Here in Oklahoma, wind is an issue for any building. Even without the threat of tornadoes, Oklahoma is known for the strong winds that sweep across the hills and plains. It’s not uncommon for straight-line winds to blow in excess of 50 or 60 mph. This can put an enormous strain on any building - which is why it’s important to consider wind load any time you build a new structure. Fortunately, steel buildings are perfect for Oklahoma’s windy climate. Keep reading to see why.

Steel Building in Oklahoma

Factors for Wind Resistance

When it comes to standing up to wind, there are several important factors you need to consider.

Exposure Rating

The first step to creating a wind-resistant building is knowing how much of a threat wind is at all. Even in windy areas like Oklahoma or Texas the wind can be highly variable. One way to calculate the wind threat to your building is to have a building engineer determine your site’s exposure rating. In general, exposure ratings are:

  • Exposure B: Urban, suburban or wooded areas with buildings placed close together. Wind generally poses a low threat in these areas. Exposure B is assumed as the default exposure level unless the building site meets the characteristics for another exposure rating.
  • Exposure C: Open, rural areas with scattered buildings or hills that are less than 30 feet tall. This zone includes countrysides, grasslands, and some shorelines.

If your building is in an Exposure C-rated area, you’ll need to take wind into account during the planning process. Wind loads for buildings on an Exposure C site are much higher than in Exposure B sites, so you’ll need to build with wind resistance in mind.

Wind Forces

Along with considering the amount of wind your building will get, it’s also important to consider the type of wind forces acting on your building. Structural engineers often consider three different types of wind force on buildings:

  • Shear Load – Wind pressure that is horizontal and which can force a building to tilt.
  • Lateral Load – Pushing or pulling horizontal wind forces that can cause a building to move off its foundation.
  • Uplift Load – Pressures from wind flow that cause lifting effects, which can damage a building’s roof and walls.

The wind forces acting on a building depend on many different factors including how it is oriented to the wind, the way the building is built, and the strength of the wind itself. When you purchase an engineered or certified steel building, the engineer will take all of these factors into account when finalizing your building’s design.

Designing a Wind-Resistant Building

Of course, the building site and orientation aren’t the only factors in wind resistance. It’s important to have some design considerations in mind from the start when wind is a concern. Here are a few tips for making your building more resistant to wind:

Use Proper Anchors

One of the biggest sources of wind damage is uplift damage - an upward, “lifting” force that can cause damage to roofs and walls. Proper anchoring is essential to counteract uplift damage, since it helps secure your building and distribute uplift forces evenly. There are several different styles of anchors available for steel structures, and the best one for your needs will depend on your site and location.

Lower is Better

While tall buildings offer advantages in terms of storage capacity and flexibility, they also suffer from more wind forces and damage. Lower, wider buildings are more stable in high winds than taller ones, so if you are worried about wind damage you should consider reducing the height of your building as much as possible.

Consider Prevailing Winds

Wind can come from any direction. However, you should always consider whether your building is most likely to see wind from a certain direction. For instance, here in Oklahoma many of our most damaging winds come out of the south. In this case it would be best to build a building so it is oriented away from the prevailing wind.

Keep Doors and Windows Closed

While old advice said it was better to open doors and windows to equalize pressure in high winds and storms, we now know this can actually lead to more damage. It’s best to keep doors and windows closed as much as possible during high winds. This helps avoid overpressurizing the inside of your building and causing damage.

Clear Your Site

One of the biggest sources of damage in high winds is secondary damage from things like falling trees, downed power lines or broken branches. Make sure you position your building away from risks and hazards and try to remove any potential sources of damage near your building.

When it comes to designing and building steel buildings, Bargain Barns USA is the best in the business. We can help you plan for hazards and dangers on your property, and we’ll gladly answer any of your questions. Call us today at 405-872-0338 or visit us on Facebook for more information and helpful advice.