Utah is an earthquake prone zone. In fact, my house is pretty much sitting smack dab on the Wasatch Fault. Perhaps it’s not the brightest place to build a home, but given the multiple hurricanes that threaten Florida’s Gold Coast every year, I figure no matter where you live, you’re choosing one natural disaster or another.
When we were designing our home, Sam wanted the architecture to be as calamity prone as humanly (and financially) possible. We looked at a number of options — mostly outside the typical frame construction.
He thoroughly researched future steel buildings. They seem to be an up and coming trend that makes sense. Steel is relatively lightweight, easily configurable, and very strong.
Our initial house plans and bid included the foamed concrete blocks we eventually did end up using, paired with steel beams and trusses. It was our earthquake proof house.
When all the costs were calculated, it turned out that future steel buildings were a bit out of the price range for regular homeowners. It wasn’t so much because the cost was excessive, but because construction lenders did not value the extra expense involved in using steel. In other words, even though the cost of the house went up when using steel, the appraisal did not go up, leaving the higher cost to come out of pocket.
We did not end up using the planned steel roof construction, but our research showed it to be a sound material choice. If you’re looking for a very durable home — and can pay for the extra cost on your own — steel is a great building choice.