Today’s pre-engineered metal building (PEMB) systems are typically composed of structural frames (columns & rafters) and secondary framing (girts and purlins). This type of building is able to span great distances economically and increases useable floor space below. Optimizing interior columns saves on money on the building as well as work around any equipment or storage required. Architects and engineers will typically specify this type of building, as it is most common.
An alternate to the traditional system is the cold formed building system. This building system uses cees and zees for the purlins and girts, similar to a PEMB. In addition, it uses single and double members to create the frames. The members tend to be larger and thicker, up to 24″ deep and 10ga thick. This system is fully engineered to meet the rigorous hurricane wind loading of the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
Both building types are custom engineered based on your location. If you’re on the water, you’ll need an Exposure D rating vs the standard Exposure C in the Bahamas. This ensures your well protected in the event a storm strikes. All of our buildings are designed and built to IBC standards and 180mph minimum wind loads. We can increase the wind speed to over 200mph if requested, of course this adds to the project cost.
How does the price of a cold-formed structure compare to a red-iron PEMB? Typically the cost is 15-30% less. There are restrictions, such as using basic shapes and keeping the width of the building at 50′ or below to be economical. The length of the building can be as desired, as this just determines the number of wall bays required.
When looking at the project as a whole, an express building can save you money and time! The foundation requirements for a secondary building are less – meaning less digging, less reinforcing steel, and less concrete! Additionally the shorter delivery schedule will save you weeks on your project.
Another advantage of the secondary building system is the lead time. A typical PEMB is currently 12-14 weeks lead time from order to factory delivery to the port in Florida. A cold-form building is currently 4-6 weeks from order to delivery. Installation time of both systems is about the same.
If you’re interested in building a steel building in the Bahamas, please request a free consultation from TMC Engineering to get your project going! We can help from a back of the napkin sketch to working with architects, engineers, planners, and cost consultants to make sure your building fits your needs and your budget!