because prefab buildings are designed with the expectation of a severe weather event and engineered to endure these types of storms.

How Metal Buildings Reduce Risk

Prefab buildings are engineered to endure your locale weather conditions.

As we’ve seen in the last decade, the severe weather in the Southeast is a serious matter with real, long-lasting consequences. But you do have options when it comes to protecting your property and equipment. And while we can’t guarantee that your facility will survive a historic weather event, we do offer a 50 year warranty and many of our steel building structures have endured hurricanes in recent years. We can however guarantee you that when compared to other building materials, a steel building gives you the best chance of full recovery. This is why:

  • Strength-to-weight ratio: Steel has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any construction material. That means that steel retains it strength without adding extra weight to its structure.
  • Wind resistance: Perhaps the most important feature of steel buildings for the Southeast is their resistance to high winds. Steel performs well under high winds because of its ductility, which is the ability to bend without breaking. Steel absorbs more energy than other building materials, making it a better option in volatile weather.
  • Professional engineering: Prefab metal buildings are the product of an intensive process that requires professional precision. Every component of a prefabricated metal building is produced in a controlled environment and designed to meet the demands of your specific project.
Comparing Engineering Standards

Preparing your building for your local atmospheric conditions.

So what are the demands of your project? As we’ve discussed before, metal building costs are dependent on your location, the intended use and the current price of steel. The chart below demonstrates how one part of the equation (location) can cost more to engineer for in one region as opposed to another.

A couple of calculations will affect your building design and ultimately the cost in the Southeast:

Wind Loads: Are a calculation of how much pressure a structure is able to absorb.

Seismic Activity: Refers to the stress a potential earthquake could apply to a structure.

LocationWind LoadSeismic
Metal Buildings Alabama


Wind 90-130 mph34/10
Metal Buildings Florida


140-160 mphVery Low
Metal Buildings Georgia


115-140 mph10/7
Metal Buildings North Carolina

North Carolina

90-140 mph30/10
Metal Buildings South Carolina

South Carolina

115-150 mph53/20
  • By Contrast: A metal building engineered for Missouri would most likely cost less than a building engineered for the Southeast. This is true even though Missouri has a seismic rating of 250/100 and a wind speed of 90 mph. This because in most cases, it costs more to engineer for wind speeds than it does for seismic activity. In either case, the money associated with engineering the building correctly is a good investment when it comes to the longevity of the building.

Although the chart provides a general idea on what will influence the final price of your building, it’s always best to get an official quote from an accurate building cost estimator rather than rely on a price per square foot.

Hurricane and Tropical Storm Predictions

There are less storms but they’re stronger than ever.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently released a report that predicts 5-8 hurricanes and 12-17 tropical storms for the upcoming hurricane season. That would make it the most active season since 2012, when Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the Atlantic Coast.

  • We’re seeing fewer hurricanes, but the ones we do see are more intense.

Jim Elsner: National Typhoon Center

With temperatures trending upward, it’s likely these storms will increase in number and intensity in the coming years. If you’re in the market for a new building in the Southeast, a metal building is clearly the safest and most reliable choice.

Need Help? We’re Listening!

Preparing your building for your local atmospheric conditions.

Our team is standing by if you have questions about constructing a prefab building in the Southeast. Give us a call at 1-800-745-2685, Tweet us @gensteel or message us on Facebook to speak with one of our Project Consultants.





Metal Buildings for the Southeast
Article Name
Metal Buildings for the Southeast
If you plan on constructing a building in Alabama, Georgia, Florida or their surrounding states, the type of building you choose must stand up to heavy rains, floods, & damaging winds. Learn how metal buildings combat severe Southern weather.
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General Steel
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