As barndominiums continue to grow in popularity, many would-be barndominium owners wonder: are barndominiums safe? These metal structures offer the perfect combination of living space with workspace and have various barndominium floor plan options to choose from at a fraction of the cost of a traditional house, all while adhering to stringent building codes. And guess what? They also are incredibly energy-efficient and durable and, in many cases, are safer than a conventional home. If you’ve been dreaming of becoming the homeowner of a barndominium but have held back due to questions around safety, prepare to have all your worries put to rest. These metal buildings stand the test of time and natural disasters in many cases, meaning you and your family can sleep soundly knowing you’re protected in an emergency.
Are Barndominiums Safe in Rain?
Unlike traditional homes that are built from mostly wood materials, metal barndominiums are constructed from steel frames and metal siding that keep them protected from water damage and corrosion. This means these structures are also not susceptible to rot or other wood-related water ailments. When a heavy storm comes through, you can be at ease knowing that mold and mildew are not spreading through your home. The steel sheeting used in these metal structures is also galvanized, making them resistant to rust as well. As an added benefit, by protecting against water damage, the metal materials in this residential building also helps keep critters such as termites, ants, or other unwelcome pests away.
Are Barndominiums Safe in Lightning?
While lightning strikes are rarely a problem for any home, steel barndominiums may have additional safety benefits. It might be surprising to note that steel does not attract lightning. In fact, compared to other materials, metal has a lower electrical resistance. This means that if lightning does strike your home, the steel helps to spread out the heat of the strike and pass through the metal and into the ground. The steel materials used to build your barndo help protect the exterior, which also protects the interior. All your electronic appliances and the people inside are shielded from any harmful effects.
Are Barndominiums Safe in a Tornado?
Barndominiums are highly popular in tornado alley and rural areas, including Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. This raises the question: are barndominiums safe in a tornado? It only stands to reason that homeowners living in this area of the United States would be highly concerned with the structural integrity of their homes. Barndominiums have an advantage over homes in the durability department. Constructed with metal, a barndo offers superior protection from severe weather. The steel structure of a steel barndominium has a higher wind resistance than a conventional wood frame home.
Tornadoes are rated using the Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale (effective since 2007):
EF0 – 65 to 85 mph winds
EF1 – 86 to 110 mph winds
EF2 – 111 to 135 mph winds
EF3 – 136 to 165 mph winds
EF4 – 166 to 200 mph winds
EF5 – over 200 mph winds
While the metal integrity of your home can endure a tornado, the windows and doors may not. Special windows have to be purchased that have a stronger design pressure rating. All that being said, it is still recommended that homeowners of barndos invest in a storm shelter in case of emergencies.
Read this story of a Worldwide Steel Building customer and how his building stood up to an EF2 tornado: Why Tornado Alley Chooses Worldwide Steel Buildings.
Are Barndominiums Safe in a Hurricane?
One severe weather event that includes various elements is a hurricane. Luckily, the barndominium has already proven to stand up to rain, lightning, and high winds. Hurricanes are categorized using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. This scale is a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane’s sustained wind speed and estimates of potential property damage.
Category 1 – 74 to 95 mph winds
Category 2 – 96 to 110 mph winds
Category 3 – 111 to 129 mph winds
Category 4 – 130 to 156 mph winds
Category 5 – 157 mph and higher
Hurricanes designated Category 3 or higher are considered major hurricanes because of their potential for significant damage and loss of life. A barndominium is more likely to survive a Category 3 hurricane compared to a regular home. Similarly to tornados, while the structural integrity of your barndo is sound, the windows may not be. If you’re considering building a barndominium in an area where hurricanes are a concern, take into account the strength and durability of the windows and doors you select for your new home. Besides the risk of windows shattering due to strong winds, you also need to worry about damage from debris.
Are Barndominiums Safe in Fire?
A fire is a concern for any home, including metal barndominiums. While wood structures and steel structures can both last upwards of 50 to 100 years with proper care, wood building materials don’t compare to steel when it comes to outlasting a fire. No matter the cause, a significant fire can quickly take out the wood frame of a conventional home.
While fire is still a problem for barndominiums (especially if it gets inside), the steel posts, frame, and overall structure of the barndominium home are likely to stay intact. Steel weakens at temperatures of 500 degrees Fahrenheit and starts to melt at temperatures of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. House fires typically reach temperatures around 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit. This is enough to weaken the metal frame but can still outlast wood materials. Steel is also fire-resistant, meaning your barndominium has a higher likelihood of being safe during extreme weather that can cause fires.
Build a Barndominium to Ride Out Life’s Storms
There are many advantages to choosing barndominium life as your forever home, including durability and safety in a variety of weather conditions. Metal barndominiums are low maintenance, cost-effective to build, have open floor plan options, have faster construction, and protect your valuables. When you want a durable, flexible design option to build your new home, a steel barndo may be the ideal choice. Get started creating your dream home by contacting Worldwide Steel Buildings. Our team of experts can help guide you through the whole process of building your own barndominium kit, from ideation to completion. Contact us today at (800) 825-0316.
Worldwide Steel building kits are designed with a focus on construction site safety tips, targeting those eager to independently erect their new metal building or with help from a small crew of construction workers, friends, or a local contractor. Recognizing the challenges faced by construction companies, our construction process is streamlined and user-friendly, acknowledging the potential hazards in construction projects, and is suitable even for those outside the professional construction industry. With just a bit of common sense, the right equipment, and some extra hands, you can manage the entire build by yourself. Remarkably, most of our customers find no need to rent heavy machinery or other heavy construction equipment.
Our metal building systems are crafted to simplify construction and help prevent accidents, fatalities, and near misses. The trusses are pre-punched, our sheet metal attaches to purlins and girts with self-drilling, color-coded screws. We provide a comprehensive step-by-step assembly manual that doubles as a safety training guide, emphasizing safety procedures and ensuring workplace safety throughout the construction work and building process.
However, it’s vital to remember that ease of construction doesn’t equate to a lack of potential risks. Working with large, heavy sheets of metal and tall steel beams means adhering to safety measures, safety plans, and site safety rules is critical. Here are a few safety precautions we deem essential:
1. Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Proper protective gear, including safety vests and harnesses, can significantly reduce the risk of injury on a steel building construction site. Essential items include:
- A hard hat: Everyone on or near the construction job absolutely must wear an OSHA-approved hard hat, all the time. Even if you’re not actively building, there is always a risk of head injury due to falling objects.
- Boots: Always wear sturdy work boots with good ankle support and no-slip rubber soles for optimal safety, preferably steel-toe.
- Gloves: Protective gloves are crucial to guard against lacerations from sharp sheet metal.
- Goggles: Again, make sure they’re OSHA-approved and essential for anyone using a drill or a saw to protect from flying particles and electrical hazards.
- Masks: Recommended when working with hazardous materials, insulating materials, or wood trim.
2. Eliminate as Many Fall Risks as Possible
We prioritize safety by recommending that as much work as possible is done on the ground. If you do as much assembly as possible at ground level, you can then lift and install the components (like walls and roof panels) once they’re complete. For the times when you absolutely need to be up high (every job has these, of course), you can continue to mitigate your risk by using personal fall arrest systems and guardrails when working at heights to minimize the risk of falls. Things like ladder safety and avoiding roof work in windy or slippery conditions can also go a long way.
3. Communicate with Everyone Working on the Project
Whether you’ve hired help or just convinced your buddies to help you raise the walls on your steel building, everyone on-site needs to take the project seriously. Ensuring everyone on the construction job is aware of safety hazards, understands safety procedures, and knows how to properly use construction equipment is paramount. Keeping emergency numbers and a first aid kit available is also essential.
4. Keep the Job Site Clean
A tidy worksite, free of hazardous materials and with clear exit paths, is a safe work environment. Regular cleaning and maintenance of construction equipment also play a crucial role in worker safety.
5. Admit When You’re Out of Your Depth
Recognizing when tasks require professional expertise, especially in work areas prone to electrical hazards or where complex excavations are involved, is crucial. Safety culture in construction involves knowing when to call for professional help to ensure safety and quality.
Additional Tips for Construction Site Safety
Beyond these fundamental safety measures, it’s important to foster a safety culture among everyone involved in the project. Regular safety meetings and discussions can help reinforce the importance of adhering to occupational safety protocols.
Another key aspect of maintaining a safe construction site is the regular inspection and maintenance of tools and equipment, including scaffolds and electrical equipment, to prevent electrocution or other safety issues.
Finally, a well-thought-out emergency response plan, including procedures for dealing with various types of emergencies, is essential.
For more detailed guidance, our Steel Building DIY Instructions are invaluable. Available with every metal building kit and for preview before purchase, they offer a comprehensive overview of the metal building construction process.
We at Worldwide Steel are committed to your safety and success. For assistance, guidance, or to share your building ideas, contact us at (800) 825-0316. Let’s safely bring your vision to life with some fun and creativity!