How to assess grain bin damage
When steel grain bins sustain wind damage, careful inspection is needed to evaluate repair or replacement options. Inspection assistance and advice from a consulting engineer or bin manufacturer representative is the best option.
When damage is confined to the roof, sidewall sheets, or wall stiffeners of the bin, replacement of damaged materials may be feasible. Evaluation of displacement, distortion, or over-loading of the remaining structure is necessary prior to replacing damaged steel.
When damage spread to the foundation or anchor components, a thorough evaluation of the foundation will be necessary. Significant damage to the foundation may warrant complete reconstruction of the bin and foundation.
Replacement of only the bin itself must be compatible with the existing foundation design and anchoring system. Changing the diameter, height, or anchor locations of the replacement bin is likely not possible without thorough foundation design confirmation.
Grain handling equipment such as bucket elevators, downspouts, cross conveyors, and support structures should also be inspected for damage caused by the wind or by stresses from movement of attached bin parts.
Before making replacement decisions, consider the overall grain system design and suitability for current and future needs. While storm damage and repair is stressful and costly, it may present an opportunity for reconsidering and redesigning the entire system. Consult with an expert in grain system planning or materials on grain system layout and design from Midwest Plan Service, available online or through your county ISU Extension and Outreach office.