March 2021

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Centre Récréatif Desjardins, Saint-Prosper, QC. Refrigerative Supply, Calgary, AB. M A R C H 2 0 2 1 | 23 Steel Building Systems P H OTO G R A P H Y CO U RT E SY H O N CO S T EEL B U I L D I N GS; B EH L EN I N DUS T R I E S An ability to adapt has kept the steel buildings systems ' market strong, in spite of production challenges. by ROBIN BRUNET W hile steel building construction for the most part was robust in 2020, 2021 is proving to be an exceptional year for many providers, for a multitude of reasons. Sean Lepper, VP and general manager of Behlen Industries, says, "Work picked up last fall and we've continued to be busy right across the country, with activity in the east better than normal and plenty of opportunities in B.C. and the territories, thanks to precious metals and other types of mining that require the facilities we build." Better still, "A lot of projects that were put on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic are starting to be reactivated," according to Lepper. "It's also been relatively easy for steel manufacturers to adapt to pandemic safety conditions. To begin with, we typically only have about 150 people working in a factory that is 300,000 square feet in size, and by adding split shifts and other measures we have been able to continue our work without incident." Over the decades, Behlen has proven that steel buildings are as versatile as any other building – certainly with regards to structural integrity, and also for their architectural possibilities. The company is renowned for making sports facilities both efficient and visually provocative not only at home, but in Russia, South Korea, and other countries. As Canada's largest manufacturer of steel building systems, it offers a vast selection of styles (in the rigid frame and frameless categories) and interior and exterior finishes. Of late, Behlen has become especially coveted for its insulated metal panels, which through its sister company Artspan Inc. are produced in a variety of wall and roof configurations. "Their ability to meet stringent building code requirements and their ease of construction are the keys to their popularity," says Lepper. One issue that Lepper and colleagues are closely paying attention to is steel production. "The cost of steel has gone from stable to upwards by 20 and even 40 percent, and we've had to adjust our prices accordingly," says Lepper. "Deliveries to us are out by 12 weeks, and some competitors are having to wait as long as 20 weeks. As far as we can tell, prices will remain elevated due to high demand." Business has remained brisk throughout the pandemic and into 2021 at Honco Steel Buildings, but development manager Genevieve Filteau cites a curious phenomenon with regards to the way her company is perceived. "We're well known throughout the industry, with one of our distinctions being that our steel buildings have ceilings. But on close examination we've realized that many potential clients don't know how our buildings are actually made." Filteau adds, "The reason for this may have to do with the fact that we're dealing with a new generation of clients who have maybe only a decade or so of experience under their belts and know only the construction of conventional steel buildings. Once we explain the process, it's easy to get them onboard." Honco structural panels of heavy gauge steel sheets, which are cold formed and corrugated, are bolted together with 9.5-millimetre (mm) bolts at every 200 mm. Built To Last

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