Archive for the 'Steel Building Tips' Category

Effective Adult Safety Training Tips

Last week we posted about “5 Minute Safety Talks to Initiate Worker Safety” and we offered tips for giving workplace safety talks, so after coming across an article that talked about safety training and how to get the message across, I thought I’d post some of the Construction Safety Network’s tips for effective adult safety training:


  • Adults learn best when they are actively involved in deciding what, how, and when they learn.
  • People are more likely to believe something if they arrive at the idea themselves.
  • Learning doesn’t really happen until it changes habits and behavior.  Knowing how to work safety involved gathering facts and learning a bit of theory but don’t just deliver a lecture.  Adults will learn faster and better if you use a variety of styles and approaches to getting the message across.  For example, get them thinking, talking, and coming up with their own ideas.  Try describing a problem scenario and having them work in groups to find a solution.  If you plan to show them how to look for hazards, try having them do their own site inspection first, then do a thorough inspection with them to show what they may have missed.  Have them think of ways they can apply the concepts you teach in different settings so that they grasp the principle you are trying to get across. Applying the knowledge and working safely takes practice and the development of good habits.  It requires repetition of actual work processes and ongoing attention to detail.  For example, if you are providing hands-on instruction in the safe use of equipment:
  • Motivate by talking about the potential consequences of operating the machine improperly, or without guards in place.
  • Tell them step-by-step how to operate the machine properly.
  • Show them how it is done correctly and safely.
  • Test their knowledge by asking them to repeat the process.  Have them repeat the process until it is done top-to-bottom with out mistakes.
  • Come back two hours later to check if it is still being done correctly.  Return again in two days, etc.
  • Don’t forget to give people credit for getting it right.  If they don’t have it right, point it out to them and encourage them to try again.



B.C. Invests $5 Million in SolarBC Program

Resources Minister, Richard Neufeld has announced that the province is investing $5 million in the SolarBC program.  This program will encourage the installation of solar hot water heaters in homes, municipal buildings, schools, social housing and First Nation communities, Energy, Mines and Petroleum. 

Neufeld says the SolarBC program supports the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and builds on the BC Energy Plan commitment for electricity self-sufficiency. He also says this is a great example of how B.C. is a leader in the alternative energy sector, and how solar can play a significant role in our future energy supply. 

The funding is expected to support six SolarBC projects which are:  Residential Retrofit, Local Government Solar Thermal, First Nations Solar, Social Housing Solar, Solar for Schools and Solar Communities.  

Five communities in BC will get the chance to become solar-friendly and be part of a sustainable energy future.  Minister of Community Development and MLA for Peace River South, Blair Lekstrom says that communities through-out the province will benefit from a clean, renewable and climate-friendly source of energy. 

Dawson Creek is just one of the communities that is a leader in its use of solar technology and its target is to be a sustainable city focusing on reducing the city’s environmental impact.  Mayor, Calvin Kruk received the Solar Leader of the Year award from the Canadian Solar Industry Association in November 2007. 

Solar hot water systems reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about one tonne per year for a single family home using natural gas for water heating.  The increased use of solar energy technology is part of a broader sustainable energy strategy that will help the Province reach its goal to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent by 2020.  Solar BC will also support the BC Energy Plan Conservation target to acquire 50 per cent of BC Hydro’s resource needs through conservation by 2020. 


Lighter Roofs save $1Billion USD Annually

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Climate Change Research Conference advised that if buildings and road surfaces in 100 of the largest cities in the US were covered with lighter and heat-reflective surfaces the savings could be massive. Roofs account for 25% and pavement account for 35% of surface area in cities.  Since 2005, California has required white roofs on commercial buildings, however, starting in 2009, all “new and retrofitted residential and commercial buildings in California (both flat and sloped roofs), will have to install heat-reflecting roofing.” Painting flat roofs white is easy but sloped roofs are more difficult and this is why they will be allowed to just install “lighter” roof surfaces.

Lighter or metal roofs help to lower electricity costs by reducing cooling needs. Authors of the study, published in the journal Climatic Change, reported that cooling a city will also reduce smog and offset carbon emissions. Lighter roofs do not directly emit fewer emissions, however, they will directly affect other things which emit carbon like the energy needed to cool your home under that dark roof.


Geo-engineering, which means “the artificial manipulation of the environments of the Earth” estimates for net annual energy savings in the US from increasing lighter roof surfaces could top $1 Billion USD.


These lighter roofs can be made from vinyl materials, acrylic paints, or even green roofs planted on the roof. This will mean more green jobs, though the exposure to these chemicals is not great. In order to lower electric bills, particularly in desert conditions or climates that get high temperatures and lots of sun, residents can choose to independently add white or metal roofs outside of city regulations.




Norsteel Roof Systems, Safety Web

Sky-Web II is a fall protection support system that is now available to Norsteel Buildings.  It is an innovative, passive restraint system that protects workers from falls at the leading edge of the roof during the erection of the building.  When the roof installation is completed, this system will remain in place to form attractive interior support insulation. The durable knotted mesh material is easy to install.  Once it is in place, Norsteel’s Safety Web can increase productivity of the erection crews by allowing workers to install the roof without being tied-off. 

The Safety Web works with all framing systems and is ideal for most standard roof shapes and conditions such as gabled or single-slope.  The only exceptions are roofs with skewed or hip conditions.   


For more information on roofing systems, you can visit us at Norsteel Buildings Limited.

Thermal Break – The BEST Steel Building Insulation Investment You Can Make

When people are looking at Green buildings, Insulation investments, and Energy savings, they are often caught up in examining R values, vapour retarders, built up layers of fibreglass, and all sorts of large complex insulation packages.

While it is important to look at Insulation bulk, and R values, there is an often overlooked little detail that can save you a huge amount, for a tiny additional outlay. That option is a simple thermal break along the Roof perlins.

The largest source of heat loss in a steel building is from convection. The heat loss occurs through the roof perlins, which are typically exposed, or lightly insulated on the interior of the building. Being steel, the perlin carries the heat right through the Insulation barrier to the roof cladding, where the heat is dissipated to the outside air. Because the roof insulation is compressed between the roof cladding, and the perlin, there is a minimal thermal break at this point.

The solution is to purchase a proper thermal barrier, or thermal break, and install it when erecting the building. A manufacturer supplied thermal break is very simple. It is basically a composite material, about 3/8 of an inch thick, that is a heavy duty, but inexpensive insulator. It comes with countersunk screw holes, and teck screws to secure to the outside face of the perlins. When installed, it brings your roof insulation up to it’s full theoretical value, at a cost of a few cents per square ft. of building.

The benefits of a thermal break are as follows;

Reduce your conductive heat loss by as much as 40% in the most extreme conditions.

Significantly reduce the winter ice buildup on your roof and gutters.

Help to meet LEEDS certification.

Save thousands of dollars per year, for an initial outlay of hundreds.

Matthew Day

Building Consultant;

1-866-822-4022 ext: 351

Common “Struck by” Injuries that occur in the Workplace and How to Prevent Them

“Struck by” injuries take place when an employee is hit by work tools, construction materials, a vehicle, or by equipment such as backhoe bucket, flying debris, by earth during a trench collapse, or by any other object. 

Ontario’s WSIB statistics (1998-2007) revealed that most “struck by/against” injuries involved working with construction materials such as metal, lumber, pipe, masonry material, walls and doors.  Being struck by hand tools both powered and non-powered is the most common cause of injury. 


Young workers under 25 years old have a 200% higher chance of being hit than workers who are 55 years old or more.  Struck-by injuries account for approximately half of all lost-time injuries in the under 25 age group.  The rate of young workers being struck by hand tools, perhaps by hitting themselves, is almost twice that of workers 45 years or older.  The young-worker group has accounted for over 15% of all lost-time injuries in Ontario construction. 


Upon examining the lost-time of the various age groups, young workers have the highest rate. 

It is unknown as to why young workers are more likely to be struck by vehicles or objects, or why they have the highest rate of injuries, however inexperience could play a big part.  Here are a few things that employers and supervisors can do to prevent such injuries from occurring.


  • Provide adequate training to ensure that young workers or newly hired personnel are aware of all the hazards and controls on construction projects.  After the training, have the workers demonstrate that they can perform the assigned tasks safely and correctly and ask workers for feedback about the training. 


  • Identify and control the hazards.  Before you can control hazards, you have to know that they’re there.  Take time to look at the jobsite with fresh eyes. Identify the hazards and then choose your method of control. 


  • Supervise workers and ensure that all PPE such as hard hats, safety boots, safety glasses, and high-visibility clothing is used in accordance with company policy. 


  • Keep your site free of unnecessary clutter and debris by enforcing housekeeping procedures.


  • Inspect equipment routinely and maintain or replace it when appropriate.


  • Have signalers for moving equipment, or ensure that workers are separated on site.


For more tips on preventing “Struck by” injuries, visit:


Norsteel Buildings is a leading manufacturer of qualitly prefabricated building kits. We enjoy presenting and promoting workplace and construction safety info on this site. If you have any construction safety information or tips, please leave a comment and / or a link. Thanks!



New Products that are Environmentally Friendly

In today’s economy, more and more companies are building green and coming out with their own line of products that are environmentally friendly.  Here’s a glance at a few of these new products. 


Solar power system for flat roofs was created by Akeena Solar Inc. which places the Andalay solar system on a 10-degree slope, maximizing sun exposure, while maintaining the system’s sleek integration and performance.  It weighs less than 3 pounds per square foot.  This also eliminates all rooftop penetrations, attachments and modifications while integrating all grounding and electrical connections into the panels themselves.


Big Ass Fans has created the Element fan. The Element’s gearless motor maximizes energy efficiency with silent, superior performance while the patented airfoil and winglet design optimizes airflow. This energy efficiency fan is ideal for restaurants, shopping malls, office buildings, churches and schools. 


The new ENVIRO-3000 zero-VOC, low odor, high quality, insulating ceramic, interior wall, ceiling and trim paint  has been introduced by Nationwide Chemical Coating Manufactures and has been added to their architectural paints and coatings.  It is formulated by ceramic filters and has insulating and soundproofing characteristics along with uniform, easy-to-apply, high hide latex finish. It’s available in flat, satin and semigloss finishes and a primer sealer can be used on most wall, ceiling and trim surfaces. 


COOLWALL coating system, created by Textured Coatings of America Inc. has patented heat reflective technology that is specially formulated to reflect the sun’s heat and reduce exterior wall surface temperatures.  The low-VOC COOLWALL reduces cooling costs and saves energy through reflectivity. COOLWALL can be applied to metal roofs, galvanized and aluminum substrates, concrete, masonry, brick, wood and more.  This product also maintains colour integrity, which extends the painting life-cycle of the coating. 


For the complete list of the newest products in the green market, visit:    


Energy Star Labeled Metal Roof Tax Credit Renewal

Over the next three weeks, Congress will continue to deal with the rising cost of energy. 

After they returned from their August recess on September 8, 2008, which will remain in session until September 25, they will adjourn for the rest of the year.  Both houses of Congress have introduced bills that provide incentives for the development and use of renewable energy and to improve energy efficiency.  These are also incentives to the building construction industry, where extension and enhancement of tax credits and deductions were proposed for residential and commercial construction. 

Some of the provisions were supposed to be renewed tax incentives that expired by the end of 2007.  This included the $500 tax credit for homeowners that would install an Energy Star labeled prepainted metal roof. 

Incentives to commercial building owners who use more energy efficient materials and systems in their design would have increased tax deduction amounts and/or extended time periods.  An effort to pass that kind of legislation has failed. The Democrats have taken a stand and any tax incentives to be paid out must be balanced or paid for by another source of revenue.   This debate has been the existing tax breaks that the oil industry is receiving.  One side of Congress is trying to remove or reduce the tax breaks for the oil industry to pay for tax breaks being offered to building owners and renewable energy developers.  


Meanwhile, the market place for solar power industry, wind industry and geothermal industry are waiting for the catalyst to push their respective energy sources beyond the tipping point.  Research continues to remove obstacles, improve efficiency, and lower the cost to utilities and building owners.  A news release from MIT revealed that scientists discovered an inexpensive way to store solar energy when the sun is not shining.  This could move solar power into a mainstream energy source.  Electrical engineering and computer science departments from MIT also revealed that they successfully transmitted electricity from a power source to a light bulb located 7 feet away without using any wires.


Now that the market is moving along smoothly, all we need is for Congress to pave the way with an incentive to building owners and designers to utilize the most energy efficient products available.



California Building Standards Code, Title 24

Earlier this week Matthew posted about California’s stringent title 24 code parameters in his article titled “Cost Effective Residential Construction”, so I thought I would follow up on this topic and give some details regarding the California’s stringent title 24 code parameters also known as the California Building Standards Code.  This code was created in 1978 to reduce California‘s energy consumption.  These Standards are updated often to allow consideration and possible incorporation of new energy efficiency technologies and methods. 

California‘s building efficiency standards have saved more than $56 billion in electricity and natural gas costs since 1978. It is estimated the standards will save an additional $23 billion by 2013.

California Code of Regulations, Title 24, also known as the California Building Standards Code, is a compilation of three types of building standards from three different origins:

  • Building standards that have been adopted by state agencies without change from building standards contained in national model codes
  • Building standards that have been adopted and adapted from the national model code standards to meet California conditions
  • Building standards, authorized by the California legislature, that constitute extensive additions not covered by the model codes that have been adopted to address particular California concerns

Notwithstanding, the national model code standards adopted into Title 24 apply to all occupancies in California except for modifications adopted by state agencies and local governing bodies.

If you have questions about Title 24 please visit: 


Cost Effective Residential Construction

I just reviewed this comment from a South African reader, and I thought I should take a minute to respond properly.

” good day.i need some help plz.i want to build a 100 rural homes,each of them are 3m/6m.whats the cheapest way to build them?thanx “

Pre-Engineered steel is not a traditional North American residential building style. It is, however uniquely suited for high quality long term housing. This building project will be extremely easy to erect, as all of the parts will be small enough to manually erect. There will be no onsite welding required, so you will have a truly ‘ Bolt Together construction ‘ package.

 I would suggest that these buildings should incorporate a Cool Arctic White wall and roof colour. This colour easily meets Californias stringent title 24 code parameters. It is one of the most efficient heat reflectors available anywhere, and is pretty economical.

By using a standard metal building insulation package, condensation can be controlled, with the added advantage of a bright ceiling. I suggest that the walls be lined with a steel liner, in a reflective white finish, so as to protect the insulation, and keep a nice bright interior.

Make sure that there is a good trim package at the ground level, and at the eaves of the building. The trick here is to keep insects, snakes, and sundry vermin from entering the building by way of the roll formed ‘flutes’ in the wall cladding.

If you follow this advice, you will have buildings that are completely impervious to termites, etc. They will have a cool interior, will be incredibly rust resistant, and so will last for generations. They will erect lickety split, with relatively unskilled crews, and no expensive cranes, or heavy equipment. All in all, a great application for pre-eng steel buildings. Thanks for your comments, and keep them coming!

Author: Matthew Day, Building Consultant 1-866-822-4022 ext: 351


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.