Guest Column - November 2011
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Building Options

Building Branding
How the Right Building Can Work for You

By Charles Praeger

This impressive facility has five arenas with ice sheets; 37 locker rooms; 40 luxury suites; 300 club seats; main arena capacities of 6,000 for basketball/volleyball and 5,000 for hockey; a tournament facility that seats about 2,000 for basketball or volleyball and 1,600 for hockey; and three other tournament facilities that seat approximately 800 each. This monstrous job was done in phases. The first phase was a 211-foot, single-slope clear-span frame with a maximum eave height of about 55 feet—plus a unique "warped" roof. The four-skating-rink building is 280-feet wide with one interior column.

Another concept to talk about is life-cycle costs. This takes into consideration the longevity, durability and maintenance of the products. For metal building systems, life-cycle costs are low because the steel structures are long-lasting and relatively maintenance-free. The longevity of a metal building increases when the structure is paired with durable cladding materials, such as metal roofs and walls. The life of a metal roof is typically 40 years or more compared to 15 to 20 years for other materials. "A building owner should look at the lifespan of roofing materials," Haslebacher said. "Upfront costs may be higher for a metal roof, but think about what you are going to spend on maintenance and replacement fees. Over the long run, metal saves you money."

Metal roofs lead into the next cost-saving concept—sustainability. Going green isn't just good for the environment, it also is easy on the wallet over the long-term because of energy savings. A metal building's sustainability is tied to the fact that steel is a recycled material. Because of this, metal building systems can earn LEED points or credits toward other green incentive programs. Technological advances have brought more cool features to metal. Coatings, for instance, give metal roofs high reflective values, meaning the sun's rays are reflected away from the building instead of absorbed into the building. This technology helps keep a building cooler and uses less energy for air-conditioning. Again, this saves the building owner money on utility bills. The coatings are available in many colors so design isn't compromised.

Insulation also plays a role in a metal building's sustainability. Many manufacturers offer varying R-values for insulation. By increasing the R-value in roofs and walls, energy consumption is reduced. And by now you know what this means—more cost savings.

"People shouldn't think of going green as a fad or something to do because it is trendy," Haslebacher said. "Adding sustainable assemblies into a metal building system may cost more up front, but these items will save money over the long-term. That is something every building owner should want. Also, sustainable materials create an occupant-friendly environment in terms of health and comfort—another benefit for your members."

Add It Up

If you add up cost savings, sustainability and an architecturally aesthetic image with additional benefits of metal buildings systems, your branding just became as simple as highlighting your facility.

Haslebacher added: "We are in a difficult economy. But this doesn't mean construction, expansion or improvements can't happen at your facility; you just have to be smart about it.

A metal building is an economical choice that can become one of your greatest assets."


Charles Praeger is the assistant general manager of the Metal Building Manufacturers Association, Cleveland, Ohio, and past chairman of the Cool Metal Roofing Coalition. Visit for details.