Northern Indiana Metal Building Contractor : 5 Reason For Steel Structures

Northern Indiana Metal Building Contractor : 5 Reason For Steel Structures

Have you ever looked for a Northern Indiana Metal Building Contractor in the Michiana region?

If so, odds are you know all the applications of these pre-engineered steel structures.

There are steel buildings for agricultural farms, industrial garages, large churches, multi-unit living complexes, warehouses, and much more.

The fact is, due to the open landscape of Northern Indiana strong winds from the west and lake effect snow from the Great Lakes present a challenge to traditional commercial buildings owners.

Metal Building versus Traditional Commercial Structures

Lower Insurance Payments

First, there are the higher insurance replacement costs.

Due to a commercial steel buildings exponential lower cost versus traditional buildings, small business owner can typically expect to pay at least 20% less on full replacement premiums.

Resistance To Fire

Another reason, to choose a pre-engineered steel building is due to a natural safety feature — the fire resistance of steel.

According to one metal building kit manufacturer, …

steel building are non-combustible, [where as] … wood framing simply acts as handy fuel for the fire, but steel framing does not feed a fire.

Research conducted by the National Fire Protection Association, and released in November of 2015 indicates “there were 1,298,000 fires reported in the United States. These fires caused 3,275 civilian deaths, 15,775 civilian injuries, and $11.6 billion in property damage.

As you can see from this chart over 84.2% of the largest losses where related to commercial structures.

Northern Indiana Metal Building Contractor - Large Fire Prevention
Download the full report >>>

Leveling Of Concrete

On the surface traditional commercial builders seem to have an advantage in being able to build on a foundation of oddly shaped properties.

However, you need to remember we are talking about Northern Indiana, climate, soil composition, and other external factor play into the hands of a commercial metal building contractor.

Why you ask?

Because, as Leanna Ferguson puts it —

Having a structure on a site that is not level can sometimes hurt the structures integrity and cause run offs in the wrong places.”

And any pre-engineered steel building erector worth a grain of salt knows you do not build unless the surface is .001 level.

Building Versatility

If you were to ask a traditional commercial builder, “what is the worst thing that can happen once you start a new project” the top three answers would be:

  1. Someone is badly injured on the job.
  2. The project runs out of funding.
  3. The client wants to add-on something new.

If you ask the same question to a commercial steel building contractor there reply would be …

  1. Someone is badly injured on the job.

That is it.

Since pre-engineered building are kits that need assembled there are no surprise.

You follow the directions and everything fastens together securely.

And, if you want to add-on … “please do” would be the response.

A few days ago, in relation to the topic of versatility a steel building manufacturer wrote:

Complementary structural components can easily be accommodated during construction while new installations can be introduced any time should there be any changes in loading requirements or building use.

Hidden Advantages

There are several other benefits.

The Build Design and Construction University website highlights many other reasons why pre-engineered building are optimal for Northern Indiana businesses and farmers.

However, there is one advantage that cannot be credited to the building themselves.

The fact of the matter is that some metal building kit manufacturers cut corner. Others do not.

Kemp Construction is a  Northern Indiana metal building contractor who exclusively erect Nucor Building Systems.

For nearly 30 years, they have not been “a” leader in the design and manufacturing of custom-engineered steel structures.

Instead, they have — in my opinion been “the” leader.

Adding to our competitive advantage is that Nucor Building Systems has a custom metal commercial building facility in our backyard… Waterloo Indiana.

Nucor building systems plant - Northern Indiana Metal Building Contractor

Heck, as an ISO14001:2004 certified manufacturer, they even offer plant tours so you can witness for yourself their dedication to the environment and water reduction.

Did you know, in addition to begin a member of USGBC® (U.S. Green Building Council), they offer NBS prismatic skylights?

These skylights make it easy of metal building owners to:

Harness the [power of the] sun so that electric lights can be dimmed or turned off for a portion of the day while making the interior more pleasant for occupants.

NBS Prismatic Skylights for commercial buildings - Northern Indiana Metal Building Contractor
Learn more >>>

Final Thoughts Of A Northern Indiana Metal Building Contractor

By now, I hope you can see why custom steel metal buildings are a wise business decision.

And, if you are looking for a commercial contract in Northern Indiana — I like wise hope you have gotten a sense of why Kemp Construction should be one of the first companies you call for guidance.

If you have any differences of opinion, a suggest, idea, or comment — we always welcome them.

If you find this article helpful please share it with someone else who might be looking for a Northern Indiana Metal Building Contractor.

Thanks in advance!


South Bend Metal Building Construction Has Its Place

Nucor Building Systems - Concrete Slab Plants - South Bend Metal Building Construction

What are metal building construction systems (MBCS)?

Also known as pre-engineered metal buildings, MBCS are proprietary types of metal structures.

These metal buildings are designed and manufactured by MBCS companies like:

  • Absolute Steel
  • Armstrong Steel
  • Nucor Building Systems
  • Whirlwind Steel
  • several others.

Within the South Bend Region, Nucor metal buildings systems are quite popular, and 95% of them are erected by Kemp Construction.

South Bend Metal Building Construction - Solid Foundation

In addition, MBCS account for over 65% of of low-rise nonresidential buildings across the lower 48 US states.

However, popularity does not signify, ease of construction.

Construction of a pre-engineered steel buildings is similar to the construction of other buildings in that everything starts with a strong foundation.

MBCS companies and their metal building contractors are commonly asked …

Q: Is the foundation part of the metal building package?

The short answer is — NO.

However, Whirlwind Steel provides a more detailed explanation on their website.

A: The foundation is designed for each metal building and laid prior to erecting the building. The foundation design for a metal building is typically performed by an engineer for a specific project and not by the building manufacturer or contractor.

South Bend Metal Building Construction Surveyor prior to Concrete Foundations

Of course, prior to having the steel building foundation poured, the Michiana territory land must be professionally surveyed.



This serves two purposes:

  1. It ensures the building site is level and ready to be constructed upon.
  2. It give the metal building contractor and cement pouring engineer the exact boundaries of the plot.

For more details related to concrete pour check-out, they provide very specific guidelines and can even help you get a quote in places outside the South Bend region.

We might also want to check-out Youtuber “God’s Country” has they demonstrate the concrete slab pouring process on an 80′ X 100′ area.

Absolute Steel, mentioned early, has had many years in the MBCS industry.

For concrete slab mounting, they recommend the following:

anchor your structure to a concrete foundation. This is a stronger and more stable method of anchoring plus once you have a level concrete surface to work with, installation is easier.

Armstrong Steel, also mentioned earlier is another veteran in the MBSC sector.

They have a blog post titled. “Don’t make these 3 blunders when buying a steel building“.

The one we are going to reference here is the first one of the three blunders:

Don’t pour your concrete before you have your plans

Just like the team at Armstrong Steel, we at Kemp Construction, you have seen it happen all to often.

A South Bend region customers has determined that buying a metal building is the best option.

When built by a professional commercial contractor, it is fast, safe, and extremely cost-effective.

They also have made the decision to buy a certain sized pre-engineered steel building.

In order to save time and money, [so they think], they are going to quicken the building process.

So they hire an independent surveyor and a cement pouring professional.

Then, they have the project laid-out and dried-up prior to receiving official drawings from Graham Engineered, our in-house building engineer.

As pointed out by Andersen Steel’s blunder blog, …

this is one of the most useless things you can do. Your steel building isn’t a typical box that just sits on top of a concrete slab.

Remember, this building is going to be subjected to wind and weather loads.

This is especially true within the South Bend, Indiana region due to the winds from Chicago, and the lake-effect snow from the Great Lakes, in addition to regular Winter conditions.

Challenges Facing South Bend Metal Building Construction

Most pre-calculated concrete slab guidelines and recommendations do not take into account the frost lines experience in the Northern Mid-West.

When a South Bend metal building construction company is called in to erect a pre-fab structure it wants to know that the concrete footings will be much deeper than what is typically recommended.

In addition, local building authorities will have specific frost line mandates and enforced requirements within the Michiana area.

heavy snow loads for South Bend Metal Building Contractors

In addition, to these challenges faced by South Bend metal building construction companies, the various land designations; i.e. agricultural, commercial manufacturing, multi-unit housing, commercial non-profit [ church], municipal, and others, further complicate the types, style, and manner of pre-engineered building construction.

To further complicate matters, until recently the design procedures have not been well understood, because they are not specified in the federal, state, city, or even industry building codes and technical design guides.

In 2013, this changed a bit as the Foundation and Anchor Design Guide for Metal Building Systems (McGraw-Hill, 2013), was published.

Since, every building is only as good as its foundation, the foundation designs produced by different engineers for the same metal building structure could range from those that cost a trivial amount to those that are quite expensive to construct.

Fortunately, as an authorized Nucor Building Systems commercial contractor, Kemp Construction and our hand selected certified building partners have benefited from guidance provided within the Nucor Building System Specification Guide, as well as, its cement division.

See a comprehensive list of Nucor Build System concrete product manufacturers below:

Concrete plant by Nucor Building Systems
Concrete Products
Builder: Carter Group, LLC
Location: Marianna, FL
Size: 55,000 sf
Precast concrete products facility.

Multiple cranes ranging from 10 to 130 ton capacities.


Nucor CFR standing seam roof system.

Metal concrete plant facility by M.L. Barnard, Inc.
Maysville Concrete
Builder: M.L. Barnard, Inc.
Location: Maysville, KY
Size: 5,000 sf
This Nucor metal building is a concrete plant which includes a partial mezzanine.

Also features the Galvalume Nucor CFR system.

Metal mining facility by Martin Construction
Chase Mining
Builder: Martin Construction
Location: Jessup, MD
Multiple buildings of various sizes.

Nucor girts with Nucor Classic Roof , and Classic Wall applied to structural steel frames.

Concrete warehouse by T. Gene Edwards, Inc.
Yerbey Concrete
Builder: T. Gene Edwards, Inc.
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Size: 37,960 sf
Single sloped commerical metal building warehouse for a concrete company that features three 5’-0” projection canopies and Nucor Classic Roof Translucent Panels.
LaFarge Cement by Arcon Construction
LaFarge Cement
Builder: Arcon Construction
Location: Delmar, NY
Size: 1,600 sf
This Nucor building is a cement plant featuring the Nucor Classic Roof ™ and Nucor Classic Wall™.
Cement processing plant by Coward-Hund Construction Co.
Van Smith Block
Builder: Coward-Hund Construction Co.
Location: Summerville, SC
Size: 28,300 sf
This Nucor metal building is a commercial cement processing plant features both the Nucor Classic Roof and Classic Wall systems.
Asphalt company office building
SEM Concrete
Builder: G. Greenstreet, Inc.
Location: Lubbock, TX
Size: 3,600 sf
Business office and materials dispatch or a local asphalt manufacturing & distribution plant.

Nucor Classic Wall   & Classic Roof exterior.

Concrete warehouse by The Hayden Company, Inc.
Meade Concrete
Builder: The Hayden Company, Inc.
Location: Lexington, KY
Size: 12,420 sf
Clearspan Nucor metal building that features a combination concrete block/Nucor Classic Wall exterior as well as the NucorClassic Roof .


There are many reasons to hire a South Bend metal building construction company, like Kemp Construction.

However, be sure to discuss with us exactly what you want before doing something silly like getting the cement poured first.

Know that the guidelines of building within the South Bend Region is different than building in other parts of the country.

If you are interested in reading the complete design examples, including concrete design for various loading conditions, the book, Foundation and Anchor Design Guide for Metal Building Systems (McGraw-Hill, 2013) is available on Amazon.

Finally, let us know what you think about this article, and feel feel to share relevant thoughts.

High Strength Bolting Keeps Nucor Building Systems Secure

At Kemp Construction Company our custom metal building design and solutions are all centered around the benefits of working with Nucor Building Systems.

Nucor Building Systems has been a metal building construction industry leader for the design and manufacture of custom-engineered metal building systems for well over 25 years.

Their avid focus on customer service, price, and premium quality materials has allowed Nucor Building Systems to grow and expand within all of North America.

While most of this discuss is applicable to most metal building systems, please note that since Kemp Construction has such a strong relationship with Nucor Building Systems some information is not accurate for other brand — even if they are owned by NBS, or, one of its subsidiaries.

The components of a Nucor steel metal building system

Pre-engineered buildings are factory-built buildings of steel that are shipped to site and bolted using high-strength bolts and nuts at critical joints.

Great speed is achieved because while the foundations and floor slab are being constructed, the structural system consisting of the beams and columns are being fabricated in the factory by Nucor Building Systems.

The foundations for pre-engineered metal buildings are made with conventional concrete systems. Most commonly these concrete systems are of the open foundation variety.

The concrete as we discussed on another blog post is critical to the safety of the metal building, briefly here is why…

The impact of wind on by metal building structures

Nucor Building Systems are usually quite large in stature, and as a result, similar to other large building structures — they tend to attract a fair amount of wind force from different directions.

Roof damage can be caused by high wind air pressure below the roofing assembly when the air pressure is greater than the air pressure above the building’s roof.

As this force of wind passes over the roof of your metal building, the pressure directly above the surface of the roof decreases.

Simultaneously, internal air pressure is increased due to air infiltration, which typically comes from planned openings like garage doors, windows, or manufacturing exhaust vents.

Of course, Nucor Buildings Systems are adaptable to a number of energy-efficient insulation systems from basic fiberglass to rigid board and insulated metal panels, even prismatic skylights can help maximize energy savings by significantly reducing building operating costs.

Nonetheless, this powerful cause and effect of wind creates a net upwards phenomena known as “uplift”.

Since Nucor Building System are active members of the MBMA Energy Committee and the U.S. Green Buildings Council, and help to set the bar concerning energy efficient buildings and green construction practices, their metal building systems have a published rate of 89% or higher recycled content which leads to structure weight of as little as 50 kg per square meter.

In other words, Nucor Building Systems steel building can be an exceptional choice for your LEED® projects, as the building are of high-quality weather-proof design and light-weight. Please, note the foundation(s) and floor slab is not included in the estimate.

Despite top notch grade Nucor Building Systems material, and excellence of Kemp Construction design and installation the need to combat uplift was of a concern to the Nucor Building Systems engineers.

The solutions to uplift on Nucor Building Systems

Every Nucor metal building has at its foundations custom designed with joint assembly points for the purpose of firmly anchoring the entire structures to the ground with bolts, preventing them from being blown away by the uplift effect of wind.

sidewall and endwall fasteners Nucor
Image Source: Nucor Building Systems; Product and Engineering Manual; Section 10.0 Anchor Bolt Details; Last Revision 08/28/09 by: DLC, CHK, AES, Detail Name if Applicable – AB0020PE.DWG 10.0.5 AB0020PE – Sidewall OR Endwall Column Setback

Nucor Building Systems do not stop there, they also exceed the standards set by FM Approvals.

According to Roof Contractor Magazine:

FM Approvals is a nationally recognized testing laboratory that tests and certifies building materials, fire protection and electrical equipment that can help prevent or reduce property damage.

Those products and services that meet FM Approvals’ rigid testing criteria become FM approved and bear the “FM” diamond certification mark.

Setting a firm foundation

The flooring of a typical metal industrial or steel storage building is usually a thick (about 6″ to 8″ ) concrete grade slab that rests directly on the prepared earth beneath it.

The concrete can be topped with a thin, abrasion resistant smooth coating called an epoxy floor or polyurethane floor if desired.

This style of construction is ideally suited to industrial buildings and warehouses; it is cost-effective, very fast to erect, and can also be dismantled and moved to another site – more on that later.

The Nucor Steel Building has these same features with the added benefit of its own supplier of welded wire reinforcement, Harris Supply.

As a result Nucor concrete foundations and slabs are reinforce with a full range of industry leading and advanced innovations in epoxy coated WWR where rebar and/or steel remesh products are needed.

Nucor Column Bolted To Concrete Foundation Floor
Image Source: Nucor Building Systems; Product and Engineering Manual; Section 10.0 Anchor Bolt Details; Last Revision 08/28/09 by: DLC, CHK, AES, Detail Name if Applicable – AB0020PE.DWG 10.0.5 AB0030PE – Column At Finished Floor

Dried into the concrete foundation and slabs are 1.25″ industrial grade Nucor steel fasteners anchor bolt with a projection of 3” above the bottom of the baseplate, see image above for details.

Column and Bolts Below ConcreteGrout thickness needs to be added to the projection where grout is used in ensure a precise fit and to hide the column base and anchoring bolts [see image below].

Nucor Building Systems require that the Nucor Anchor Bolt Setting Plan be used in lieu of the Architect’s Anchor Bolt Setting plan at all times.Baseplate with grout

The Metal Building Structure and Secure Design

The columns and beams of Nucor Building Systems consist of custom-fabricated I-beam sections that have an end plate with precision cut holes for bolting at both ends.

These I-section members are constructed by cutting Nucor steel plates of the desired thickness, and welding them together to assure joint integrity, and eliminate cracks.

Welding the section is another design feature to combat uplift as discussed earlier. 

The cutting and welding of the I-beam sections is manufactured via cutting edge automation. These industrial robots offer a high degree of speed and accuracy; the robots of overseen by human operators who will simply feed a CAD drawing of the beams into the machines, and then monitor the robots as they handle the task.

Once the foundations and floor are dried solid and pass inspection, the steel columns are shipped to Kemp Construction at the build site.

Upon arrival the painted steel sections, we utilize cranes to lift the sections into proper place and begin what we consider the most critical part of metal building construction …

… the fastening of I-beam section members to each other, and securing them to the concrete foundation and protruding Nucor structural fastener anchor stud bolts.

Pneumatic Torque Wrench for metal building construction

In large buildings, construction can start with two cranes working inwards from both ends; as they come together, one crane is removed and the other finishes the job.

The Role of Nucor Fasteners In Metal Building Safety

The proper tensioning, or tightening, of high strength structural bolts is essential at the slip-critical (or slip-resistant) joints of metal frames, and is the secret sauce to achieve engineered strength of a Nucor Building System.

If engineered strength is not attained, resistance to wind, snow, seismic loads, and other factors may cause the building frame to distort or worse fail.

Unfortunately, even though Nucor Building Systems has its own supplier of 6 different types of industrial fasteners as seen listed below, anchor bolts and nuts are not supplied by Nucor as part of the building order.

Nuts and Bolts - Nucor Fasteners
Image Source: Nucor Product Reference Guide

Of course, the nuts, washers, and bolts in and of themselves do not ensure a secure metal building; the method of torquing the fasteners is the true hero.

Nonetheless, the industrial fasteners was must withstand the applied force of torque in the first place.

According to Guy Avelon, owner of GT Technical Consultants;

A critical bolt failure can make all the difference between a high performance system and a broken high priced device. It takes just a single compromised bolt to cause untold damage to both the system and the very facility the system is located.

Nucor Structural BoltsThat said, insufficiently tightened fasteners may result in loosening of nuts on stud over time, and ultimately ceasing to contribute to the metal building frame stability.

Since each piece of the Nucor Building system is very much alike they are able to be fastened with a consist type and size of fastener at various points, and thus only 6 types of fasteners are required.

Fastening materials included for contractors

Nucor supplies all it approved builder, like Kemp Construction (3) sets of 11” X 17” anchor bolt setting plans on all building orders.

Usually, each connection calls for six to twenty bolts to be installed. Bolts are to be tightened to exactly the right amount of torque using various wrenches.

BERT with 3' Projection
All anchor bolts are ASTM F1554 Grade 36 unless noted otherwise. Nucor sizes the anchor bolt for shear and tension at the column base.
However, it is important to know that all aspects of the foundation design including anchor bolt embedment length and development to the concrete is not by Nucor.
Instead, the responsible architect or engineer for a specific project must see to it that the concrete is done by a professional who is qualified for this type of work.
Anchor Bolt Details
Image Depicts: Anchor Bolt Details

Now remember earlier we mentioned that the I-beam section members had open end plates for bolting them into the concrete?

While most of the other sections of a Nucor Building System can be fastened with manual spud wrench, the foundation structure should be fastened at minimum with a high quality Milwaukee or Ingersoll Rand type of impact wrench.

TTP Metal Steel Nucor Building Systems

However, for maximize benefit and precision a controlled tightening device like a TTP 1 Pneumatic TorcGun which ranges from hex size 1″ to 2 3/8″ is highly recommended by Kemp Construction especially on 1 1/2 inch to 2 1/2 inch bolt hex.

Approved Procedures for Tensioning Bolts

There are two generally accepted methods for tensioning high strength bolts on metal framed buildings. These are:

Manual Torquing“Turn-of-the-nut” method.

Bolt is tightened as snug as possible with a 14″-16″ spud wrench similar to the ones manufactured by Klein Tools.

A mark is made on a point of the nut and on the frame at the same point. Using a 4′-6′ cheater bar or using an impact wrench, the nut is tightened two points past the mark on the frame.

Calibrated Tigthening of Pre-Engineered Metal Building BoltsCalibrated wrench method.

The nut and bolt is paired tightened using a calibrated wrench, (not a common torque wrench), and is tightened to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Other methods approved by the manufacturer or project engineer may be used with prior approval of the Building Official.

After final tightening, we recommend the fastener be distinctively marked with paint or light colored indelible marker, to indicate the nut and bolt has been fully torque within specification.

Anchoring The Safety of Metal Building

As we have shown you, pre-engineered metal buildings require a firm foundation, welded integrity of seams, and precision bolting of its components to each other and the concrete base and slab.

Doing so prevents “uplift” created by wind force to damage the roof and wall sections.

The cement mix and steel rebar play an essential part in the laying on the concrete foundation and slabs.

Spud wrenches and impact wrenches are used to fasten most bolts, however, the 3″ anchor bolt extending from the base of the concrete are recommended to be tightened with a calibrated pneumatic torque wrench to achieve maximum accuracy.

Should you have any questions, comments, or thoughts regarding this post; High Strength Bolting Keeps Nucor Building Systems Secure, or any other matter please contact Kemp Construction, for a Nucor Building System quote call us at (574) 773-4994 .

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