Blue Sky Building Systems was founded in 2007. The company, headquartered in Southern California, aims to improve the efficiency of factory fabrication and bring light-gauge steel construction to the residential market.
Blue Sky started out with a prototype home called the Rock Reach House, situated in Yucca Valley, California. The company now works with architects across the globe to bring their home systems to the residential home market.
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Blue Sky’s Bolted Moment Frame
Blue Sky’s primary product is their Bolted Moment Frame. Their pre-fab, bolted moment frame is bi-directional and made from high-tensile, cold-formed galvanized steel and structural steel.
The moment frame resists movement in two directions, eliminating the need for load-bearing walls and shear walls. Blue Sky’s frame is unique in that it’s constructed with light-gauge galvanized steel that is bolted together rapidly on site.
The company’s unique system results in:
- Faster building time
- More durable materials
- Closer tolerances
- Better environmental credentials
Because of its ability to resist movement, the frame is ideal for projects:
- On steep or even lots
- Where a raised foundation is required
- Where large open space is desired
Columns provide structural strength, so there’s no need for load-bearing walls. This allows for an open plan and more flexibility in terms of design. Roofs also have a thinner profile compared to heavy structural steel beams and wood framing.
Let’s break down the key components of the Bolted Moment Frame.
- Columns: Made with high-strength steel that’s galvanized or powder coated for added durability. Columns feature a hollow structural section. Available in lengths up to 35’ with a variety of exterior dimensions.
- Beams: Made with light-gauge, galvanized and high-tensile strength steel. Beams have a C channel design, with the following dimensions available:
- Length: Up to 42’
- Depth: 12”-20”
- Width: 3-1/2″
- Joists: Made with light-gauge, galvanized and high-tensile strength steel. Joists also have a C channel design, with the following dimensions available:
- Length: Up to 30’
- Depth: 10”-20”
- Decking: Decking is made with galvanized steel, and has a post, beam and joist design.
- Footings: Caissons or spread footings are used for steep grade applications. Dimensions can be as small as 24” x 24” x 18.”
- Core Structure: The core structural element of the frame is a rectangular frame that has columns in each corner. Eight-bolt connections between the columns and beams are the key elements that create the bi-directional moment frame.
Why Choose Blue Sky Homes?
What makes Blue Sky’s prefab building system so unique?
Durable Steel Components
Blue Sky’s Bolted Moment Frame is made of light-gauge, high-tensile strength, cold-formed galvanized steel.
This durable – and sustainable – material is cut to tolerances of just 1/8” and then pre-drilled for quick on-site assembly.
The company’s steel is galvanized with a G-60 or G-90 rating, making it resistant to corrosion and rust.
Built with Factory Precision
Blue Sky believes that fabricating components – not entire homes – allows for the quickest construction process. Components can easily be shipped to the site and rapidly assembled. You enjoy the benefits of pre-fabrication without the expense and hassle of having to ship an entire home to your site.
Because the components are fabricated in a factory, you don’t have to worry about weather delays or damage. Site work can be completed while the steel components are being built in the factory.
Streamlined On-Site Assembly Process
Blue Sky’s frame allows for streamlined, rapid assembly. All of the elements of the frame are connected by bolts using hand tools. No site welding is required.
For a single-story home, the heaviest elements are usually under 700 pounds, which means the construction can be completed without heavy machinery.
Elements of the company’s building system are also numbered and labeled for easy assembly. Blue Sky eliminates virtually all on-site decision-making, so everyone can focus purely on construction.
Blue Sky uses recycled materials to create their components. They focus on three key areas of sustainability:
- Environmentally-friendly materials: Blue Sky’s components are made with 70% recycled content and are 100% recyclable. Systems are constructed with precision in a factory, so there’s virtually no on-site waste. Their frame weighs up to 50% less than a structural steel moment frame, which also saves on cost.
- Environmentally-friendly construction: The company’s Bolted Moment Frame has only a few touch-points on the ground, which allows for much smaller foundations and reduced site work. This design can be especially beneficial for homes on hillside lots. The low impact on the site also means that the structure doesn’t disturb the lot’s natural drainage.
- Home health and safety: With a steel frame, there’s no worry of termites, rot or mold. Blue Sky’s system doesn’t give off VOCs, which allows for healthier indoor air quality.
With Blue Sky’s Bolted Moment Frame, you enjoy an open floor plan and design flexibility. The design of the frame eliminates the need for load-bearing walls or shear walls. There’s no need for bracing either, so architects are free to place doors, windows and entire rooms wherever they want.
If you want a wall of windows, it’s easy to bring this dream to life with this moment frame.
The strength of the light-gauge steel joists and beams means that you can space columns up to 30 feet apart. Clear spans of up to 30 feet provide extreme flexibility in a home’s design.
Blue Sky’s building system offers a cost-effective alternative to traditional construction methods.
- Pre-fabrication means faster construction
- Faster construction means lower overall costs
With a typical project, the company’s moment frame and panelized walls can shave months off of construction.
Furthermore, the entire frame is made of steel. Blue Sky’s innovative design allows the company to achieve structural strength that’s equal or superior to wood.
For steep or uneven lots, the savings are even greater because less site work is needed.
The Blue Sky Building System provides the strength of structural steel in a lighter package, flexible and open designs, and economic construction. It’s the ideal choice for homes because, along with all of these benefits, steel isn’t vulnerable to rot, mold and termites.