Steel Buildings: Safer During a Storm?

JONESBORO, AR -- When mother nature strikes no structure is truly stable, but there are some that can protect more than others.

The Aramark building in Jonesboro was hit by a tornado on Tuesday.  That building is a steel building and even with the damage the frame is still standing.  The building's owner said that is all because of the choice in frame.

"If you ever have a choice in a tornado whether to go to a mason building or to go to a steel building always go to a steel building.  A steel building still stands because it moves," said Bob Harrison.

There are other commercial buildings throughout Region 8 with steel and aluminum beams.  Most steel frame buildings are commercial, but that could be changing.

"For years we've been trying to perfect the method of building houses out of steel frames," said Jerry Myers.

Myers said the galvanized steel frames can be used in residential and light commercial buildings.

Meterologists tell K8 News these type of buildings could be safer because the frame is screwed into the foundation instead of nailed into it.

"It is put together with bolts and nuts.  The actual wall frame is put together with rivets," said Myers.

There aren't any of the steel framed homes currently up in Region 8, but they have been used in other parts of the country.

In addition to steel being a good source of stability, another way to have protection during a storm is to build a reinforced concrete building.

The new Tamales restaurant in Paragould is being built with eco-panels that are 13 inches wide.

The panels have two and a half inches of foam on either side and eight inches of concrete reinforced with rebar.

"If there's a bomb or a tornado, this is the building to be in.  It's not coming down," said Tom Wilkins.

Wilkins said this also helps control the energy costs for the building owner.