Metal Building Manufacturers Association

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Metal Building Manufacturers Association
MBMA logo.png
Abbreviation MBMA
Formation 1956; 62 years ago (1956)
Headquarters Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Coordinates 41°29′51.41″N 81°40′50.326″W / 41.4976139°N 81.68064611°W / 41.4976139; -81.68064611Coordinates: 41°29′51.41″N 81°40′50.326″W / 41.4976139°N 81.68064611°W / 41.4976139; -81.68064611
Services The design and construction of metal building systems
Membership (2015)
Brad Curtis
Key people
  • John H. Addington
  • General Manager

The Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA) was founded in 1956 and promotes the design and construction of metal building systems in the low-rise, non-residential building marketplace. A non-profit trade organization, MBMA's headquarters is in Cleveland, Ohio.[1] The organization consists of building system members, who are certified according to standards which have been set by the International Accreditation Service of the International Code Council, and associate members, who work in the metal building industry. MBMA has a General Manager, and it has a Chairman and Board of Directors who are elected by members on an annual basis.

MBMA History[edit]

The Metal Building Manufacturers Association, commonly known as the MBMA, was founded in 1956 by a group of companies that designed, manufactured, and marketed metal buildings. The first group of 13 metal building systems companies came together under the leadership of Wilbur B. Larkin in order to work together to promote metal building systems and be the technical voice of the industry.[2]

Early in the 1900s, prior to the formation of the MBMA, metal beams and panels were used for garages with small structures and were advertised for sale in publications such as the Saturday Evening Post. The first standing seam metal roof [3] was introduced by Armco Steel Corp at the 1934 Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago. The use of pre-engineered buildings increased during World War II with the introduction and evolution of the Quonset Hut, a portable and inexpensive solution to housing and other needs. After the war, metal buildings became more widely accepted for other uses.[4]

During the 1950s, metal building manufacturers began to use a builder/dealer network model. The builders provided contracting and erection services and the manufacturers offered training courses for the building of their structures. At that time, Wilber Larkin of Butler Manufacturing wrote to a number of companies and invited them to a meeting in Chicago.

On September 25, 1956, 13 companies officially formed the Metal Building Contractors & Erectors Association (renamed over the years to System Builders Association, and then Metal Building Manufacturers Association). The charter took effect on October 1, 1956 with Armco Steel Corp., Behlen Manufacturing, Butler Manufacturing, Carew Steel, Metallic Buildings, Pascoe Steel, Soule Steel, Steelcraft Manufacturing, Stran-Steel Corp. and Wonder Building Corp as the original members.[4]

MBMA member sales were $69.6 million in 1956. The association and its membership grew throughout the late 1950s, and each decade after that. In 1960, member sales were $98.6 million and they shipped approximately 260,000 tons of steel. There were 16 members in 1960, and in 1968 the Metal Building Dealers Association was formed. [4][5]

In 1970, the MBMA had 25 members with sales of $363 million. This decade saw the industry advance through a number of new developments. The standing seam roof system[6] came into wide production and use during these years. Additionally, modern coating systems for both metal roofs and walls allowed metal buildings to incorporate a variety of colors. During this decade, the association hired its first full-time director of research and engineering - Dr. Duane Ellifritt, a former engineer with Armco and then on the faculty of Oklahoma State University.[7]

In 1980, member sales climbed to over $1 billion with steel shipments exceeding 1 million tons. Metal Building News became the industry’s first tabloid-size trade publication when it began publishing in 1980. It is now called Metal Construction News, and in 1985, a second industry magazine began publishing, Metal Architecture.

In 1990 MBMA member sales exceeded $1.5 billion and steel shipped was over 1.2 million tons. By 2000, MBMA member sales were over $2.5 billion and steel shipments were in excess of 1.875 million tons. Sales and shipments fell after the 2008 recession, but have since rebounded. For the most recent year that the association has on record, 2014 sales were $2.45 billion and members shipped approximately 1,060,000 tons of steel.[8]

Engineered Metal Building Systems[edit]

Metal building systems are professionally engineered structures. Having evolved from the steel beam and corrugated structures of the early 20th century, these buildings now use computer-aided design and drafting (CAD) systems. Metal building systems have evolved through the years into assemblages of structural elements that work together as a structural system. While there are many variations on the theme, the basic elements of the metal building system are constant: primary rigid frames, secondary members (wall girts and roof purlins), cladding and bracing.

All major metal building system manufacturers utilize computer tools to custom design a building system and all building components, based on the customer’s specifications. Adhering to the local and national building codes,[9] each metal building system is engineered to the required dimensions and designed to meet the loading conditions with the material specified.

Metal buildings incorporate different architectural finishes to provide the appropriate facade for various facility types, such as churches,[10] schools,[11] shopping centers, educational buildings, medical facilities,[12] retail stores, and office buildings. These applications can also include fire stations,[13] airplane hangars,[14] fitness centers,[15] and other types of low-rise construction.[12][16] Metal buildings are also designed for traditional uses such as warehouses, distribution centers, and athletic facilities.

Metal building shipments have continued to rise post recession and metal building systems now comprise over 50% of the market share in the low-rise commercial building category, according to the organization's 2014 Annual Report.[17]

Research and Development[edit]

When founded, “MBMA’s main purpose was to jointly attack technical matters that could not be addressed by individual companies,” according to the late James Murphy, former president of American Buildings Co. and former MBMA chairman.[4] A Technical Committee was established and began to research and document important issues in metal building design and construction. Early on, an important task was to evaluate design loads and the variations in building codes that existed. The first publication of the new association was the MBMA Recommended Design Practices Manual, introduced in 1959.

The Technical Committee helped promote and add its expertise to research being undertaken by other groups, such as the American Iron and Steel Institute’s work at Cornell University that led to the publication of Design of Light Gauge Steel Diaphragms in 1967.[18] MBMA first co-sponsored research in 1966 with a study on tapered structural members conducted at the State University of New York at Buffalo by Dr. George Lee.[19]

In 1974, MBMA began sponsoring wind load research to resolve differences in various standards and codes. The then-current American National Standards Institute, or ANSI, standard was based on high-rise buildings and was not appropriate for low-rise structures. This was not simply an issue for metal buildings, but all low-rise non-residential construction. Led by Dr. Alan Garnett Davenport of the University of Western Ontario, the work was the first comprehensive investigation of wind action on low-rise buildings. In 1982, the Standard Building Code (SBC) first adopted wind loads developed by Dr. Davenport’s team.[4]

Head of Walls: MBMA and the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) sponsored fire protection tests on head of wall (HOW) joints in metal buildings. This work was performed at Underwriters Laboratories and was designed to show the fire resistive nature of the HOW joints in metal buildings. The tests resulted in three new UL Certifications (HW-D-0488, HW-D-0489, and HW-D-0490), as well as further clarification from the UL for those who work with fire rated walls and unrated ceiling assemblies.[20]

Hot Box Testing: Buildings consume approximately 40 percent of energy used in the United States annually. The MBMA is working with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee to create more energy efficient structures [21] ORNL’s Large Scale Climate Simulator (LSCS) can enclose building assemblies to replicate different climatic conditions and provide “hot box” testing in accordance with ASTM C1363 [22]

MBMA is currently working with ORNL on next-generation roofing assemblies that have been designed to increase energy efficiency, primarily by using unique combinations of insulation. ORNL provides expertise on heat-transfer fundamentals and helps to target areas to improve. Recently, MBMA started working with ORNL on the Flexible Research Platform project.[21][23] This work is helping to make metal building systems more efficient and keep the industry ahead of code requirements.

Overhead Doors and Metal Buildings: MBMA has been working with the Door and Access System Manufacturers Association (DASMA) for the past several years to create better doors and openings for metal buildings. Five years of collaboration and research has focused on rolling steel overhead doors and the effects of wind on the doors and the building.[24] As a result of this collective effort in the summer of 2010, DASMA released a technical guide to ensure that metal building framing can adequately support a rolling door.[25]

The MBMA continues to perform research into wind loads on metal buildings,[26] roof systems, and other aspects of low-rise construction. Additionally, the association has sponsored and led research into bolted end plate connections, cold-formed steel, snow loads and wind uplift, and insurance issues for metal buildings, among other topics [27] that are pertinent to the industry.


In 2015 there were 45 Building Systems Members and 50 Associate Members.[17]


The MBMA educates members of the building community, including designers, engineers, architects, erectors, contractors, and code officials about metal building systems. It works with various groups and associations to keep code officials apprised of the advances in metal building systems and how they apply to the building codes. The association also works to educate members and other parts of the building community on best practices[28] and how to apply research and design improvements in their work. The MBMA offers educational resources [29] that can be downloaded for free.

MBMA sponsors a continuing education course through Northern Illinois University. This course, developed with the help of a team of architects, provides an overview of engineered metal building systems, how they are different from other metal structures and how to work with these structures. It is a particularly informative course for those who are unfamiliar with the specifics of engineered metal building systems. The course is accredited by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and provides continuing education units (CEUs) for those who take the course and pass the test.[30]


The MBMA has an accreditation program in conjunction with the International Code Council’s International Accreditation Service (IAS). This program replaced the AISC-MB certification that the MBMA had previously required for membership in the association. The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and the MBMA mutually agreed to end the AISC sponsorship of the Metal Building Certification program at the end of 2008.[31]


The MBMA offers various publications. MBMA also works with other associations and groups to put together publications that are available through those groups. The following is a list of some of the notable publications of the association and others to which it has contributed.

Concrete Masonry Walls for Metal Building Systems: MBMA collaborated with the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) and the International Code Council (ICC) to create this 116-page manual for architects, engineers, code officials, and metal building manufacturers. Published in 2011, it describes various advantages and requirements for building concrete masonry hardwalls on metal buildings. The resource provides masonry design standards and industry practices, as well as design aids, construction recommendations and schematic details that show how to integrate masonry with metal buildings. It also includes an appendix with design examples using the NCMA Structural Masonry Design System Software (CMS10V5).

Metal Building Systems Manual: The 2012 Metal Building Systems Manual is the latest edition of this manual, which was first published in 1959. This edition merges the 2010 Supplement to the 2006 Metal Building Systems Manual into one printed edition that has been updated to reflect the 2012 International Building Code (IBC). The Metal Building Systems Manual includes important topics for metal buildings such as load application, crane loads, fire ratings information and energy conservation. It also has material on common industry practices, guide specifications and climatological data for the entire United States. The 2012 Edition of the Metal Building Systems Manual is 724 pages, and is published by MBMA.[32]

Metal Roofing Systems Design Manual: The Metal Roofing Systems Design Manual is a comprehensive guide for working with metal roofing. It includes sections and chapters on roofing system components; substrate support for metal roofing systems; metal roof performance guide specifications; a listing of ASTM standards related to metal roofing systems; common roof retrofit applications; metal roofing common industry practices; design practices and examples; installation and maintenance of roofing system; roof fire ratings; fasteners, with types and applications; climatological data by U.S. County; and metal roofing AutoCAD details. The Second Edition of the Metal Roofing Systems Design Manual was published in 2012 and is up-to-date with current codes, standards and common industry practices.[33]

Seismic Design Manual: The illustrated guide includes narratives about metal building systems, examples of realistic design situations, engineering diagrams, and code commentary. It references the 2006 International Building Code, the American Society of Civil EngineersMinimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures ASCE/SEI Standard 7-05. Structural steel design is based on the American Institute of Steel Construction’s Specification for Structural Steel Buildings Standard AISC 360-05 and the Seismic Provisions for Steel Buildings Standard AISC 341-05.

Tapered Member Design Manual- Frame Design Using Web-Tapered Members, authored by Richard C. Kaehler, CSD, Donald W. White and Yoon Duk Kim of Georgia Institute of Technology and coordinated by the MBMA Technical Committee has been completed. It has been reviewed by American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and will be published by them as an interpretation of, and an extension to, the provisions of the 2005 AISC Specification for Structural Steel Buildings.

MBMA Fire and Insurance Bulletins: These are a series of fire and insurance bulletins that the association created and updates to help building officials and builders understand the insurance and fire protection issues associated with metal buildings and low-rise construction.

Energy Design Guide for Metal Building Systems: MBMA published the Energy Design Guide for Metal Building Systems in early 2010. There are 10 chapters plus appendices and a comprehensive bibliography. The guide has an overview of metal and sustainable buildings followed by detailed chapters on insulation, cool roofs and daylighting. There are also chapters devoted to the International Energy Conservation Code, ASHRAE Standards and state energy codes, as well as compliance tools. Detailed information is provided on the most prominent rating programs, such as the USGBC's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design(LEED), Green Globes and Energy Star.

AISI Design Guide for Cold-Formed Steel Purlin Roof Framing Systems: The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) published the 2009 edition of the Design Guide, based on AISI S100-07, the 2007 edition of the North American Specification for the Design of Cold-Formed Steel Structural Members.

Fire Resistance Design Guide for Metal Building Systems: MBMA published this design guide in 2010.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "706mbma50th1-7.qxp" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  2. ^ "Design & Build With Metal: MBMA's Founder Wilbur Larkin Honored With Memorial". 2007-09-05. Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  3. ^ [1] Archived 2009-05-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ a b c d e Metal Construction News MBMA 50th Anniversary Guide, July 2006
  5. ^ "Home - Mbceambcea". Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  6. ^ [2][dead link]
  7. ^ [3][dead link]
  8. ^ "Metal Building Manufacturers Association". Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  9. ^ [4]
  10. ^ [5][dead link]
  11. ^ "Design & Build With Metal: Metal Building System Offers An Educated Solution". Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  12. ^ a b "American School & Hospital Facility Magazine". Archived from the original on 2012-07-07. Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  13. ^ [6][dead link]
  14. ^ "Design & Build With Metal: Mesaba Hangar At Des Moines International Airport". Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  15. ^ [7][dead link]
  16. ^ [8]
  17. ^ a b "First Choice : MBMA 2014 Annual Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  18. ^ [9][dead link]
  19. ^ "Microsoft Word - leevitae-4-05allcb.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  20. ^ W. Lee Shoemaker, PhD., P.E; Daniel J. Walker, P.E. "ICC BSJ Online: Head-of-Wall Joints in Metal Building Systems". Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  21. ^ a b "One of a Kind - ORNL Review Vol. 43, No. 1, 2010". Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  22. ^ "ASTM C1363 - 11 Standard Test Method for Thermal Performance of Building Materials and Envelope Assemblies by Means of a Hot Box Apparatus". Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  23. ^ "Metal building report examines energy efficiency, durability". Construction Specifier. Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  24. ^ "DASMA Explores Expanding to Related Products" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  25. ^ "DASMA Sponsors Solar Heat Gain Coefficient Research" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  26. ^ "TDS 155 Residential And Commercial Wind Load Guides" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  27. ^ [10]
  28. ^ [11][dead link]
  29. ^ [12]
  30. ^ Interface and functionality designed by Northern Illinois University, eLearning Services. "MBMA Web Course". Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-02. Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  32. ^ "MBMA releases 2012 Metal Building Systems Manual". 2012-10-02. Retrieved 2016-12-12. 
  33. ^ "ASTM D512-89(1999) | MBMA: In Partnership with Techstreet". Retrieved 2016-12-12. 

External links[edit]