There’s a high demand for sheet metal fabricated racks, enclosures, and buildings requiring calculations for various wind loads—especially in areas of the country with extreme weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes.
We make many of these custom fabrications here in our Texas shop and we work with third-party professional engineers (PE) to ensure that our wind-rated fabrications meet all critical requirements.
But before we can get to work on your wind-rated fabrication, there’s certain information we need to know.
3 Details to Include for Wind-Rated Fabrications
If you want to minimize back and forth and receive your wind-rated fabrication as quickly as possible, provide these important details on the spec sheet you include with your RFQ:
1. Final location of the custom fabrication
The PE working on your calculations will use design requirements based on the final location of the product, so be sure to provide a zip code or an address.
In general, coastal regions have much higher wind load requirements than areas further inland. Most local municipalities also require the engineer to be licensed in the state where the custom fabrication will be located.
2. Equipment weight
When calculating for various wind loads, PEs need to know the weight of the structure and the equipment that will mount to it to ensure that the structure can withstand these two weights plus the wind load. Total weight plays a huge role in both deflection and uplift calculations.
We can provide the PE with the weight of the structure we’re fabricating, but we have no way of knowing the weight of the equipment unless the customer gives us that information.
Whether you’re requesting the custom fabrication for yourself or selling it to an end customer, we ask that you tell us the equipment weight and mounting locations so that our PEs can make accurate wind rate calculations.
3. Anchoring and foundation
Depending on your product’s end use, anchoring, and foundation, uplift may be more of a concern than deflection from the wind.
For example, guidelines and safety requirements are stricter for custom fabrications anchored to roofs than for fabrications anchored to concrete pads at ground level. High wind speeds can turn even the heaviest items into kites under the right conditions.
Be sure to provide the anchor size, anchor type, and information about the foundation, including the psi of the concrete if you know it.
Quick Tip: Don’t Overengineer Your Wind-Rated Fabrication
Customers often fall into the trap of overengineering wind-rated fabrications, assuming they’re doing what it takes to meet all requirements.
But here’s a little secret: your custom fabrication doesn’t need to be a monstrosity made with the thickest material available to withstand high winds.
At Ameritex, we can suggest alternative approaches to your design that will ultimately save you money on a better product. Simple things like increasing the frequency of fasteners, adding a gusset, or designing a thicker base plate can make a drastic difference in the strength of your wind-rated fabrication without jacking up the price.
When in doubt, bring us into your design process early so that we can provide you with helpful Design for Manufacturing (DFM) tips. Get a quote today to start the conversation!