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Metal building with block stem wall/block ground floor not smart?

tintree | Posted in General Questions on

I’d like to build a stem wall or ground floor of blocks for a metal building. However, I was told by a metal building supplier that the company doesn’t recommend a metal/block hybrid or basically putting a metal roof on a block wall! My stab is sway, especially in hurricane areas. My question is how to tie a decent stem wall to a metal building without sacrificing trees?

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    That's a question for an engineer, not a web forum.

    What type of building is this? As I'm sure you know, steel buildings and CMU walls can be difficult to insulate.

  2. tintree | | #2

    I wish it were that simple. Why be the one engineer to make a mistake, when you can be one of a few engineers to screw in a bulb or read a forum.

    It's a residential building almost off the grid, and the supplier's engineer mentioned against mixing metal truss+column with a block garage base, for example. Maybe there is a second opinion or modification out there since it does get done.

    There are detractors to insulating metal as you say. Rock wool board seems interesting in addition to other layers like cellulose, keeping it somewhat non-toxic. Blocks, whether forms or not, are equally tough as some are exposed blocks. In the end, the R values are adding up the same for the two options.

    Thanks, anyway.

  3. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #3

    I'm not an engineer, but it sounds as if you are saying, in a joking way, that you are. So I'm not going to pretend to give you advice.

    If you are an engineer, you need to calculate all of the forces and loads that will be acting on the CMU wall, and make sure that the CMU wall is strong enough to resist those forces. You have to come up with a secure way to fasten the steel frame to the top of the CMU wall, and you need to make sure that this fastening method handles all of the relevant forces and loads that are typically handled by more conventional details.

    Finally, you have to present your calculations to the manufacturer of the steel frame to convince them that you know what you are doing. Does that make sense? Or am I missing something?

    In any case, these seem like unusual material choices for a residence.

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