Steel frame construction offers many advantages over traditional reinforced concrete. These benefits include lower costs, sustainability and flexibility. A prefabricated structural steel frame can reduce overall building costs when compared to reinforced concrete. When inflation is taken into consideration, the cost of steel is decreasing while over the same period the real cost of concrete construction has increased. Steel buildings take advantage of offsite prefabrication to increase speed and improve cost predictability.
Steel is also known for its great architectural beauty – steel suspension bridges, tall towers and high buildings, for example, are magnets for tourism. Many steel structures worldwide are viewed as the proudest achievements of mankind. Over the years, steel buildings have become popular not only in the commercial and industrial sector; steel buildings are nowadays being used in the community for building houses as well. Prefab steel buildings offer many advantages, some of which are summarized below:
- Increased productivity in steel manufacture and design, has made steel a low cost way of building.
- Steel represents a durable form of construction which meets the building life requirement.
- Steel construction allows slender columns resulting in maximizing floor area.
- Steel advantages include excellent strength to weight ratio resulting in lower foundation costs.
- Offsite structural steel fabrication facilitating lower site costs during construction.
- Prefabricated steel building construction allows greater independence from the weather.
The versatility of steel gives architects the freedom to achieve their most ambitious visions. Structural steel is an essential component of most shopping centres and commercial developments and landmark structures worldwide. Building owners value the flexibility of steel buildings, and the value benefits they provide, such as the light, open, airy spaces that can be created, making it ideal for modernization, reconfiguring, extending or adapting with minimal disruption.
Steel is one of the most sustainable construction materials. Its strength and durability coupled to its ability to be recycled, again and again, without ever losing quality make it truly compatible with long term sustainable development. Many of the advantages of steel construction are applicable to all building types and sectors. Yet even without these benefits, steel is often the first choice on the basis of cost alone, and is only going to become more prevalent in the future.