The Key Advantages of Using Structural Steel in Construction


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Updated 30/08/23

Steel is an important structural element in our world. Without steel, skyscrapers would be impossible, and buildings would only have a few stories. Instead, buildings would be shorter and longer. Without a steel infrastructure, skyscrapers and many other buildings would be impossible to build. Cities would also sprawl out much farther, and structures made with alternative materials would not have the durability and strength to stand up to weather extremes, earthquakes, and more. 

It’s also an amazing material made from an enhanced iron and carbon compound mixed-alloy. Its crystalline structure that iron converts to when cast is precisely what causes the metal to have such strength. Steel is a marvelous invention that’s a great choice for construction projects, and it comes with many advantages over other materials. 

The Advantages of Using Structural Steel


1. Strength

Steel framing has highly superior strength compared to bricks and mortar. Structural steel can manage the heaviest loads, making this the right choice for larger and more expensive buildings. 

Steel framing also makes it possible to add more floors (stories) quickly and safely to buildings such as office complexes.


2. Durability

Structural steel also gives buildings an amazing degree of resistance to weather. The material can last well over a hundred years and has an extreme toughness compared to oak and other materials. 

Moreover, structural steel also withstands the ravages of rust, rot, mold, shrinkage, pest damage, and warping. It’s also possible to rust-proof the metal for use on the exterior or interior of a structure.


3. Cost-Effective Material Due to Low Maintenance

Another major advantage of structural steel is its hardness and long life. It can be a cost-effective construction material, but it’s also easy to maintain. 

Structural steel is considered to be a “install and forget it” material that usually requires no additional financial or physical attention after being installed.


4. Flexibility

Many modern buildings require materials that are bendable and flexible. Here, think of modern glass office buildings made into different shapes. Or what about roller coasters and the many hills, rills, and turns needed to make them fun and frightening? These and other modern structures are impossible without structural steel. 

Many people view steel as a strong, inflexible metal. However, structural steel can be worked into curved or bent shapes to meet architectural specifications. Designers can be more creative with their building designs because of this metal. 

Such innovative structures are almost impossible if other materials are used, such as plate glass, bricks, polycarbonates, or stone. The benefit is that these materials can be worked into steel designs. Without structural steel, all our buildings would be squat and immensely boring.


5. Prefabrication and Easy Assembly

CAD (computer-aided design) has made it possible for steel frames to be broken down into smaller, more transportable components for rapid assembly on-site. Prefabricated structural steel can be built quickly and dismantled just as easily by trained steelworkers. 

Prefabricated buildings also mean lower construction costs: 

  • Reduced timeline means reduced hours for paid labor. 
  • Prefabricated steel buildings arrive ready to be assembled. 
  • A shorter schedule also reduces general overall construction costs. 
  1. Future Adaptability


6. Future Adaptability

Steel buildings and frames are extremely adaptable. They can extend upwards or to the side. And because the material is so strong, it can support the added weight of additional stories. The overall weight of the structure is still lower than building with concrete or wood. So, the foundation also has less stress from the additional floors. 

In addition, the interior of a steel frame building can be reconfigured easily.


7. High-Quality Construction 

Structural steel has predictable qualities that allow designers and fabricators to create various designs. It’s no longer necessary to cut, punch, and roll the material on-site as it once was. With its predictable qualities, architects and engineers can predict the feasibility of their designs with accuracy.


8. Sustainable Material

Steel is also one of the most sustainable materials in the world. It is green: 

  • Structural steel made in the US contains 93% recycled material, on average. 
  • 98% of all structural steel is recycled into new products. 
  • Steel loses none of its strength or other physical properties after repeated recycling. 
  • The steel-making process has a 95% water recycling rate, with no external discharge. 
  • The net consumption of water per ton of steel produced is about 70 gallons. 

In addition, the steel industry has worked to reduce its carbon emissions per ton by about 45% since 1975. Building manufacturers and contractors create minimal waste during fabrication and erection. All scrap can be recycled and resold.


9. Safety

Structural steel also provides most of the safety benefits that we all expect in a building: 

  • Steel is not combustible; it doesn’t ignite or spread flames. 
  • It is also resistant to rust and corrosion when properly coated
  • Steel does not mold or mildew. 
  • The material also resists splintering and shattering during extreme movement. 

When a steel structure is built to code, the building protects its occupants from fire, high winds, heavy snow, and ice. How is Structural Steel Used? 


Construction of Multi-Story Residential Buildings

In the past, a multi-story residential building took years to build, especially skyscrapers. However, today, it’s now possible to pre-assemble large steel sections at a production facility and then install it on-site. A fifteen-story apartment building can be built within two weeks due to this prefabrication process! 


Construction of Industrial Hangars 

Another use of structural steel is to build industrial hangars and other modular facilities. The steel sections, sandwich panels, and structural frames can be built off-site and quickly assembled at the construction site. This saves money and time. 


Construction of Bridges & Other Infrastructure

Steel is able to extend long distances and bear heavy loads, making this material the right choice for bridges and other infrastructure. 


Summing It Up

Without modern structural steel, much of our modern world would not exist. The many benefits of steel make our world a much better place and make our lives more enjoyable and safer. 

Structural steel is a modern marvel we can’t live without.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

How does structural steel contribute to sustainable construction?

Structural steel’s recyclability and durability make it a sustainable choice for construction. Its ability to be reused and its minimal impact on the environment contribute to eco-friendly building practices.

Can structural steel buildings withstand earthquakes?

Yes, structural steel buildings are highly resistant to seismic forces. The flexibility and strength of steel allow it to absorb and dissipate energy during an earthquake, minimising structural damage.

What is the cost difference between structural steel and traditional materials?

While initial costs for structural steel may be higher, its long-term benefits, including reduced maintenance and repair expenses, often outweigh the initial investment.

Is structural steel fire-resistant?

Absolutely. Structural steel maintains its strength even at high temperatures, providing sufficient time for occupants to evacuate safely in case of a fire.

How is structural steel’s design flexibility advantageous?

The malleability of structural steel allows architects and designers to create intricate and innovative structures that might be challenging with other materials.

Is structural steel suitable for residential construction?

Yes, structural steel is used in various construction types, including residential buildings. Its durability, design flexibility, and resistance to natural forces make it a reliable choice.


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