Sunday, October 2, 2011

Steel Frame Inc. sends building materials to Haiti. Wilmington NC company is pioneer in steel frame housing.

Photo by Mike Spencer

Friday, Sept. 30, 2011.
Steel frame Inc. employee Darryl Bennett guides a forklift toward fellow employee Martin Strickland as they prepare to load pieces of the pre-fab, ready-to-assemble building frames onto a truck that are being sent to a still struggling Haiti, a job being funding by a church in Memphis.

By Laura Moore

A Wilmington company is helping the people of Haiti rebuild after devastation from a series of natural disasters, using a building material that will withstand future impact.

Steel Frame Inc. is working with the Church of God in Christ in Memphis, Tenn., to manufacture steel frame packages to build an orphanage, a medical clinic and a dormitory for medical volunteers.
"We are providing much-needed housing and a much-needed clinic," said Wallace Vanhoy, Steel Frame Inc. founder and CEO. "In order to get people to help there, you need a place for them to stay."
More than seven miles of steel framing is being loaded and shipped to Haiti, where Vanhoy and his foreman, Martin Strickland, will meet builders from California and church members to oversee the project that should take two weeks to complete.
Vanhoy designed the machine that digitizes architectural plans then runs the steel through to produce steel frame packages even unskilled laborers can put together.
"The concept here is that we make it to whatever length is needed, all the service holes are there and all the connection points are already made," Vanhoy said. "There is no measuring, no cutting and no scrap." 
Each wall of a building comes with an instruction sheet providing the directions for construction.
"The buildings go together like Tinkertoys," Vanhoy said. "It's like a grownup Erector Set."
Verne Strickland, spokesman for Steel Frame Inc., foresees steel eventually replacing wood in the residential housing industry.
The 60,000 pounds of steel is leaving Wilmington by truck to go to Jacksonville, Fla., where it will be shipped to Haiti. It should arrive this week.

Once the three buildings are complete, Steel Frame Inc. hopes to help the Church of God in Christ rebuild some of the 30 churches it lost in Haiti during last year's earthquake.
Metro desk: 343-2389   @StarNewsOnline