Case Study: How Pre-Engineered Steel Buildings Help the BC Ski Industry

Case Study: How Pre-Engineered Steel Buildings Help the BC Ski Industry

Metal Structure Concepts recently installed two pre-engineered steel buildings at Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna, BC.

The BC alpine ski season is just starting with skiers hoping that Old Man Winter will continue dumping fresh powder, and lots of it. With such a weather-dependent industry, BC ski resorts need to be prepared by having safe storage and maintenance facilities to service their groomers and other equipment all year round. And as many ski resorts also include hotels, restaurants, and residential communities, facilities to hold pump houses, sewage, and water filtration systems are also needed. That’s where pre-engineered steel buildings fit the bill.


Carving an inside edge

Kelowna’s Metal Structure Concepts’ have designed, supplied and installed custom steel buildings for a number of Interior BC ski hills. Some of their projects include:

  • A shop for Sun Peaks Ski Resort in Kamloops, BC
  • 4 steel buildings, including a mechanics shop, 2 for a pump house-water filtration system, and one for a roof system to protect fuel tanks at Silver Star Mountain Resort in Vernon BC

 MSC has also erected two new professionally constructed buildings at Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna, BC. The steel buildings house a pump house-water filtration system (Powder Basin) and a smaller steel storage-style shed for sewage pipes (Headworks).


Holding the snow load

Because of the high altitude of these mountain resorts, a conventional steel building just won’t suffice. They have to be structurally engineered to withstand heavy snow and ice, high winds, falling temperatures, as well as high moisture content during the snowmelt.

“While the peak snow load for a building in the City of Kelowna is 38 pounds of ground snow, at Big White it’s 375 pounds,” says MSC owner Steve Ivanitz. “For this reason, buildings need to be bomb proof.”


Gauging the best lines

What makes ski resort pre-engineered buildings stand up is the heaviness of the steel components used to build them At Big White, MSC installed the thickest roof panels at 22 gauge and 24-gauge wall cladding, while the structural steel supports —roof beams, columns, secondary steel— have also been beefed up to meet the snow load. The buildings have been designed with overhangs on all sides for snow protection. The overhangs are completely soffited to seal them from the weather and from any critters getting inside. Both also have roof pitches at 3:12, which helps shed the snow.

“With the roof pitch, if the snow melts, it flows off and the ground is sloped away from the buildings to protect them from water damage,” says Ivanitz.


A steel pipe is better than a wooden halfpipe

Unlike wood, steel works for the ski resort environment, as not only can it withstand an above average heavy load, it’s structurally able to allow for clear-span construction, helpful when storing large pieces of equipment such as snowcats, groomers, and other large mechanical equipment.

“You couldn’t build these with wood without an enormous cost,” says MSC owner Steve Ivanitz, who attests to how economical steel buildings are, with their ability to last with little-to-no maintenance.

“The ski hill won’t have to touch these buildings for an average 25 years. They won’t have to paint them or fix them, as they won’t rot, twist, warp or burn,” says Ivanitz.


For more information on steel building prices, read our blog: Do Your Homework Before Purchasing a Pre-Engineered Steel Building.


Need structurally sound buildings for your business? Metal Structure Concepts can help. We design, supply and install everything from steel barns, storage sheds, and steel garages to large steel warehouse buildings for industrial and commercial purposes.