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Metal Building with CMU Ext Walls

Metal Building with CMU Ext Walls

Metal Building with CMU Ext Walls

Greetings Everyone -

I have been asked by a client to design a Pre-Engineered Metal building but with CMU parapet walls which are also shear walls. This would normally be a no-brainer except the client would like the steel columns on the exterior of the building so the interior walls of the building would be continuous without protruding columns.

Have any of you ever heard of something like this? All the PEMB's we have designed with CMU or tilt-up shear walls had these components "enveloping" the steel structure.

Would appreciate some good references for connection details if anyone out there has knowledge of this construction method.


RE: Metal Building with CMU Ext Walls

Is this an architect's idea? As some sort of design statement?

So you will see the portal frame penetrating through the CMU wall to the exterior, and the tapered column going down to its supporting pier on the exterior of the building?

I see all kinds of thermal and moisture penetration issues here...


RE: Metal Building with CMU Ext Walls

So do I.

Stay away from the project. If the client wants to create a problem, don't be part of it.

Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA)

RE: Metal Building with CMU Ext Walls

Parapet means fire resistance requirements? Will the exposed columns have to be fireproofed? Will the PEMB manufacturer warrantee his building for this structural connection?

RE: Metal Building with CMU Ext Walls

Obviously there will be sealing problems at the roof beam along with thermal issues if this is in any sort of cold climate. The PEMB columns can be designed as straight and free-standing and you would need to specify some sort of epoxy paint that goes well above the normal metal building primer which is not intended for permanently exposed conditions. A fire protection expert could comment on the need for and type of fire protection on the columns. If they are separated from any fire sources on the inside of the building it might be possible to avoid that. Alternatively, box the entire column in with CMU so it isn't exposed. CMU walls are normally supported by some sort of girt arrangement on the PEMB for lateral support. This would not be possible if the wall is to the inside unless they want those members also exposed near the top of the building. Parapets feel a little bit silly under this arrangement and create their own share of drainage and thermal issues.

RE: Metal Building with CMU Ext Walls

Steel frames with masonry walls inside are relatively common, but not with masonry parapets. Whatever the parapet construction is, that should be on the outside.

RE: Metal Building with CMU Ext Walls

Make sure the PEMB supplier has a handle on deflections so they are compatible with those for masonry.


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