First, it was straw and wood. Then came mud and clay. Stone followed, which was later replaced by brick and mortar. But in recent times, building construction has undergone a drastic change. Today, we have metal buildings.
Metal was used in old buildings too, but the current trend has shifted towards making entire buildings of metal, especially steel, or making the metal frames to support sheets of toughened plastic, laminates, or some such material. Here, we shall restrict our discussions to buildings made almost entirely of metal.
We shall also discuss buildings in which frames, beams, columns, and even walls and roofs are made out of metals. Metal buildings are popularly used in external structures built around homes, such as garages, tool sheds, work sheds, storage sheds, and cabins for security staff, etc.
They are also used extensively for constructing commercial buildings. Recently, owing to the stability of these buildings under the onslaught of natural calamities like the hurricanes, people are also taking to living entirely inside metal buildings.
The types of metal buildings are described according to their shapes. There are four main types depending on this classification. The shapes described are as seen from their front (gate) side:-
Q-type Metal Buildings
Q-type buildings have no straight walls. They are wholly designed as a large semicircle. These are not suitable for navigating vehicles inside, but they can be used as garages for single vehicles or boats, or as warehouses, and are ideal for stocking grains and hay.
A-type Metal Buildings
These are the latest models, designed specifically for places that are prone to very heavy snowfall. Their walls slope inwards, and they have a roof that is designed in a rounded triangular form, much like the P-type. Though their inner area is less, they are perfect for extreme weather conditions.
Installing metal buildings is usually a breeze, and most owners do it themselves using do-it-yourself guides. Metal buildings are available in prefabricated formats - the different parts will be shipped to you, along with all the fittings and accessories required to erect the building.
With the help of an elaborate guide, replete with several instructional diagrams, the installation can be completed within a single day. Most companies also offer installation services for people who are not up to the task. Generally, the installation is free or comes at a nominal cost.
Pros and Cons
The increasing popularity of metal buildings definitely indicates that they must have several benefits. Indeed, as commercial buildings they are very cheap and easy to put up. They are also sturdy during most kind of weather conditions, and hence they can provide good protection for the wares stocked inside them.
Also, since they are mostly in a prefabricated format, they can be easily transported from one place to another. Maintenance of the buildings also becomes easy - just a coat of paint and weatherproofing materials is required when they start looking jaded.
On the negative side, metal buildings made out of iron are prone to rust very quickly, despite the rustproof paints used. Steel is preferable, but that would be a bit costlier than the iron buildings. Also, since these buildings are made of metal, the cheaper versions might have some jagged edges that could cause injury.
However, the reputed metal building makers look minutely into these details, and buildings made by them are quite safe to use, even for residential purposes. There is also a kind of stigma associated with people living in metal buildings because they are so inexpensive.
If you are living in a region prone to natural calamities, these buildings are a good idea. They cannot be made as beautiful as our traditional brick and mortar buildings, but that's a matter of perspective. Lastly, these buildings are excellent for commercial purposes, but for residential use, their utility depends on the person planning to live here.