About half of the new one- and two-story business buildings in the U.S. are being built with metal building systems. As a result, “it’s safe to assume that a majority of low-rise government buildings being constructed today are made of metal,” according to Dan Walker, P.E., a professional engineer and the assistant general manager of the Cleveland-based Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA). Walker says that metal systems are becoming very common for use as fire stations, police stations, and local government offices. Metal structures also serve as recycling and service centers and other municipal facilities.
“They are typically built much faster than conventional buildings and have the advantage of offering larger interior spaces with high ceilings to accommodate large fire and rescue vehicles, as well as heavy equipment,” Walker says. Metal buildings can be designed with access doors for any type of vehicles. These can be large coiling overhead doors, high-lift dock doors, sectional garage doors, and even folding doors.
Walker reports that the MBMA’s member firms have manufactured thousands of city and county structures in the past decade. He cites recent fire station projects in Bluffton, SC, Simpsonville, KY, and Spartanburg, SC. He also adds that many cities are now creating performing arts venues and civic headquarters using metal systems with metal roofs as well. “The buildings are easy to reconfigure and to expand,” he notes. “They offer flexibility for all city services and venues,” Walker says that metal building technology is rapidly increasing the use of metal in structures. He predicts that this trend will continue, in part due to metal buildings’ ability to exceed energy code requirements and reduce maintenance costs.