When it Comes to Building a SteelMaster, There’s No Place Like Home
Smack dab in the middle of the United States is Kansas, which is often called the Heart of
America. When many Americans think of Kansas, most likely two things come to mind: the
movie “The Wizard of Oz” and tornadoes. But for Robert Williams and his wife who currently
live in Olathe, KS, this Midwestern state is their home, so much so that they purchased a 10
acre plot of farm land in Pamona, KS (about 45 miles from Olathe) on which they intend to
live out their retirement years.
After the Williams family bought their acreage in Pamona, they decided to build a shop on
the property for equipment storage. “Before we bought our storage building, we kept our
tractor and other equipment outside in the weather,” says Robert.
Kansas is situated in what many consider to be “Tornado Alley”—an area where 90 percent
of tornadoes spring to life because it is where cold, dry air from Canada and the Rocky
Mountains meets warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and hot, dry air from the Sonoran
Desert. The combination of these conditions along with atomospheric instability produces
intense thunderstorms which can lead to tornadoes. Ninety-four tornadoes were reported in
Kansas during 2010, and the record year for tornadoes in the state was in 2008 with 187
With this information in mind, the Williams had to make sure that the storage building they
bought could withstand winds reaching at least 206 miles per hour, which carries enough
strength to tear the roof and walls off of well-constructed homes, overturn trains, and
uproot most trees in a forest.
“I saw a [SteelMaster building] and liked what I saw, so that is what we purchased to use as
our farm storage building,” says Robert.
For more than 28 years, SteelMaster Buildings, which is located in Virginia Beach, VA, has
manufactured, designed, and supplied pre-fabricated arched steel structures to 40,000
customers located in every state of the United States, in 40 countries, and on seven
continents around the world.
“SteelMaster buildings are engineered for life,” says Michelle Wickum, the company’s
director of marketing. “Our steel buildings are also built to meet the wind loads of their
destination whether that’s in Kansas or on the coast of Florida. They remain maintenance
free for a lifetime thanks to the company’s use of Galvalume Plus Coating which offers
strength, superior corrosion resistance, and an attractive bright appearance that provides
excellent heat reflectivity.” Each SteelMaster building also comes with a 30-year mill-backed
warranty by ArcelorMittal (NYSE MT).
Along with the help of his wife and two friends, Robert erected the building in November
2009 and finished by building the end walls in June of 2010. “I built the end walls using 2x6
lumber and red metal siding,” says Robert. “The floor was poured as a monolithic 6" slab
with thickened sides that sit on piers that are 12" diameter and 5 foot deep. The piers are
placed every 6 foot around the perimeter of the building. I am pleased that all the material
supplied with the building fit as designed, and I’m pretty sure it will stand up to most of the
weather Kansas can throw at it.”
Robert has this to say to others who are about to begin construction of their own
SteelMaster building. “Read the construction manual, and then call the technical department
at SteelMaster and tell them the size of your building and question them about the best
method of putting the arches together. Also ask them to explain why it is so important to
put the small angles on the curved sections to keep the curved sections from growing as you
In addition to storage buildings, SteelMaster’s steel and metal pre-engineered buildings
are designed for a broad range of residential and commercial applications including garages,
workshops, carports, metal barns, Quonsets, airplane hangars, RV storage, roofing systems,
military buildings, commercial warehousing, and industrial storage as well as a wide variety
of custom building applications including athletic facilities, retail stores, churches, bus stops,
smoke shacks, doggie dorms, and correctional facilities.
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